Trustees join students, faculty and staff in solidarity with MSU
First meeting of 2023 includes regular meetings, campus community experiences
The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees began its first formal session of 2023 on a somber note, with a moment of silence in honor of the Michigan State University community.
In his opening remarks, CMU President Bob Davies reflected on the campus shooting that took place on MSU’s campus Monday evening, noting how closely and deeply the incident impacted CMU students, faculty and staff.
“MSU is our close neighbor, located less than 70 miles from our campus, and many of us have friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members who are part of that community,” Davies said. “This tragedy affects us all, and we will continue to offer support to students, faculty and staff who are grieving.”
This also was the first meeting for two new trustees, Denise W. Mallett, of Detroit, and Todd J. Regis, of Flat Rock, who were warmly welcomed by Board Chair Isaiah Oliver and Davies.
Committee meeting highlights
During Wednesday’s committee meetings, trustees heard updates on a number of student, academic and universitywide initiatives.
In the Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting, trustees heard from several student leaders about their experience at the Afrikan Black Coalition Conference, held in January, and their plans to implement the lessons they learned back at home in the CMU community. In their presentation, graduate student Chris Calloway noted that CMU was the first Michigan university to attend the conference.
Dan Gaken, Director of the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute, also provided an update on the LeaderShape program, held in January. CMU annually hosts the nationally recognized program, which helps students develop a plan to achieve their aspirational leadership goals, especially those related to social justice.
Students Eric Urbaniak and Meghan VanDamme, together with faculty advisor Matthew Liesch, gave a presentation on the ongoing work of Central Sustainability to engage the university and greater Mount Pleasant community in efforts to reduce waste, conserve resources and practice sustainability.
During the brief Finance and Facilities Committee meeting, Jonathan Webb, associate vice president for facilities management, gave an update on several campus construction and facilities improvement projects. This included information on the completed demolition of Kewadin apartments, turf replacement on baseball and softball fields, lighting and sound enhancements in Bush Theater, and renovations to Cobb residence hall, among others.
Webb also noted that CMU is continuing to collect student input on housing options as it determines next steps for the North Community. He said approximately 900 students took the housing survey distributed by the Division of Student Affairs, and staff will be meeting in March with the Student Government Association and Residence Housing Association to conduct additional input gathering.
During the Trustee-Faculty Liaison Committee meeting, Trustees learned about CMU’s multidisciplinary Drone Use certificate program, and received a hands-on flying lesson from Kevin Campbell, faculty member in the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, Mario Caballero, manager of video facilities in the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, CMU Police Lt. Mike Sienkiewicz, and CMU graduate and Hyvion Chief Pilot Zach Huffman. Campbell said CMU has been approved to serve as an FAA testing site for drone pilots, which will draw new interest in the university and its drone program.
A vigil for Michigan State University
In lieu of the Trustees-Student Liaison Committee meeting, student leaders and trustees attended a solidarity gathering for the victims of the Monday night shooting at Michigan State University.
The event, organized by students from the four Greek life councils, Student Government Association and Residence Housing Association, featured an opening song, formal speaking program and a performance of MSU’s alma mater by student, faculty and staff musicians. President Davies and Board Chair Oliver offered remarks, and students were invited to share their reflections and experiences.
Later that evening, student leaders also held a candlelight vigil at the university seal, lighting candles and illuminating their cellphones at 8:18 p.m. — the time the first shots were fired at MSU Monday evening.
Consent agenda and other news
In other board action, Trustees approved tenure and/or promotion for more than a dozen faculty members, and approved emeritus rank for six faculty and staff members.
The board also voted to empower Davies to ratify and sign collective bargaining agreements for 2023-24 and beyond with Central Michigan University Dispatchers Association and the Central Michigan Command Officers Association.
Other items on the consent agenda included:
- Approval of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies quarterly report and the contributions quarterly report.
- Approval of a ground lease assignment.
- Approval of board appointments to several public charter schools and the addition of Mary Hill, CMU’s vice president of finance and administrative services and chief financial officer, to the CMURC Board of Directors.
- Approval of new endowments and changes to endowment criteria.