What you need to know about the UVic Senate and Board of Governors

File photo by Hugo Wong.

Building up to the 2019 spring referenda and UVSS elections next month, the Martlet explains the roles and responsibilities of the various student and academic political organizations that govern the university.

This issue, we’re looking at the UVic Senate, the UVic Board Governors, and the University of Victoria Students’ Society (see our article on the UVSS here).


What is the Senate?

According to UVic’s official website, “the Senate is responsible for the academic governance of the university, including matters related to libraries, faculties, departments, course of instruction, fellowships, scholarships, exhibitions, bursaries, prizes, admissions, student appeals, and the granting of degrees.”

In other words, the Senate is a 72-member panel that includes the president, chancellor, elected faculty members, and student representatives who meet monthly to discuss everything from upcoming projects to tuition hikes.


I thought Senators were government officials in Ottawa?

Yes, there is a Senate on Parliament Hill, but also one right here on campus. According to the University Act, universities in B.C. (including UBC, SFU, and UNBC) are required to have a Senate and Board of Governors to help guide the governing bodies within post-secondary institutions.


What is the University Act?

Broadly speaking, it’s a set of laws that outline the powers and procedures of universities in B.C.


Who are the Board of Governors?

The Board of Governors, a 15-member board panel, are responsible for the management and business affairs of the university.

The President and Chancellor also sit on the board, along with elected faculty members and students. All members on the Board of Governors serve voluntarily, and don’t receive any extra compensation for their work.

“The Board approves the strategic direction and policy of the university, as well as the operating budget framework and capital project expenditures. It sets tuition, maintains the university’s real property and other assets, and establishes procedures for appointing senior academic administrators, faculty and staff,” writes UVic’s website.

They meet bi-monthly as a whole, but have five separate sub-committees that meet separately: Executive and Governance, Finance, Operations and Facilities, Audit, and Compensation and Review, who deal with matters in their respective fields and bring issues to the board.


How do I become a Student Representative?

Unfortunately, the call for nominations to become a student senator or Board of Governor representative for the 2019/20 term has passed, but the yearly process follows the same guidelines.

There are two student positions on the Board of Governors, one undergraduate and one graduate.

There are 16 student positions on the Senate — one from each faculty and three from the faculty of Graduate Studies.

Currently, all students nominated to the Board of Governors and Senate were acclaimed. There are currently 11 vacant positions on the Senate. There will be a by-election in early April to fill those seats.