Notes from the latest board of governors meeting

SFU president Andrew Petter looks on as Louis Riel House (LRH) advocate for affordable housing. - Leah Bjornson
SFU president Andrew Petter looks on as Louis Riel House (LRH) advocate for affordable housing. - Leah Bjornson
SFU president Andrew Petter looks on as Louis Riel House (LRH) advocate for affordable housing. – Leah Bjornson

Louis Riel House residents lobby governors

Shortly after the meeting began, students from Louis Riel House (LRH) arrived to advocate for affordable housing on campus. The students have been mobilizing since the university announced it would officially close the residence in August due to issues with maintenance and the presence of mould in the residence.

Teresa Dettling, a student and single mother living in LRH, shared her concerns that this closure would leave her unable to afford to live on campus. Board chair Bill Cunningham thanked the students for attending, and mentioned that the Board would be discussing the issue later in their session.

Undergraduate representative on the board Deven Azevedo brought up the issue in the open discussion, asking the board what “additional support” mentioned in their official statements the university is providing residents.

Associate vice president students Tim Rahilly replied that they are meeting individually with students. Rahilly added that the building is being closed due to health concerns, not plans to gentrify the site.

Annual Operating Budget approved

The Board of Governors approved SFU’s budget and financial plan for the 2015/2016 year at their meeting last Thursday, for a total budget of $482.1 million.

In his President’s Letter, Andrew Petter wrote, “The operating budget is balanced and seeks to protect program quality, maintain research support and ensure access for qualified students in the face of funding cuts and other fiscal challenges.”

However, the university does anticipate a $2.9 million reduction to the government grant as a result of reductions at the provincial level.

Board members discussed the impact that increased tuition fees have made towards a balanced budget, but representative June Francis cautioned the board against depending on these students beyond their means: “We do not want to be an institution that is elitist and exclusionary.”

Consultation with students policy revised

Azevedo brought several revisions forward regarding Bylaw 10.15 concerning Consultation with Students on Tuition and Fees Policy after “a number of opportunities for improvement were identified by students and their elected leadership.”

Chardaye Bueckert, SFSS president, Abhishek Nanjundappa, GSS university relations officer, and Azevedo worked with vice-president academic Jon Driver and vice-president finance and administration Pat Hibbitts.

The revised policy stated that the university will invite students to budget consultations, as well as establish a website to disseminate information about proposed tuition fee increases.

Responsible Investment Committee offers inaugural report

The newly formed Responsible Investment Committee reported on the university’s commitment to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment and to incorporate environmental, social, and corporate governance considerations into its investment decisions.

Committee chair Julia H. Kim stated, “This issue is one that tends to elicit a lot of strong opinion and emotions, and this committee will provide a forum for that discussion.”