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Senate to court BoG Chair

by Archives November 13, 2007

The university’s Senators were cautiously optimistic last Friday as they agreed to appoint an “exploratory committee” to convince the Board of Governors that a task force was needed to review the relationship between the university’s two highest governing bodies.
“It’s a mission . [to] convince [the Board of Governors] it’s for the larger good of the university,” said Arpi Hamalian, a representative from the Arts and Science faculty. “I think it’s important that [the] Senate has decided to reclaim its role, to reclaim its voice.”
The proposed meeting is a only a preliminary one that will lay the groundwork for further discussion. The Senate is anxious to let the BoG know that it wants more interaction and communication between the two bodies, and to discuss the changes it has seen in its role in university governance over the past few years.
The Senate, made up of the university’s deans and representatives from the faculties and student body, is traditionally considered the university’s highest governing academic body. But Senators say that over the past few years, it has seen the consultation on major decisions drop as the BoG took on a more active role in the university’s governance, both internally and publicly. In both September and October’s Senate meetings, the Senators expressed concern over the BoG’s lack of transparency regarding the reasons for former president Claude Lajeunesse’s departure.
A motion drafted during the October meeting by Dean Graham, and further modified by the Senate’s Steering Committee on Oct. 30, states that, given the Senate’s “concerns with the governance at Concordia university and its relationship with the Board of Governors,” the Senate and the Board of Governors should “participate in a joint governance review.” The motion passed unanimously on Friday.
According to Interim Provost Louise Dandurand, the Board’s Chair, Peter Kruyt, was willing to meet with three Senators but had not committed to the idea of a potential joint task force. “He reserved his judgment until such time as the exploratory committee meets,” said Dandurand, who had been charged with approaching Kruyt at the October BoG meeting.
The Senators stressed the need for a credible, reasonable trio of negotiators, representatives who could be “persuasive without being aggressive,” as the Dean of Arts and Science, David Graham, put it.
It was decided that the Steering Committee would decide on the three representatives and several Senators suggested that a student be included. “A Student should be on there because . if the Chair decides not to go ahead with the taskforce, then he has to say ‘no’ to one of the three people that represents 25,000 other people. I think it’s important that Steering Com finds a responsible credible student to represent [Senate],” said Chris Ross, a professor at the John Molson School of Business.
Dandurand said the trio of Senators wouldn’t be able to meet with Kruyt until he returns to Montreal at the end of November, but that the meeting would likely take place before the Christmas break.
Dandurand also announced she had decided to grant academic amnesty to students wanting to participate in the Nov. 22 Day of Action and would be instructing the Deans of Faculties to that effect.

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