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Response to Chairman Allan Rock from a Former Guest Speaker

March 30, 2011

Severin Stojanovic, a former Faculty of Science student representative and guest speaker at Senate contributes to the discussion surrounding invited speakers at Senate meetings.  See related posts HERE and HERE.

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From: Severin Stojanovic
Date: March 30, 2011
Subject: Non-Senate members speaking at Senate
To: Allan Rock
Cc: Members of Senate

Allan,

I just read an e-mail on-line (reproduced below) that you are not allowing non-Senate members to speak to motions at Senate.

I would like to remind Senate that before your arrival, there was a Senate representative by the name of Michael Cheevers. One motion that he presented to Senate concerned the “Activism Course”.

That meeting was chaired by Vice-President Academic and Provost Dr. Robert Major.

During the proceedings, I was permitted by Robert to speak to the motion. Another person was also permitted to speak to the motion: Mr. Gerald Ohlsen, who I believe is a retired senior diplomat. Neither I nor Mr. Ohlsen were members of the Senate.

During my time as a member of the Science Faculty Council, the Chair routinely permitted non-members of Council to partake of discussions with Council, taking as much time as necessary to address the issues at hand.

If you are concerned about time limits, then there is a procedure known as adjournment. One of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary definitions of “adjournment” means to “break off (a meeting, discussion, hearing, etc.) with the intention of resuming later.” The Science Faculty Council is a prime example that an issue can span several meetings until it is duly addressed.

Of the 72 Senate representatives who you blindly entrust to decide matters of governance, how many of those representatives are members by virtue of Office and are, therefore, unelected?  Deans, Vice-Deans, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Chairs, etc., are all appointed in secrecy to those Offices and de facto become members of the highest governing authority on academic matters.

Are you saying that academic matters of the University should rest in the hands of unelected representatives? Are you then advocating that these unelected members have the right to decide who can speak to motions at Senate? This system for which you advocate is usurpation of the democratic process.

Severin

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