General Membership Meeting
Reminder: There is a general membership meeting on September 25, 2015 at 11:30. Room to be confirmed. A light lunch will be served.
The main topic of discussion will be collegial governance and the situation with the Board of Governors, outlined below.
Carleton students, staff, and faculty call for reform of University Board of Governors:
Bylaw changes should produce more accountability to the Carleton community, not less, say campus groups.
In a joint statement released today (below), organizations representing faculty, staff, and students at Carleton University called for changes to the Board of Governors, Carleton’s highest decision-making body.
The statement comes on the heels of the Board’s proposed bylaw change, which would restrict those eligible to serve as the elected representatives of students, staff and faculty constituencies on campus. If the proposed bylaw is adopted, staff, faculty, and students who hold elected positions in their unions will be barred from service on the Board of Governors.
Proponents of the bylaw say the change is necessary to prevent conflicts of interest on the Board. Campus unions note that such conflicts can be handled responsibly through a clear conflict of interest policy, without infringing on the right of campus constituencies to freely elect their representatives.
In fact, campus groups say, conflict of interest has recently been a problem on the Board, but not among union officers. The Board has refused to answer questions about apparent conflicts associated with the construction of a parking garage at Carleton that also serves the Lansdowne Park redevelopment.
The proposed bylaw change would deepen the rift between the Carleton community and the Board, which campus groups say has taken an increasingly secretive and combative stance towards the constituencies it serves.
Representatives of students, staff, and faculty say the proposed bylaw is part of a larger trend of restricting Board participation and inhibiting public comment on Board decisions and procedures.
This trend raises questions about the role played by those Board members drawn from the wider off-campus community, who hold the balance of power. These external members, who are selected by current Board members, are increasingly out of touch with the concerns of Carleton students and employees, campus groups say.
In their joint statement, faculty, staff, and students call for a greater role by current Carleton constituencies in the nomination and election of all Board members, including the right to freely nominate candidates and participate in elections. Such a process, they say, will result in a Board that is more accountable and that better reflects the diversity of the Carleton community.
Statement: A Call to Open the Carleton University Board of Governors
The Board of Governors is the highest decision-making body of Carleton University. Unfortunately, it is increasingly out of touch with those who study and work here and is adopting an increasingly adversarial stance towards the university community.
We, the undersigned, are a coalition of unions and student associations on campus. Our members are the Carleton community. As the Board undertakes a review of its Bylaws, we see an opportunity to change the Board to make it more democratic, not less.
We deserve a Board of Governors that:
- is accountable to the university community. The Board is responsible for advancing the university as an institution of higher learning, and it cannot do so if it remains disconnected from those of us in the Carleton community who embody its mission. The decisions of the Board should be made by us, not for us. Towards this end, Carleton’s students and employees should democratically nominate and elect any external or “community” members to the Board, so that they reflect our values and priorities, without over-representing people from business, financial, legal and political backgrounds.
- reflects the internal diversity of the university community. The Board should be composed of the diverse constituencies on campus, including faculty, contract instructors, staff, and students. These constituencies should have the right to elect their own representatives freely, and their representatives should not face the threat of being arbitrarily removed from the Board.
- is open and responsive to the university community. The Board does not operate democratically when it engages in excessive secrecy, and makes meetings inaccessible and/or closed to the public. Instead, the Board should strive to be as open to the community as possible. The Board should also demonstrate that meaningful consultation, informed debate, and freedom of expression are central to Carleton’s civic purpose.
The Board of Governors does not currently meet these standards, but we believe that a better Board is possible. We seek reform of the democratic procedures of the university to reflect and uphold these principles, so that the Carleton community may finally get the Board that it deserves.
For More Information Contact:
Dr. Peter Gose Peter.Gose@carleton.ca CUASA
Pam Griffin-Hody Pam.GriffinHody@carleton.ca CUPE 2424
Courtney Lockhart email@example.com CUPE 4600
Jennifer Harrington firstname.lastname@example.org OPSEU 404
Michael Bueckert email@example.com CUGSA – CFS Local 78