Queen’s Senate Sept. 29 recap

Highlights include new neuroscience program, enrolment success, and new policy on Senate question period

Senate Recap
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The year’s first Senate meeting began on a somber note, as Principal Daniel Woolf informed staff of the passing of first-year student Andrea Mariano and addressed recent disturbances in the University District.

All 12 proposed motions passed, with some disagreement on changes to the Senate question period and the combined Bachelor and Masters degree in neuroscience. Principal Woolf and Provost Alan Harrison updated the Senate on recent developments on campus.

Woolf remembers first-year student while Provost notes enrolment successes

After a closed session of Senate, Woolf began the open session by expressing his deep sadness at the death of Mariano and promising to review services for students with severe food allergies. Mariano had passed away on Sept. 18 following a severe anaphylactic reaction.

Woolf then touched on the disturbances in the University District, calling them “disturbing and unacceptable”.

The principal also discussed gender equity on the search committee for the new Provost — two female faculty members, Dr. Lynda Colgan and Dr. Susan Cole, were added.

Finally, Woolf announced that the first meeting for the Non-Academic Disciplinary system review was held earlier in the day.

During Provost Alan Harrison’s report, Harrison informed the Senate of successes in admissions goals. He noted that 16 per cent of the class of 2019 was made up of Aboriginal students, while the University has admitted international students representing 42 countries.

All 12 motions proposed were approved, including:

  • Creation of five new fields within the Professional Masters of Education (Education abroad, literacy education, classroom specialist and aboriginal education)
  • Introduction of a combined BScH/Msc (Neuroscience and combined BAH/MSc program)
  • Offering the Queen’s Masters of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) program out of Lakehead and Trent Universities
  • Amendment to Education Student Senator’s terms from one to two years
  • Allowing Commerce Student Senators to carry out a term-length seat for 2015/16
  • Amending rules regarding the Senate’s question period

Most motions passed without discussion, although there were exceptions.

Combined Bachelor and Masters degree in neuroscience

The motion to introduce the dual neuroscience programs brought debate from Senator Leah Brockie, ConEd ’19, who raised concerns that students could “catch double credits”, or use the same credits for both their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Provost Harrison said students could use the credits for both degrees, but the goal was to “encourage some of the best students in the undergraduate program to stay at Queen’s for their graduate work”.

The motion was passed with only one vote against.

Policy on Senate question period

The motion to modify the question period brought comments from Senator Jordan Morelli, who moved to amend the motion to delete the clause that all questions should be submitted in writing.

Morelli motioned that the Senate permit questions to be raised orally, and said the “problems this motion is seeking to fix would all be resolved if we simply had our oral question period back.”

His motion was seconded by Senator Emily Townshend, Sci ’15. Both Senators withdrew the amendment with a promise from Woolf to consider the issue at a later date.

Senator Cathy Christie agreed with Morelli and Townshend, and said allowing oral questions would be a logical step for Senate.

In response, Woolf said questions should be kept to the “problems of the Senate”, and he didn’t wish to veer into irrelevant topics, using the example of lighting on Tindall Field. 

Morelli then asked Woolf whether his “silly” example of Tindall field lighting could constitute a question of student safety against assault. He said an improperly lit field could create an unsafe environment for students.

“Let’s just be free to ask intelligent questions and get intelligent answers,” Morelli said.

The original motion passed with the issue of oral questions to be addressed at a later date.

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