Edythe Abdullah, Luther Coggin, Toni Crawford, O’Neal Douglas, Wilfredo Gonzalez, Steve Halverson, Wanyonyi Kendrick, Judith Solano, Bruce Taylor, Carol Thompson, Kevin Twomey, Jerry Watterson
Chair Thompson wished everyone a happy new year and called the meeting to order. She said there was not much to discuss under the chair’s report that would not be talked about in other reports, so more on recent events would be covered by President Delaney and Janet Owen. She asked for a motion to approve the minutes. The motion was proffered, seconded, and approved unanimously.
President Delaney said he had a couple of brief announcements and that more would come from Janet Owen under the legislative report. He said the Board had lunch with a group in the audience, LeadershipUNF, a diverse and talented group of employees involved in a program modeled after Leadership Jacksonville. He expressed his appreciation for those who were able to attend the luncheon. Chair Thompson also welcomed the LeadershipUNF class. President Delaney spoke of an email he received from Sharon Ashton, director of Media Relations, regarding the “Ask the Expert” segment aired Mondays on Channel 4. He said he was pleased to announce that the segment had won an award. He remarked that Ms. Ashton had been doing a great job of trying to elevate UNF’s image in the community.
Trustee Gonzalez said he had seen the Campus Connection television show on FIGs (freshman interest groups) and wondered if that segment could be used as part of the materials sent out to prospective parents. President Delaney said Enrollment Services was really zeroing in on quality students and had also changed the procedure for entering freshmen by having them come to campus earlier. He said he would speak with Ms. Kaye to find out how expensive it would be and to determine the feasibility of including the segment within the materials sent out.
Trustee Twomey said that several items were discussed at the last Finance and Audit Committee meeting, including parking fees. He applauded the process used to gain broad support for the increases in parking fees among the University’s constituent groups. Each parking space was to generate the same revenue target, $345 per space. It had been determined that spaces on the second and third floors of the garages would not need as much increase as planned to meet the target and that the designated spaces would require a greater increase than originally planned. The discount lots would be raised to $69, half of the general parking rate. The increase to the discount parking rate would affect the transportation benefit offered to university employees, which, Trustee Twomey said might require the Board to consider raising the benefit to $69 this year, accordingly. He thanked the administrative team for building consensus and support for the increases.
Regarding the University’s investment policy, the committee reviewed the policy and felt it was both conservative and appropriate. The committee had also looked at the treasurer’s report and discussed it. Trustee Twomey said the report was well done but would include additional detail in the future.
Trustee Watterson had a question regarding parking spaces for housing; he said parking availability for all housing students had been discussed previously as a potential recommendation from the parking committee. He wished to know if anything further had occurred on that front. Vice President Shuman replied that part of that discussion had revolved around the possibility of having housing students pay a higher rate for parking as they took up a space for more of the time. Neither recommendation had been put forward at this point, Ms. Shuman said, but the allocation of existing spaces would be discussed during the spring semester by the parking. Trustee Watterson said he was very appreciative of the committee’s decision to keep the parking rates for housing students the same as the general parking rate. He said he thought that the designated spaces should be generating higher revenue per space sold than the general parking spaces and recommended reconsideration of the policy in the future. He said he felt compelled to relay the feelings of the student body that parking was not as convenient as students would like and that the price was more than they would like to pay. He said he respected that other board members might feel differently and that he would vote in favor of the parking increases as he believed it was necessary to cover the debt ratios and fund the new parking garage, but still felt he must voice the student body’s position. The trustees voted unanimously in favor of the parking increases.
President Delaney said he realized a major student complaint was over parking. A year previously he had quoted another president during his inaugural address, joking that he should not delude himself into thinking he could solve the campus parking problem. He said he was aware that parking would become even more of an issue on campus in the future, as it did for many universities. He pointed out that UF students had no parking on campus at all. Students had to park in collateral lots and commute in; further, there was no guarantee of parking for student housing either. He said that UNF could eventually end up with a shuttle system of some kind from collateral lots but, as of last year, a study indicated that it was cost prohibitive at this point. He added that increases to the parking fees did not result in a profit for the University. The increases would help to build the next parking garage. He noted that the parking issue was something the Board would probably be dealing with two times a year, every year. He said the committee of constituents: faculty, staff, and students, agreed that the current proposal was the best option at this time, but he acknowledged that the parking issue would probably always be a bit sticky.
Trustee Twomey asked for a vote to approve the investment policy. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the policy.
Discussion ensued regarding the check signing policy. Trustee Abdullah asked if the signers to be authorized were bonded and if there was a graduated level of authority. Vice President Shuman replied that these signers were approved for transactions that were repetitive transactions and transfer of funds between established accounts only, but this was considered check signing authority. She noted that transfers could not be made other than to the designated accounts or an already approved contract. President Delaney added that the policy was in compliance with Florida statute, which referred to such transactions as requiring check signing authority. Trustee Coggin asked if checks required two signatures. Ms. Shuman answered affirmatively and added that the same was also true for repetitive transactions. Chair Thompson asked if there was a written policy that delineated limits to signature authority. She wanted to know if the language of the motion could be changed by notation in the minutes from authority to sign checks to authority to transfer funds based upon University policy. Ms. Stone did not think changing the language would cause any problems. Ms. Shuman said that if there was not already a policy in existence, she would bring something back to the Finance and Audit Committee. President Delaney said he understood that the Board just wanted to make sure internal controls were in place and assured the trustees that Ms. Shuman would present a policy to the FAC, allowing the committee to address any issues at that time. The trustees voted unanimously in favor of the motion with the specified modification.
Trustee Abdullah asked for clarification on the investment policy. She noted that a decision had been made to go with a primarily short-term maturity portfolio and asked why this was the case. Vice President Shuman introduced Mr. Mike Neglia, recently hired as treasurer for the University. She said Mr. Neglia came to UNF after many years experience with Winn Dixie. Mr. Neglia said there was a provision extending investments up to five years under one section of the policy. He said the policy allowed for changes needed and was part of the strategy for improving returns. Trustee Twomey said there had been a fair amount of discussion of the plan and that it was a very conservative policy. He added that until the University had more experience in investing, as the task had been assumed only recently under devolution, he felt it was appropriate not to make large bets with investment funds at this point. He said he believed the policy would serve the University well, allowing better rewards but for less risk. Trustee Solano pointed out that the policy had a provision for trustees to review the policy and make suggestions and noted that the policy would probably be brought before the FAC and the Board periodically. Chair Thompson agreed and said Trustee Solano had made a good point; she added that trustees could request that the policy be brought before the FAC at any time. Vice President Shuman said that this was the first time since devolution that the University would be responsible for management and investing of its own monies. At this time, she felt more comfortable with short-term investments and liquidity. She said she had asked Mr. Neglia and others in the Controller’s office to monitor cash flow for UNF. Chair Thompson and the other board members welcomed Mr. Neglia. There were no further comments regarding the policy.
Trustee Twomey went on to the next item, stating that it had been a bit more controversial in nature. The Florida LambdaRail provided for faster transmission of data and would allow connection with the national LambdaRail. UNF would be joining a consortium with nine other Florida universities and participation in the consortium had strong support across the campus. The cost to join, he said, was approximately $500,000 to buy in and around $200,000 annually after that. Mr. Twomey said he had been told that it would cost the University $8 million annually to buy the same bandwidth on the open market. The consortium had a loan outstanding, and though the universities did not have a legal obligation to pay back the loan, they did have a moral one. He noted that the committee decision to recommend joining the consortium had not been unanimous. Though he moved to approve on behalf of the FAC, he wished to have further discussion on the item first.
Trustee Kendrick said that her concern was not so much about this project but more about the decision making process for the next wave of technology to come. She felt decisions must be based on more than excitement and interest in each new advancement. Upon discussing the LambdaRail with Dean Coulter, she said she felt more comfortable after she knew the business drivers and that she just wanted to make sure the University was making the best use of funds and exercising fiduciary responsibility.
Trustee Taylor said he was somewhat familiar with what was going on at the College of Computing, Engineering, and Construction and knew there were ongoing projects that would benefit greatly from this connectivity. He said he was a strong proponent of committing to the consortium and he urged the Board to vote in support of it. Trustee Abdullah said she thought it was a wonderful project and asked if other consortia had been developed similar to the LambdaRail and whether UNF could benefit from their experiences. Dr. Serwatka replied that UNF was in an extremely unique position as the national LambdaRail was going right through Jacksonville. UNF would have the most direct link to the national LambdaRail. Mr. Lance Taylor, director of Information Technology Services, said that other states had developed similar consortiums and there could be opportunities in the future for sharing information.
Chair Thompson verified that Ms. Kendrick had felt more comfortable with joining the consortium after her discussion with Dean Coulter. Trustee Kendrick said the only alternatives to joining the consortium were for UNF to buys the bandwidth on the open market at a cost of $8 million, which would also be expensive and would not allow UNF to be an owner of the resource. She said she thought it was a wonderful strategy and that the University had a solid plan in place to pay back the loan.
President Delaney said he believed Trustee Kendrick had asked the right questions. He said that he and Vice President Shuman had also been skeptical, wondering if the University would really use the LambdaRail. He said that he believed the resource was the new wave of technology and that it was necessary to developing the kind of name that UNF wished to have in the future as well as for the kinds of research that would be brought in. He said most of the other public universities in Florida were joining the consortium with the exception of USF, which already had Internet II. Chair Thompson asked if the universities were to be charged based on the amount of their usage of the bandwidth. Vice President Shuman responded affirmatively, stating that ownership was purchased in units. UNF would be purchasing two units, whereas most of the other universities had purchased four. Trustee Abdullah asked if there would be other costs associated with joining the rail. Ms. Shuman replied that she did not expect any additional costs. The trustees voted unanimously in favor of joining the consortium and the resolution for Northern Trust. Chair Thompson thanked the committee for their work.
Chair Thompson asked Dr. Allaire to speak on the naming policy. Vice President Allaire said the policy had been revised several times. This was the last generation of the policy and had been divided between employee and non-employee, gift and non-gift recognition. Chair Thompson verified that the policy was consistent with everything that had been discussed previously. Trustee Twomey moved to approve the policy. Trustee Gonzalez seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously in favor of it.
Ms. Owen referred trustees to the extra materials behind their packets. She compared the Governor’s 2005-06 recommended budget to the Board of Governor’s Legislative Budget Request. She noted that the Governor’s recommendations left the universities outside of administered funds, a significant change that would mean that salary increases for the University would have to come from its own operating budget, rather than being included in the funds available for state employees. However, the universities were included in the Governor’s budget to cover health insurance premium increases.
Indicating the amount under the Cost-to-Continue Current Programs category, Ms. Owen said both the BOG proposal and the Governor’s recommendation did cover phased in space for 2004-05 and new space that UNF had requested for 2005-06. Of significance was the Governor’s recommendation for major gift matching programs for community colleges and universities. The Governor proposed to bring the institutions up to date in the matching program for major gifts and for Courtelis. After bringing the universities up to date, he planned to significantly overhaul the program, proposing to match new donations if there were general appropriations available for the year. If funds were not available for matching, the Legislature would not come back and match current donations in later years. Gifts would also be tied to universities’ strategic plans. President Delaney said Vice President Allaire and his counterparts in the state had agreed on proposed legislation that would lower the percentage of gift funds matched but would keep the program intact. He believed the idea of tying funding to each university’s individual mission was a good one. Trustee Crawford expressed her pleasure in the Governor’s plan to catch the program up before making changes. President Delaney remarked that the state was currently cash flush, sadly due to the hurricanes. He said much of the money would be sales tax money, which, though viewed as recurring, would taper off in the next couple of years and should really be viewed as non-recurring.
Regarding enrollment growth, Ms. Owen said the university system had asked for $78 million but the Governor’s recommendation was $20.1 million. However, the Governor did recommend fully funding FSU’s medical school and FAMU’s law school, as well as $1.5 million for the FSU chiropractic school, if approved by the Board of Governors. As for tuition, the Governor’s recommendations were that in-state undergraduate tuition could be raised 7.5% and university boards would have full discretion for all other levels.
Trustee Solano asked if the University would accept the additional FTEs if they were unfunded. President Delaney replied that it was a good question. He said the problem was that many students would already be accepted by the time the amount of FTE UNF would receive was determined. Also, over 1000 FTEs were already unfunded. Chair Thompson asked if there was a chance that though UNF may not be funded for some FTEs, the institution would get money for critical needs. Ms. Owen said the BOG was requesting funds for increasing capacity in high need areas, such as nursing, teacher preparation, and engineering. UNF had specific requests and proposals for what would be done with funding and Ms. Owen said the universities would be lobbying for funds in the area of statewide critical needs.
Trustee Abdullah asked about the BOG’s request regarding UNF’s plans for future degree production. She asked if the BOG was sending the consultants to the universities to make sure they were in line with what the BOG wanted from them in terms of meeting workforce needs. President Delaney replied that there were two strategic plans: UNF’s, which outlined the University’s goals for itself, and the BOG’s plan for higher education throughout the state (also known as the Y-Axis). One of the key issues in the BOG’s plan was degree production. Ms. Owen said that what the BOG thought UNF should have for degree production coincided with UNF’s own goals. The University also wished to add two or three more doctoral degrees, as did several other universities. Provost Giordano said that he anticipated that UF, FSU, and USF might be unwilling to increase their undergraduate degree production due to their emphasis on doctoral degrees. He asked if UNF would be willing to increase the number of students graduated over what the BOG was asking in order to meet statewide needs should that occur.
Trustee Halverson said his reaction was one of short-term concern and long-term alarm. He said it seemed reasonably clear that there was an upward trend in the number of degrees the universities were asked to produce and a downward trend in the amount of state funding; also, the long-term stability of Bright Futures was in question. He said the University really needed to focus on long-term revenue modeling. He recommended a concentrated workshop that modeled revenue for the next five years in an attempt to try to anticipate funding issues. President Delaney and Ms. Owen agreed. President Delaney noted that the federal government looked out five years in advance whereas the state did not. He said he had long advocated including fees under tuition as Florida would not rank at the bottom under those circumstances. He also believed students should pay for a certain percentage of their educations, but that there should also be a ceiling on that amount. He spoke of an old saying in the Legislature that anything attached to the everglades would pass; now that saying would apply to teaching, nursing, and engineering. Referring to funding for higher education, he said that when one considered how long pennies had been pinched, it really started to hurt. Chair Thompson pointed out that this was the time for the Board to exhibit leadership through developing a long-term outlook and that the Board should concentrate on looking ahead for solutions rather than reacting.
Ms. Owen reported that the BOG had requested $20 million for centers of excellence. She said a bill would be filed on both the Senate and House sides requesting $50 million for five new centers of excellence. The BOG was also asking for $2.7 million to help universities with the LambdaRail expense. Moving to the PECO request, Ms. Owen said the BOG recommendation for UNF included only utilities and infrastructure and funds for the Health Professions Facility. Senator Jim King and Representative Mark Mahon submitted Community Issue Budget Requests (CBIRs) for a portion of the land acquisition and for a new education building. She said the BOG was to meet the following week on January 27 and that because the presidents had expressed concern about the ranking of the BOG’s priorities, she hoped there might be additional recommendations for UNF.
President Delaney remarked that the original estimate for UNF in October or November had been for $7.5 million, which would have been a very good year for the University. Later the state found another $45 million, which had also boded well for UNF. However, it appeared that $2 million had been taken from the first estimate for UNF and given to Florida State instead under the reasoning that as significant funding had been obtained for a number of projects for FSU last year, funding should be made available by the state to finish those projects this year. President Delaney said he did not agree with UNF’s allocations for this year, that he did not feel the decision was a correct one as UNF had done all that was asked, including stepping up degree production. He said the BOG had agreed to address the issue but might want to resolve it in year two or three rather than for this year. President Delaney felt it was important to have the discrepancy corrected this year if at all possible to eliminate the possibility that UNF could be lost in the shuffle later on. He said he would appreciate any help the trustees could offer with lobbying legislators or members of the BOG.
Trustee Coggin asked about the disparity between UNF’s $12 million request and Senator King and Representative Mahon’s request for $3.4 million for the College of Education building. Ms. Owen said the legislators had filed it at UNF’s request, it was a strategic idea to get the BOG to move up funding for the building in the hope that if the BOG funded the University at the higher level this year, it would do so again next year. Further, the BOG’s justification for reducing the amount designated for UNF from $7 to $5 million was that the Board plans to give the $3.4 million for the education building in year two. President Delaney added that UNF would not need the entire $12 million at first.
Ms. Owen provided a list of the bills filed thus far. She said she would provide updates as the bills made it through the session. Chair Thompson thanked her for her diligence, not only in pursuing the issues and but also in presenting them comprehensibly for the Board.
Vice Chair Halverson said he had heard that the BOG was considering acceptance of proposals for teacher education plans. Trustee Abdullah said the DOE had just released a request for proposals for alternative teacher certification programs. The request had gone out to universities, community colleges, and private institutions. Trustee Abdullah acknowledged that FCCJ planned to submit a proposal.
Trustee Watterson said he had noticed the bill proposing restriction of financial aid for foreign students. He asked if the restriction would include athletes. Ms. Owen responded that it would. Trustee Watterson also asked about block tuition. Ms. Owen replied that there were no such recommendations in the Governor’s budget.
Trustee Kendrick reported that she had an opportunity to visit a Pre-K urban school recently and had met a UNF intern working there with the ELLM program. She said it was wonderful that the children had time one on one with the interns and thanked the University for moving forward on meeting the needs of the community and being an urban institution. She asked if the Board could be given an update on the program and perhaps even have someone from the schools speak with trustees about encouraging the interns.
Chair Thompson said the Board would like to have a workshop from a policy standpoint to look at long-term planning. She told trustees to let her know if they had any comments regarding agenda items for the January 27 BOG meeting that they would like her to relay. Trustee Abdullah remarked that as the time for the legislative session moved closer, it would be good for board members to be more aware of what the current issues were and to be provided with more detailed information so they could be better advocates for the University. She recommended talking points that trustees could use as they met with people.
Chair Thompson agreed and suggested that the next BOT workshop would be a good opportunity to go over something of that nature. Trustee Douglas brought up Dr. Giordano’s comment about increasing undergraduate capacity. He asked what effect such action would have on the University’s long-range plans, stating that trustees needed to fully understand the impact of such a move, either positive or negative.
Chair Thompson acknowledged that he had a good point, stating that funding was a major issue. She said that as trustees and university administration talked about funding or the lack thereof, from a state perspective, philanthropy was of increasing importance. She said the University had made a request of the Board to support the annual campaign and many of the trustees had. She invited trustees to stay for the ceremony to recognize major donors to the university, including two members of the Board: Trustees Coggin and Crawford. She thanked the group for their participation and adjourned the meeting.
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