Reduction of Board of Trustees seats disappoints students

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THE BROCK PRESS/Brittany Brooks

 

Brock University announced on March 12 that the November 2014 proposal to reduce the number of seats on the Board of Trustees has been approved, coming into full effect by July 1, 2017.

During the in-camera session meeting, members of the current board voted in favour of a bylaw change, which was recommended by the Governance and Nomination Committee to reduce the size of the board from 32 to 26 total members. These reductions will take place over two years; however, effective July 1, 2015, there will only be one undergraduate student representative seat, which will automatically be filled by the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) President each year.

The following changes will therefore be made to the board:

  • 21 community members – reduced to 17
  • 3 staff members – reduced to 2
  • 2 undergraduate students – reduced to 1

All other seats, including the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, graduate student and faculty members remain unchanged.

Late last year, this proposal was announced by the University, welcoming Brock community members and stakeholders to submit comments and suggestions pertaining to the change. However, the turnaround for these submissions was over a three-day period, which seemed hardly enough time for a thorough response from individuals given the seat changes.

This reduction comes as a disappointing decision to many students, including one of two of the current undergraduate student representatives, Harish Aggarwal.

“Although the board made these changes in an effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness and move towards a nonprofit sector practice of smaller boards, I believe that these changes greatly impact undergraduate students,” said Aggarwal.

“I was the only person to vote against this motion, as this change means that over 15,000 undergraduate students will be represented by only one person at the university governance level. The Board of Trustees maintained that this decision was in consultation with BUSU and other stakeholders, and that an increased effort would be made to have regular meetings between the board and BUSU. It is unfortunate that the board felt that cutting out a student voice was the best way to lean out, as student trustees represent the largest constituency on campus. In the rest of my term ending June 2016 I will continue to vouch for the best interests of my fellow students.”

To learn more about the Board of Trustees seat changes, visit brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=32951.

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