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) had concluded that an unofficial, inner circle of Board members had been micromanaging some of the university’s day-to-day operations, and undermining the President. This had apparently prompted the resignation of the previous two Presidents before the midway points of their respective terms in office. It had also caused a public-relations disaster and “culture of contempt” on campus. The report in question had recommended, among other things, 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: it decided to reduce the number of undergraduate students on the Board from four to one, something the Shapiro Report had 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 left some students outraged.

Concordia’s Board of Governors had an opportunity to demonstrate to the university community 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.


  • Not surprised at all, this is what I suspected all along would happen. It is a mirroring the controversial takeover of Rights and Democracy Board. Of course Concordia could not be so easily done so there was subtlety beginning with infighting and ouster of President all used as a cover to stifle the political ideology of students who could not be silenced otherwise. Mr Shapiro’s recommendation was to reduce the board size from 40 to 25 with heavier representation from those without history to Concordia. Why would that be? Because a certain group wants to occupy the board.

    It beggars belief at one time Mr Broadbent and Mr Harper were both critical of Mr Shapiro when he was Ethics Commissioner. Perhaps it is not so surprising as both critics are for abolishing the Senate. The rhetoric is that Senators should be elected when the real motive is to weed out those with sense of history,who can take a long term view of the policies and laws that were passed in first place rather than pass bills on impulsion and lack of knowledge. If NDP’s elected members are any indication we could end with twenty somethings as senators, and we already know the Reform/Conservative’s slate of Senators.

    As I understood the purpose of appointing Senate was to promote Canadian industry and business’ trade, that is why many of the Senators sat on Corporate boards. Neither the Conservatives or NDP will indulge in these facts. It befits the partisan politics of these two parties to bash Senate all the same pretending to be at opposite spectrum of politics.

  • Nick, this is no different than the old tactics used by powers pitting workers against management and vice versa, in this case Concordia student body against the board leading to chaos and eventually the true picture will emerge. Currently, the end game is not articulated for obvious reasons. Coincidentally the book I am reading has interesting definition of game.

    A game is an ongoing series of complementary ulterior transactions progressing to a well-defined, predictable outcome. Descriptively it is a recurring set of transactions, often repetitious, superficially plausible, with a concealed motivation; or, more colloquially, a series of moves with a snare, or “gimmick.” Games are clearly differentiated from procedures, rituals, and pastimes by two chief characteristics: (1) their ulterior quality and (2)the payoff. Procedures may be successful, rituals effective, and pastimes profitable, but all of them are by definition candid; they may involve contest, but not conflict, and the ending may be sensational, but it is not dramatic. Every game, on the other hand, is basically dishonest, and the outcome has a dramatic, as distinct from merely exciting, quality.

    It remains to distinguish games from one type of social action. An ‘operation’ is a simple transaction or set of transactions undertaken for a specific, stated purpose. If someone frankly asks for reassurance and gets it, that is an operation. If someone asks for reassurance, and after it is given turns it in some way to the disadvantage of the giver, that is a game. Superficially, then, a game looks like a set of operations, but after the payoff it becomes apparent that these “operations” were really ‘maneuvers’; not honest requests but moves in the game.

  • Games people don’t play:

    What the heck? There is no debate between public supported media and for profit concerns, integrity and shareholder concerns are not mutually compatible.

    On Concordia University, check if under-representation of student body on Board contravenes the University Charter.

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