Alan Shepard discusses budget, a new library, and the BDS movement
Concordia President Alan Shepard has said the university is becoming increasingly vocal against the ongoing austerity cuts, but that respectful negotiations and accommodation from both sides would be the only way forward under an austerity mindset.
“I don’t like to draw lines in the sand because [these] relationships are long-term,” said Shepard on the limits of patience. He said that compared to many of Quebec’s other institutions, Concordia remained one of the ones better off financially. “I’ve never been the type who drew lines in the sand.”
Shepard also reiterated the university’s distancing from the recently successful Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) vote, saying to restrict the flow of students between Israel or limit research purposes was a form of discrimination at odds with Concordia’s pluralistic mandate.
The BDS campaign seeks to sanction Israel based on what it calls human rights abuses against the Palestinians. It raised controversy at the school last semester amid multiple allegations of violations from both sides. Now the question is how it will be enacted and what the stance will be between the student body and the administration.
“Concordia does not and will not discriminate against any student wishing to study here,” said Shepard, who penned a response against BDS when it was voted in back in December 2014.
On a more positive note, Shepard said the Webster Library would begin undergoing renovations that will expand student spaces by shuffling several office floors to the Faubourg building and turning the space into study areas and a sprinkle of state-of-the-art technology, including 3D printers. In addition there will be special rooms calling for absolute silence and technological upgrades improving online help and data sharing.