CALL FOR COMMENTS – PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF POLICY #93 (OPEN AND CLOSED MEETINGS OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS AND STANDING COMMITTEES)
The UBC community is invited to comment on proposed amendments to Policy #93.
The existing version of Policy #93 was initially approved in 2008 by the Board of Governors and has not been updated since. In April of 2016, the Board requested a comprehensive review of Policy #93. In response to this request, due diligence was conducted on best practices at peer institutions and a Policy Review Committee was convened. The list of the Committee’s members, which includes faculty members, staff, and students from both campuses is available here.
The purpose for the review of Policy #93 is to identify gaps or matters requiring clarification within Policy #93 in order to ensure that it provides a comprehensive, clear set of criteria and guidelines to assist the Board and its standing committees in governing their “Meetings” (as such term is defined in the proposed amendments) in accordance with principles of transparency and accountability to its faculty, staff, students and alumni, while balancing the need to treat sensitive matters with appropriate levels of respect and confidentiality. The proposed amendments also acknowledge the underlying commitment of the members of the Board to always act in the best interest of UBC, as required under the University Act. The full terms of reference for the Committee are available here.
The proposed amendments to Policy #93 are very significant and reflect the Committee’s consideration of best practices as well as the Committee’s concern about ensuring that Policy #93 is responsive to the sensitivities expressed by many members of the UBC community in the wake of the leadership change that occurred last year. Many elements of the proposed revisions have been designed to not only align with best practices but to also provide assurance to our community that decisions are made in an accountable manner.
The key elements of the proposed changes to Policy #93 do the following:
(a) define the term “Meeting”;
(b) provide readers with sufficient information to understand the manner in which the Board addresses its business directly and through its standing committees;
(c) set out the principle to be applied when deciding whether items on agendas should be dealt with in closed sessions of Meetings;
(d) provide illustrative examples of matters that may be appropriately dealt with in closed sessions of Meetings;
(e) identify the individuals responsible for determining the agendas for Meetings (for both open and closed sessions) of the Board and its standing committees, and set out the process for setting the agendas;
(f) where it is determined that a matter should be addressed in a closed session, require that the reasons for doing so be documented and annually reviewed by the Board’s Governance Committee to ensure that these decisions are being made in a manner that is consistent with the proposed amended Policy;
(g) require that the Board’s Governance Committee prepare a written report to the Board regarding its annual audit and that the report be made publicly available;
(h) require public notice of Meetings for which there is to be an open session, with the agenda for the open sessions to be included in the notice;
(i) require the publication of docket materials that are submitted for consideration in the open sessions of Meetings;
(j) require that minutes be taken at Meetings of the Board and set out the minimum requirements for the contents of those minutes;
(k) require the publication of minutes from the open sessions of Meetings of the Board; and
(l) provide further guidance on matters relating to attendance at both open and closed sessions of Meetings.
The proposed amendments to Policy #93 are now being published and all members of the University community are encouraged to provide their comments. The existing version of Policy #93 dating from 2008 is available here. The full text of the proposed amendments to Policy #93 is available here. Please submit all feedback to the Office of the University Counsel at firstname.lastname@example.org by October 31, 2016.
Once the consultation period concludes, all of the feedback will be provided to the Committee. The Committee will consider all feedback and determine what, if any, adjustments should be made to the Policy #93 proposal before submitting it to the Board for approval at its meeting in February of 2017.