Last Words: The Board of Governors make a step toward transparency

To our pleasant surprise, UBC Board of Governors (BoG) has taken a step toward increasing its own transparency.

Too often, The Ubyssey has had to write news articles and editorials questioning this university’s commitment to transparency and accountability. Most recently, we published an editorial on November 17 calling for the dismissal of a motion that would have banned recordings of Board meetings by everyone, except for the Board secretariat, if passed.

But at its November 22 meeting, the BoG governance committee not only dismissed this proposal, but also voted to record and livestream all open Board meetings.

Given the Board’s track record, this was truly a breath of fresh air.

More importantly, this will make the highest body of governance at UBC much more accessible.

While the BoG already live-streams the full meetings, committee meetings — where most of the detailed policy discussions take place — will now be available to community members whenever they want, wherever they are.

For instance, some important discussions would take place at 8:30 a.m. And unless it’s part of your job requirements to live-tweet Board meetings like that of our news editors, not many people have the time or energy to attend them.

Other times, there is simply not enough space in the Robert H. Lee Family Boardroom to fit all interested viewers, like was the case when the Board’s Endowment Responsible Investment Policy Committee voted on November 22 to consider divesting over $300 million of UBC’s endowment.

Of course, there is always the option of following along with live-tweets from the Ubyssey news team — and please continue to do so!

But we ourselves recognize the benefit of having the full recording of these meetings, given the fact that they are usually full of bureaucratic lingo and complex discussions.

In fact, we emphasized its importance in our November 17 editorial, noting that much of our coverage of important topics at this university has relied on our own meeting recordings. After all, you can only capture so much nuance in 280 characters.

Ultimately, as UBC manages a $2.1 billion operating budget, a $1.71 billion endowment fund and over 70,000 students, staff and faculty over both campuses, there is always room for improvement when it comes to good governance.

But this is a good step — no matter how small or belated it can feel to some — and The Ubyssey would like to give credit where credit is due.