UBC Board of Governors elects new leadership

Following an election within the UBC Board of Governors (BoG), it was announced today that former Vice-Chair Michael Korenberg has been made the new chair. BoG member Sandra Cawley succeeds Korenberg as the new vice-chair.

Korenberg replaces Stuart Belkin, who stepped down from his role following a two-year term. As confirmed by UBC VP External Relations Philip Steenkamp, Belkin also stepped down from his seat in BoG itself despite his current term running until December 2018.

It is currently unclear who the provincial government will appoint to fill his vacant seat and how long this would take.

Belkin was first appointed by the province to BoG in December 2015, following former Chair John Montalbano’s resignation over accusations of academic freedom infringement. Sine then, Belkin oversaw a troubled BoG that was beleaguered by governance issues and a vote of no-confidence from the Faculty Association; the appointment of UBC President Santa Ono and the creation of a new strategic plan.

With these achievements, he “felt it was an appropriate time to make leadership changes,” as stated in UBC press release.

Outside of his UBC involvement, Belkin is the chairman and CEO of the Belkorp Group, which started as a packaging company but has grown to encompass different businesses. The Belkorp Group is a significant financial contributor to the BC Liberal Party.

Former BoG Chair Stuart Belkin
Former BoG Chair Stuart Belkin UBC

First appointed to BoG by the province in 2016, Korenberg was also elected BoG vice-chair the same year. At the end of 2017, his term was renewed by the NDP government until December 30, 2019.

Throughout his time at BoG, he has chaired the Finance & Endowment Responsible Investment Policy committees and sat on the Executive, Property, Governance, Audit committees, UBC Investment Management Trust and other advisory committees.

Cawley is the current chair of the Property Committee, the Leadership Council for UBC Line Advocacy Strategy and the Land Use Committee, as well as a member of the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, and the UBC Properties Trust Board of Directors. Her current term ends in December 2018.

“Sandra Cawley and I would like to thank our fellow Board members for their vote of confidence in our leadership,” reads Korenberg’s statement.

“We are committed to putting in place the supports needed to advance the teaching, research and community engagement mission of the university as reflected in the new strategic plan.”

Notably, Korenberg and Cawley have committed to the creation of a BoG committee on Indigenous partnership. It is to be chaired by BoG member Celeste Haldane, who is part of the Musqueam and Metlakatla communities.

“Of particular importance will be our work to improve the access of Indigenous students to higher education, to enhance knowledge of Indigenous history and to address issues of importance to Indigenous communities,” reads Korenberg’s statement.

The article has been updated to include the Belkorp Group’s relationship with the BC Liberal Party.