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On October 19, Senate opened with Interim Dean of Arts John Galaty delivering a eulogy for Emeritus Professor Raymond Klibanksy, who passed away at age 99, and bequeathed more than 5,000 specialized items to McGill's library. Penned by Professor Storrs McCall, the eulogy praised a cosmopolitan spirit that enriched the Philosophy Department and provided an important link to francophone intellectual circles.
The Principal delivered opening remarks that called attention to impending concerns regarding a complementarity plan for McGill's hospitals, and reaffirmed the school's tough response to initiation activities that involve hazing and other inappropriate behaviour. In her remarks about fund-raising and large donations, she noted that McGill will not name a building after a corporation and that such gifts from corporate interests must come with no strings attached. Finally, the Principal congratulated professors Ricard and Mysak for receiving prestigious ACFAS awards.
During question period, Senators sought assurances that new educational and positive team-building programs introduced in the wake of the hazing incident would be designed to combat homophobia, and that the university community would not overlook the accomplishments of other teams. Interim Provost Masi assured Senators that both these concerns were being addressed.
In response to a formal question regarding the protocol for university-wide email messages, VP Hodder replied that the McGill community is entitled to receive accurate accounts of important information in a timely manner. She added that this is especially the case when erroneous reports have been disseminated.
Senator Mathews asked for clarifications as to how the naming of the Schulich School of Music would affect the designation of degrees awarded to music students. Professor Masi explained that no change will occur because degrees officially emanate from McGill University. At the same time, the new moniker will be appearing at the bottom of forthcoming music diplomas.
The Principal then delivered a comprehensive report sans slideshow, passing on the quip that 'power corrupts, and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely'. The report provided an overview of how McGill is progressing with its overall strategic objectives, and emphasized that the school will continue to make a greater use of external benchmarks in assessing its success. The Principal announced that "McGill's policy of soft sell is over," and that the school will use a series of new publications to advertise the accomplishments that make it the country's best research university.
The report underlined McGill's success in recruiting and retaining professors, but also noted a pressing need for an increased resource base. Future priorities will be to improve the performance of McGill's graduate program, and to reassess the nature of the school's committee structure.
Senate moved on to inspect the newly minted Portrait of Private Giving, a stylish publication that profiles the gifts and vision of donors, and the impact of their gifts on the people and programs at McGill. VP Hodder noted the report is being mailed to 155,000 alumni and friends with the McGill News.
The annual report of the bookstore committee, presented by Professor McSweeney, touched off a flurry of questions as Senators learned that the store issued 3,000 rainchecks this fall and that 25 percent of coursepacks had arrived only after classes had begun.
"This is an unacceptable state of affairs," said McSweeney. "Profs and students got burned ... Printing services must look beyond their bottom line and learn to perceive themselves as an integral part of the academic mission of the university."
Senator Paré noted that monopoly produces inefficiencies and that professors should consider using different suppliers for printing services, and asked why the school was pinned to Eastman. Other members asked for details about copyright charges and buyback policies. McSweeney noted that a new general manager has been appointed who will be meeting with the bookstore committee in future months.