Macalester’s Board of Trustees reconvened from Jan. 24-25, participating in a two-hour long diversity training, approving the installation of new turf at Macalester Stadium, and granting tenure to three faculty members.
The new turf will be installed over the summer, and is expected to be ready for the start of the 2018 fall season. It will replace turf that was originally installed in 2005 and, in recent years, has been showing its age.
“It’s really bad,” Student Liason to the Board of Trustees and Women’s Soccer captain Jaime Hasama ’18 said of the old turf. “It’s definitely time for that to happen.”
As they do early each year, the trustees also moved to grant tenure to three professors, all of whom joined Macalester in 2012: Lesley Lavery of political science, Michael McGaghie of music, and Kari Shepherdson-Scott of art history.
The trustees also spent time in smaller committee groups. Prominent in the meeting of the Campus Life Committee, for instance, were discussions of the use of the Leonard Center (LC) and the athletic department at large.
Since the start of the year, Hasama has been spearheading an effort to “create peer-led weightlifting classes for a lot of minority groups to make them feel more welcome in the Leonard Center.”
“I’m going to be leading weekly weight-lifting sessions for these specified groups, and eventually hoping that it builds community for minority groups to workout together to be healthier,” Hasama said.
Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation Kim Chandler also presented to the Campus Life Committee, pitching a new focus on making the LC more accessible and on increasing the diversity of the athletic department.
The latter focus is well-founded. Fourteen of Macalester’s fifteen varsity head coaches, as well as all of its varsity assistant coaches, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and athletic administrators, are white.
In the 37-person department, head volleyball coach Sarah Graves ’04 is the only person of color.
Chandler is working with Vice President for Student Affairs Donna Lee to “switch up the hiring process a little bit to make it more diverse by welcoming people of color, LGBTQ+ employees and coaches,” Hasama said.
In addition, Hasama said, Chandler is working with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) to “create more discussions about race within the athletic department.”
Diversity was a theme in the Board’s full meeting on Friday, when Trustees participated in a two-hour diversity training led by the Association for Governing Boards for Colleges and Universities (AGB), which does similar trainings at schools across the country.
“Everyone was really excited,” Hasama said. “I was really impressed with how open they were and willing to learn new things and listen. One of the things they also talked about was… getting to interact with groups of students [and] one-on-one.”
Hasama said that the Board is also excited about progress on the new theatre building, which is slated to open for the Spring 2019 semester.
“There’s a huge push in the world for STEM,” Hasama said, “but it’s also important to acknowledge the importance of arts and the humanities as something that is necessary for us.”
Other orders of business for the Board included green-lighting projects to repair the roof of Olin-Rice and replace the air conditioning unit in the Information Technology Services (ITS) server room of Neill Hall. They also allocated an additional $500,000 to the student loan budget.
On Thursday night, all of the trustees attended a dinner in Kagin Ballroom to honor Ruth Stricker Dayton with their Board of Trustees Award for Meritorious and Distinguished Service.
Dayton graduated from Macalester with degrees in religion and physical education, and the Campus Center is named in her honor. Markim Hall is named after two of her children, Mark and Kim.
Overall, Hasama was encouraged by the visit. “I thought it was a really good Board meeting,” she said. “The diversity training was great.”
The trustees will return to campus for their final meeting of the school year in May.