Chair's report - May Board meeting

June 13, 2024

This report contains general updates and a summary of the topics discussed at open session of the May 23 Board meeting. Items discussed at this meeting represent matters of importance at the highest level of the institution, and these reports will help provide context and clarity around the progression of major projects and decisions.

You can read President Johnson’s report from the meeting here.

Budget updates

Our May Board meeting came at a challenging time for SFU, as restructuring efforts were carried out by the university the week of May 13. The Board recognizes that there have been personal and professional impacts to students, faculty and staff across the community and it has been a difficult time for many.

As always, I want to thank the community for their professionalism and for supporting each other. The Board approved the 2024-25 Budget and Financial Plan at our March meeting and we continue to be confident that difficult decisions made today will position the university for long-term financial sustainability. 

Changes in Board membership

As mentioned in my previous report to the community, this was the final Board meeting for Abhishek Parmar, Tracy MacRae and Dr. Eric Gedajlovic. We are grateful for their service to the university and excited to welcome new members Emmanuel Adegboyega, Colin Gervais and Dr. Mark Collard to the Board.

After six years on the Board, our upcoming June meeting also marks my final meeting as a board member and as board chair. The Board voted to appoint Paula Martin and Michael McDonald as the next board chair and deputy board chair, respectively. I am grateful to Paula and Michael for their leadership and we will work together to ensure a smooth transition.

Responsible investment at SFU

As shared in a message to the community on May 30, the Board is aware of petitions from members of our community requesting divestment from companies producing military arms and related technologies. We have also heard from other members of our community who seek clarity on SFU’s principles for when and how SFU invests. 

The Board has had robust conversations about investment decision-making, including at the May 23 meeting. We have concluded that the existing Responsible Investment Policy does not provide comprehensive decision-making guidance given the complexities that have been brought to the forefront. Accordingly, the Board has asked the Finance, Investments and Property Committee to review the policy and provide recommendations to the Board.

The review process will contain a plan for community consultation and will also seek advice from experts. We look forward to hearing from the community on this important matter and will provide further guidance around how to share feedback once more information is available. 

SFU School of Medicine

At this meeting, the Board unanimously approved the establishment of the School of Medicine as a faculty at SFU, as well as the full program proposal for the Medical Doctor program. This approval follows lengthy discussions at Board and at meetings of our joint Board-Senate committee, as well as required approvals from Senate.

Acting dean Dr. David Price and senior advisor to the provost Kris Magnusson attended this meeting to answer questions from the Board. We appreciate their time and are grateful to the entire team at the School of Medicine for their work to date. As noted during the meeting, now the work begins in earnest, and the Board will continue to be highly engaged in discussions around the school as we move forward. 

Next meeting

The next Board meeting will be on June 27. Community members can register to receive a Zoom link for the open session meeting by emailing A full schedule of upcoming meetings is available on our website.

Angie Lamarsh
Chair, Board of Governors
Simon Fraser University