Feds board of directors (BoD) meetings are now closed to students following a motion made at the April 30 meeting, which was itself a closed meeting.
The BoD meetings have, for the past year, included open portions where students could sit in the gallery and watch. The meetings also included a closed in-camera session, which did not have a gallery, and the minutes were not published.
The now-closed meetings will not have a gallery, but will have the minutes published on Feds.ca. The decision came after an ad hoc committee — essentially a task force — was created to evaluate BoD procedure 20, which regulates meetings.
“We felt that it was taking away from the role of the director and we wanted them to be able to have a safe and comfortable environment to make those decisions and have open discussion while then publishing [the minutes] to be transparent after,” said Feds president Danielle Burt of the decision to remove the gallery.
Previously, the BoD minutes were not published on the Feds website and the meetings times and locations were not advertised. Burt said part of the decision came from the fact that there wasn’t a “clear role” for the gallery as technically they were not to participate in discussions. She also said that in a corporation, BoD meetings are traditionally never open.
“We’re trying to maintain that open communication while still keeping our board safe,” Burt said.
BoD meetings have only included open sessions for the last year; prior to 2013 meetings were closed with confidential portions. Now, meetings will have minutes published but will still include confidential portions where the discussion is not made public.
Confidential sessions involve “high-level, specific information that is very confidential. It even deals with staff, HR, financials that are specific to some scenario that we didn’t want to talk about in public,” Burt said.
“If the decision affects an outside body or thing, then the decision would be made public, but the discussion is confidential,” Burt said.
The ad hoc committee that evaluated procedure 20 consisted of Burt, then a director, Luke McIntosh, former BoD chair, Adam Garcia, former VP education, and David Collins, former president.
The minutes of the April 22 BoD meeting where discussion about closing future meetings took place are on Feds.ca. However the decision was made in a confidential meeting April 30
Then-chair Luke McIntosh was in favour of keeping BoD open because it “makes us more accountable with the media.” Garcia said closing the meetings would create a “safe environment, and less scrutiny results in better decision-making.”