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Students agree: Concordia’s new president needs to be seen

by Archives March 4, 2008

That was students’ reaction when asked about former Concordia President Claude Lajeunesse. Even when he was president, most students were unable to say what he had done for the school except, perhaps, the logo change.
“I don’t think he did anything,” said Efe Oniovosa, a student at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB), commenting on Lajeunesse’s presidency. But he did give Lajeunesse some credit. “He wanted to change the way the school was perceived.”
Sarah Bubenko, a communications studies student, had never heard of Lajeunesse. She said it was because the former president had not made himself known to students, and didn’t engage with them.
Lajeunesse left Concordia last September, two years into a five-year term. The former president stepped down by “a mutual agreement” with university officials, a step that was interpreted by many as a possible disagreement with the board of governors.
Most students interviewed by The Concordian felt they did not benefit from Lajeunesse’s term, during which he tried to change the university’s logo, bring in money for graduate programs and give the university a corporate-style of management.
“The new president has to be reachable, transparent and not meddle with the CSU,” said Karim Charafeddine, from JMSB, in reference to an old allegation that the university had a hand in getting a specific Concordia Student Union executive elected in the year 2006-2007.
Nicole Void, a psychology student, proposed the idea of “office hours,” like most teachers offer, so that students could meet face to face with Woodsworth. “The new president should listen to students and their needs,” Void explained.
Josh Redler, a Commerce and Administration Student Association (VP human resources) also expressed a desire that the university would shift its priorities to put more emphasis on undergraduate students. He thinks that since undergrads account for the majority of the university’s population, more attention should be paid to their needs.
It is yet to be known how Woodsworth will interact with the students. Concordia’s spokesperson, Chris Mota said that Woodsworth “will have to get to know student leaders and develop a relationship with them.”

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