University Boards and the Challenge of Freedom of Expression

A board member wrote to ask the following question:  I was curious about one topic that has come up in recent years, your view on the Board’s role (if any) in influencing the balance between protecting students from uncomfortable discussions and speakers...

Strategy vs. Oversight? The Argument for a Fifty/Fifty Split

I was really pleased to have an opportunity to speak at the Council of Ontario Universities’ successful virtual governance conference.  I spoke on a panel with Peter MacKinnon (former University of Saskatchewan President and thought-leader on university governance),...

Creating a respectful workplace? Don’t start with the law

Once grievances move into any sort of formal process, positions and feelings become entrenched, taking the parties further away from resolution. This column is a request to colleagues across the country to work together to create cultures inside your universities that...

Reflections on the tragedy of Flight 752

As we try to make sense of the senseless, we should derive comfort from the fact that universities are much-needed instruments of cultural and social connection. Like many Canadians, I am preoccupied with Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752, which exploded and...
All universities should have a general counsel

All universities should have a general counsel

In a world of increasing legal risks and fiduciary obligations, it is difficult to understand why a university would do without one. All universities should have a chief legal officer, or what is commonly known as a general counsel or GC. This is an executive-level...
Women general counsel do ‘lean in’

Women general counsel do ‘lean in’

Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, has been both embraced and criticized. Around the table, as a newly formed general counsel chapter of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario gathered to meet recently, there was no criticism. The...

In-house counsel wanted: lawyers without courage need not apply

Each time a corporate scandal hits an organization like a tsunami, think about what the in-house lawyers were doing before, when it hit, and after. As our obligations of confidentiality prevent us from telling our side, it will be difficult to build an archive of...