Board Briefs: June 25, 2020

Notes from SFU’s latest Board of Governors meeting

Written by: Devana Petrovic, Staff Writer

Plans for Fall 2020 term 

Vice-President, Academic, and Provost pro tem Jonathan Driver gave updates on the Fall 2020 semester. Driver explained the creation of a special committee to make these important decisions. 

The first decision of this committee was (with some exceptions) that all teachings would be conducted remotely. The committee also “determine[d] which courses would be allowed to have some components of in-person activity.

“The process involved the faculties and departments making submissions to the committee, using a set of criteria to identify which courses could be considered for in-person instruction [ . . . ] As a result, less than 1% of courses will have an in-person component,” said Driver, also adding that a thorough safety plan had been created for the in-person courses. 

On conducting orientation for new students in the fall, Driver explained what this will look like amidst remote instruction. He confirmed that orientation would also be virtual through the program SFU 101, which will be upgraded this year. “We will be including coaching and training of students on using the various online learning resources [ . . . ] like Canvas [and] Zoom.”

President Updates

President Andrew Petter provided further details on SFU’s COVID-19 measures. Petter stated that as BC moves into Phase 3 of their four phase Restart Plan, SFU is likely to open up more services, including space for on-campus research. 

“Decisions have been made to allow a very limited number of in-person classes in the fall [ . . . ] the decision was to provide online teaching except where it could be shown that the learning outcomes associated with a course could not be achieved through virtual means and [ . . . ] could be delivered safely in-person,” stated Petter, further assuring that the majority of classes will resume as planned, virtually. 

Petter also announced that he has issued statements “condemning discrimination and violence against Black, Asian, and Indigenous communities.” He elaborated that calls for action and additional efforts of the SFU community will be taken to “continue to support our efforts to counter discrimination and to commit to the process that Joy Johnson has been overseeing [ . . . ] to address issues of equity, diversity and inclusion.” 

Additionally, Petter noted that SFU has “appropriately acknowledged” its role in “systemic discriminatory practices”, and that this means “we really have to work hard on the culture of the institution [ . . . ] through the processes that we have under way to do that.” 

The Human Rights 2019 Annual Report

Assistant Vice-President Angie Hall presented on the Human Rights 2019 Annual Report, prepared by the SFU’s Human Rights Office.

“The committee was informed that the human rights office continues to respond to primarily consultation requests received from individuals and managers, seeking advice on whether a situation is harassment or discrimination, and if so how to prevent, manage and resolve such situations,” explained Hall. 

Hall elaborated on how consultation numbers in 2019 represent a 32.8% increase over 2018. The report outlines the continued work in promoting and raising awareness “of the location services available from the HR office and [in] establishing a rotating schedule to serve all three campuses.” 

Additionally, there are efforts in collaboration with the vice provost and vice associate academic, in finding ways to increase the visibility of the Human Rights office, possibly to a more prominent area.