The Council considered another full agenda, with a continuing emphasis on the management of the COVID-19 situation. The University's response to such unprecedented times has involved all major Council Committees and Academic Board, as well as University management and leadership groups since February 2020, with the enormity of the task at hand thoroughly appreciated by Council members.
Council considered a report prepared by the Vice-Chancellor which focussed on a COVID-safe campus, engagement with the Commonwealth government and Minister for Education, and noting - on 1 August - the three years since the release of the Australian Human Rights Commission report on sexual assault and sexual harassment on Australian university campuses: Change the course: National report on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities. With much achieved by the University since August 2017, a great deal remains to be done in the years ahead.
Financial Health Strategy
Council received a report about the University's financial performance in 2020 (including Year to Date results until June) and the progress made under the new Expenditure Control Framework. With this work implemented, the University has revised its budget for 2020, which Council approved. Planning for the 2021 University Budget has also commenced.
Strategic Plan 2020-23: Implementation
The ANU Strategic Plan 2020-2023 was released in February 2017 (and updated year-on-year), having been approved by the Council on 2 December 2016.
Council usually receives mid-year reports from each Executive portfolio in July. Owing to the complete change to the University's operation in 2020 to manage critical incidents, the mid-year reports this year focussed on evaluating performance against the highest level initiatives and Key Performance Indicators listed in the Plan. Council noted that 20 initiatives are complete or on track, with the progress of 11 other initiatives being subject to the impact of COVID-19, and being managed accordingly.
Council Membership - first and last meeting
Dr Doug McTaggart and Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AO were re-appointed to the Council by the Minister for Education for one year respectively, and Ms Tanya Hosch (who succeeded Mr Peter Yu) for four years. This Council meeting was the first for Ms Hosch.
The Council terms of the following three academic staff representatives will end on 29 September 2020: Professor Matthew Colless, Professor Kate Reynolds and Associate Professor Ben Corry.
Information about the process to elect two academic staff can be found here: https://www.anu.edu.au/about/governance/committees/election-to-council-of-two-academic-staff-members.
The other (third) academic staff member will be drawn from the electorate of the Deans and Heads of Research Schools voting together.
The one year term for postgraduate student representative, Mr Utsav Gupta, will end in September, with his elected successor to join Council before the next meeting on 2 October.
The contribution made by each member to Council deliberations and to the University was acknowledged with appreciation at the meeting.
Council also considered a range of other significant matters, including:
- Information Security;
- The Acquisition of land on University Avenue;
- ANU Tuition Fee Bands for 2021;
- ANU College Tuition Fees for 2021;
- The Review of the Coral Bell School of the Asia Pacific;
- The ANU Story;
- Student Safety;
- Staff Work Health and Safety; and
- Summaries of much Council Committee and Academic Board activity since the last meeting.
Respectful Relationships Summit
After the Council meeting, the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor hosted the Respectful Relationship Summit to discuss progress made with respect to the University's Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy. The event was joined by Council and Executive members, staff and students.
Council next meets on Friday 2 October 2020.
The Hon Julie Bishop