Monday, 16 April 2012

Rejected USSWORD motions

The following motions were presented by USSWORD senators and rejected because the Senate Executive Committee, "was guided by the principles underlying the draft procedures and bylaws that will come before Senate at the upcoming meeting, and also by the belief that these matters are outside the purview of Senate." A discussion of the proposed bylaws can be found here

Motion A
PRESENTED BY: Mary Jean Hande, Member at Large and Jordan Miller, Member at Large

DATE OF MEETING: April 21, 2012

SUBJECT:             Clarification as to actions taken by the Board of Governors Chair and the                                    President to avoid potential conflict of interest.


                        It is recommended:

That the Senate assembled here asks clarification from the Board of Governors as to whether or not Ms. Hopkins and Dr. MacKinnon recused themselves from the discussion and vote regarding appointment of the CCNI board of directors on December 9, 2011 and, if they did not, to determine if these governors were in a conflict of interest by participating in that discussion and vote.

The University Conflict of Interest Policy ( sets out that it may constitute a conflict of interest should employees or governors of the University:
·       Accept gratuities, gifts or special favors from entities or individuals with which the University does or may conduct business; or
·       Influence the appointment of family members, relatives and affiliates to positions at the University.
The University Board of Governors appointed the board of directors for the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) at its meeting of December 9, 2011.

The Digest of Board of Governors minutes indicates that Cameco vice-president Engie Ozberk was among those appointed to the CCNI board of directors. However, this digest of minutes does not indicate whether or not President Peter Mackinnon and Board of Governors Chair Nancy Hopkins recused themselves from the discussion and vote regarding appointment of the CCNI board of directors on December 9.

In light of the fact that Ms. Hopkins is a shareholder and member of the Cameco board of directors, and that Dr. MacKinnon accepted a gift of an excursion to Cameco’s northern operations and its lodge on Yalowega Lake in 2009, as reported to the Board of Governors in October 2009, there is reason to believe their apparent failure to recuse themselves from the above mentioned discussion and vote constitutes a conflict of interest.

Motion B

PRESENTED BY: Sandra Finley, Member at Large and Mary Jean Hande, Member at Large

DATE OF MEETING: April 21, 2012

SUBJECT: Developing an explicit policy to outline standards of conduct regarding political endorsements by University administrators


                        It is recommended:

That the Senate assembled here urges the University Administration and the Board of Governors to develop an explicit policy to outline the standard of conduct regarding political endorsements by University administrators.


The Bylaws of the University Board of Governors (III. 5) stipulate that it is the responsibility of all governors “to protect and defend University autonomy.” To that end it has always been convention that the University President maintains public neutrality in partisan political affairs.

However, in the 2011 provincial general election the current University of Saskatchewan President publicly endorsed the candidacy of the current Minister of Advanced Education.

In one of his election campaign brochures, the Minister Norris, candidate in Saskatoon Greystone, quoted Dr. Mackinnon as saying, “"Rob Norris is the finest minister responsible for post-secondary education that I have been privileged to work with in my thirteen years as President of the University of Saskatchewan."

The President gave explicit permission to the Minister to use this quote for his campaign material as documented in an article in The Star Phoenix: “Norris's office asked for permission and MacKinnon said he did not object” (David Hutton, October 28, 2011). In fact, the President stated that the Minister "was entitled to use it” and the Minister noted that, "(Endorsements are) appreciated as they arrive" (ibid). These facts are corroborated by reports of private conversations with both Dr. MacKinnon and Mr. Norris.