‘It seemed best for me to remove myself’: Quiet resignation leaves a second open seat on UBC’s Board of Governors

Andrea Reimer quietly resigned from UBC’s Board of Governors last October after serving less than a year in the position — leaving two province-appointed seats on the Board vacant.

In a statement emailed to The Ubyssey, Reimer attributed her resignation to differences in opinion with other governors.

“Broadly speaking, I can say that it was a matter of high importance to me and when it became clear that my position was substantively different than those of the majority of the board it seemed best for me to remove myself,” she wrote.

Reimer did not provide details on which issues prompted those disagreements with her colleagues, but said that the matter was “appropriately in camera.”

Reimer still remains in her position as an adjunct professor of practice at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs which she started in June 2019.

Kurt Heinrich, senior director at UBC Media Relations, thanked Reimer for her contributions on behalf of the Board and acknowledged her different perspectives on certain matters.

“You can be assured that the Board always encourages robust discussions around important topics relating to the university and every effort is made to find consensus among Governors and to support their individual and active participation in this process,” he wrote in a statement sent to The Ubyssey.

Heinrich also declined to comment on which matters caused the disagreements between Reimer and the other governors, citing the privacy of individual members.

Reimer’s departure is not the first time a member of the Board stepped down due to differences in opinion.

In 2015, then-UBC president Arvind Gupta, who served as an ex officio member of the body, suddenly resigned from his position without reason. It was later revealed that Gupta’s resignation was the result of disagreements with other governors.

Reimer’s resignation also marks the second time in the past year that a governor has left before the end of their term.

Last June, Michael Korenberg resigned as chair of the Board after receiving criticism for liking tweets that attacked Black Lives Matter protests and promoted far-right conspiracy theories.

Under Part 6 of the University Act, the provincial government is responsible for selecting replacements for Reimer and Korenberg. Eleven of the twenty-one members of the Board are appointed by the province.

In an email sent to The Ubyssey, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training said that the government is in the midst of filling both positions, but that the process will take time.

“In accordance with the University Act, if a vacancy exists in respect of an appointed member to the board, the Lieutenant Governor in Council must appoint a person to fill the vacancy. The Act does not specify when that must occur,” the spokesperson wrote.

The spokesperson also said that the government would seek to appoint individuals of diverse backgrounds.

“It’s important that universities, colleges and institutes have board members with diverse perspectives, appropriate competencies, geographic representation and gender balance.”