Board Structure

The Board of Governors and Senate are the governing bodies at Simon Fraser University constituted under the University Act. The Board of Governors is vested with responsibility for the business of the university.

Thank you to members of the community who participated in the community consultation around the repeal of policy B10.02. A summary of the repeal and consultation process can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the Board of Governors’ requirements under the University Act in relation to Board committee structure, Terms of Reference and Procedures?

According to the University Act, Section 27 (2a), the Board of Governors of post-secondary institutions must be capable of determining their own structure. Section 27 (2a) notes the following: 

  • Without limiting subsection (1) or the general powers conferred on the board by this Act, the board has the following powers:
    • (a) to make rules for the meetings of the board and its transactions; and
    • (c) to appoint a secretary and committees it considers necessary to carry out the board's functions, including joint committees with the senate, and to confer on the committees’ power and authority to act for the board;

2. What does this mean for the SFU Board?

Currently, Terms of Reference (ToR) for SFU Board committees are embedded under policy B10.02. These ToRs were adopted as a policy before there was a formal framework governing policy development in place at SFU. The application of the formal policy framework set out in policy (B10.00) to the Board committee ToRs limits the Board’s ability to adopt rules to govern the conduct of its business as per the University Act.

3. What are the concerns with the SFU Board Committees' Terms of Reference?

The external review on Board governance identified several areas for improvement in our current Board committee ToRs. Recommendations include edits to the ToR to reduce overlap, increase clarity on committee roles and responsibilities, and increase inclusion, access and stakeholder engagement. 

4. Is the Board composition changing?

No. The composition of the SFU Board is dictated by section 19(1) of the University Act, which prescribes the membership of the Board. The composition is as follows:

The board of a university, other than the University of British Columbia, is composed of 15 members as follows:
    (a) the chancellor;
    (b) the president;
    (c) 2 faculty members elected by the faculty members;
    (d) 8 persons appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, 2 of whom are to be appointed from among persons nominated by the alumni association;
    (e) 2 students elected from students who are members of an undergraduate student society or a graduate student society;
    (f) one person elected by and from the employees of the university who are not faculty members.

5. Will the Board Commitees' Terms of Reference be changing?

The Board committee ToRs outline how Board committees are structured and it is anticipated that the Board will look to updating its committee structure to better meet its needs. The process for making any revisions to the Board committee ToRs include discussions at the committee level and a motion that is brought forward to the entire Board for approval. As with all decisions made by the Board, a majority vote is required for a motion to move forward. Having the committee ToR outside of a policy is in alignment with how the ToRs are structured at the SFU Senate and in other university governance structures in the broader post-secondary sector.

6. How often do the Board ToRs change?

Moving forward, the Board seeks to establish a regular cadence to review and update the ToRS to ensure they continue to meet the needs of the Board.

7. When the Board revises its new committee ToRs, will they be available to the public?

The Board of Governors will continue to publish agendas, minutes and committee ToRs on the Board website.

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