At the last Board of Governors meeting in February, it was decided that the approval of a revised version of Policy 93 — concerning open and closed meetings of the Board — would be deferred to allow for additional review by a governance consultant group.
“This isn’t a bad thing,” said Veronica Knott, a student member of the Board who also sits on the governance committee. “It’s not about postponing indefinitely, it’s not about uncertainty or anything like that. This is Board doing extra due diligence and being extra careful about improving the transparency of its governance.”
The delay was approved with the intention of allowing time to implement feedback from the Watson Group, governance consultants recently hired by the Board, in order to ensure sufficient consideration of all relevant best practice guidelines.
A timeline for the revised policy’s final approval had yet to be added as of the end of February.
“I think the idea is as soon as possible,” said Knott. “We need to make sure we’re fitting within their timeline and not rushing Policy 93. We want to get this policy right.”
Policy 93 was first created in 2008, and has not been revised since. After former UBC president Arvind Gupta’s sudden departure, the Board of Governors was faced with public scrutiny regarding the reason for his departure and was then observed having a secret meeting. The revisal of Policy 93, which concerns open and closed meetings of the Board of Governors, is happening as a result of these events.
The first draft revisal of the policy was released in September 2016, and provided further guidance on the procedures followed by the Board of Governors and more insight into the timelines and rules the Board will follow than the original did. Some of the more significant changes it proposed included strict assignment of responsibility for determining the agenda, set requirements for minutes and requiring the governance committee to audit reasoning for closed sessions and present an open report.
This draft underwent community consultation until October 31, 2016. The results of this consultation have been implemented in the version of the draft policy available online.
When asked about general themes surrounding the feedback, Knott recommended that people read the comments in full online.
“Summarizing that ... isn't a good representation of the work that people put in to give us that feedback,” she said.