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Takeaways from CMU Board of Trustees committee meetings


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The Board of Trustees met for committee meetings in a HyFlex style on Sept. 22.

The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees met in committees on Sept. 22 to prepare for its Sept. 23 formal meeting.

Trustees attended three committee meetings to discuss complaints with Campus Dining, residence hall renovations and enrollment.

The board will meet for their live-streamed formal meeting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 23.

Trustees-Student Liaison

Student leaders from the Student Government Association, Program Board and the Residence Housing Association updated the trustees on student life on campus.

RHA Director Addison Hoekstra mentioned students have expressed frustrations with campus dining options, amount of food and quality that has led to a "Bring Back the Chicken Bowl" group and protests being planned.

Although Campus Dining sent out an email on Sept. 20 referencing issues with supply chains and the employee shortage, Hoekstra said students have had other complaints.

"Some residents have noticed that there's occasionally expired food like expired milk, sitting in the fridge, with like chunks," Hoekstra said. "So that's something that they're really concerned about right now."

President Bob Davies told the board he had received an email from a student regarding spoiled milk.

"We reached out to that young man and the answer was not chunks of milk, it was actually frozen," Davies said. "They've been having problems with that particular fridge so it's not as dire as it is. But I understand you want your nuggets. That's been heard loud and clear."

Finance and Facilities

Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Nick Long, updated the committee on construction projects from over the summer. The 60 projects conducted over the summer were valued at $19.9 million. 

Long discussed the need to replace Northwest Apartments with an updated complex. This project is in the early planning stages and, if approved, trustees will receive an update at the December board meeting.

“We need to replace them,” Long said. “Doing so will invigorate Washington Avenue where we would potentially put some apartments to integrate with some of the other master planning items that we are working on.”

“I feel strongly that it is time for us to move in this direction.” Long said.

The updated apartments would have two stories. The first floor would consist of stores where students could purchase food and other things necessary for independent living, and possibly a coffee shop. 

The second floor is where the apartments would be located.

Academic and Student Affairs

Vice President of Student Retention and Enrollment Chair Jennifer DeHaemers presented an update on the university's current enrollment trends, although official enrollment numbers were not announced.

DeHaemers said overall enrollment is still down. She added that student retention is at 77 percent from last fall to this fall and nearly 90 percent from students who started in the spring. Undergraduate students are taking fewer credit hours on average compared to previous years. 

"Our four-year graduation rate is higher in the '21 year than we predicted, so 39 percent graduation rate in four years versus what we predicted that 36 percent," DeHeamers said. "Additionally, contributing to that is that about 25 percent of new students coming to the university bring an average of 17 credit hours with them, so they're a little farther ahead in their degree progress."

DeHaemers' report also found that 4,000 students live somewhere on campus, 190 students participated in Impact and over 1,000 students participated in Leadership Safari. 

In addition, Academic Senate Chair  Katrina Piatek-Jimenez brought up the concerns students and faculty have addressed, which include shared governance with the Board of Trustees, COVID-19 safety and the strategic planning/prioritization processes.

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