Fun with CMU Trustees

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the formal session of the CMU Board of Trustees. I had never been to a Trustees meeting before, but I was quite curious as to what goes on there. That, and I am considering joining one of the committees. More on that momentarily.

Make-up of the Board
The Board of Trustees consists of eight members whose terms expire on December 31 of an even-numbered year (i.e. each New Year's following an election). The Governor appoints trustees to the boards of each of Michigan's public universities (except U-M, MSU, and Wayne State, whose boards of control are elected by voters). Each trustee's term is eight years.

The current trustees, along with the year in which they were appointed and the year in which their terms expire, are:

  • Jeff Caponigro, Chair, 2002-2008*
  • John Kulhavi, Vice Chair, 2002-2008*
  • Stephanie Comai, 2003-2010**
  • Gail Torreano, 2003-2010**
  • Marilyn Hubbard, 2005-2012
  • Sam Kottamasu, 2005-2012
  • Brian Fannon, 2007-2014
  • Jacqueline Garrett, 2007-2014
*Caponigro and Kulhavi were each appointed after previous trustees resigned.
**Comai and Torreano were appointed in a controversial and unprecented move by Governor John Engler on January 1, 2003. Trustees' terms end right at the New Year, but the Governor's term ends at noon on New Year's Day. Many believed that Jennifer Granholm should have been the one to appoint the new trustees. (Of course if you know much about Engler, you wouldn't be surprised.)

As I touched on earlier, I have given some consideration to serving on the Trustees-Student Liaison Committee. This committee is comprised of three Trustees, the Student Body President, and three other students appointed by the Student Body President and confirmed by the SGA Senate. Traditionally, the President will appoint the President of the Residence Hall Assembly to the Committee, while this year President Mike Zeig appointed someone to deal specifically with diversity issues.

So, what happened?
In his report, President Michael Rao honored several students for their accomplishments, including football stars Dan LeFevour and Ike Brown. He also noted that a student's artwork was on display at the State Capitol.

An expert discussed the feasibility of building a medical school.

CMU Police Chief Stan Dinius gave a report on such items as emergency phones, emergency preparedness, and Night Rides.

So what did the Board actually do? Among other things, they:
  • Approved a $20 million renovation of the Rose Center, where sporting events, concerts, and commencement are held. To my relief, this will be funded entirely by donations.
  • Passed a resolution condemning the recent noose incident and recognizing the need for improving education on cultural and diversity issues.
  • Gave President Rao a raise. His salary is roughly in the middle in terms of Mid-American Conference salaries, at $293,550.
  • Granted emeritus rank to three outgoing faculty, including a dean.
  • Created a visiting professorship in Native American studies.
  • Named a room in the library for a longtime library employee.
  • Elected its officers for 2008. Caponigro will stay on as Chair, with Kulhavi as Vice Chair And Torreano as co-vice chair.
A Future Trustee?
After the meeting, Dean of Students Bruce Roscoe congratulated me on making it through the entire 193-minute meeting without once leaving the meeting room. I told him about my curiosity, and the fact that I have been thinking about joining the Trustees-Student Liaison Committee.

But I'm not gonna lie, I left that room on Thursday with a new lifetime goal: Serve as a Trustee. Yep, in 15-20 years when a Democratic Governor is looking for two new faces to join the CMU Board, and I am not an elected official, said governor should pencil in my name.

I mean, come on, I'm sure CMU can trust me to do a good job.

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