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! Here’s the CliffsNotes of the upcoming June meeting:
Faculty of education merger
On the recommendation of both the Vancouver and Okanagan Senates, BoG will be hearing a presentation from UBC administration on merging the Okanagan’s smaller education faculty with its larger counterpart on the Vancouver campus. The proposal cites the ability of the two groups to more efficiently use administrative resources as well as cross-campus research collaboration as reasons to move forward with the integration.
Policy 73: Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Originally created in 1999 but not updated since, Policy 73 is being brought before BoG for ratification of a series of changes. Highlights of these changes include specifying support beyond the “academic” realm, reaffirming UBC’s commitment to equity and obligations under BC’s Human Rights Code in the purpose component of the policy as well as codifying common places practices across UBC’s two campuses in terms of the formal obligations toward students. Open consultation was conducted by the Office of the University Counsel as part of the revision process. Community consultation will be held in the fall — so stay tuned!
Annual report on student financial support
This past year saw the launch of new initiatives to support student financial aid: the Blue and Gold Campaign and the Student Housing Assistance Grant. The Centennial Scholars Entrance Award Program was also significantly expanded. Government funding of student aid continues to shrink in relation to other sources, which include UBC’s own contributions. Need-based assistance accounts for approximately double of what UBC offered in merit-based aid last year.
Policy 131 implementation and investigations office
After considerable discussion at the previous BoG meeting in April, the University executive are presenting a number of action plans to improve implementation efforts of Policy 131, which pertains to sexual violence on campus. The action plans cover staffing, education, operating model and communications. The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) and the investigations office will be hiring a minimum of seven additional full-time staff in the coming year, with the possibility of an additional three.
New building projects: Arts Student Centre and Walter Gage Infill site
BoG will be considering for Board 1 approval (the initial review for a capital project) both the Arts Student Centre and a new student housing development near the current Walter Gage complex. The Arts Student Centre, or ASC, will feature 10,000 square feet of usable space and be built to the northwest of the Nest, and is funded in large part through student fees levied on those enrolled in the Faculty of Arts. The Gage Infill project will ultimately create about 1,000 beds for upper-year students and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021.
Indigenous Strategic Plan
Falling under the purview of the recently-created Indigenous Engagement Committee, the Indigenous Strategic Plan will be coming forward for approval. It builds upon the last Indigenous Strategic Plan, which has been in place since 2009, and integrates extensively the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report and Calls to Action. It makes recommendations specific to student services, recruitment and financial aid. The plan will guide the work of the soon-to-be announced director of the First Nations House of Learning, who also holds the title of advisor to the president on Aboriginal Affairs and will succeed the departing Dr. Linc Kessler.
The next open Board of Governors meetings will be June 4 (Indigenous Engagement Committee), June 5 (all other committees), June 8 (Governance Committee), and June 14th (Board). 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 RSVP to the board secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in attending. Or if you can’t attend, you can always follow @UbysseyNews for the play-by-play.