October 23, 2000
SEPTEMBER 13-14, 2000 Wednesday, September 13
8:30 a.m. The Board meeting began with a lengthy executive session, followed by lunch, in the President's House 2:15 p.m. Board Meeting Reconvenes. Meeting of the Committee on Buildings and Grounds. Associate Vice President Robert Todd presented several items:
(1) Informational design presentation by the architect for the Siebel Computer Science Center.
(2) Proposed sites for The Quiet Place, a.k.a. the McFarland Chapel. There was lengthy discussion of this item. Is it legal to put a "chapel" on campus land? (Legal counsel was unsure, but felt it would probably have to be open to other campus groups besides the religious.) Is it appropriate? (Bob Rich was called upon for faculty opinion, and expressed concerns gleaned from members of senate council he had been able to contact.) Some trustees felt we should cheerfully place the thing on prime campus land if that's what the donor wanted, others were not so enthusiastic. Look for this item to reappear. This was presumably a preliminary "heads up" - but there is already a mighty slick brochure describing the "chapel" and including plans.
(3) A summary report on the status of university-wide capital projects (money in, money out, current state of project approvals, etc.) Meeting of the Committee on Academic Affairs. Bob Rich gave his annual report on what the senate and senate council have been doing this past year. Trustee Lamont asked why there was nothing in the report about senate actions to ensure the quality of education. This led to a general attack by the trustees, culminating in a speech by Trustee Gravenhorst (UI grad in English) expressing distress at how poorly our grads write and speak. (She specifically noted a widespread inability to use "me" and "I" correctly.) Our Provost and Chancellor (using impeccable English) rescued the situation somewhat by discussing the Gen Ed requirements and the quality considerations of the Gen Ed Board. 3:30 p.m. Board Meeting Reconvenes. The purpose of this session was to hear a report on the Chancellor search at UIS. This was quite brief, as the search committee is still in the early stages of building an applicant pool. The Board then went into yet another executive session before adjourning until the next day. Thursday, September 14
8:40 a.m. Board Meeting Reconvenes. The meeting began with the public session. There were three presentations opposing the selling of Allerton land to the state, followed by three student presentations - one urging that a "parents' room" be included in the Siebel Center, one by the GEO "steward" from the French department, and one by a sort of general purpose activist whose message was unclear. There followed the general discussion of agenda items, the purpose of which is to answer trustees' questions ahead of time, so that the agenda (the actual voting on the items) can be handled expeditiously. Vice President Bazzani noted that two of the items dealt with the ERP - one approval of a contract with Arthur Anderson to fill the role of "implementation partner", the other a delegation to the administration of the authority to sign the final contract with SCT for the ERP ("within the parameters specified" in the agenda item). Considering the large amount of money involved, it was surprising that the trustees only had a few minor questions. However, they had already heard a lot about the ERP. Trustee Reese then raised a question about the 2000-2001 operating budget. Were "unfunded mandates" (in particular, the assignment of Sangamon State to UI) drawing away money from the other campuses? The administration noted expensive new initiatives at UIC and UIUC, and the needs of Springfield, but Trustee Reese was not totally happy. This led to a discussion of the broader issue of whether we are "one university", and the trustees on the whole supported this view. Trustee Lamont then raised some questions about the appointment of the IllinoisVentures board of managers. Trustee Shea is also concerned that in order to stagger terms some distinguished business persons will have only one-year terms. He moves that this not happen and that is agreed to. 9:47 a.m. Meeting of the Committee on Trusteeship Trustee Gravenhorst reported on items the committee has been working on: Bylaws for the Board; a mentoring program for new trustees, to begin with students; a list of "courtesies and privileges" for past trustees, such as a limited number of tickets to athletic events, and an ID card allowing library privileges and such. 9:57 a.m. Meeting of the Committee on Finance and Audit. This meeting was devoted to presentation of the final recommendation of the FY2002 budget request. Largely it was the capital budget that occasioned discussion, with Trustee Shea expressing concern that the top priorities (R&R, chiller, Siebel) included nothing for agriculture or the south farms project. VP Bazzani noted that land acquisition in south farms area would begin. The upshot of the discussion is that trustees will be looking for south farms items, new ECE building, to appear soon "off-budget" (private and/or "economic development" money). 10:30 a.m. Meeting of the Committee on Finance and Audit. This committee was called to order after a short break. There were three items on the agenda:
(1) Presentation of the FY2001 operating budget. Mike Provenzano went through a set of slides summarizing income & expenditures. In response to a question, he said that 10% of the budget is from tuition. Complete budget information (e.g., everyone's salary) was provided to the trustees with this item.
(2) Investment review for the quarter ended June 30, 2000 (with an informal update through August -- things have been doing better lately). The emphasis was not on how we are doing on an absolute basis, but how we are doing in comparison with standard benchmarks (quite well).
(3) Overview of the University audit program, presented by Richard Traver. Much of the presentation dealt with the ethics program, which affects everyone. There are new State rules requiring, among other things, a University Ethics Officer, to which office Traver has been appointed in addition to his job as director of the Office of Audits. To get a copy of the Handbook, find out whether something you are doing is legal, and enjoy some relevant cartoons, check out http://ethics.uillinois.edu. 11:37 a.m. Meeting of the Board as a Committee of the Whole. The subject of this meeting was a report from Chancellor Aiken on the status of the Urbana campus. This report contained essentially the same material as Michael's report at the Annual Meeting of the Faculty, although the trustees had decided to push on and finish all their business before lunch, so I expect Michael felt a little rushed. There were no questions, only applause for the job Michael has been doing. 12:20 p.m. Meeting of the Committee on Human Resources. Trustee O'Malley updated the Board about the current review of the status of women. The committee has been visiting the campuses, talking to many people, and studying the data provided by the campuses. The last step will be a set of open meetings to be held on each campus. (The one at Urbana was held the following morning.) They hope to have their report completed by March. Proving that the trustees do listen to the public comments, Trustee Schmidt asked whether the committee did look at issues like the "parents' room" in the Siebel Center (they had), and wondered what the problem is in accommodating such a request. Chancellor Aiken responded that there is a serious liability issue - what if the parent steps out and something happens? 12:30 p.m. Board Meeting Resumes. Finally we got to the regular business. There were various brief reports from the trustees: on the Foundation, the Alumni Association, the Athletic Board. Student trustees in particular reported on student events and issues on the campuses. With the big election coming up in November, a big thing is political activity. The list of regular agenda items was called out by the Secretary and all were approved unanimously and without further questions. The meeting adjourned at 12:57 p.m.
Observer from the Senate Council