The ASU is calling for increased diversity on the Board of Governors (BOG), Acadia’s non-academic governing body. The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) passed a motion in principle on Tuesday January 30th supporting the ASU President to present a proposal to the Board regarding diversity at their latest meeting on Friday February 2nd.
President Grace H-B said in a statement to The Athenaeum that “Diversity among the Board of Governors structure is vital to serving students to the best of its ability. The Board makes decisions that affect all students around campus. Acadia is stronger for it’s diversity and the Board of Governors will be too. Diversity and equity needs to be reflected at the Board of Governors and in all governance structures at Acadia.”
The statement noted how the BOG is composed of 37 voting members, only 21.6% of whom are women with votes despite the fact that the campus is 58% female. Ethnic diversity around the table is described as “almost non-existent”.
Lack of diversity is not due to a lack of unqualified women or minorities, the statement reads, but is “due to selection processes and underlying systemic process to determine who sits on the Board”.
The motion proposed that the Governance & Executive Committees of the BOG prepare a report and recommendation on increasing equity and diversity. The ASU asked five commitments, including:
- Adoption of a diversity management policy by April 6th 2018
- Land acknowledgement of Mi’kma’ki at the beginning of every Board meeting
- Amending the composition of the BOG to include two indigenous voting members
- Ensuring a minimum of 50% of Governors identify as female by 2020/2021
- Ensuring a minimum of 60% of Governors identify as female, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, or visible minorities by 2024/2025
President H-B noted that although the province isn’t known for its diversity, “Nova Scotia does have a history with many groups that are not being represented at the Board of Governors. It would be hard to say that we’re ever going to be absolutely perfect in fair representation, but that doesn’t mean shouldn’t work as hard as possible to try to do better.
Working towards a diverse Board is going to take work but it’s work that is so important in ensuring that we’re doing the best we can for students.”
The ASU is looking to increase diversity within its own ranks, as the composition of the Students’ Representative Council is “lacking in people with disabilities, aboriginal peoples and visible minorities” according to President H-B. The Union is looking to incorporate more students-at-large on committees, spurring students into action within the Union itself.
EDIT: An earlier version of this article stated the number of students identifying on campus as female was 69%. The correct number is 58%.
Colin Mitchell is a 3rd year Politics (Honours) student from Vancouver, BC. He is also the News Editor of The Athenaeum and the ASU Student Board of Governors Representative.