Minutes of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

August 24, 2015


Members present: Kathy Bigham, Karl Folkens, Glenn McCall, Jane LaRoche, Susan Smith-Rex, Janet Smalley, Tim Hopkins, Don Long, Randy Imler, Donna Glenn Holley, Scott Middleton, Ashlye Wilkerson, Dan Mahony (ex officio)

Members absent: Scott Talley, Tim Sease, Julie Fowler

Representatives present: Ray McKetty, Student Representative; John Bird, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent: None

Others present: Anna Douglas, The Herald; Carolyn Rennix, The Johnsonian; Renee O'Neal, CN2; members of Winthrop faculty and staff

The Board of Trustees met on Monday, August 24, 2015 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.

Public Comment

There were no requests for public comment.

Call to Order

Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. She welcomed all present.

Approval of Minutes

Don Long moved to accept the minutes from the meetings of August 19, 2013 and April 17-18, 2015. Ashlye Wilkerson seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the minutes as submitted.

Executive Session

Karl Folkens moved with a second from Donna Holley that the Board meet in executive session for the purposes of discussion of employment and compensation matters involving certain current university employees and to discuss negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements concerning the possible purchase and sale of real property. The vote was unanimous. Kimberly Faust, John Bird, and Ray McKetty were invited to remain for the executive session. Janet Smalley moved the Board end executive session, Don Long seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously by voice vote. No actions were taken in executive session.

Return to Public Session

Ms. Caity Johnson of Directorpoint joined the meeting via telephone to present a demonstration of her company's cloud-based meeting portal. This portal will permit Trustees to access their meeting materials on a tablet via an app, laptop or PC, rather than in paper form. Key points of the demonstration included ways to easily access meeting materials, streamline administration and preparation time for meetings, increase Trustee engagement, and reduce costs by eliminating paper copies.

Chair Bigham thanked Alexandra Persson for her work in arranging the demonstration and for investigating the options presented by similar companies. The general consensus of the Board was to direct staff to request pricing options work toward acquiring the Directorpoint software.

Report of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Board

a.Resolution Regarding 2015-16 Performance Objectives for President Mahony

Per the Trustee bylaws, President Mahony met with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees to propose the goals and objectives he will meet in academic year 2015-16. Specifically, he proposed the following as listed on the Agency Head Salary Commission planning document:

  1. Using a teamwork approach to setting organizational vision and values, the president will call upon the Winthrop faculty, staff, and students to be active participants in setting as well as reaching goals. With an "All In" attitude, he will create an atmosphere of collaboration and respect as he leads the University in the overarching goals of enhancing student success and increasing enrollment, developing a distinctive Winthrop vision, improving employee satisfaction, strengthening community and governmental relations, and maintain and improving the University's financial stability.
  2. President Mahony will facilitate the development of a Strategic Plan for Winthrop University by providing oversight and direction to a planning process that will develop a list of key institutional goals and develop a list of metrics to assess our success in reaching those goals both in the short term and the long term (2020 plan). He will identify Winthrop's unique attributes and strengths by personally spending time listening to key stakeholders and gathering feedback through a systematic effort and will use the feedback as basis to build a distinctive brand and vision for the university.
  3. The president will lead Winthrop University in enhancing the student experience and achieving student success with a focus on improving retention and graduation rates by identifying, evaluating, and examining return on investment of current efforts in support of student success; developing and implementing plans to increase first and second year retention rates per annual targets; and developing and implementing plans to increase the percentage of students who are on target to graduate in four years. Academic program offerings will be reviewed in order to seek opportunities to redesign current programs and/or develop new programs; develop and begin to implement plans to increase the size of the traditional, post-traditional, international, and graduate student populations as well as develop and implement strategies to diversify faculty and staff.
  4. President Mahony will utilize findings of Competitive Compensation Study to identify areas of compression/inequities within the University. He will work to identify revenue streams to begin to implement plans for funding of on-going salary improvements and create and begin to implement plans for improving faculty and staff satisfaction through initiatives that are not related to salary.
  5. President Mahony will work to strengthen the University's government and community relations by developing new and strengthening existing educational, organizational, business, and individual relationships in support of Winthrop through active personal outreach with each group; identify opportunities for public/private partnerships in the Knowledge Park Development, College Town Action Plan, and other Rock Hill community initiatives; and increase level of presidential involvement and interaction with key local, state, and national officials. He will utilize presidential engagement to increase awareness and support for Winthrop. Concurrently, the president will begin the process of assessing the strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities in athletics, including fundraising, leading to recommendations for future direction; will develop a plan of action to launch Winthrop's distinctive brand and initiate a redesign of the university web page to integrate responsive web design and to reflect graphically marketing positioning.
  6. In order to maintain and improve financial stability, President Mahony will direct the development of a new budget model by implementing savings measures and identifying potential areas for increases in revenue; create a five year budget forecast that identifies internal and external impacts on institutional revenues and expenses; and align campus budgets with realistic expenditure needs in support of the new strategic plan.

Needing no second, Chair Bigham called for a vote on the resolution to accept the goals and objectives as presented in the Agency Head Salary Commission planning document. The vote passed unanimously. The Agency Head Salary Commission planning document will be submitted to the Commission by the deadline of September 15, 2015.

b.Report on 2015-16 Operating Budget

President Mahony stated the 2015 fiscal year ended with a $1.845 million increase in the unrestricted net position, now totaling $12.6 million. He specially noted the increase would have been $2.1 million, but the required Withers/W.T.S. Building classroom renovations had to be completed this year.

He thanked Debra Boyd for her leadership in reducing costs in FY 2015 via the 10 percent overall reduction in operating budgets, utility savings, additional payments from grants, and savings from vacant positions.

The president has proposed a FY 2016 budget totaling $112.4 million. The budget includes a 2.5 percent tuition increase, revenue increases expected from an additional 50 (and possibly more) students over the projected enrollment. It also includes an employee $800 bonus payment according to the Supplemental Appropriations Act passed by the General Assembly in the state budget process. All Winthrop employees in FTE positions as of December 31, 2014 with an annual base pay of less than $100,000 are eligible. The budget also includes $200,000 to respond to employee salary issues to be identified by the Competitive Compensation Committee.

Update on Campus Activities

President Mahony began the update by reporting on the second instance of vandalism of Tillman Hall that happened earlier this morning. He responded to the vandalism by reading the following statement.

This morning we encountered an act of vandalism at Tillman Hall. My thanks go out to our Facilities staff for acting so quickly to remove the graffiti.

To be clear, I do not believe we should allow anyone to force an action that would exclude our campus from the conversation.

Since last fall, Debra Boyd has been leading our exploration of Tillman Hall and our campus generally. She invited a group of faculty, staff, students and administrators to join together in a safe and confidential environment in order to begin the discussion. Soon after I was named the new President, I was proud to learn that Winthrop had been working to be out ahead of how best to recognize the highs — and lows — in our history. That effort gained more attention in the wake of the horrific tragedy in Charleston.

This working group recognized that limiting the discussion to Tillman Hall would not allow a broader reflection on Winthrop University's progress as an institution and would miss an opportunity to educate the campus community on the complex issues surrounding race and difference. They came to a consensus around a statement that will serve as a starting point for a broader discussion. Their recommendation was that as we move forward, all key stakeholders will participate in an open, collaborative process that will be thoughtful and deliberate. I thank Debra and the working group for their leadership in this effort.

I believe Winthrop is uniquely positioned to lead in this broader conversation. We are already a university that is diverse and we have a record of successfully embracing diversity in a way that has had a very positive impact on our entire campus community. Last October Winthrop celebrated the 50th anniversary of our first enrolled African-American students. This change happened without much of the rancor and hostility that occurred elsewhere.

I am confident that we can continue to address all of these issues in an inclusive and collaborative process that embraces the voices of all of our stakeholders. As has been the case in the past, I believe we will continue to be at our best as an institution when we work together.

Following his statement, Provost Debra Boyd reported on the work of the committee considering options related to the use of the Tillman name on our campus. She concluded her report with the following statement.

Our campus community stands at a defining moment. We have a responsibility to recognize that moment and our duty to embrace it. We must not forget the past but use it as we summon our collective memories and experiences to arrive at the solid ground of common purpose.

We are brought together by Tillman Hall, originally called the Main Building as it was the first built on campus, and renamed in 1962 after another building bearing Tillman's name was torn down.

Tillman Hall was named for Benjamin "Pitchfork" Tillman, a man who as governor and U.S. Senator advocated for poor farmers against large corporate interests and endeavored to improve their condition by establishing institutions that would become Clemson University and Winthrop University. Tillman was also an unabashed racist who counted among his proudest moments his participation in the "Hamburg Massacre" of 1876 in which seven black militiamen were murdered. And one of Tillman's most enduring and fateful legacies was South Carolina's 1895 constitution, which disenfranchised most of the black majority and ensured white rule for generations.

Winthrop was built and grew in the shadow of discrimination and segregation, but we have worked to move into the sunlight. Last October, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of integration at Winthrop, a bright moment for our university. While certainly not without tension, Winthrop took its historic step toward integration without the vitriol and violence experienced at other campuses. Since then, we have grown to be among the most diverse public institutions of its type — both in the state and across the nation.

Considering how far we have come, how could we keep the name of so divisive an individual on a Winthrop building, no less than the main administration building which serves as the heart of our beloved institution? Certainly some believe strongly we cannot keep the Tillman name, including alumni who brought this issue to the forefront. We applaud them for moving us to this historic moment.

Others counsel retaining the name to recall the victory of the first African Americans to attend Winthrop as students, realizing an achievement Tillman himself would never have countenanced. Dr. Cynthia Roddey — one of Winthrop's first four African-American students in 1964 — recalls with great pride defiantly climbing the steps of the building named for someone who would have denied her the privilege of an education.

Still others note that state law prohibits changing the name of Tillman Hall without approval by the state legislature by a supermajority vote, an outcome even the most ardent supporters of renaming recognize is not likely.

Our strength as a campus community is our capacity to appreciate the array of voices speaking on this matter.

We resolve to continue these discussions, but do more than talk; our goal is to identify and act on campus initiatives that are achievable, will have long term impact, and will reflect Winthrop's culture of diversity and tolerance.

And we resolve to be known as the university community that took command of a dark chapter in our past and denied it the power to divide us. Indeed, we will be bound closer together today and in the future.

President Mahony continued his report by acknowledging the good work of the Admissions staff that has led to an additional influx of students over the projected entering class. While preliminary budgets were built with an anticipated increase of 50 students, current numbers are tracking higher.

The president concluded his report with a mention of upcoming campus events including the Campaign of Distinction finale celebration on September 18.

New Business

There was no new business.


Jane LaRoche moved to adjourn the meeting with a second from Scott Middleton. The vote was unanimous. The meeting was adjourned at 2:35 p.m.

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