Dear members of the McGill community:

McGill’s Board of Governors convened on Thursday, May 24, 2018, for its final meeting of 2017-2018. Here are the important discussions, decisions and developments from that meeting.

In concluding the yearlong tenure process, the Board approved the granting of tenure to 39 Associate Professors and two Associate Librarians. Congratulations to everyone on this significant recognition of quality and excellence. The list of newly tenured academic staff will be posted on the McGill Reporter soon.

The Board received a joint report from the Building and Property Committee and the Finance Committee on a working session concerning the RVH project. We are awaiting the Quebec government’s decision before moving to the next phase, which consists of preparing detailed plans and specifications in support of the project.

The Board approved the Nominating, Governance and Ethics (NGE) Committee’s recommendations to appoint Ms. Maarika Paul and Ms. Samira Sakhia as members-at-large of the Board. Both appointments are for five years, and begin July 1, 2018.

I next addressed the following topics:

  • Quebec Government Relations
    • Bill 62: Our policies and practices conform to the guidelines on assessing requests for religious accommodation under the new law. McGill will continue to promote a climate of diversity and tolerance.
    • Funding formula: The Quebec government implemented policy changes, effective May 1, 2018. The methodology for distributing grants for learning activities has been simplified and reweighted, with the addition of $1.5 billion over the next six years. Undergraduate international student tuitions will be deregulated starting with academic year 2019-2020. This will allow McGill to retain the fees that our international students contribute.
  • Task Force on Respect and Inclusion in Campus Life: The co-chairs, Professors Bruce Lennox and Nandini Ramanujam, presented their final report at Senate on May 16. In the months ahead, our community will discuss, collectively, the report’s observations and recommendations. In the fall, we will start the discussion on the Task Force’s specific recommendations and suggested action items with a goal of developing an implementation plan.
  • Community Relations
    • Leaders Alliance: On May 4 and 5, McGill hosted a summit for more than 200 ambassadors and volunteer leaders from around the world.
    • Philanthropy: The Doggone Foundation announced a $15-million gift in support of the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity. Graduate Garvin Brown (BA’91) and his wife Steffanie Diamond Brown made a $5-million gift to create a Chair in Democratic Studies in the new Max Bell School of Public Policy. On May 23, the North Wing of the MNI was officially launched, as well as the Donor Wall honouring the contributors to the Thinking Ahead Campaign.
  • Spring Convocation began on May 29. This year, we will be celebrating the achievements of more than 7,600 students, and welcoming 14 honorary doctorate recipients to our campuses.

I closed my remarks by offering kudos to some members of our community for recent outstanding achievements, including:

  • Professor Daniel Wise (Mathematics and Statistics) has been elected as a Fellow of the UK Royal Society.
  • Chemistry professors Hanadi Sleiman and Chao-Jun Li are among the six recipients of this year’s Killam Research Fellowships.
  • Nine McGill scholars were awarded Canada Research Chairs. Another four McGill chair holders had their terms renewed.
  • Two McGill researchers were honoured at the NSERC Awards Ceremony. Professor Joëlle Pineau (McGill School of Computer Science) received an E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowship, and Professor Jozsef Kövecses(Mechanical Engineering) received the Synergy Award for Innovation.
  • Professor Emeritus Charles Taylor (Philosophy) was awarded the 2018 International Grand Prix of the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival.
  • Professor Brenda Milner (Montreal Neurological Institute) received the Order of Montreal and the National Assembly of Quebec’s Medal of Honour.

Professor Jim Nicell, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, presented an informative overview of activities, initiatives and developments in the faculty.

The Board approved the following recommendations of the NGE Committee for appointments to Board standing committees, and internal and external non-Board bodies:

  • The appointments of Mr. Bob Babinski and Ms. Katherine Nikidis as Board representatives, and Ms. Morna Consedine as an alternate member, on the Advisory Committee for the Possible Reappointment of the Dean of the Faculty of Education.
  • The reappointment of Ms. Maarika Paul as a member, and her appointment as Chair, of the Audit Committee.
  • The appointment of Mr. Richard (Tre) Mansdoerfer as a student member of the Building and Property Committee.
  • The appointment of Mr. Ehab Lotayef as a member of the Building and Property Committee.
  • The appointment of Mr. Daniel Amon as a student member of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR).

The Board approved the NGE Committee’s recommendation that Ms. Kathy Fazel be appointed to the rank of Governor Emerita.

On the recommendation of Professor Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), and Professor Martha Crago, Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), the Board approved a $9.2-million grant from the Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation for renovation of laboratory space in support of the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Human Pain Genetics, held by Professor Luda Diatchenko.

On the recommendation of Vice-Principal Beauchamp and Professor Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), the Board approved a new five-year service contract for the maintenance and caretaking of the Gault Nature Reserve.

The Board approved a report from Senate, which included the following recommendations:

  • The creation of a provisional Department of Emergency Medicine within the Faculty of Medicine.
  • The appointment of Professor Frank Ferrie (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Centre for Intelligent Machines) as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Staff Grievances and Disciplinary Procedures.

Secretary-General Edyta Rogowska presented the Annual Report on Safe Disclosure (“Whistleblowing”) for January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017. During this period, two confidential disclosures were filed with the Secretary-General in accordance with the Policy. The report was presented to Senate on May 16.

Professor Daniel Bernard, Chair of the Committee on Staff Grievances and Disciplinary Procedures, presented the Committee’s Annual Report for the 2016-2017 academic year. During this period, two staff members filed grievances.

The full minutes from this meeting’s open session, and a summary of items dealt with during the closed session, will be available following Board approval when it convenes for its first meeting of 2018-2019 on October 4, 2018. The minutes from the previous meeting, held on April 26, are now available online. Summaries of Board meetings from previous years are archived here.

This was the final Board meeting for five outgoing Board members: administrative and support staff representative Mr. Victor Chisholm, member-at-large Ms. Kathy Fazel, Alumni Association representative Mr. Bryan Haynes, and student representatives Ms. Maria Tippler (PGSS) and Ms. Muna Tojiboeva (SSMU). This was also the final meeting for student observer Ms. Alice Lefebvre (MCSS). Thank you all for your service and important contributions to the governance of the University.

Thank you for your comments and questions during the past year. I always welcome your input: I hope you have a great summer, and I look forward to again sharing the Board’s activities with you in the fall.


Suzanne Fortier

Principal and Vice-Chancellor



June 4, 2018