SFU suggests new system of decision-making for its Board of Governors

The new motion could allow one person to call the shots without majority approval

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The photo is of the outside of SFU. The AQ, the pond, and the green space can be seen. The sky is clear and sunny.
The policy will consider community feedback before its decided on. Image courtesy of Allyson Klassen / The Peak

By: Chloë Arneson, News Writer

On May 10, SFU proposed new amendments to their policies on the Board of Governors (BoG)’ decision-making process. The general counsel and university secretary would be able to make amendments to university procedures without Board approval. The general counsel and university secretary would additionally have the power to approve and make changes to definitions applicable to university procedures and policies. These policy amendments have not been approved by the BoG. 

The BoG is the senior governing body of SFU. They are responsible for the “business of the university [regarding] property, revenue, and policies.” The Board consists of 15 members including SFU administration — chancellor of BoG Tamara Vrooman and president Joy Johnson — elected faculty, students and staff, as well as appointees chosen by the provincial government.

SFU claimed this proposal would provide “improved efficiency and expediency, and better use of resources. Policy B10.00 describes the processes to create and revise policies so the university community has increased transparency into the process.” 

In an interview with The Peak, SFU external communications assistant director Will Henderson said the Board will seek community input going forward. “Given the high degree of interest, the policy office will be reaching out to student, faculty and employee groups to offer to answer their questions about these proposed amendments.” Henderson remarked. Feedback will be considered in further amendments to this policy.

B10.00 is an existing policy that was created to provide guidance and support to members of the university community who are developing new university policies or revising existing policies.” He added, “The policy increases transparency on this process. It also helps reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency for members of the university community who develop, oversee and implement policies.” 

Save SFU Democracy is an organization created as a result of this potential decision. In a press release, they stated that “giving unsupervised power to one individual at the university to make changes to the documents that guide SFU is a direct attack on the democratic structures that keep SFU running. 

“This proposal has far-reaching impacts,” writes the press release. “It can affect policies on student misconduct, freedom of expression, sexual violence and assault, whistleblowing, and human rights.” Save SFU Democracy produced several action items for staff and students to join them in speaking against the decision. They encouraged students to email the university or message them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to voice their concerns before May 25. Their action toolkit outlines the issue in more detail and provides more instructions on how to influence this policy decision. 

The Peak reached out to Save SFU Democracy for more information, but did not receive a response by the publication deadline.  

You can follow Save SFU Democracy on Twitter for more information on their campaign. For further information regarding policy development, you can visit the FAQs on the policy development and revision website