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Senate notes: May 2019

Senate passes a motion concerning Bill 21
June 11, 2019
By Howard Bokser

Concordia President Alan Shepard, in his remarks on May 17, 2019, reminded Senate that this would be his last meeting before departing at the end of June.

“I want to say how proud I am to see how well Concordia is doing, and that it’s very bittersweet to be leaving,” he said.

Among other recent highlights, he pointed out that Concordia unveiled its Indigenous Directions action plan on April 4. The university will also soon welcome Ursula Eicker as Concordia’s new Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities.

Shepard mentioned that Concordia recently receive the largest donation in its history, a $30 million planned gift to support students.

Curriculum approvals

Senate approved the request by André Roy, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, to create a joint BSc Honours in Systems and Information Biology and BSc Specialization in Systems and Information Biology in the Department of Biology.

Senate also approved the request by Mourad Debbabi, representing the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, for a joint BCompSc in Health and Life Sciences and BCompSc Honours in Health and Life Sciences.

Motion regarding Bill 21

Undergraduate student representative Sarah Abou-Bakr proposed a motion that reaffirms Concordia’s unifying values, in response to the Government of Quebec’s proposed Bill 21. Senate gave its unanimous consent. Read the full text of the motion.

Concordia’s sustainability efforts

Roger Coté, vice-president of Services, delivered a short presentation on the many steps Concordia has made toward improving sustainability. He pointed out that Concordia has been the most energy efficient university in Quebec for 21 years, and that it recently became the first Canadian university to issue a sustainable bond.

Damon Matthews, professor and Concordia Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability, Geography, Planning and Environment, and undergraduate student representative Ali Sherra made the case to Senate why the Concordia University Foundation should divest from fossil fuels — in other words, stop investing in oil and gas companies.

Shepard recommended that the chair of the foundation address the issue at the next Senate meeting in September.

At the end of the meeting, Shepard reiterated his farewell message. “It’s been a pleasure to serve the institution. I will always be a champion of Concordia.”

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