College escapes fatal past

October 20, 1995

Concordia University seems on the road back to stability after three years of turmoil which began with the shooting deaths of four professors by a colleague and continued with a substantial turnover among senior administrators.

Since August, the university has had a new rector, Frederick Lowy. Dr Lowy, a psychiatrist, comes to Concordia from the University of Toronto, where he was director of Toronto's centre for bioethics.

William Knitter, president of the Concordia University Faculty Association, believes the new rector is "interested in being more inclusive (than the previous rector) in terms of decision-making. He comes across as very interested and willing to listen, but he is still on a honeymoon."

Others, such as professor and senate member Harvey Shulman, also attest to a new, more upbeat mood at Concordia, resulting from changes in the senior administration, including Dr Lowry's appointment. Last year former rector Patrick Kenniff left the university (THES, June 24 1994) and Concordia replaced two other senior administrators who resigned shortly thereafter.

In an interview with Montreal's Gazette, Dr Lowry, a self-described seeker of consensus, said that Concordia's current priority is "accurate self-definition" - defining a mission "consistent with economic realities, social realities and the Montreal environment". Dr Knitter finds this an appropriate "multi-faceted" priority.

Another recent development was the release of the preliminary results of a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council investigation of the university.

In July, NSERC concluded that Concordia owed it Can$110,500 (Pounds 52,620) for grant money improperly used. Since then, it has agreed to reconsider. NSERC was also to have decided by early September whether or not $332,300 was to be repaid for the same reasons, but this decision has also been delayed.

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