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The Senate (2006 edition) reconvened on January 7 with much welcoming and rolling up of sleeves. As always, the fabled body looked in fine form and well prepared to debate everything McGill.
The year's inaugural meeting saw Principal Heather Munroe-Blum present new members of her team, including Secretary General Johanne Pelletier and Ann Dowsett Johnston who will become vice-principal (development, alumni and university relations). Senate also formally welcomed Tony Masi as McGill's new provost.
The principal went on to provide an update on the complementarity issue, thanking Dean of Medicine Abe Fuks and Senator Pekeles for working to obtain new terms of reference for a plan to coordinate future hospital services between McGill and Université de Montréal. A mediator will help in the parties' efforts to reach an agreement by May.
The Task Force on Student Life and Learning is also moving forward. The principal noted that various committees continue to distill dozens of submissions and interviews into draft recommendations which will serve to produce a final report by the end of the academic year.
The principal wrapped up her remarks by noting that the impending election will likely have repercussions for post-secondary education in Canada. A change of government, said Munroe-Blum, will require considerable effort on the part of McGill and other schools to reestablish research as a priority on the federal policy agenda.
Question period came in the form of a single inquiry from Senator Hobbins, who asked whether the hailed ground-breaking for the new Life Sciences Complex would also entail a closing of the McIntyre parking garage. VP (Finance) Yalovsky noted that planners were aware of this eventuality, and that the closing would likely be a short one.
The gallery was then cleared as the good senators moved into private deliberations to discuss a roster of honorary degree candidates. The ensuing discussion took place at considerable length until, finally, the stern doors of Senate opened once more to readmit the loyal spectators.
Private business resolved, the senators were then quick to wrap up remaining business. This included the approval of curricula, new committee appointments and the unanimous constituting of a Committee on Ancillary Services. This done, the body parted ways to meet again three weeks hence.