Admin surrender seats
By Karena Walter
The vice-presidents of the university are no longer allowed to cast their votes on Western's highest governing body and instead will play a more responsive role.
During yesterday's Board of Governors meeting, a recommendation was passed which resolved the three VPs will be invited to attend and participate in all Board meetings but may not move or second motions or vote.
The decision affects the VPs academic, administration and research. The fourth, VP-external, was not a voting-member beforehand.
The recommendation was first proposed by the UWO Act review committee in November.
"I'm strongly in favour of this," said Peter Mercer, VP-administration and chair of the review committee. He said VP's roles are different from those of the Board members. The Board sets policy whereas the VPs are involved in the day-to-day administration. "We should be there answering to the Board," he said.
"The feeling was this clarifies the role of the vice-president as a member of the administration," said president Paul Davenport. He said the decision "in no way weakens the role of vice-presidents."
The new policy takes effect immediately. "We will be here as resource people to the Board," Mercer said, adding the VPs will not be involved in debate at meetings. "If the Board is divided, administration shouldn't be making the decision."
The move reduces the size of the Board from 30 voting members to 27. This means students now have a higher representation on the Board, as the votes of the administration have decreased. "Every other group now has presumably a higher percentage," Davenport said.
There are two student members on the Board. "It's a victory for the university," said Ryan Parks, a student representative. He said VPs at Canadian universities are not normally granted a vote on their Boards.
Students pushed for higher representation on Western's governing bodies earlier this school year when the university opened up the UWO Act. The Act is a provincial statute which delegates areas of responsibility and categories of membership of the Board and Senate. After a review of proposals from the University Students' Council to increase student representation, the committee proposed no changes to the Act. This recommendation was approved by the Board on Nov. 21.
Chris Keith, another student Board member, said yesterday's decision is also a victory for students. "It is increasing the accountability of the Board," he said. "It is definitely a compromise of what we asked for."