Board Report: Concerns about Bill 96 and infrastructure dominate
At the regularly scheduled April meeting of the Board of Governors, several items of usual business were adopted, but conversation centred on the impact of the cancellation of the infrastructure project and the implementation of Bill 96 after a verbal presentation by the Director General, Diane Gauvin.
The Board was presented with changes to Bylaw 10 concerning Contract Management procedures by the Director of Corporate Affairs to clarify matters of integrity and ethics, conflict of interest, and nepotism, and to increase the public tender threshold, among other clauses.
The Academic Dean produced documentation confirming the successful completion of graduation requirements for 481 DEC students and 38 AECs for Fall 2021. The Board also approved the revision to the Summer 2022 academic calendar which was made necessary after information regarding summer hours was shared.
Correspondence received by the Board Chair included several letters and motions carried by a number of cities in the Montreal area (Dorval, Kirkland, Hampstead among them) and organizations such as the English Montreal School Board and the Quebec Community Groups Network in support of Dawson after the cancellation of the infrastructure project.
And, Brian Seivewright on behalf of the Dawson Teachers’ Union wrote, reiterating concerns that regular sector students and Continuing Education sector students do not have equal access to services such as the library, academic skills centre, counseling, bookstore, and even the cafeteria, and that teachers in Continuing Education do not have equal pay and benefits as those who teach in the day.
The Report by the Director General addressed the ongoing issues of Dawson’s space deficit and the clause-by-clause reading of Bill 96 and its amendments. She spoke to the Ministry’s attempts to help Dawson with acquiring new space. Four options are being considered, but the decision lies with the government, not with Dawson. With the understanding that none of the options may be retained, it is too early to expound on any of them at this time.
Bill 96 remains a growing concern (the amendment to the most controversial amendment of three concentration courses to be delivered to students by teachers in French was voted down the day after the Board meeting). Decisions about Bill 96 are being made in a political context, but Ministry of Education officials are working with the English-language colleges to find solutions that could mitigate the negative impact on student success and collective agreements. These discussions are ongoing, and are likely to continue for some time as many questions about implementation remain. Until the law is passed, all discussions are speculative.