In a startling turn of events, this morning the Board of Governors managed to hold a meeting outside of their normal meeting cycle whose existence they did not try to deny or to cover up in any manner. In fact, it was even disclosed on the Board of Governors webpage devoted to listing its meeting dates with the time listed as 9:30 am and the topic listed as “Discussion: Presidential Search Committee – Process for Filling Current Vacancies”
The discussion and deliberations from the meeting remain secret, but it actually is legitimate news that the existence of it is public knowledge. Less than two months ago, at a time when the Board was already under intense scrutiny for holding secret meetings, a similar Board Conference Call occurred. At the time, Board members refused to comment on the matter of whether or not a meeting had occurred, until it was finally confirmed through the combined efforts of the Ubyssey and UBC Insiders. It should be noted that this Feb. 1 meeting still does not appear on the Board webpage which lists meeting dates.
At the time, UBC VP External Philip Steenkamp was on record making the bizarre argument that conference calls didn’t qualify as meetings and thus did not need to be disclosed. He also finally acknowledged that the Board regularly holds meetings which are not disclosed, while taking the position that the practice was completely normal and acceptable.
Against that background, the fact that today’s meeting was disclosed – proactively, rather than after unsuccessful attempts to conceal it – is progress, however modest. And it is very much modest progress, because it was only added to the webpage sometime after 9 am this morning, and quite probably only after the meeting had already concluded. Now that it has happened once, it becomes especially bewildering why this is a practice that had been resisted so intensely for so long. Still, the Board is strongly encouraged to continue reporting all meetings that occur, and if they do so it will be rather fascinating to see the number of Board meetings grow exponentially in comparison to years past.