September 28th, 2009

  • Location: Sayles Hill 251
  • Time: 4:15 pm
  • Present: Staff Members: Robbie Groth, Stefanie Morrison, Bev Nagel, Rob Oden, Fred Rogers; Faculty Members: Clara Hardy, Michael Hemesath, Mark Kanazawa, Jessica Leiman; Students: McKay Duer, Paul Ellebrecht, Jon Fraser, Chase Kimball; Alumni Observer Lee Mauk.
  • Absent: Staff Member: Hudlin Wagner; Faculty Member: Fernan Jaramillo; Student: Nimo Ali; Trustee Observer Jim Johnson.
  • Guests: Coordinator of Medical Services Natalee Johnson, Director of Security Services Wayne Eisenhuth, Chair of the Board of Trustees Jack Eugster, Professor Michael McNally, Associate Dean of Students Julie Thornton, Director of Alumni Affairs Becky Zrimsek.
  • Secretary: Laura Michel

President’s Report

Chair of the Board of Trustees Jack Eugster opened with remarks regarding the recent announcement of President Oden’s retirement in June 2010. President Oden informed first the Board’s Executive Committee in person, and then all Trustees and many alumni by telephone, on Thursday, September 24, 2009); and the Executive Committee promptly appointed Board Chair Jack Eugster and Trustee Cathy Paglia to co-chair the Search Committee, whose membership Trustees hope will be completed by the time of the October Trustee meetings.  McKay Duer, CSA President, will work with CSA to select the students to serve on the Search Committee.  Board Chair Jack Eugster has met with Dean of the College Bev Nagel and Faculty President Michael Hemesath regarding the process by which faculty will be named to the Search Committee.  A question was raised regarding how students can get on the Search Committee. Chair Eugster responded that students interested in serving on the committee should talk to McKay Duer in the next couple of days.

The floor was then turned over to President Oden, who explained how the College Council agenda is formed.  Constitutionally, College Council’s agenda is formed by the three presidents (of CSA, of the faculty, of the College), but any member of College Council is invited to contact one of the three presidents to recommend items for College Council’s agenda.  President Oden encouraged everyone to consider whether the current method of forming the agenda is the best and most productive way to ensure the wise use of College Council members’ time and attention. 

H1N1 Planning Update

Coordinator of Medical Services Natalee Johnson and Director of Security Services Wayne Eisenhuth introduced their presentation about the H1N1 virus by reminding the Council that, because the information is dynamic and constantly changing, it is imperative to remain adaptable. As such, the Pandemic Team meets weekly and is effectively working with the Communications Team to inform the community of any changes. The Pandemic Team, created in 2005 in response to H5N1, is composed of a diverse group of members from the college community and has been meeting regularly to deal with the issue of H1N1 since April 2009. The need for a unique team to address this issue is due the fact that because pandemics are an entirely new or not well-circulated virus, thus vulnerability is virtually universal. Officially declared a pandemic on June 11th, 2009 by the World Health Organization, the H1N1 virus can be expected to encircle the globe, and hit the community in two or three waves.

The Carleton community has already seen the effects of H1N1 in higher than normal flu presentations – 29 students have self-documented flu-like symptoms as of the Council meeting. However, because in Minnesota testing for the presence of H1N1 is only done in hospitals, and even when those ill are tested, results are not available for seven to ten days, the actual number of H1N1 is unknown. Thankfully, most with 2009 H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs.   Antiviral medications are available for the few whom it is indicated for. Typically, H1N1 causes mild illness, with an incubation period of one to seven days (the average being one to four days). Those infected are contagious for the one day prior to the onset of symptoms and seven days after.

The main role of the college, then, in mitigating the effects of the H1N1, is to support a communication campaign educating the community about the spread and treatment of the virus. State-wide, the Minnesota Department of Health is working to create a help line for those concerned about the spread at treatment of H1N1. More specifically, if a Carleton student, faculty, or staff member gets sick, an online reporting process is in place at go.carleton.edu/flu, where the illness should be reported. This is website is part of a comprehensive plan, which calls for a coordinated response from all facets of the Carleton community to ensure that the Wellness Center is not overburdened and students, faculty, and staff have the necessary tools to recover in a timely and safe manner.

Finally, the H1N1 vaccine will soon become available to the public. The vaccine will first be available to priority groups which include all students, staff, and faculty with chronic conditions, pregnant women, health care workers, and those that care for children less than 6 months of age. It is anticipated that all who would like to be vaccinated will be able to after these priority groups are covered. A question was raised concerning the seasonal flu vaccine, and whether there should be another round of vaccinations in the early spring, give the lifetime of the vaccine is typically only three to four months. The presenters were unsure of the answer, but said they would look it up and report back to the Council.

CEDI Update

Chairs of the Community, Equity, and Diversity Intiative (CEDI) Professor Michael McNally and Director of Alumni Affairs Becky Zrimsek outlined the results of a recent survey of faculty at the faculty retreat on September 8th revealed that while many are happy here, there are difficult classroom situations that need to be addressed. The responses and ideas from the case studies discussed in the sessions helped indentify and prioritize needed areas of improvement. The ideas from the retreat will be sent out to the faculty and posted on the CEDI website to ensure continued inclusion and awareness in the community.

The report continued with an update on a specific CEDI Task Force Priority, regarding the Carleton Learning Environment outside of the classroom. This year, New Student Week (NSW) training included two days of training for all student peer leaders in an effort to create a more inclusive atmosphere from the moment students arrive on campus. Additionally, a blog and statistics regarding campus diversity have been added to the CEDI website. Given the stated importance of NSW, President Oden brought up the idea to create a NSW Steering Committee. However, it was generally felt that there were already too many committees and an additional NSW committee would be cumbersome.

CEDI: Change to Spouse/Domestic Partner Tuition Waiver Benefit

Chairs of CEDI Mark McNally and Becky Zrimsek proposed a change to the spouse/domestic partner tuition waiver benefit. Currently, spouses and domestic partners of faculty members or exempt staff employees are able to enroll in one Carleton class per term, without any tuition charges. However, bi-weekly staff members’ spouses/domestic partners do not have this benefit. The results of the Campus Climate Survey demonstrated that such differences in benefits between different categories of employees have a negative effect on the Carleton workplace environment. The proposed change called for the tuition waiver benefit to be extended bi-weekly employees. While some of the issues that arise from inequities in benefits would be very difficult or costly to remedy, this change would require not be difficult nor prohibitively expensive to implement. The CEDI Leadership Board and the CEDI Workplace Climate Task Force unanimously approved the proposed change and recommended to the College Council do the same as soon as possible so that issue of unequal benefits is improved quickly.

The proposal for expanding tuition waiver benefits was seconded by Professor Clara Hardy. A friendly amendment was suggested by Professor Mike Kanazawa, who noted that the faculty handbook language regarding tuition waiver benefits did not expressly include domestic partners. Dean Bev Nagel also noted that there were a few instances where the language faculty and staff handbooks being out of sync, and that this would be corrected.

A question was raised regarding how often the tuition waiver benefit was actually used, as well as how many classes were actually open to staff and spouses. * responded that not many are open, due to limitations of class size. A council member then inquired if the number of classes open to spouses would be expanded.

The proposed change to spouse/domestic partner tuition waiver benefits, with the amendment regarding discrepancies between language in the faculty and staff handbooks, was approved unanimously by the College Council to be forwarded to the Benefits Committee for adoption and implementation.

Sexual Misconduct Procedure Changes

Associate Dean of Students Julie Thornton spoke about the sexual misconduct complaint process review (SMPCR), a committee formed by the Administrative Council in response to an email campaign in April 2009 and other reports of concern from the community. The group held their first meeting on September 24 and will continue to hold weekly meetings through mid-November, when the group hopes to be able to present recommendations to the Administrative Council.

The SMPCR group will first look at the current policy, focusing primarily on the complaint process, and the issues that have been raised regarding the process. Campus groups and individuals involved in the process, including CAASHA, CEDI, Residential Life, and Wellness Center Counselors have been invited to give testimony at SMPCR meetings to provide comprehensive picture of all facets of the complaint process. Additionally, the committee will review and compare the models of other colleges and universities, Rice County SMART (Sexual Assault Multidisciplinary Response Team), ASCA (Association of Student Conduct Administrators), and other date/research. Finally, the possibility of inviting an outside consultant is being considered, in order to review the committee’s process and give feedback and recommendations.

A council member asked how widespread issues of sexual misconduct were, and where the concern about the current procedure comes from. Dean Thornton replied that the concerns are widespread, and come from all areas of the Carleton community. A procedural question was raised, regarding whether or not the new policy recommendations should be presented to the College Council and, if so, when they should be updated. It was decided that some sort of recommendation would be given to the Council in November, with the understanding that the presentation will probably not directly result in an immediate policy change.

Budget Update

Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers provided a budget update, beginning with a review of the measures taken to create balance the budget last year. These efforts included fairly dramatic changes, such as adjustments to benefits, in order to decrease the endowment payout to account for the projected 30 percent drop in the endowment’s value. The good news, however, is that the initiatives to reduce costs were successful. Additionally, a decline in energy prices and an initiative led by the Board of Trustees to increase donations to the Annual Fund allowed for a balanced end of year budget. Finally, the actual drop in endowment, 16 percent, was much less than projected. Vice President Rogers introduced the possibility of increasing endowment payout by 1 million dollars. The increase in endowment payout was approved. The rest of the operating budget was left in place as approved by the College Council in the spring. The group was informed that since the endowment is higher than expecting, next year’s budget will be planned from a much better place.

President Oden commented that the endowment is actually down 16.5 percent and that the Trustee’s donations added 1 million dollars to the annual fund. 

Arts Union Planning

Dean Bev Nagel began her presentation on the Arts Union Planning by describing the three stages of the process. The first stage began six years ago with a group of faculty, students, and staff discussing what they wanted for the future of Carleton’s art program. An agreement was reached regarding the need for expanded and updated facilities. This led to the second stage, in which the facility idea was developed, eventually leading to the proposal of creating the Arts Union at the location of the old Northfield middle school. Step three, then, was creating, with an architect, an actual physical plan that reflected the facility idea developed in stage two. The resulting plan had a proposed total cost of 105 million dollars.  The plan would be built in two phases, with a first phase that would cost 60 to 70 million dollars. With the downturn in the economy, this plan was put on hold.

A new plan was then introduced by Dean Nagel. This plan would change the phasing of construction with the first phase developing existing spaces in the 1910 and 1934 building and gymnasium. The result would be a great location for Cinema and Media studies, would provide a new theater space to replace the Arena Theater, as well as dance studios, classrooms, “white spaces”, academic support space (the DARC), and a teaching museum. It would also include the faculty art studies currently located in the building and provide space for a studio art student studio. This plane would represent a signification reduction in price for the first phase, with a projected cost of 35-40 million dollars.

A question was raised regarding whether this plan was a temporary or permanent alteration to the original Arts Union plan. Similarly, a question was asked about what was not included in the new plane. Dean Nagel answered that the English and Art History departments would not be located in the new building in the first phase as originally planned. However, when new construction is built to replace the existing 1950s wing, there would be space for those departments. Finally, Dean Nagel was asked about the timing of the new plan. She answered the if the trustees approve this plan, the first phase should hopefully be complete by the fall of 2011.

The meeting adjourned at 5:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Laura Michel '12

College Council Secretary