Trustees discuss student safety, university enrollment at committee meetings
Correction: A previous version of this story said the Point of Pride presentation was given by Rachel Nelson, student of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Prefessions. That was incorrect. The presentation was given by Rachael Nelson, School of Health Sciences faculty.
The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees met in committees Feb. 13 to discuss racial incidents at CMU, as well as the effects of declining enrollment on the university.
The formal meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 in the President's Conference Room.
Trustee-Student Liaison Committee
The meeting was centered on Trustee Michael Sandler’s opening question: “Do students feel safe here?”
Sparta junior Australyah Coleman, president of Central’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said the quality of safety has been questioned by NAACP representatives throughout Michigan and on the national level as racial incidents continue to occur.
“There has been at least one racial incident occurring per month,” Coleman said, describing a time window of slightly more than three months.
The latest case, which President Robert Davies was just informed on during the meeting, occurred Feb. 11 in regards to the annual date auction in Wheeler Hall.
Coleman said a Snapchat post was floating around campus of individual male student stating, “prepare to buy myself at the slave auction.”
Detroit senior Ambrean Ford, Wheeler Hall inclusion assistant, said her biggest concern is the retention rate of students of color at CMU. She said the way the administration addresses the incident in the upcoming days can have a big impact on the enrollment and trust of Central’s African American community.
“I really hope (you) understand that your response is the real answer to if they belong here or not,” Ford said.
Academic and Student Affairs Committee
The committee addressed CMU's declining enrollment and it's possible impact on the university.
With fewer students attending the university, CMU will have a smaller amount of money available for university operations, said Provost Michael Gealt.
Possible effects of this include fewer opportunities for undergraduates to participate in scholarly projects and the possibility of faculty leaving the university to work at a more successful or prestigious university.
Finance and Facilities Committee
Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Barrie Wilkes discussed the details of the three-year Residence Life plan.
The first phase will take place during the Summer 2019 and will cost $13 million. The phase will include the decommissioning of Barnes Hall, modifications to the East and South residential dining halls, access controls in all residents’ halls and various other slight improvements.
“We are competing with other schools in lower Michigan and it’s critical that our student life experience be second to none because they don’t have Grand Rapids or East Lansing,” said Shaun Holtgreive, executive director of student affairs.
The budget for the year is under 100 percent for tuition and room and board, which stems off the current enrollment issues CMU has.
Trustee-Faculty Liaison Committee
The committee received a "Point of Pride" presentation from Rachael Nelson, School of Health Sciences faculty
. Nelson and seven honor students went to the Henry Ford Hospital to learn more about clinical exercise physiology and cardiac rehabilitation.
The students had the opportunity to observe and work alongside exercise physiologist and patients.
After the visit, the four internship opportunities in the exercise physiology field were all given to the CMU students. In the future, Nelson hopes to use alumni connections at many different hospitals in the state to offer similar visits and experiences for students.
Enterprise Risk Committee
For the first meeting of the Enterprise Risk Committee, the board defined enterprise risk as a strategic plan that identifies elements of changes and occurrences that would disrupt the operations of CMU.
At the future meetings, Wilkes said they will bring forward the risk rankings from the university’s enterprise risk committee and will then identify the top three risks. He will then bring in the risk manager for each of these top priority risks to talk to the board.
Board members Robert Wardrop and Tricia Keith expressed their most prominent risk concern currently is enrollment.