Ms. Toni Crawford, Mr. T. O’Neal Douglas, Ms. Donna Harper Gibbs, Mr. Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, Ms. Virginia Hall, Mr. Steven T. Halverson, Ms. Ann Hicks, Ms. Lindsay Hodges, Mr. James Stallings, Mr. Kevin Twomey, Ms. Carol Thompson, Dr. Floyd Willis.
Ms. Joan Wellhouse Newton
Chair Carol Thompson called the University of North Florida’s Board of Trustees’ September 26 meeting to order at 2:40 p.m. Chair Thompson requested a moment of silence in honor of those who lost their lives and who suffered the loss of loved ones in the September 11 tragedy.
After observing the moment of silence, Chair Thompson suggested that, without objection, the agenda be reordered to begin with remarks from President Hopkins.
In her remarks President Hopkins described to the Trustees how the University had observed the events of September 11. She discussed closing the University at 12:00 on the day of the terrorist attack and described how that evening staff from the University’s counseling services and campus ministry met with students in the residence halls. President Hopkins provided details about the events that have occurred since the University was reopened, including a campus wide reflection on the tragedy and a student sponsored forum held on Thursday, September 13, and the events and student support services that will be offered in the upcoming days and weeks.
President Hopkins reported that university enrollments and occupancy rates in student housing were ahead of projections for Fall 2001. She discussed the fact that the University had received only 99% of its expected first quarter allocation from the State and that the significant drop in State revenues might well lead to further cut backs. President Hopkins also discussed the capital construction (PECO) list that was presented to the Florida Board of Education at their most recent meeting.
Following the President’s report, Chair Thompson asked if there was a motion to approve the minutes from the September 5 meeting. Trustee Gibbs moved the acceptance of the minutes. Trustee Hodges seconded the motion. Trustee Hicks offered a correction to the minutes: the spelling of her first name appeared incorrectly in the minutes. With the correction noted, the Board unanimously approved the minutes.
Chair Thompson began her report to the trustees by thanking President Hopkins and the UNF staff for their support of students during our national tragedy. Chair Thompson then presented a set of behaviors she felt the Board members would want to consider following in performing their duties as trustees. These behaviors included supporting the mission of the University, engaging in open and honest dialogue in making decisions and then supporting the decisions that are approved by the majority of the Board, adhering to the State’s sunshine and conflict of interest laws, and serving as advocates for the entire University and all of its programs. In closing her remarks, Chair Thompson discussed the fact that she would most typically be the spokesperson for the Board and that President Hopkins must serve as the spokesperson for the University.
The next item of business was a report from the ad hoc committee on Board of Trustee bylaws. Trustee Halverson reported on behalf of the committee members: Trustees Hall, Halverson, Thompson, and Willis. Trustee Halverson with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation discussed the principles, process, and resources the ad hoc committee used in writing the draft of the bylaws. He also spoke about the key issues the committee discussed, key provisions included in the bylaws, and issues the members of the Board might wish to discuss. Trustee Halverson ended his presentation with a motion to adopt the bylaws as prepared by the committee. Trustee Hicks seconded the motion.
During their discussion of the bylaws, members of the Board asked several questions and made comments concerning the structure of the bylaws as presented. There was a question about requirements to submit changes in the bylaws to the Governor’s office. There was also a question regarding the format that would be followed during the open comment period: Would preference be given to people who wrote in ahead of time over those who requested to speak at the time of the meeting? It was agreed that both of these issues could be handled in the procedures manual that the Board could develop. The final discussion was on how an item was to be added to the agenda. Items for the agenda should be forwarded to the President in advance of the meeting.
After the discussion on the bylaws, Vice Chair Douglas called for the question. Chair Thompson then asked the members of the Board to vote. The Board approved the bylaws by a unanimous vote.
In keeping with the provision of the newly passed bylaws that established two standing committees, the Finance and Audit Committee and the Educational Policy Committee, Chair Thompson asked each Board member to consider on which of these committees she or he would want to serve. Chair Thompson requested that each Trustee communicate her or his preference to President Hopkins.
As part of the ongoing Board orientation, Janet Owen, Director of Governmental Relations and Associate General Counsel, provided a presentation entitled University Governance: Where We Have Been, Where We Are, Where We Need to Be. In her presentation Ms. Owen discussed the history of governance for Florida’s public universities. She then presented information on current laws and the permanent and transitional structures that are in place for governing public universities. Ms. Owen also talked about what future decisions will need to be made as governance devolves down to local boards. In discussing the future, Ms. Owen compared public universities to community colleges and local school boards and detailed where the major differences were roles and responsibilities. She also stressed how important the next legislative session would be in determining future responsibilities that would be given to local boards of trustees.
Trustees offered a number of questions about and comments on Ms. Owen’s presentation. Trustees expressed interest in understanding the roles of the FBOE, the Secretary of Education, and the State legislature in the devolution of power to local control. Trustees also expressed interest in working with and through the University to influence the process.
Trustees asked that Ms. Owen return with ideas about what the key issues might be in seeking meaningful local control for universities and how trustees might help to advocate on behalf of their institutions. Trustees suggested that this advocacy might include going to Tallahassee to discuss the issues with legislators, members of the FBOE, and Secretary Horne.
Because of the time taken in discussing Ms. Owen’s presentation, Chair Thompson asked Provost Kline if he could make his report on the faculty profile at the next meeting of the Board. The time and date for the next meeting will be Tuesday, October 23 at 2:30.
Chair Thompson offered closing remarks and adjourned the meeting.
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