Universities are generally governed through a bi-cameral system of governance with the Board of Governors as the fiduciary, ensuring the long-term viability of the institution, while the Senate being the highest academic body is responsible for the academic quality and regulations.  The president is jointly responsible to both bodies, sits as a member of both, and is a conduit to ensure flow of information.

Cape Breton University is unique in Nova Scotia in that the provincial act that created the university only established the board of governors and gave the governors the authority to establish necessary committees and delegate authority to such committees.  The CBU Senate was created through the by-laws of the CBU board of governors.

Incorporated by provincial legislation, CBU is a public body and thus is responsible to a broader set of stakeholders than the internal faculty and students.  As such, not only must the board and president be accountable to the faculty and student bodies, they must also be accountable to the provincial government and the broader community.  As such, it is very important that they receive advice and feedback from a wide range of external constituents as well as internal constituents.