New by-law will allow students sitting on Senate to serve up to three years
Student senators will now have the opportunity to stick around for an extra year after a by-law change was unanimously approved extending student senate terms from the current two year limit to three years.
“The case at Concordia is one where [things are] a lot more stringent than in many other universities, and this was just a way to ameliorate the situation,” said Terry Wilkings, who pushed through with the amendment. He said this was an effort to increase student participation and improve institutional memory by allowing for a longer and smoother transition between senate generations.
“In the long run it’s going to strengthen not only undergraduate but graduate student participation,” he said, adding that it took some time and effort but getting such a conclusion in under a year was, by normal standards, a quick success.
“There were some concerns from certain faculty members, but I think we were able to alleviate those concerns either with some data we had or just from of the cogent arguments that were made.”
Though many of the universities Wilkings studied—such as York , Carleton, Guelph and Simon Fraser universities—don’t give any term limits at all, this was one line the CSU felt it did not have to cross.
“I think there’s a general consensus in the university that term limits are healthy for deliberative bodies such as Senate and the board,” he added. “It’s very rare to be able to modify university by-laws, period.”
Before the amendment—which still has to get final permission from the Board of Governors to come into effect, which is slated to occur in March—Concordia’s student senators served one-year terms and a two-year limit. This was a change itself from several years ago, when Concordia had no limits to begin with, and could remain in office until replaced by successors via elections. A significant portion of the universities outlined in the comparison document supplied by Wilkings had no term limits.
Senators wishing to continue their positions after the three-year period will have to wait at least a year before being eligible for reelection.