Concordia Decides That Less Is More
In August, I blogged about controversy surrounding Concordia University’s Board of Governors. A report co-authored by Bernard J. Shapiro (Canada’s first Ethics Commissioner)Â had concluded that an unofficial, inner circle of Board members had beenÂ micromanaging some of the university’s day-to-day operations, and undermining the President.Â This had apparentlyÂ prompted the resignation ofÂ theÂ previous twoÂ Presidents before the midway points of theirÂ respective terms in office. It had alsoÂ caused a public-relationsÂ disaster and “culture of contempt” on campus. The report in question had recommended, among other things,Â that the Board be reduced in size from 40 to 25 members.
Last week, Concordia’s Board of Governors voted by secret ballot to indeed reduce the size of the Board from 40 to 25, but with an important twist:Â it decided to reduce the number of undergraduate students on the Board from four to one, something the Shapiro Report hadÂ not recommended.
It goes without saying that reducing undergraduate representation from four to one is very much out of proportion with the rest of the Board’s size reduction, and this has leftÂ some students outraged.
Concordia’s Board of Governors had an opportunity to demonstrate toÂ the university communityÂ that it was going to right a wrong, and work towards tidying its image. Instead, it kicked undergraduate students in the teeth…via secret ballot.
Nick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He has a PhD in public policy.