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What to watch out for this January and February

by Robin Della Corte January 8, 2013
What to watch out for this January and February

Following the volatile year that was 2012, the new year is bound to bring some interesting issues to the table in terms of higher education in Quebec and at Concordia as well. Here are some events and associations which students should remember to keep an eye on.

The education summit in February
The education summit promised by the Parti Québécois is fast approaching, but no official date has yet been set for when the government will meet with universities and student organizations to discuss issues concerning higher education. It has been loosely set for mid-February, but no official date has been given in the four months since the PQ first took office. In pre-summit talks held last month at McGill, student leaders with the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec and university officials disagreed over which subjects were important to discuss at the summit or what solutions were viable. The Concordia Student Union’s findings from their own consultation are due to be submitted to the FEUQ in order for them to be presented at the summit.

ECA accreditation drive
A campaign seeking accreditation for Concordia University’s Engineering and Computer Science Association will begin Jan. 14, with voting carrying on between Jan. 28 and Feb. 15. The ECA must achieve at least a 25 per cent turn-out for the votes to earn them accreditation, meaning that approximately 900 students must come out and vote ‘yes’ in order for the association to earn accreditation. Not having accreditation places the ECA in a difficult position, as they have limited powers to represent their student body, and the university is not required to grant them funding stemming from fee levies if they so choose.

An open conversation on the budget
A series of sessions that will be held this month at Concordia welcomes the community to be apart of conversations regarding the significant cut to the university’s operating grant for this fiscal year from the provincial government. Lisa Ostiguy, interim provost, and Patrick Kelley, chief financial officer, will host a community session this Monday, Jan. 14. Following an issue from the government on Dec. 11, the university’s operating grant was slashed by $13.2 million for the last four months of this fiscal year. The sessions will be small but the university does want to encourage people to register and attend these sessions. Senate will also have an opportunity to discuss the issue in their meeting Jan. 18. Registration opens Jan. 9 and more details will come from Concordia this week in the NOW e-newsletter.

The Concordia Student Union’s new council
The Concordia Student Union will have a fuller council this semester however will lack representatives from the Fine Arts faculty. The the CSU held byelections at the end of last semester to fill spaces due to the amount of resignations and empty seats. Caroline Bourbonnière, Patrick Lefebvre, Benjamin Prunty, Hardial Rosner, James Vaccaro and Ashley Walling all were elected to represent Arts and Science on council. Anja Rajaonarivelo, Pierre Tardivo Martin and Eugene Gusman were elected to the vacant JMSB seats since there were four open spots during the byelections. There are more than 30,000 students in the undergraduate student body and only 465 Concordia undergraduate students cast their votes. Although the byelections did allow the council to grow, the seats for Fine Arts on council remained empty.

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