Board Meeting Synopsis for October 21, 2020

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2020

The first regular meeting of the Board of Governors for the 2020-21 year was held October 21, 2020, via web conference and was chaired by Board Chair Shauneen Bruder.

The meeting began with a welcome to Governors offered by the Board Chair, and a welcome to guests, including a future Governor who will be beginning a term on December 1, 2020.

President Charlotte Yates offered brief oral remarks, including an update on Fall semester activities and ongoing precautions in light of COVID-19, as well as mental health supports available during this time and the University’s Wellness@Work initiatives. The President then offered remarks on the creation of a President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism and the University’s Anti-Racism Action Plan.

The Board considered two items for strategic discussion during the meeting. First, the Board received an annual report on the University’s Key Performance Indicators. The President noted the importance and alignment of the Key Performance Indicators to the University's ability to achieve its mission and vision and the link between the Key Performance Indicators and documents such as the Strategic Framework, the Strategic Research Plan, and the Strategic Mandate Agreement.

The second strategic discussion topic was in regard to financial sustainability. Finance Committee Chair Nancy Brown Andison introduced the topic for discussion, noting that while the University was in a relatively reasonable position relative to its peers and in light of the current challenging environment, work would be required to ensure the University retains a healthy financial position in order to continue to deliver on its core academic mission over the long term. Provost Gwen Chapman and Vice-President (Finance, Administration and Risk) Martha Harley provided an update on the operating budget and COVID-19 impacts.

Audit & Risk Committee Chair Neil Parkinson spoke to the University of Guelph Audited Statements for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2020, noting that review of the statements has been conducted by both the Audit & Risk Committee and the Finance Committee. The Board of Governors approved the statements.

The Board of Governors received an updated Sexual Violence Task Force Report. As required by government, the report had been updated to reflect consideration of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on-campus life and sexual violence supports.

The Board also received written reports for information, including reports from standing committee chairs on recent committee activities, the University’s annual freedom of expression report, and regular financial reporting.

The complete open session meeting package is available on the University Secretariat’s Governance Portal. The official record of the meeting is the meeting minutes, which will be available following their approval at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting, to be held on January 20, 2021.

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