– Concordia Briefs –

Curriculum changes at Concordia

Concordia will introduce a new masters program in Environment Impact Assessment, providing specialized training with 30 credits of coursework and a 15-credit internship.
According to Joanne Locke, interim dean of arts and science, the masters will be geared to students who are, “marginally involved in environmental impact assessment” or who are coming directly out of an undergraduate science program, such as biology. The diploma program will be refocused for students who are already working in the field, but “would like to have an academic credential.”
Canadian law has required environmental impact assessments since 1995 and the field is growing, according to Locke. “Anything we do now, we have to consider what the impact is on the environment.” The program received support from Concordia’s senate on Friday, but needs the provincial government’s approval. Locke hopes the approval will come before the fall semester, but said it may not happen until 2009. The faculty of fine arts is introducing two new courses, both 200-level courses in art history for non-fine arts students, allowing them to “explore the full range of [their] interests,” said Catherine Wild, dean of fine arts.

CSU council brief

CSU executive and councillors vowed to protest and oppose a possible increase of international student fees by Concordia’s Board of Governors (BoG). Delayed last fall, the increase will be discussed again in the upcoming BoG meeting March 31.
CSU councillor Andrew Fernandes was replaced as the student rep on Concordia’s Senate because he was absent for two meetings. VP Communications Noah Stewart said student representatives must be held accountable for their punctuality, especially when student positions on Senate could be reduced as a result. Kalil Dias was appointed as the replacement.

Judicial Board rejects challenges

In a pair of last-minute decisions issued Sunday night, Concordia’s Judicial Board (JB) struck down two student-driven challenges to CSU election policies, dismissing both appeals.
The two cases, brought individually by students Mathew Fiorentino and Robert Sonin, were dismissed over concerns about their irrelevance and lack of timeliness, respectively.
Fiorentino’s challenge was designed to block recent by-law changes making the JB undergo regular review by the CSU. These changes, to be voted upon by students during the coming election, were struck from the ballot due to a procedural mistake.
According to JB chairperson Tristan Texteira, removal of the referendum questions from the ballot rendered Fiorentino’s challenge moot: “We saw no need to compromise the board’s impartiality on future cases by ruling on this issue.”
Sonin’s challenge was designed to overturn the results of last November’s by-election, charging that the referendum questions and the associated bylaw changes were unfair and vague. Noting Sonin didn’t file his contestation within the five-day time limit allowed for electoral challenges, and recognizing that he had provided no evidence, the JB dismissed his appeal in a unanimous 10-page decision.
According to CSU VP of Communications Noah Stewart, “In the end, the board saw what the CSU had been saying all along, that his claims were without basis and that they should be dismissed.”
Although electoral contestations have increased in the last year, there is little that the CSU executive could do, or would want to do, to stave off such challenges, according to Stewart.
Remarking on the cases, Texteira hopes Concordia students will pay more attention to the CSU bylaws when filing complaints with the board: “There’s a certain vagueness . . . to recent appeals,” he said. “If [it] isn’t in the bylaws, it will be hard for the board to do anything for the applicant.”

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