Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees
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Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

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 Friday, June 19, 2020

Richardson Ballroom, DiGiorgio Campus Center

Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC 

 

 

Members present:  Glenn McCall, Gary Williams, Kathy Bigham, Ashlye Wilkerson , Robby Sisco, Isaiah Venning, Jane LaRoche, Tim Hopkins, Randy Imler, Ed Driggers, Sandra Stroman, Julie Fowler, Tim Sease, Janet Smalley, Donna Glenn Holley

 

Members absent:  George Hynd (ex-officio)

 

Representative present:  Adolphus Belk, Jr., via Blackboard, Imani Belton

 

Others present:  Bob Breakfield, Tim Drueke, Lars Larsen, Adrienne McCormick,  Kimberly Faust, Lisa Cowart, Caroline Overcash, Eduardo Prieto, Tammie Phillips, Kirk McSwain, Jamie Cooper, Mark Herring, Jack DeRochi, Patrice Bruneau, Billy Dahlgren, Jerry Fusell, Judy Longshaw, Ellen Wilder-Byrd and others from the Winthrop faculty and staff.  Media representatives included Matt Kreh from WRHI, Greg Suskind from WSOC, Andrew Dys from the Herald.  

 

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, June 19 2020 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC. 

 

 

Call to Order

Chair McCall called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. in the Thompson Conference Room.  He welcomed all present.  Mr. McCall delivered an invocation.   

 

Welcome to everyone in room as well as those watching virtually.

 

Due to an unavoidable situation, President Hynd cannot be with us today. He sends his regrets and plans to update the Board and campus constituents via an email message.

 

Trustee Janet Smalley shared a few words in memory of President Emeritus Dr. Anthony DiGiorgio and what he meant to our university.  Tony DiGiorgio was South Carolina’s longest serving president of a four year public university.  In his 24 years as leader of Winthrop, he touched many lives.  His influence and his leadership can be seen in the buildings, in the good work of the faculty and staff, and in the diversity of this campus.  His vision can be seen everywhere.  His inaugural address was a living document.  He was a visionary, a dreamer but also action-oriented. He was a global minded man yet could see the smallest detail that needed to be addressed.  He was proud to have been the son of an immigrant bricklayer and said he learned the value of education from his parents.  He has impacted this campus and this university in ways that will stand for many years to come.  Winthrop owes a great debt to Tony DiGiorgio.

 

Chair McCall gave a special note of thanks to the many staff who have been working on campus since March while the rest of us were able to work remotely.  The facilities maintenance and operations staff under the direction of Chris Rousseau, the IT staff and of course, Amanda Maghsoud who postponed her retirement to step in and help us build our budgets for next year. 

 

Approval of Minutes March 13, March 20, March 30, April 3-6, 2020

 

Dr. Jane LaRoche moved to accept the minutes as written.  Gary Williams seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the minutes as written.

 

Executive Session

 

Tim Sease moved with a second from Randy Imler to move into executive session pursuant to South Carolina Ann. §30-4-70(a)(1) and (2)  for the purpose of discussions of proposed contractual arrangements and personnel issues.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.  Adolphus Belk, Jr., Imani Belton, Amanda Maghsoud, Ken Halpin, and Kimberly Faust were invited to remain for portions of the executive session.

 

Kathy Bigham moved to end executive session with no report.  Isaiah Venning seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous to end executive session.

 

Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

 

Resolution Condemning Racism and Other Forms of Injustice-- we had a number of emails regarding changing the name of Tillman Hall.  The emails are overwhelmingly in favor of changing the name.  But, it is important to note that not everyone is in favor of a name change.  I would like to thank the many faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members who took the time to share their thoughts with us.  Your voices have been heard.  It is important for all of those letter writers and the campus to understand that today we cannot vote to change the name.  We can only vote to ask the SC legislators to amend the Heritage Act to give us permission to change the name.  It is only after we get permission that we can have a vote to change the name.

 

The resolution we have before us does that—asks the legislators for permission to change the name of Tillman Hall to the former name of Main Building.

 

If this resolution is passed by the Board, everyone who wrote a letter to us and has a strong opinion about changing the name of Tillman Hall will need to shift their focus and efforts toward the legislators.  The Board cannot act until the law is amended.  It will take the efforts of you as citizens of this state to make that happen. 

 

As the motion came from the executive committee, we do not need a second. 

We can discuss changing the name at a future Board meeting when/if we have the option to do so.

 

Chair McCall called for the vote.  It was unanimous in favor of the resolution with the stipulation of correcting a typographical error.  The final phrase in the resolution should read “… to change the name of Tillman Hall back to its original name of Main Building.”

 

 Consideration of Memorandum of Understanding –this agreement with the City of Rock Hill will permit us to share facilities.  We have facilities the City has used over the years as we have used theirs over the years.   This MOU codifies our use of each other’s spaces.

 

As it comes from the Executive Committee, no second needed. 

 

The vote was unanimous in favor of the Memorandum of Understanding  with the City of Rock Hill regarding the shared use of facilities.

 

Resolution to Honor Ms. Imani Belton for Meritorious Service

It certainly has been an unusual year for Imani to be president of the Council of Student Leaders.  Tim Sease read the resolution thanking Imani for her service to the Board as the student representative.

 

Robby Sisco motioned for approval of the resolution.  Janet Smalley seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

 

Committee on Finance

 

Dr. Randy Imler reported on the meeting of the Committee on Finance.  At the meeting, the resolution Regarding the Operating Budget and Student Fees for Fiscal Year 2020-21 was discussed and approved for presentation to the full Board for a vote.   Tuition will be held constant with no increase for AY 2020-21.  Variable rates for Room and Board have been calculated due to the plans to conduct part of the fall semester as remote learning.  Chair Imler thanked Amanda Maghsoud for her excellent leadership in developing the budget in the absence of VP of Finance Justin Oates. 

 

As the resolution is from a standing committee, it does not need a second.  Chair McCall called for the vote.  It was unanimous in favor of the resolution as written.

 

Committee on Academic Quality

 

Mr. Tim Hopkins reported on the meeting held earlier today.  He brought forth a resolution to  Award Emeriti Status for Dr. Laura Gardner, Professor of Fine Arts; Dr. Mark Y. Herring, Dean of Library Services; Dr. Gloria Godfrey Jones, Associate Professor of English and Dean of University College;

Dr. Antigo Martin-Delaney, Associate Professor of Psychology; Dr. Linda H. Pickett, Associate Professor of Elementary Education; Dr. Joseph Prus, Professor and Chair of Psychology; Dr. William Rogers, Professor of Biology; and Ms. Anna Sartin, Associate Professor of Theatre.  As no second was needed, Chair McCall called for the vote.  It was unanimous in favor of the resolution.

 

The Committee was informed of 15 faculty who were awarded tenure, nine faculty who were promoted to full professor, and 16 faculty promoted to associate professor.

 

Other updates to the committee included review of the actions taken as a result of COVID-19 such as the Continuity of Instruction website, increased training for online instruction, one-semester policy modifications including S/U and withdrawal deadlines CR/UN grade substitutions for D/F grades to award credit but protect GPAs, and virtual advising supports for students.

 

Committee on Compensation—This meeting has been postponed and will be rescheduled.

 

Committee on Enrollment and Retention

 

Mrs. Janet Smalley began her committee report by commending the admissions team for their creativity in working to attract and admit students during the challenges presented by COVID-19.  Twenty students have been accepted and enrolled under the temporary SAT/ACT waiver.  Enrollment counts are changing daily but are trending toward a 6% decline in enrollment numbers for the fall.  However, graduate school enrollment is expected to increase and may offset the decrease in undergraduate enrollment.  Summer school projected enrollments are trending upward.

 

The new Bachelor of Professional Studies degree program designed for returning adult students has 11 students enrolled in its first cohort.

 

Committee on Institutional Advancement and Development

 

Dr. Julie Fowler reported on this morning’s meeting.  She began her report acknowledging the creative and innovative work being done by the University Communications and Marketing division.  They have had to adjust to virtual marketing and messaging in their support of the university’s ongoing work. 

 

The update from the Advancement division reported the Foundation portfolio market value on December 30, 2019 to be $64.2 million as compared to the market value today of slightly over $62 million.  The investment return is now -2.4%. 

 

Based on the rolling average used to measure the availability of endowment funds, only six endowments are underwater with 426 endowments available to spend on student scholarships and other priorities.

 

The committee also had a discussion on 2020 homecoming options with the most likely option to be a cancellation of fall 2020 homecoming and a reunion event to be held in Spring 2021.

 

Committee on Student Life and Athletics

 

Mr. Tim Sease shared that this committee also discussed homecoming options by reviewing the signature events in relation to the challenges presented by having to restrict the number of people that can safely congregate. 

 

During this morning’s meeting, the committee reviewed the athletics budget; a budget that has been overextended for many years.  This overextension of the budget is not  a result of COVID-19.  While COVID-19 exacerbated the budget difficulties, structural imbalances are at the root of the problem.   Unfortunately, serious cuts must be made to eliminate the deficit in the athletics budget.  Dr. Ken Halpin, his coaches, and staff have been working hard to raise private funds as well as cut their costs.   But, those measures are not enough.  After a thorough review of the budget, the options available for reducing costs and increasing revenue, our committee presents this Resolution Regarding Athletics Budget at Winthrop University to you for a vote.  This resolution recommends the elimination of the men’s and women’s tennis program.  This decision is not an easy one but it is a necessary one.  It is not a comment on our tennis programs as they are the most successful athletic programs in Winthrop history.  Rather, after reviewing all of the athletic programs for cost amid the restrictions of remaining in the Big South Conference, eliminating tennis is the best option for the long-term health of the university. 

 

As this resolution is from a standing committee, a second is not needed.  Chair McCall called for the vote.  It was unanimous in favor of the resolution. 

 

 

Report of the Faculty Representative

 

Chair McCall thanked Dr. Belk Jr., for sharing his written report so that the Board could spend time reading it. 

 

Dr. Belk, Jr. began his report by saying the faculty are waiting for an official response to his requests to the Board clarifying the role and inclusion of the Faculty Representative to the Board.  Dr. Belk, Jr. also said faculty want to know if the university is looking at all options to save money prior to beginning a furlough program. 

 

In responding to questions posed by the Trustees, Dr. Belk, Jr. said the most difficult aspect for faculty in switching to remote instruction in March was how to work with the technology.  He said the Office of Online Learning helped with the difficulties experienced by faculty.    His response to a question about faculty concerns about returning to campus in the fall was that faculty want to work from home so that they can remain protected from the COVID-19 virus.  Also, he said many faculty are concerned about the availability of COVID-19 testing and if it will be mandatory.

 

Chair McCall thanked Dr. Belk, Jr. for his report and assured him that he will receive a formal response to his requests regarding the role of the Faculty Representative. 

 

Report of the Student Representative

 

Chair McCall thanked Ms. Belton for sharing her written report so that the Board could spend time reading it. 

 

Ms. Belton added to her report by saying it was tough for the students to move to online, remote learning in March.  In spite of the shift to remote learning, it was a busy year in the Council of Student Leaders.    She introduced Brandon Jackson as the new CSL president and Ravyn Cunningham as the new vice president.  Their terms will begin July 1, 2020.  She concluded her report by saying she wanted Winthrop to change the names of more buildings in addition to Tillman.

 

Nominations for AY 2020-21 Chair and Vice Chair

 

At this time, Chair McCall asked that Tim Hopkins temporarily chair the meeting

 

Mr. Hopkins called on Tim Sease, the chair of the Nominating Committee, to give the committee’s report regarding the election of officers for academic year 2020-21

 

Mr. Sease thanked  Ashlye Wilkerson and Julie Fowler for serving on the committee as it was a pleasure to work with them.  The committee had a healthy, robust discussion of the challenges facing the Board and the University.  While they reported the process for seeking input for nominations could be improved, they felt Glenn McCall as chair and Kathy Bigham as vice chair for the upcoming year is in the best interest of the Board and the University. 

 

Mr. Hopkins received the recommendation of Glenn McCall as chair and Kathy Bigham as vice chair from the Committee.  As no second was needed, he called for the vote.  The vote was unanimous.

 

Chair McCall thanked the Nominating Committee and the Board for their faith in Kathy and him.  He acknowledged the comments made regarding the nominating process and said there are a number of items related to Board processes that could be improved.  He said he intends to create an ad hoc committee in the fall to explore options and improvements.

 

Adjournment

 

Hearing no objections, Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 5:03 p.m..

 

 

Minutes submitted by Kimberly A. Faust, Secretary to the Board

Last Updated: 9/1/20