Date: November 29, 2016
Research Report: A Seat at the Table: An Analysis of the McGill University Board of Governors
Office of the President
The current state of governance at McGill University has perpetuated an environment where community members feel disenfranchised and unheard by the Board of Governors. Major controversies on issues as diverse as fossil fuel divestment, tuition increases, and collective bargaining have impacted the relationship between Governors and their constituents. In an effort to address long-standing concerns on campus, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) commissioned a research report, A Seat at the Table: An Analysis of the McGill University Board of Governors , which examines the current structure and administration of the Board.
The report identifies six themes where McGill governance practices fall far behind those of our peers: Composition, Diversity in Representation, Nominations and Selection, Accountability and Transparency, Student Role in Decision-Making, and Ethics. Particular issues include a lack of diversity or community representation in Board membership; a privileged nomination process; unregulated confidential sessions; and insufficient consultation protocols for all decisions.
Recommendations include expanding Member-at-Large seats from the McGill community (including increased student representation); soliciting public nominations for Members-at-Large and restructuring the Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee (NGE); actively recruiting for diversity in Governors, including a designated Indigenous seat(s); revising regulations for closed and in-camera sessions; implementing tracked voting for all decisions; and developing consultative protocols for student input in decision-making.
The SSMU is calling on McGill University to respond to these recommendations and implement immediate changes to ensure that the Board of Governors is representative, transparent, and accountable to the university and wider communities.
Read the full report here.