Concordia’s Board of Governors unanimously approved measures put forth by the Ad Hoc Committee on Bicameralism, tasked with enhancing the bicameral nature of the University’s governance system.
The committee, composed of two representatives of Senate, along with Me John Lemieux of the Board’s Governance and Ethics Committee, proposed amendments to Articles 36 and 63 of the university’s bylaws that will strengthen Senate’s authority over academic policy.
The amendments are the result of one of the key recommendations of the 2011 External Governance Review, which suggested strengthening the academic authority of Senate.
Senate Ethics Committee
The Board of Governors also approved an amendment to Article 66 of the university bylaws, which allows for the addition of the Ethics Committee as a standing committee within Senate. The Ethics Committee was established when Senate adopted the Code of Ethics and Conduct, applicable to members of Senate and members of committees established by Senate.
These measures were also taken as a result of recommendations from the External Governance Review Committee.
President Alan Shepard presented a detailed written report to the Board of Governors, and he also addressed a specific issue that has arisen recently at the university surrounding the recruitment of Chinese students, and their accommodation in homestays.
Shepard assured the board that a review into the issue by Concordia’s Vice-President, Services, Roger Côté was ongoing, and that measures beyond an initial email contact were being taken to reach out to Chinese students.
“We’ve now engaged Chinese Family Services (a community organization) to help us, particularly with the Chinese international students,” Shepard said. “We’ve asked them to contact every single student who was admitted this fall to Concordia from our China Recruitment Program, via Concordia’s third-party recruiter, to ask them, either in Mandarin or Cantonese if needed, how they’re doing … and can we be of any service to them.”
The president also explained that the university has formed a working group, which includes the presidents of Concordia’s Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) and the Concordia Student Union (CSU), as well as representatives from other groups involved in providing housing assistance and guidance to international students. Its goal is to ensure the university has a better sense of how Chinese students are recruited and of their experiences with accommodations.
The university administration is also re-examining its partnership with the external partner it uses to recruit students in China, the contract for which came up for renewal this fall. “We are now pretty close to making a decision about whether we are going to do one of two things: either go out for a new RFP (request for proposals) and tender the opportunity for a contract with the university, or decide to bring our international recruiting in-house,” he said.
Shortly after taking over in his role as Concordia’s president, Shepard had begun working on a comprehensive review of the university’s recruiting strategies, both nationally and internationally.
The Board of Governors approved the financial statements for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2012, as reported by Concordia’s external auditors Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. In a separate motion, the board also approved all inter-fund transfers disclosed in the financial statements.
Finally, the university must annually transmit to the Government of Quebec its État de traitement, or statement of salaries, for all of its senior administrators. The board approved the submission of the État de traitement for the 2011-12 academic year.
Update on Collective Bargaining
Concordia’s Human Resources Department provided an update on the status of negotiations between the university and its various collective bargaining units. The report detailed the status of 14 collective agreements as well as the current ongoing renewal negotiations.
While Shepard acknowledged that historically Concordia has had its share of difficult labour negotiations, he expressed a desire to change the climate for collective bargaining at the university, and speed up negotiations between the university and the various bargaining units.
Concordia’s Vice-President, Institutional Relations and Secretary-General, Bram Freedman said that in the future, the university will initiate the bargaining process long before collective agreements expire.
“I certainly share the president’s concern and desire to bring about a change in how these things get done,” Freedman said. “Both sides, I think, have fallen into bad habits over the years … and it takes time to break out of those bad habits. But I’m certainly as intent as the president is on advancing negotiations and getting a more rapid settlement of all of our collective agreements.”
• Financial statements 2011-12