September 29th, 2003
- Location: Sayles-Hill 251
- Present: President Robert A. Oden; Deans Shelby Boardman, Mark Govoni, and Stephen Kelly; Professors Nathan Grawe, Dana Strand, Steve Strand, and Anne Ulmer; Students Blaine Eubanks, Jamie Long, Trevor McNeil, Dan Poppy, and Becca Stark; Staff Persons Jean Hayes and Andrea Nixon; Trustee Observer Louise Heffelfinger
- Absent: Alumni Observer Neil Chaffee
- Guests: Controller Beverlee DeCoux; Carletonian co-managing editor Nora Martin
- Secretary: Jaime Anthony
- Keywords: Diversity Initiative Group, DIG, 2002-2003 Budget, 2003-2004 Budget, Campaign Priorities Committee, CPC
President's Welcoming Remarks
President Oden began by welcoming the College Council to a new year. The President encouraged the Council members to work "systematically, and regularly, and routinely, and energetically" to fulfill its duties, and emphasized the College Council's importance to the school.
Introduction of MembersPresident Oden suggested an introduction of all members, as opposed to only new members. Following this suggestion, all in attendance at the meeting introduced themselves. In concluding the introductions, President Oden offered an interesting piece of information: In addition to its affiliation with Northfield Academy during its founding years, Carleton College was merged for some time with Pillsbury Academy in Owatonna, MN. This was done to alleviate the hardships of the Great Depression.
Approval of MinutesThe College Council minutes for the meeting of May 26, 2003, were approved unanimously.
President's ReportDue to anticipated absences at the next meeting, Tuesday October 14th, 2003, President Oden announced that the meeting on the 14th is cancelled, to be replaced with the hold date, October 28th, 2003. The October 28th meeting will focus on work of the Campaign Priorities Committee, presented by Dean Boardman. Stressing the importance of diversity to high school seniors and Carleton, President Oden brought up DIG, the Diversity Initiative Group. Secondly, the President discussed fundraising, citing that over $415,000 was raised for the alumni annual fund. President Oden also mentioned that last year it was estimated that the College would receive overall $12-17 million in cash receipts; the College actually received $25, 276,000. In an update on the status of the upcoming art museum, President Oden stated that he did not want to rush into anything, and expects a solidified plan by January. The President briefly mentioned the Campaign Priorities Committee, lauding its involvement of many different groups. In reference to the College Council's structure, the President mentioned the inclusion of students in the Council membership, and noted that anyone is welcome to submit items to the agenda. This year, in addition to attending the meeting to form the upcoming College Council meetings' agendas, Dean Govoni will meet with the five Council student members before the College Council meetings. President Oden encouraged the College Council members to form small subcommittees, also. President Oden pointed out upcoming agenda topics, including DIG, and its role in the regulation of non-College sponsored religious groups; financial aid, which along with faculty/staff compensation was the only major part of the budget to experience an increase this year; and socially-responsible investing, for which the Board of Trustees has an ad hoc group. In conclusion, President Oden plans to compile one document that will serve as the College Council constitution.
Review of 2002-03 and 2003-04 BudgetsDean Kelly reported that it is the goal to use no more than 4.5% of the endowment for operations expenses by 2005-2006. The 2002-2003 Operating Budget shows an expected endowment draw percentage of 6.6%, while the actual value was 6.2%. The endowment at the end of August was $462 million. The 2002-2003 Operating Budget also shows a surplus of $769,000, primarily from departments who did not spend their entire budget. Changes in last year's budget include one-time expenditures: the switch to safer passenger vans; a new copier contract; an increase of 20.7% in health insurance premiums for College employees; a 30-40% increase in casualty insurance; a very low debt rate of 0.7%; a mild winter and low gas prices; the cut in Minnesota work study programs, resulting in $50,000 absorbed; and a reduction in loan funds. Based on a preliminary version of a budget for 2003-2004, Dean Kelly discussed the challenge of the freshman financial aid increase, with 59% of students on college grant aid. The total financial aid budget increased almost 12%, which was much higher than the anticipated 7.9%. Almost 59% of students are on financial aid, which is 5% higher than hoped. With an endowment draw of $25.68 million, the College will have a 5.5% draw, getting closer to the ideal 4.5% draw. This number is important so that the College can have a better bond rating, to get better interest rates on loans. The salaries budget is in fine condition, though there are questions on health insurance increases. Natural gas prices are estimated to increase by 40%; this combined with a bad winter could add stress to the budget as well. There is a deficit of $378,000; Dean Kelly will bring a balanced budget to the College Council meeting soon. Overall, the College is in good economic shape, because the campus has responded well to budget discussions. In response to Blaine Eubanks, Dean Kelly emphasized that the ideal endowment draw rate will remain at 4.5% going forward. Dean Kelly also spoke about need-sensitive financial aid. In order to control the increase in the financial aid budget, at the end of the April admissions cycle, some student admittance is based on their ability to pay. Dean Kelly pointed out that in the admissions process, the College does not want to change the student body composition, and that in an exhaustive study, there was "no discernable difference" between students admitted under the need-sensitive policy and those not. However, Dean Kelly and President Oden made sure to emphasize that it is undeniably a goal to become completely need blind.
DIG ReportPresident Oden began his report by describing the history of the Diversity Initiative Group (DIG), including its problems: a large membership; infrequent meetings; an unknown place in the overall governance of the College. The President decided he will chair DIG, decreasing its membership to a dozen core members and making its meetings much more frequent and routine. In addition to these two changes, the President wants a new name for DIG, and he wants to make the new DIG a subcommittee of the College Council. The makeup of DIG is one-quarter staff, students, administrators, and faculty; its potential areas of interest include admissions, faculty and staff recruitment, the College's curriculum, community education, and potentially many other topics. President Oden plans to present more finalized plans on November 18.
Campaign Priorities Committee UpdateDean Boardman introduced the purpose of the Campaign Priorities Committee (CPC) to the College Council: to present urgent needs of the College to President Oden and the Board of Trustees. To accomplish this, the CPC plan to engage the Carleton community as much as possible within the upcoming 10 weeks. The CPC includes students, faculty, staff,, alumni, and Trustees, and has already met to organize the committee. The members plan to meet with different groups such as department chairs, staff, and the alumni council, though the CPC does not plan on overwhelming alumni before the campaign becomes public. The CPC is also working with the Development and External Relations offices. Dean Boardman encouraged College Council members to start talking about what others want, so that on October 28 when the CPC comes to the Council, there will be many things to discuss.
The meeting ended at 5:30 p.m.