“UN PRÊT SANS INTÉRÊT/THE LOAN WILL BE INTEREST FREE.”
WHERE: Hall Building, Maissonneuve and Mackay
EVENT INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/250683825025081/
Fellow GPE Students looking for more creative strike actions- Come check out this event, which will involve the auctioning of Concordia interim President Frederick Lowy’s luxury condo, which he purchased with a 1.4 million dollar interest free loan from Concordia.
Yes, this is on top of his $350,000 salary and $16,000+ expense account.
Lowy’s soon-to-be-infamous condo loan is unfortunately just one example of Concordia University’s rampant financial mismanagement. Strange and shady decisions by upper administration are becoming harder to ignore in the face of the recent $ 2 million penalty from Education Minister Line Beauchamp, who reprimanded Concordia for the $ 3.1 million of severance pay it shelled out for five former administrators since 2009.
Interestingly, this issue is addressed in Charest’s budget:
“…the government has added funding to improve governance and restore order to university finances.
5% to 15% of [530 million of additional resources] will be used to improve administration and management.”
(A Fair and Balanced University Funding Plan, 2011, p 13)
It seems absurd to give administration more money to address the problem that administration cannot be trusted to manage money.
Beauchamp’s response appears to be a timely and political gesture to the 170,000+ students on strike right now in Quebec. Yet the $2 million fine is proving to be fuel to the fire of criticism of the Quebec Government’s inability to adequately address serious administrative issues in universities (Concordia’s heavily criticized Board of Governors is not held accountable in any meaningful way by this fine) and of Concordia’s Board of Governors’ general lack of accountability.
Below are some links to news coverage, if you want to brush up on Concordia’s severance scandal.
MEDIA COVERAGE OF CONCORDIA FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT FINE:
“Concordia to lift veil on buyouts” – The Gazette, March 13th, 2012
“Generous severance payments net Concordia University $2-million fine” – The Globe and Mail, March 9th, 2012
“Province fines Concordia $2M over severance package” – The Link, March 13th, 2012
“(Another) Two Million Dollar Story” – The Link, March 13th, 2012
“Concordia University Fined After Golden Handshakes” – The Huffington Post, March 9th, 2012
Event info from THE LOAN WILL BE INTEREST FREE Facebook page follows:
“CONCORDIA STUDENTS PUT THEIR PRESIDENT’S LUXURY CONDO UP FOR SALE
Montreal– Concordia students and the Profs contre la Hausse coalition are putting Concordia president Frederick Lowy’s luxury condo up for sale. The university agreed to lend Lowy the 1.4 million dollars needed to purchase a new condo and continue to live at 1515, Docteur-Penfield. A loan on which he’ll pay no interest at all. Potential buyers will meet in front of Concordia’s Hall building on Tuesday, March 20 at 10:30 am for a protest.
The condo’s sale is the latest initiative of the student strike movement to protest against the hike in tuition on the day when finance minister Raymond Bachand’s budget is released. “The scandal is not only the fact that universities are under-funded; it’s also their management. Clearly, being short of funds hasn’t stopped them from wasting our money so far,” expressed Liz Colford, the event’s student spokesperson. “We refuse to see students having to pick up the bill for this frivolous spending,” Colford added.
The event aims to shed light on tendencies in the university world that worry students. Hefty severance packages, increased presence and influence of the private sector in the decision-making process and research are all practices that cause concern among the student body. “It is time to put a stop to the privatization of knowledge!” says Colford.
This is not Concordia’s first case of corporate-type management. Recently, Education Minister Line Beauchamp cut two million dollars from Concordia’s budget as a penalty for the $ 3.1 million it spent on severance pay for five former administrators, including the previous two presidents, as they were dismissed. These severance packages take inspiration from private enterprises. “The university is no longer fulfilling its role as a social institution but rather it is becoming oriented towards the interests of the market,” says Philippe Morin of the Profs contre la Hausse coalition.
The CLASSE anticipates that fees will go up from $1668 in 2007 to $4700, a 143 per cent raise from 2007. According to these numbers, the cost of the condo could cover a full free year of university studies for 298 students.