The UBC Vancouver Senate meets monthly during the academic year to discuss and vote on academic matters pertaining to the university. What goes on in the Senate chambers can often feel very overwhelming or dull to the average student and the agenda docket posted before every Senate meeting can be long and tedious to read. Here’s what to expect at the November 20 Senate Meeting:
Amendments to strike policy
The Senate will consider a proposal from the Academic Policy Committee to approve revisions to the Senate approved Strike Policy. Currently, the Policy addresses labour disruptions due to disputes with university staff, however, the policy does not address third-party strikes affecting academic operations. The proposed amendments will adjust the language to recognize third-party strikes at a UBC location and disputes affecting public transportation services to and from campus as reasons to invoke the policy. There are a few other proposed changes that are detailed in the docket. The committee is also recommending that Senate direct a full review of the policy within three months of the conclusion of the transit labour disruption.
Progress report and update on Inclusion Action Plan
The Senate will receive an update from the Ad-Hoc Committee on Academic Diversity and Inclusion. The progress report details the Committee’s work to date, including significant work since July 2019 to give detailed feedback on the Inclusion Action Plan. Sarah-Jane Finlay, Associate Vice-President of Equity and Inclusion, will lead a presentation on the Inclusion Action Plan. The Committee also details next steps: engaging with Senate Committees on identified actions and reporting to Senate in 2020 with a final report and recommendations.
Report from the ombudsperson for students
The Ombudsperson for Students, Shirley R. Nikata, annually reports to the Senate on the operations of the Ombuds Office. The UBC Ombuds Office is an independent, impartial, and confidential resource available to students set up to ensure students are treated fairly in every aspect of their university life. The 2018 Report saw the Ombuds Office caseload rise to a record high of 546 cases. The report includes multiple recommendations, such as every hearing and appeal panel should include at least one student tribunal member and that student respondents should be given the opportunity to review and to respond to any report (including Policy 131 investigation reports) before it is presented to the decision-maker.
Each year, the Senate considers multiple individuals to receive honorary degrees from the university. The list of candidates is kept confidential and dealt with during an “in camera” (closed) session, some of last year’s recipients included His Highness the Aga Khan IV, the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismali Muslim community, Kim Cattrall, award-winning actor, producer, and author, and Grand Chief Stewart Philip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Cheifs and the Chair of the Okanagan National Alliance. Honorary degrees take the nomenclature of Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Letters, or Doctors of Science.
Stay up to date
The full Senate meeting is on November 20 at 6 p.m. in Room 182, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. The full Senate meeting is normally open for members of the UBC community to attend . Occasionally, there are in camera portions at the end of the meeting where community members will be asked to leave. If you can’t attend, you can always follow @UbysseyNews and @ubcsenate for the play by play.
Max Holmes is a fourth-year arts student, a student member and vice-chair of the UBC Vancouver Senate, as well as chair of the Senate Agenda Committee.