Skip to main content

Board of Governors and Senate highlights: February 2024

Graham Carr delivers updates on the government-mandated tuition hikes, campus tensions and budget challenges, as well as honours for Stingers’ captain Emmy Fecteau
February 22, 2024

Concordia President Graham Carr brought the Concordia Board of Governors and Senate up to date on recent events at their respective meetings on February 8 on February 9.

  • The Government of Quebec issued the règles budgétaires the week of January 22, confirming its December announcement on tuition hikes for students from the rest of Canada and a tuition clawback for international students. It also confirmed that rest-of-Canada students studying at francophone universities would continue to pay the old tuition rate of about $9,000, vs. $12,000 for those at anglophone institutions.
  • Prior to the holiday break, Concordia announced its new merit-based Canada Scholars Awards, which offer up to $4,000 for undergrads from the rest of Canada, beginning in fall 2024.
  • There has been a 27 per cent decline in applications from rest-of-Canada students, 10 per cent for international undergrads; the team is working hard to convert the remaining application pool to confirmations before the March 1 deadline.
  • It’s worrying for revenue but also contrary to the message that Quebec and Montreal is a great place to come, learn and live.
  • Last week saw a report by the Comité consultative sur l’accessibilité financières aux étudeswhich advised the ministry on tuition in particular; it was highly critical of the tuition increases since there was no financial analysis or data to accompany the decision, and it’s in stark contradiction to Quebec’s commitment to accessible higher ed; the minister dismissed the findings because the report was submitted four days late.

Middle East and campus tensions

  • The university continues to closely monitor events and de-escalate tensions on campus.
  • Carr expressed concern at the Radio Canada report about faculty and students at Concordia, McGill and Université de Montréal who don’t feel safe to express themselves; he stressed that all members of the community should be able to express themselves freely.
  • Two weeks ago, there were false claims on social media that Concordia cancelled a pro-Israeli student group’s campus event; in fact, Concordia had not blocked any events by student groups.
  • The university learned that the Concordia Student Union (CSU) mistakenly booked two student groups on the mezzanine, a space the CSU manages, at the same time on January 18; two groups using the space were involved in an altercation on November 8, 2023.
  • To avoid a repetition of the November 8 altercation, the university asked the student group that registered last to reschedule, and offered a different space on the same day as well as a new booking the next day; the group first agreed but then refused and held the event as planned; fortunately, the events went on without incident.
  • Carr addressed what he called a reprehensible act that crossed a line at a protest held the previous Friday: protesters carried posters of McGill principal Deep Saini and Concordia chancellor Jonathan Wener that depicted them as responsible for genocide.
  • He emphasized that Jon Wener is a tireless volunteer for Concordia and champion for higher ed, for which we should all be grateful; he’s not a decision-maker at Concordia; yet he was clearly singled out for being Jewish — which is appalling.
  • Carr added that we have much work left to do in society and on campuses in addressing hate.

Other news

  • Five Concordians have been named to the Order of Canada: engineering professor Osama Moselhi; Lino Saputo, BA 89, corporate leader and Campaign for Concordia co-chair; physician Louis Francescutti, BSc 80; former Board member Kim Thúy, LLD 17; and Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, LLD 18, who with Loyola Medal winner, Justice Murray Sinclair, co-chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools.
  • Carr chairs the board of U Sports, the national body overseeing varsity athletics in Canada; U Sports and the Governor General recently honoured the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians in the country, four women and four men, a truly impressive group; Carr was especially pleased because one of the eight was Emmy Fecteau, captain of the Stingers women’s ice hockey team.
  • The eight students were also honoured in the House of Commons. Carr thanked Anna Gainey, MP for NDG-Westmount, who acknowledged the athletes and gave a special shout out to Emmy.
  • Last week, Concordia celebrated Power Corporation’s $4 million gift to support Volt-Age; it will give students the opportunity to help develop innovative green technology and living labs.
  • Earlier this week, Volt-Age allocated more than $7.2 million to support 36 research projects led by Concordia and its partner institutions — Dalhousie, Toronto Metropolitan University and University of Calgary — ranging from highly technical engineering and system development to governance, climate monitoring and more.


At Senate, Carr focused on two other issues.

Budget update

Carr explained the university’s budget challenges:

  • In May, the deficit forecast for 2023-24 was $19.4 million; it’s now $32-$35 million.
  • It’s an historic deficit, based on declining enrolment and increased expenses.
  • Concordia’s only way to cover expenses is through growth in student enrolment; registration is the lifeblood of the budget and the university.
  • After years of steady growth, enrolment has now dropped three years in a row; reasons include increasing job opportunities for potential students, softer CEGEP graduation rates and instability in international-student mobility.
  • Expenses are up due in part to inflation, new collective agreements and sector underfunding.

Anne Whitelaw, provost and vice-president, academic, further noted:

  • $400 million out of Concordia’s $557 million operating budget is for teaching and research, which is the university’s priority.
  • Total enrolment grew from 36,000 in 2002-03 to 45,500 in 2022-23; grad students went from 6,000 to over 10,000.
  • The number of programs has grown from 514 in 2013 to 615 in 2023; Concordia is good at adding programs but less good at subtracting, Carr explained.
  • Now the university is looking to create more efficiencies in programming; it would have been better to do this without outside budget pressures, because it now must be done quickly, he said.
  • Concordia has created a strategic enrolment management group led by Nadia Hardy, Faye Diamantoudi, dean of graduate studies, and Jason Ens, executive director of academic policy, planning and strategic initiatives.
  • They will be working with units and departments to design programs that create a more positive experience for students.

Upcoming Task Force to address hate, other forms of discrimination

Carr announced the formation of a new University Task Force to address hate and other forms of discrimination.

  • This is just one step in helping to deal with campus tensions, and tackling fractures that have arisen between students, faculty and staff since October.
  • It will gather members from across the university to share their experiences and suggest solutions.
  • The task force follows the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence and President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism, which brought together and engaged the community. The university acted on their recommendations.
  • Co-chairs will include faculty and staff, and members will include faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders.
  • Dedicated sub-committees will be appointed to examine specific issues related to identity-based violence, including antisemitism, Islamophobia, transphobia and anti-Asian racism.
  • More to be announced soon.

Find out more about Concordia’s Board of Governors and Senate.


Back to top

© Concordia University