Santa Ono up for reappointment as first term comes to a close

The Board of Governors (BoG) announced on May 11 that it will be evaluating Santa Ono’s eligibility for reappointment as UBC president and vice-chancellor.

Ono and the BoG Executive Committee recently agreed that he would be considered for another five-year term. His first appointment began August 15, 2016 and will end August 14, 2021.

Now, BoG has formed the Presidential Reappointment Committee to investigate Ono’s first-term performance “on a confidential and non-public basis,” according to his contract. It must decide whether it will recommend Ono to BoG for a second five-year term by July 2020.

Criteria for judging Ono’s performance are based on BoG general guidelines on the duties and responsibilities of a UBC president, which include planning university operations, ensuring ethical business conduct and providing “strong, effective, and highly efficient leadership” to members of the university community.

Other aspects of this “deliberative process” include reviewing specific contract-based guidelines. “We also went over presidential appointment materials from 2016, and are gauging performance on that,” Korenberg said in an interview with The Ubyssey.

To form a holistic picture of Ono’s community impact over the past five years, the committee has begun to reach out to a wide range of university community members from students to local Indigenous leaders. Members of the committee have been holding these interviews over Zoom.

“Our goal for this is not only to address reappointment, but also to serve as a sort of a midterm review on UBC’s progress [under President Ono’s leadership],” Korenberg said.

According to Korenberg, the BoG has worked to make feedback more comprehensive than it has been during previous reappointment processes. In the past 25 years, UBC has undergone two such reappointments for former Presidents Martha Piper and Stephen Toope.

“In both cases, the reappointment committee was much smaller and mostly consisted of governors,” said Korenberg. “Our view is that it would be better to have a larger representation from the board, including faculty-elects, staff-elects as well as elected governors.”

In addition to solicited testimonials, members of the faculty, students and staff at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan are invited to submit comments on Ono’s performance by June 15.

“We hope people will take the time to complete the survey,” Korenberg said, adding that all submissions are anonymized. “This is an important part of the process, and my sense of the conversation is that it has been quite open and forthright. We hope to build on that.”