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The future face of the campus was the main theme at Senate this week, as the venerable body convened for the last time before 2006.
The Senators took in the latest instantiation of the Master Plan, watching a series of slides that showed how the university might look in coming decades. Surprisingly, space downtown is not a major issue according to the plan. The challenge will be deciding how to reconstruct the existing campus in order to increase green space, facilitate academic convergence and ensure that buildings meet the aesthetic and functional needs of the campus community.
An indoor "pedestrian spine" stretching from the McGill metro station into the Engineering complex and towards upper campus was among the more daring proposals. Others included cycling routes, new east-west pedestrian routes across McGill, and the removal of blacktop on lower campus.
The presenting consultant pointed out opportunities for collaboration in research, employment and recreation between Macdonald campus and nearby Ste Anne-de-Bellevue.
The Senators, rarely taciturn, put forth questions about faculty housing, transportation, the future of the new arts building and dangerous intersections. The Master Plan is on the website, and will arrive next February as a draft paper for which further input and consultation will be sought.
The other notable item in Senate was the introduction of McGill's new Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination which will, except for complaints already underway, supersede the school's current regulations and interim policy. The new policy won warm approbation from representatives of both PGSS and SSMU and was passed unanimously.
Then, after a few housekeeping items, the good Senators took leave until the new year.