Five times per year, the UBC Board of Governors (BoG) meets to review the operations of the university. These meetings occur over two days, normally one week apart — committees of the board and board proper. Although much of what is discussed may seem irrelevant, decisions made at the board impact all current and future students in areas such as affordability, diversity and campus development. As your elected student representatives, this is our effort to decode the topics that we think you should know and care about.
As a tradition, BoG always heads out to Kelowna and holds our September meeting on the Okanagan campus. This allows us to get to know the faculty, staff and students on the other side of the Coquihalla.
Sustainable Futures Fund
In 2013 and 2015, votes were held with students and faculty at UBC to determine whether or not to divest from our endowment in fossil fuels. These votes passed with 76.9 per cent of students and 62 per cent of faculty in favour of divestment, prompting the board to develop the Sustainable Futures Fund – a new endowment with a lower carbon footprint.
The board is voting on whether to approve the technical principles behind this new fund. For you Sauder kids, this means what percentage is invested in equities versus bonds and how the fund will be governed. Still to be decided are the specifics of what exactly “low-carbon” means and who our fund managers will be. Expect to see this topic a lot more in the coming months as a much more interesting conversation is taking place in October.
Following the tumultuous events surrounding the board last year, the governance committee spent all summer reviewing best practices and policies to increase transparency and accountability. Being considered this month are changes to policy on closed meetings, including good stuff like defining what exactly constitutes a meeting (read: anything with a motion or a decision, and not including cocktail parties) and a requirement to publicly give a reason for why we are discussing an item in closed session.
Veronica Knott and Aaron Bailey are the current Vancouver campus student representatives on the UBC Board of Governors. This column is an effort by the student representatives to condense and summarize BoG meetings. “What’s on the Board” does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Ubyssey.