Wong Updates Board on Smoking Issue
The NMU Board of Trustees held a brief formal session before its annual retreat last week to receive project updates and vote on a limited number of business items.
President Les Wong provided trustees with news articles that reflect the national trend toward smoke-free businesses and universities. He also pointed to the recently released federal and state budget proposals, saying both include a number of incentives geared toward healthier campuses.
Smoking at NMU is limited to outdoor areas at least 30 feet from building entrances. A previous survey revealed students and employees were evenly divided as to whether NMU should become entirely smoke-free. Wong told the board “the topic is not dead” and he will work with students over the coming months to develop a proposal.
“The campus is split 50/50 for very good reasons,” Wong said. “The issue for us is how we might benefit in terms of state and federal appropriations, as well as health care savings by moving in that direction. It’s not only about smoking. We have fitness and nutritional programs in place already and smoking plays into the overall goal of creating a healthier campus.”
Other progress reports included completed and future performance contracting of campus facilities, a campus and community signage project and proposed designs to visibly incorporate the NMU acronym on the Superior Dome re-roofing project slated to begin this spring. All were for informational purposes only. The board took action on the following items:
▪Approved a strategic planning committee recommendation to contract with Stamats Inc. to conduct a branding identification study of NMU. Committee Chair L. Garnett Lewis said the branding effort should not be confused with a marketing campaign. The research results will help to guide the board’s strategic decisions by revealing how NMU is perceived by various constituencies and determining “where we are now and where we’re going.” Board Chair Brian Cloyd said the study will “provide a competitive advantage and drive everything we’re doing inside and outside the university.” He added that the $130,000 cost should be offset by gains in student recruitment and retention resulting from the study.
▪Granted Thomas Froiland the status of professor emeritus of biology, effective March 1.
▪Approved revised standing committees to reflect the addition of two recently appointed trustees. The committees and members follow. Academic affairs: Chair L. Garnet Lewis, Jon LaSalle, Richard Popp and Sook Wilkinson. Finance: Chair Stephen Adamini, Stephen Gulis Jr. and Gilbert Ziegler. Executive: Chair LaSalle, Adamini and Lewis. Brian Cloyd and Les Wong are ex officio members of all committees.
▪Moved the first fall-semester meeting from Sept. 22-23 to Sept. 29-30 to coincide with NMU Homecoming.
▪Accepted about $62,000 in gifts and more than $78,000 in external grants.
▪Agreed to restructure Academic Information Services as follows: transfer MicroRepair and programming staff from the now-dissolved Academic Computing Services under the direction of AdIT Information Technology; change the name of the HelpDesk to Computing HelpDesk; and combine Instructional Technology and Instructional Media Services into the renamed Instructional Design and Technology.
The next NMU Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled April 28-29.