At Thursday's Board of Governors meeting, a board member questioned the board's transparency, drawing criticism from other members.
Faculty-elected board member, Jane Toswell, broached concerns about an increase in in-camera deliberations over the last two years. Toswell cited a 2015 board report published in the aftermath of president Chakma's double pay controversy. The report re-evaluated the board's practices and provided recommendations to improve relations between the board, the university's Senate and Western University's campus-at-large.
Toswell noted the board has lost touch with Senate and wider campus concerns.
"The board's internal changes have been good, but they have not been matched with greater transparency and communication with the campus," Toswell said. "Our recent decision to appoint a full replacement for the provost and our failure to establish a presidential search committee in November have been deeply problematic for the campus."
Hanny Hassan, chair of the board, acknowledged some of these issues but said Toswell's remarks were inappropriate.
"I frankly don't think that commentary was appropriate to be made in an open session," Hassan said.
Alumni Association board member Jeremy Adams also agreed that the comments were better geared for a closed session and encouraged board members to remember the positive accomplishments the board has made over the past few years.
On the other hand, Michael Lerner, a city-appointed board member, agreed with Toswell. He acknowledged that some of the issues Toswell brought up are not new and have been discussed in the past.
“I think transparency is one of our most important responsibilities, and this is one way we can demonstrate to the university community, students, staff and faculty that we’re serious about it,” Lerner said.
Following the discussion, the meeting moved into a closed session.
After the meeting, the board sent out a campus-wide memo stating president Amit Chakma is leaving Western and will not seek a third term when his contract ends in June 2019.