Last week, unredacted documents erroneously released from the UBC Access & Privacy office unveiled details surrounding the resignation of the previous President of UBC, Dr. Arvind Gupta. The AMS is disappointed in the process followed by the Board of Governors as revealed in these documents. Although much remains inaccessible to the public due to the non-disclosure agreement, the released documents and Dr. Gupta’s responses have raised the following serious concerns with the current governance practices of the Board:
- That duly elected student representatives from both campuses appear to have not been rightfully involved in key conversations leading to Dr. Gupta’s resignation;
- That the Board of Governors discussed and decided matters pertaining to Dr. Gupta’s resignation within ad-hoc committees and during unscheduled, secret meetings;
- That Dr. Gupta was not engaged in a formal performance review as outlined in his contract, nor given the opportunity to liaise with the entire Board regarding the performance concerns raised by the Chair.
The Board of Governors affects the lives of students greatly through decision-making regarding tuition, investments in fossil fuels, capital projects, and accessibility among much else. Recent events have raised serious questions concerning the transparency and accountability of the current Board and has weakened the confidence of the AMS in the power and governance structures being employed.
The AMS urges the Board to enact the following changes:
- That the incoming Chair of the Board of Governors instigate an external review process into governance practices;
- That the Board of Governors delay approving any candidate proposed by the Presidential Search Committee until such time as the suggested external review is complete and incorporated.
Ultimately the AMS views the recent events as an opportunity for the Board of Governors to comprehensively examine and modify the current governance structures and practices with the impetus to make positive change congruent with principles of shared governance and in convention with the University Act. As always, we implore that the process be consultative in nature and fulsomely engage students, faculty, alumni, staff and the greater UBC community.