March 6th, 1996

  • Location: Sayles Hill 251
  • Time: 4:15 pm
  • Present: President Stephen Lewis; students Malika Carter, Paul Dosh, Amy Fox, Christopher Hilberg, Bruce Manning; Professors Charles Carlin, Stephen Durbin, Mary Easter, James Finholt, Anne Ulmer; staff persons Patricia Shanahan, Jill Tollefson; Deans Mark Govoni, Elizabeth McKinsey, Clement Shearer; Alumni Observer Alan Thiel
  • Absent: Trustee Observer Katherine Youngblood
  • Guests: Beverlee De Coux
  • Secretary: Gretchen Dee
  • Keywords: retirement funds, budget, calendar, facilities,

The minutes from the meetings of January 9, 1996 and February 6, 1996 were approved with minor corrections.

President's Report

President Lewis reported that, despite rumors to the contrary, no decision had been reached on increasing the college's contribution to the retirement funds of college employees. He stated that a great deal of discussion would be required, including a recommendation by the Benefits Committee, before a decision could be reached. He reported that the college was 15 percent ahead of last year in the alumni fund and 14.5 percent ahead in total annual giving. He recognized not only the efforts of the staff, but of the student volunteers for these double digit increases in the last three to four years.

Student Paul Dosh questioned when the smoking policy would go before the trustees for approval. President Lewis stated that there was no need for the policy to go before the trustees. According to President Lewis, the policy was set to become effective the first day of Spring term. Student Chris Hilberg wondered if it was true that the Carleton Chamber Singers would perform at commencement rather than the Knights and Knightingales. Lewis stated that the change reflected the decision of a senior week committee last year whose membership included past and current seniors. He felt the issue could be re-visited by the committee if students were strongly opposed to the change.

1996-1997 Budget

Dean Clement Shearer formally introduced the 1996-1997 budget proposal and encouraged questions from the council. Dosh asked about the current and future role of competitive academic teams, such as the International Relations Council, in the college budget. Dean Shearer and Dean Mark Govoni explained the desire of the college to work cooperatively with CSA in funding student groups that bring positive public attention to Carleton, contribute to student learning, and have proven to be "trouble spots" in the past during the CSA funding process. Both Deans and President Lewis emphasized the importance of cooperation and a collaborative funding model between the general college budget and CSA.

Student Bruce Manning questioned the cost versus revenues for dorm housing found in the proposed budget. Dean Shearer explained that the college assesses a total comprehensive fee and that the allocation containing tuition, room, and board is made at the college's discretion. The fees for room and board are less than the actual cost by desire. The rising cost of food service was attributed most significantly to increases in this allocation.

With no further questions, President Lewis suggested a vote on the 1996-1997 budget. The budget was approved unanimously by a voice vote.

Calendar Discussion

Dean Elizabeth McKinsey reported that the ECC had worked diligently to finish reading the faculty recommendations on a proposed calendar change. She stated that the committee would try to put together a summary statement. She cited differing assumptions among departments as somewhat problematic and stated that the committee may have to return to department heads with questions. Dean McKinsey stressed the current emphasis on gathering educated student opinion. She stated that a lot of discussion would occur Spring term and she hoped to bring the question of a calendar change before the council by the end of the year.

Manning questioned the process of approval for a change and expressed concern that staff input would not be gathered adequately. Dean McKinsey stated that the recommendations would go through ECC before going before the faculty, College Council, and finally the Trustees for approval. Dean McKinsey reminded the council that the work patterns of some are not necessarily wed to the academic calendar. President Lewis added that the unique make-up of College Council, which includes students, faculty, staff, and administration, provided adequate representation. Dosh expressed his concern that the plan for discussion did not adequately address student representation. He pointed out that students are not a majority on any of the bodies through which the recommendation would go. He feared this fundamental shift could pass despite strong student opposition. Dean McKinsey assured the council that extensive student opinion would be sought through many means, but stressed the need for a well-informed debate. Professor James Finholt suggested finding new and imaginative ways to get student opinion, including referendum.

Facilities Review

Dean Govoni presented the second draft of his report which he characterized as "an overarching view of where we are and where we are going in the area of student life facilities." He stated that he had been working with a small group of staff to determine the state of student facilities and had recently appointed students to a task force to begin the process of how to improve non- academic, student facilities. He reminded the council of a recent tour he took with trustees to look at student recreational facilities. He reported that the trustees were receptive to suggestions for improvements. He listed the major challenges outlined in the paper beginning with the need for an indoor recreational complex. He emphasized this need as separate from a tennis facility, which might come as a result of a collaborative effort with St. Olaf and the city of Northfield. Secondly, Dean Govoni addressed student housing. He stated that discussion was moving away from the construction of a new residence hall and more in the direction of individual college- owned "garden apartments" or townhouses allowing students more independence and privacy. Next Dean Govoni addressed dining hall issues by identifying the overcrowded Evans dining hall as the most significant challenge. He foresaw increased board options for students including more off-board campus housing and a declining balance system as an alternative to a standard meal plan.. In discussion of social space issues, Dean Govoni stated that he did not envision the construction of a new student union in the future. He hoped to make improvements to student social space in other ways. Finally, under administrative space issues, Dean Govoni looked towards better accommodations for student groups to meet and interact by increasing student group office space. Concern arose over the logistics of a declining balance system for dining costs. Dean Govoni assured the council that many details were yet to be worked out and that any alternative system would contain flexibility.

Budget Relief

Dean Shearer wanted to provide a clear explanation for the process of budget relief. He felt it was important for the council to have a clear understanding of this part of balancing the budget. According to Shearer, when funds are donated to the college for a specific purpose, money previously allocated for that specific purpose from the college's general operating funds is often re-directed to other areas. Funds specifically allocated from an outside source are never used elsewhere. Dean Shearer reminded the council that this was not unusual and was crucial to sustain current programming and expand to include new activities and equipment.

Meeting was Adjourned at 6:00 p.m.