NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Minutes of the Formal Session
A formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday, April 29, 2016 in the Don H. Bottum University Center of Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan. The meeting was convened at 9:00 a.m. in the Marquette/Nicolet/Cadillac Rooms by Chair H. Sook Wilkinson.
Trustees present included:
Dr. H. Sook Wilkinson, Chair Mr. Richard M. Popp
Mr. Scott L. Holman Ms. Tami M. Seavoy
Dr. L. Garnet Lewis Dr. Thomas H. Zurbuchen
Mr. Robert E. Mahaney Dr. Fritz J Erickson, ex officio
Mr. Steven M. Mitchell
Senior Staff and Counsel present included:
Mr. R. Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer of the Board
Dr. Kerri Schuiling, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Steven A. VandenAvond, Vice President for Extended Learning and Community Engagement
Ms. Cathy A. Niemi, Secretary of the Board of Trustees
Mr. Kurt McCamman, Legal Counsel
MOMENT OF SILENCE IN MEMORY OF NMU STUDENT AND FACULTY
Dr. Kerri Schuiling, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, read memorials for the following:
· Mr. Ricky Wayne Berry, current student in the welding program, who died on April 17, 2016.
· Dr. Charles F. Ganzert, professor from the Communication and Performance Studies department, who died on April 7, 2016.
The Board of Trustees observed a moment of silence in their memory.
The following individuals addressed the Board on their concerns regarding the location of the new residence halls and the need to move approximately 15% of the Outdoor Learning Area to another area on campus: Mr. Nathan Frischkorn, Mr. Alex Svoboda, Ms. Andrea Kantola, Ms. Cassondra Prchlik, Dr. Ron Sundell, Ms. Mika Benton, Mr. Jarret McEldowney, Mr. Andrew Adamski, Mr. Eric Creel, and Ms. Alissa Chrisekos. They urged the Board and administration to postpone the project until further research into an alternate location for the residence halls could be identified to save the Outdoor Learning Area.
Professor Lesley Putman addressed the Board on the decrease of one faculty FTE in the Chemistry department. Professor Putman said that although she is speaking on a different subject she does support the native plants area.
Mr. Ivan Swart addressed the Board on the different values between parts of the university and sustainability.
Assistant Professor Amy Orf addressed the Board on staffing within the International Programs Office and support for study abroad.
Professor Rebecca Mead addressed the Board on process and communication.
Professor Brent Graves addressed the Board on recent successes at NMU and how communication is what allowed them to happen.
Mr. Mike Thibeault addressed the Board on the Outdoor Learning Area, as well as the privatization of the new residence halls.
Mr. Eric Creel addressed the Board on the Outdoor Learning Area which is a catalyst for opening a larger discussion, the Marquette Climbers Cooperative, and its mission of creating a model for a sustainable community.
Mr. John Thomas addressed the Board on inside custodial maintenance that EdR, a private company, will be taking over from university AFSCME employees in the new residence halls.
The Trustees thanked the speakers for coming and being so passionate and involved with campus issues.
The meeting was recessed at 10:05 a.m.
The meeting reconvened at 10:18 a.m.
Trustee Mitchell asked that before a vote was taken on the Formal Recommendation, he would like to request that item D-12, the resolution for the construction and operation of the new residential halls, be removed from the Formal Recommendations and be considered separately.
The following action was taken:
It was moved by Trustee Mitchell, seconded by Trustee Mahaney, and unanimously supported to remove Item D-12 from the Formal Recommendations.
Trustee Seavoy asked that Item D-8, the 0.25 acre property exchange to coincide with the sale of 1100 Wright Street to the City of Marquette, be removed from the Formal Recommendations and be considered separately. Trustee Seavoy also asked for authorization to abstain from the vote on Item D-8 as the law firm she works for represents the City of Marquette. In order to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, she requests approval to abstain from voting on that item.
The following action was taken:
It was moved by Trustee Holman, seconded by Trustee Mahaney, and unanimously supported to remove Item D-8 from the Formal Recommendations.
It was moved by Trustee Mitchell, seconded by Trustee Zurbuchen, and unanimously supported to allow Trustee Seavoy to abstain from voting on the 0.25 acre property exchange.
Trustee Mahaney asked that Item D-9, the Cross Country Skiing Fee be increase from $4 to $5 (a pass through fee that covers the use of the Noquemanon Trail Network during class), be removed from the Formal Recommendations and be considered separately. Trustee Mahaney also asked for authorization to abstain from the vote on Item D-9 as he is on the board of the Noquemanon Trail Network.
The following action was taken:
It was moved by Trustee Mitchell, seconded by Trustee Seavoy, and unanimously supported to allow Trustee Mahaney to abstain from voting on the Cross Country Skiing Fee increase for use of the Noquemanon Trail.
It was moved by Trustee Mitchell, seconded by Trustee Mahaney, and unanimously supported to remove Item D-9 from the Formal Recommendations.
The following action was taken:
It was moved by Trustee Popp, seconded by Trustee Zurbuchen, and unanimously supported to approve the Formal Recommendations as amended. (Addendum 1)
It was moved by Trustee Mitchell, seconded by Trustee Holman, and supported unanimously to approve the resolution for the construction and operation of the new residence halls with EdR, which would lead to the demolition of other residence halls.
Trustee Mitchell said he appreciates the passion, eloquence, and preparation that all of the speakers did and the way in which they represented themselves at this meeting and at the listening session on Wednesday afternoon, April 28. The Trustees have read all of the materials they received and ultimately a decision needs to be made by the Board, a decision that should be made after the Board has shown consideration and listened to all concerns. He believes that the current residence halls that were built in the early 60s are no longer feasible for the students. After hearing all of the information form everyone and what has been done to put up the most sustainable residence halls possible – an enormous amount of time and energy have been devoted to this process. The Board needs to look at the long-term future of Northern Michigan and its viability as a university – what is in the best interest of the university. Trustee Holman said there are always disappointments but somewhere along the line it can take a turning point. Trustee Popp said he does not see that this issue is two-sided. There is only one side that everyone wants and that is what is best for the university. Trustee Seavoy said that regarding the Outdoor Learning Area, one thing that was important for her to understand was that the utilities for the residence halls go right under the area. Trustee Mahaney said that he was one of the founders of the Noquemanon Trail Network, one of the goals was to try to create a more environmentally appreciative community in Marquette. He said the impassioned speeches and thoughtful arguments that were put forth today makes him feel good and know that progress has been made in that area. He said he appreciates hearing what has been done with the Outdoor Learning Area. He said that President Erickson and his staff have done an impressive job and due diligence with all aspects of this project. The agreement with EdR leaves NMU financially in a stronger place, far stronger than had NMU done the project. Mr. Mitchell said that as a result of all the information from everyone the Outdoor Learning Area has been increased in size with the added space allocated. Trustee Wilkinson said that she appreciates the students having done their due diligence on this topic as well.
It was unanimously supported by the full Board to approve the resolution for the construction and operation of the new residence halls with EdR.
It was moved by Trustee Holman, seconded by Trustee Lewis, to approve the 0.25 acre property exchange to coincide with the sale of 1100 Wright Street to the City of Marquette. The motion carried with 7 in favor and 1 abstention.
It was moved by Trustee Lewis, seconded by Trustee Popp, that the Cross Country Skiing Fee be increased from $4 to $5. The pass through fee covers the use of the Noquemanon Trail Network during class. The motion carried with 7 in favor and 1 abstention.
Dr. Marie Aho, Director of Counseling and Consultation Services, and Dr. Chris Greer, Vice President and Dean of Students, reported on the mental health services available to the campus community (Addendum #2). They responded to questions and comments from the Trustees.
INTRODUCTION OF GRADUATING SENIOR SPEAKING AT SPRING COMMENCEMENT
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Kerri Schuiling, introduced Mr. Amer Mansoor, from Bloomfield Hills, MI, who will represent the graduating class at Commencement ceremonies tomorrow. He is graduating with a Communication Studies Major. On behalf of the Board, Chair Wilkinson congratulated Mr. Mansoor and presented him with a plaque. A photo was taken.
INTRODUCTION OF HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENT AND COMMENCENENT SPEAKER
President Erickson announced that Dr. James Surrell, Medical Director of Digestive Health, UP Health Systems, Marquette, will be the Spring 2016 Commencement Speaker. Dr. Surrell will also receive an Honorary Doctor of Science.
ASNMU REPORT (Addendum #3)
Ms. Lindsey Lieck, 2015-2016 President of the Associated Students of Northern Michigan University, introduced Mr. Tristan Ruiz, 2016-2017 ASNMU President and Mr. Xavier Pete-Dye, 2016-2017 ASNMU Vice President.
Ms. Lieck said that President Erickson has always said how great NMU faculty are but wasn’t sure if he’s ever said how great the staff are. There is a program called “Late Night” at the Marketplace where students can come and eat from 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. During finals week this is opened up to all students, whether they have a meal plan or not. Recently an event was added on the first night of finals week – Pancakes with the President. President Erickson and several members of the Leadership Team and Deans served pancakes to the students. She wanted everyone to know that the staff is doing some great things that are really appreciated by the students.
Ms. Lieck reported on an initiative that ASNMU is working on with the Native American Student Association, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and the Native American Language and Culture Club. These organizations have been working for over a year to establish Indigenous Peoples Day at NMU. They started by gathering approximately 570 signatures from the NMU community in favor of this day and then brought the petition to ASNMU. ASNMU then worked with the leadership of these organizations to develop a resolution. Part of the purpose of this day is to include and celebrate Northern Michigan University’s indigenous population. This day will take place on Columbus Day. They wanted a day to celebrate our population to raise awareness to include our community in this celebration. ASNMU and the organizations are working with Dr. Jessica Cruz, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, to hopefully make this happen in fall 2016.
She said that Dr. Graves talked about the NMU Transparency Project. She would like to echo how lucky she has been to be a part of this project since this past fall. The goal of this project is to improve transparency, communication, and decision making. ASNMU and the students have taken this project very seriously and taken the initiative to heart. It involves many different factors such as process. Another key component is communication. Ms. Lieck said that ASNMU has been working to get Student Connect which is similar to Campus Connect that faculty and staff receive to streamline communications to students that are typically received through multiple emails. On the topic of transparency, Ms. Lieck said that previously the Board had mentioned that they might be interested in doing a Town Hall fireside chat meeting that ASNMU coordinates with campus leadership. The new ASNMU leadership will be contacting the Board to initiate one of these events.
Ms. Lieck reported that the students are very passionate about sustainability and being involved in decision making on campus. She said that at this university we need to invest more in sustainability. To accomplish this, we need more discussion and consideration of sustainability. There used to be a sustainability committee that discussed this and worked with Facilities – there have been a lot of initiatives to get this committee reinstated. She said she has spent time working with Facilities during her year at ASNMU to talk about sustainability. She knows they have researched initiatives such as renewable energy and dedicated their time to see what different initiatives cost. NMU has so many students that dedicate their time on these issues, whether it be through committees, student projects, etc. She said she believes it’s time to commit to establishing a university Sustainability Committee that consists of faculty, staff, and students. It needs the leadership – it needs people that are decision makers on campus. It also needs funding. One way to get funding is talking to ASNMU about getting a student referendum to have a sustainability fund. Other funding possibilities could be through the university and possibly through work with donors.
Ms. Lieck responded to questions and comments from the Trustees. She thanked the Trustees for everything they do for the University. Trustees thanked Ms. Lieck and congratulated her on her term as ASNMU president.
Chair Wilkinson congratulated Ms. Lieck on her success and presented her with a gift on behalf of the Board of Trustees. A photo was taken.
President Erickson thanked everyone for the thoughtful consideration around the building of the new residence halls and the work that has gone into it. He said the discussions on campus have been fantastic and he has enjoyed the Town Hall meetings – all of the meetings with students are so important.
President Erickson reported on activities and accomplishments since the February meeting. His report is appended to these minutes. (Addendum #4)
Mr. Mitchell, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, April 28, 2016. A copy of the report is appended to these minutes. (Addendum #5)
Mr. Holman, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on meetings held on Friday, January 15, 2016 and Thursday, April 28, 2016. A copy of the reports is appended to these minutes. (Addendum #6 and Addendum #7)
Dr. Wilkinson, Chair of the Executive Committee, reported on a meeting held on Thursday, April 28, 2016. A copy of the report is appended to these minutes. (Addendum #8)
ANNOUNCEMENT OF INFORMAL CLOSED SESSIONS TO BE HELD IN CONNECTION WITH THE THURSDAY – FRIDAY, June 16 – 17, 2016, SESSIONS OF THE BOARD
President Erickson made this announcement for the public record.
Chair Wilkinson adjourned the meeting at 11:35 a.m.
Cathy A. Niemi
Secretary of the Board of Trustees