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University Council votes for reform

Queen’s University Council voted 89-6 to adopt new bylaws and enact significant reform during a 12-day voting period which ended this month. As a result, Council will reduce in size from nearly 200 to fewer than 50 by 2017.

“This vote is the culmination of a thorough process that explored options for modernizing University Council,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “The invigorated body will be of value to the university and provide a more meaningful volunteer experience for its members. I would like to express my deep appreciation to all those who participated in enacting this reform.”

The size of Council will reduce gradually over the course of a four-year transition period, as the terms of current councillors expire. By 2017 the University Council will be a body of 40 elected alumni, with additional ex-officio members including the chancellor, the principal, a senator, a member of the Queen’s University Alumni Association, and any trustee elected by the Council whose term on the Board of Trustees has not yet expired.

The reform was undertaken as part of the university’s overall governance evolution, which includes a smaller, more focused Board of Trustees. Councillors had long been calling for a review of Council, with the aim of improving the body’s relevance to Queen’s.

“The aim of Councillors has been, and continues to be, doing whatever we can to help Queen’s,” says Alison Holt (Artsci’87), chair of the University Council Reform Planning Group. “A more focused Council will facilitate that, and make our work even more relevant. The positive results of the vote show that councillors are ready to embrace their new role and play an even more important part in strengthening Queen’s governance structure.”

With these reforms, Council will continue to play an important advisory role at the University, be responsible for approving the appointment of the chancellor, and will elect roughly one-quarter of the Board of Trustees.

Previously, the composition of Council was prescribed by the university’s Royal Charter as consisting of all trustees, senators and an equal number of elected alumni. That formula saw Council grow to more than 200 members. In 2011, after exploring options for governance reform, the university’s Royal Charter was amended by the Parliament of Canada to allow Council to determine its own composition and size.

More information about University Council is available on the University Secretariat website or by email.