Western's Senate discussed ways to make itself more transparent to the public stemming from recommendations from the report of the ad hoc committee on renewal in its monthly meeting on Friday.
The ad hoc committee on renewal was tasked with collecting feedback from the campus community and conducting a governance review in light of President Amit Chakma’s pay controversy in 2015 and the resulting fallout.
The document consists of 24 recommendations divided into four sections each with their own subsections. All of which are specifically geared towards transparency and accountability.
There was extensive discussion in the Senate meeting focused on how the recommendations lined out in the report could be implemented.
Recommendation 1 (b), which states “Senate should consider whether committee meetings should be open, either to all members of Senate or to the full Western community,” sparked some debate.
Senator Sam Trosow was concerned mostly with the how the recommendation was worded.
“I think rather than saying it [committee meetings] should be open or closed, I would prefer to see a much more nuanced approach,” Trosow said. “We should look at the municipal level in how we conduct these meetings.”
Trosow suggested considering taking the meetings in-camera when needed instead of closing off entire meetings because sensitive matters could be discussed.
Currently, the Senate is in the process of consulting with committees on these issues for further consideration.
Also included in the report were recommendations including improving the visibility of Senate’s decision making process, improving efforts to educate and inform the entire Western community about Senate and university governance, articulating the roles and responsibilities for senators and enhancing education of and communication among senators.
“The events of April 2015 revealed the degree to which members of the Western community both care about their University and desire a strong voice in its governance,” the report stated.