SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

November 06, 2015 15:15 ET

University of Calgary Board of Governors launches independent review

External expert to lead review of the Centre for Corporate Sustainability

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - November 06, 2015) - The University of Calgary's Board of Governors has initiated an independent review of the Centre for Corporate Sustainability (formerly the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability), from its creation to current operations. The findings of the review will be made public.

"Questions have been raised regarding the creation and operation of the Centre for Corporate Sustainability, and the potential infringement of academic freedom of those involved," says Mark Starratt, a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors. "We believe that academic freedom is a fundamental value of all universities. We've been listening and are taking action."

The independent review will be conducted by an external, third-party expert, to be named shortly. Details of the scope, methodology and reporting timeframes will also be made public.

"The integrity of the University of Calgary is being questioned and we take that very seriously," says Starratt. "Our intention is that this review will produce findings and recommendations that will address the questions that have been raised, and enhance transparency."

"I welcome this review and believe the findings and recommendations will make our university stronger," says Elizabeth Cannon, President and Vice-Chancellor of the university. "There have been many lessons learned since the Centre was created in 2011, which have been incorporated into the Centre's current operations. We have also done a lot of hard work to improve governance, operations and donor agreements across the university. We know we can always do more."

The university is taking additional actions. It has expressed to the Minister of Advanced Education its willingness to be the first Alberta post-secondary institution to participate in the provincial government's governance review of agencies, boards and commissions.

"We will be open and transparent regarding the independent review process," says Starratt. "This is our commitment to our university community and all Albertans."

Bonnie DuPont, Chair of the Board of Governors, and President Cannon have recused themselves from all discussions and involvement regarding the Centre for Corporate Sustainability and the independent review. DuPont retired as an Enbridge executive in 2010 and Cannon has been a director of the Enbridge Income Fund since 2004.

Cannon's participation in up to two external Boards with personal remuneration was part of her 2010 and 2014 contracts, which were approved by the Board. Cannon joined the Enbridge Income Fund as a director in 2004 while she was a faculty member at the University of Calgary, six years before she became president. Upon commencing her role as president, Cannon was encouraged and received approval from the Board of Governors to continue her role with the Enbridge Income Fund to gain further experience in the governance of large complex organizations. She declares this position as part of her annual conflict of interest declaration to the Board. Nevertheless, in light of questions that have been raised about university presidents serving on private sector boards, Cannon this week voluntarily stepped down from her position as a director of the Enbridge Income Fund.

Board member Mark Starratt will be available for media interviews between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. today, by phone or on the main university campus. Please contact university Media Relations for scheduling.

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