From the Boardroom: Governors approve provincial letter calling for full return of on-campus activities

The Board of Governors approved the province’s mandate letter for post-secondary institutions for the 2022/23 fiscal year at its meeting this morning.

Board Chair Nancy McKenzie will now sign the letter before sending it back to the provincial government.

On April 19, the Board received a letter from the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training — Anne Kang — outlining principles and expectations for the governing body to follow in the coming year.

The new principles outlined in this year’s letter included working to resume full on-campus activities in line with guidance from the Public Health Officer and theCOVID-19 Go-Forward guidelines; implementing post-secondary education and training for British Columbians, particularly those impacted by COVID-19 or who are underrepresented; and increasing access to "high opportunity jobs."

The Minister’s letter also called on the Board to continue work on last year’s five foundational principles: putting people first; lasting and meaningful reconciliation; equity and anti-racism; a better future through fighting climate change; and a strong, sustainable economy that works for everyone.

In his opening remarks to the Board, President Santa Ono said that many of the principles in the Minister’s letter overlapped with priorities in UBC’s Strategic Plan.

He also noted that UBC is an autonomous institution.

“We will be taking the directives from the mandate letter very seriously, but certainly, we have a bicameral governance that will look at what we actually do this year moving forward.”

Governors Bill Sundhu, Mark Mac Lean and Anna Kindler all thanked Ono for his comments on the university’s autonomy.

“[There is] a lot of alignment between the sort of fundamental principles in this letter and the kinds of fundamental principles that have come before this Board,” said Mac Lean.

“So we're not having massive disagreements here. It's just that the notion of institutional autonomy is extremely important to all universities.”

Governors approved the letter for McKenzie to sign unanimously.