CMU trustees, president affirm commitment to social justice, equity

Board also votes to freeze standard graduate tuition rates

| Author: Heather Smith

Social justice and equity were at the forefront of the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees meeting this morning.

President Bob Davies opened the meeting addressing racial injustice and inequality around the world —and in the CMU community.

"Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and community members have taken to the streets and to social media to make their voices heard," Davies said. "I am proud to see them taking a stand as leaders, and I am proud to support them."

Davies acknowledged CMU's many active steps in institutional efforts to address diversity, equity and inclusion, but noted there is still more to be done.

"Substantial work remains ahead for all of us, and we are going to talk about it openly and often," Davies said. "We must be transparent in addressing our challenges, so that we may be effective in finding their solutions."

Davies' opening remarks were followed by a resolution, approved by the Board of Trustees, in support of Central Michigan's ongoing efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion.

"Words matter. Actions matter. First, we need to listen and learn and have open, honest and thoughtful conversations about racism in our state and in our country," said Trustee Rich Studley. "I think we have a special opportunity as a university that is central to the future of our students and central to the future of our state to be a leader here."

Also in his opening report to the board, Davies addressed CMU's planning efforts to more fully resume in-person operations. Several university leaders then updated trustees on CMU's coronavirus response and plan to resume face-to-face operations, including a medical update as well as plans for academics, campus life and facilities.

John Veilleux, vice president for University Communications and chief marketing officer, discussed the university's communications related to the coronavirus response, as well as an overview of proactive steps taken as students and employees begin their return to campus. Fired Up for Fall is a comprehensive plan designed to provide the CMU community with guidance on staying healthy during their return to campus.

In other action, trustees approved:

  • A freeze on standard graduate tuition rates for 2020-21. This follows action at April's board meeting to freeze undergraduate tuition rates for the upcoming academic year.
  • A $428 million 2020-21 operating budget.
  • An additional meal plan option to benefit students impacted by or concerned about social distancing or other COVID-19-related issues.
  • A motion authorizing the president or his designee to sign a 25-year master affiliation agreement with CMU Medical Education Partners.
  • Emeritus rank for 10 faculty and staff, and 32 faculty promotions.

The board also recognized Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Barrie Wilkes, who will retire next week after 28 years of service to CMU.

Wilkes will be succeeded by Nicholas Long, assistant vice chancellor of budget and financial planning for the University of Texas System's eight academic institutions and six health institutions throughout the state. Long begins his new role July 27.

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