April 21st, 2008
- Location: Sayles-Hill 251
- Time: 4:15 pm
- Present: Staff Members: Scott Bierman, Robbie Groth, Rob Oden, Austin Robinson-Coolidge, Fred Rogers and Hudlin Wagner; Faculty Members: Deborah Appleman, Peter Balaam, Victoria Morse, Sam Patterson; Students: Ben Barclay, Tricia England, Caitlin Fleming, Brandon Walker and Tommy Walker; Alumni Observer Lee Mauk; Trustee Observer Louise Heffelfinger.
- Absent: Faculty Member Mary Savina, Alumni Observer Sara Anderson.
- Guests: Eliza Berry, Nathan Grawe, Rob Laampa, Jason Matz, Bessie Schwarz.
- Secretary: Anna Losacano
Approval of Minutes
The minutes from the meeting of April 1, 2008 were approved unanimously.
Carleton’s Endowment Performance
Carleton’s Director of Investments Jason Matz outlined Carleton’s portfolio performance for the Council. He first explained the College’s investment goals, which are to grow the endowment each year enough to replace spending and to offset the effects of inflation. This means there is a long term goal of approximately 9 percent or more return. Carleton strives to achieve this return through a diversified portfolio, which reduces the volatility of returns and therefore spending.
Carleton’s endowment performance has been good despite the fact that it is a volatile time in the market. In the last fiscal year the endowment had higher returns than the Standard and Poor Index and so far this fiscal year through February is up 5.6 percent while the market in general is down 5.1 percent. President Rob Oden commented that restructuring the portfolio towards diversification and moving about $200 million in the last year and a half was important to the endowment continuing to do well. He also commented on the importance of the endowment as each year about a third of Carleton’s budget is funded by the endowment.
Carleton Code of Sustainable Conduct
Students Eliza Berry and Bessie Schwarz and CSA Senator and College Council Member Ben Barclay presented the Carleton Code of Sustainable Conduct. The goal of the Code of Sustainable Conduct is to continue Carleton’s recent efforts to become more sustainable by contributing the missing link in all these efforts—behavioral change. The goal of the document is to be encouraging, informative and unthreatening about ways Carleton students can make small changes in their lives that will contribute to sustainability.
The document will be available to sign online at go.carleton.edu/green. Also included on the website will be statistics and additional information about the suggestions. The document was formatted as a code in the hopes of making it clear that signing it is a choice and a personal commitment instead of a policy that the College requires. The document has been endorsed by the Environmental Action Committee and was presented to the Council for approval.
The floor was first opened to questions. Student Tommy Walker wondered whether the document went too far in defining what someone would have to do to be part of the Carleton community and wondered whether it infringed on personal liberties. Faculty member Deborah Appleman responded that the language of the document is very light-handed and comes across as suggestions rather than demands. Student Tricia England commented that participation is completely voluntary and that it is consistent with the values previously expressed by the College and actions the College has already taken such as signing the President’s Climate Commitment. Ben Barclay also mentioned that they have received an overwhelmingly positive response to the document from students.
Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers commented that possibly the word code is problematic because the document outlines suggested practices. Dean of Students Hudlin Wagner agreed that a code is usually something that is enforced so it may not be the best word for the document. She also emphasized that the values outlined in the document are not just about being part of the Carleton community but also about being part of the global community. Dean Scott Bierman suggested that actions taken in response to this document should be measured quantitatively so that progress made as a result of it can be documented.
President Oden introduced the document for approval by voice vote pending some changes. The Carleton Code of Sustainable Conduct was approved unanimously, as introduced by CSA Senator and College Council Member Ben Barclay, pending revisions that would identify the statement as principles of sustainable conduct rather than as a code.
Dean of Students Hudlin Wagner provided the Council on an update on the Diversity Initiative Group’s activity. DIG is currently making recommendations to improve the College’s various statements related to diversity after the trustees approved a new Statement on Diversity. Due to this updated statement, other statements need to be updated to include the terms veteran’s status, actual or perceived sexuality and gender identity and expression. The protocol for the domestic partner form also needs to be updated as the current language gives a feeling of distrust and the process is not required for all staff. A new draft will be made and brought to the College Council for approval.
Dean Wagner also mentioned hopes of a high turnout for the Campus Climate Survey. Student Brandon Walker mentioned that the survey was inaccessible online at least a few times during the survey period. Dean Wagner said she would look into this and see whether it was down for long enough that it should be reopened for a period.
Campus Design Subcommittee of College Council
President Oden introduced the idea of having a Campus Design Subcommittee of College Council. The subcommittee would allow a larger group to be consulted to answer design questions. Examples of issues that could be addressed by the subcommittee are whether Carleton has a defined entrance, if it should have one, or where prairie plantings should go. The catalyst for forming this subcommittee is the Arts Union. A lot of space will be opened up after some departments and classrooms are moved to the Arts Union and Carleton will have to decide how to use this free space. The Council decided membership on the subcommittee should be determined this year for meetings to begin next fall. The catalyst for forming this subcommittee is the Arts Union. President Oden
Draft- Measures of Academic Excellence
Dean Bierman and Associate Dean of the College Bev Nagel updated the Council on efforts to make the measures of academic excellence the College uses more effective. With help from Institutional Research a draft of potential measures was written and discussed by the trustees. Also, Faculty member Nathan Grawe held a “Carleton by the Numbers” session with faculty to explore quantitative methods of measuring academic excellence. Dean Bierman and Dean Nagel presented many of these measures of excellence to the Council. The document is still a draft and they are very open to more suggestions.
The meeting adjourned at 5:50 pm.
Anna Losacano ‘10
College Council Secretary