We’re back at it: five times per year, the UBC Board of Governors (BoG) meets to discuss issues of money, property, policy and people. As your student representatives on the BoG, we are here to keep you in the loop with what is up at Board — but if you ever want to learn more, you can check out the BoG website for full dockets, agendas and documents.
The Committees of the Board convened on February 13th, 10:00am-4:00pm. The Board Meeting itself will be held April 19th, 8:00–2:30pm with the open session starting at 1:00pm. If you are interested in attending, check out the website for more information.
April is budget time at Board - we discussed the 2018-19 budget. At Finance Committee, there was lots of discussion around our strategic funds such as the Excellence Fund.
Integrated renewal program
Exciting times: UBC is in the process of moving to a new Finance, HR, and Student system - the integrated renewal program. This is intended to bring our administrative systems into this decade (finally!).
Government business enterprise
The University of British Columbia Board of Governors is considering a proposal for the creation of a new government business enterprise (GBE) to address student housing demand. This is a structure that would hold the assets of Student Housing & Hospitality Services (SHHS) and allow for external borrowing without debt sitting on the Province’s books. This would allow for faster development of housing and a faster pay down of debt on the buildings we presently own.
The Finance Committee reviewed the structure of the proposed GBE, dubbed UBC Hospitality Trust (HOST). This affects only a handful of senior staff - the majority of SHHS employees would remain with UBC, and the new HOST would largely exist to manage the assets. The proposal will continue to be considered by the Board as well as members of the Provincial government and Canadian Revenue Agency as tax details are ironed out - stay tuned for more!
Sustainable futures pool
The Board created the Sustainable Futures Pool, a pool of low-carbon endowments in response to advocacy from groups such as UBC C350 in February 2017. After observing that the pool has exceeded the performance of the main endowment, the Finance Committee has recommended to transfer an additional $5 million into the SFP. The Board will continue to do this for three years, and then will reconsider the SFP’s role in our investments.
Housing action plan (HAP)
UBC’s housing action plan has undergone its five year review, covering staff, faculty, and student housing. This Board meeting, the adjustments to the plan are student focused: policy relating to the quantity of new housing to be built, tying rent increases to CPI + 2% which aligns with the AMS’s Rent With Rights campaign, and wording to allow the university to advocate for greater shelter allowances within BC’s student loan program.
UBC continues in discussion with Translink and the Mayor’s council on bringing the Millennium Line Broadway Extension to Arbutus to UBC. Rapid transit to UBC would change the Broadway corridor, allow for ease of commutes, and get cars off the road.
Program fees & tuition
Stadium Road Neighbourhood
The Stadium Road Neighbourhood planning is in process - the Board received an update including three potential scenarios. Stay tuned for more opportunities to have your say in shaping UBC’s next neighbourhood!
The Board of Governors received an update on the implementation on Policy 131 - Sexual Violence and Other Sexual Misconduct. Due to hiring delays, the implementation of the policy is still incomplete. The Board has stated its expectation for a complete implementation before the next cohort of students, and requested a more detailed implementation report and policy review at the June Board meeting.
Changes to the board
The Board is undergoing a time of change: student Board reps are turning over, we have a new Board Chair, we are saying goodbye to a few members, and it is the beginning of a new budget cycle. The Board will continue to meet five times per year, but under our new chair’s direction more decisions will be delegated to committees with the full Board meetings focusing on larger strategic discussions.
The Board also has a new committee - the Indigenous Engagement Committee - established to monitor progress of the Indigenous Strategic Plan, alignment with the TRC’s Calls to Action, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The Board’s changes in membership have resulted in a change in committee chairs. Student member Jeanie Malone is now the Chair of the People, Community and International Committee and Jakob Gattinger is Vice Chair of the Property Committee. These are particularly exciting as student members are generally not granted chairships.
Stay up to date
The next Board of Governors meetings will be held in June. Both committees and Board primarily consist of open sessions that members of the UBC community are welcome to attend — you can view agendas here and attend if interested. Or if you can’t attend, you can always follow @UbysseyNews for the play by play!