Trustees discuss need-aware, Fine Arts

By Colleen Good

The Board of Trustees’ October committee meetings produced few ripples and saw few momentous decisions, though the Board’s meeting marked a notable first: it was the first trustee meeting ever to allow a student liaison into some board sessions normally closed to students.During the business-meeting portion, three motions were put before the board, all of which passed unanimously, and in about five minutes.

Trustees passed one motion confirming the decision of the Campus Life committee to declare Saturday Oct. 6, 2007, Don Hudson Day at Macalester. Don Hudson served as the football coach at Macalester from 1971 to 1975, becoming the first African-American football coach to serve at a predominately white college. The mayor of St. Paul, Chris Coleman, had also declared Oct. 6, 2007, Don Hudson Day in St. Paul.

Board of Trustees Chair Timothy Hart-Andersen “flitted around a bit” to the various trustee committees as they met Thursday and Friday, he said. He observed that the members of the Admissions Committee were glad to see that the percentage of students of color at Macalester has been on the rise.

The Admissions Committee also examined the impact a need-aware admissions policy has had on the makeup of the college. Hart-Andersen said that the change in policy doesn’t seem to be dramatically changing the student body. Franz Meyer ’09, student government president, was also in attendance, and he noted that Macalester also gives more financial aid than other colleges of similar size.

Since Macalester implemented its need-aware admissions policy, the percentage of first-year students receiving need-based financial aid has dropped from about 70 percent, in the fall of 2005, to about 66 percent this fall, according to Financial Aid office numbers.

The Buildings and Grounds Committee looked at how Macalester Athletic and Recreation Center construction was progressing. It is currently on schedule and projected to be under-budget, Blythe Austin ’08, the student liaison to the board, said.

The grounds committee members were also shown aesthetic mock-ups for the Institute for Global Citizenship’s building, Hart-Andersen said. The building is expected to serve as an entranceway of sorts to Macalester’s campus.

The committee also examined preliminary plans for the Fine Arts complex. The real logistics have not yet been planned, student government vice president Brian Stephenson ’10 said, and are made more complex by the various departments and offices currently using the building. One example is Facilities Management, which would need to be kept functional throughout the process, he said.

Hart-Anderson said that the fall meeting had been a “quiet but energetic meeting,” because the college is doing well.

The “Trustees had fun with students in the room,” Meyer said.

Austin, the only one among the student representatives with previous experience, was a great resource to the other representatives, Meyer said.

Before the Trustee Committee meetings, Austin held a meeting for the student representatives, providing them with packets detailing previous meeting minutes and Trustees’ biographies, as well as giving them some basic background on the committees.

The student representatives will present to the Legislative Body on Tuesday.

Hart-Andersen is interested in taking student involvement even further, he said.

“We want to hear what [students are] thinking,” Hart-Andersen said.

Beginning this month, Hart-Andersen will hold the first in a series of office hours to speak with students. He will be on campus Tues., Oct. 23, from 5 to 7 p.m. in Campus Center room 216.

The purpose of these meetings will be to explain what the board does, to hear student input and concerns, and to put a human face to the Chair of the Trustee Board, Austin said.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will occur in March of next year. One of the topics to be discussed will be the Institute for Global Citizenship, whose advisory board will be meeting for the first time in March, at the same time as the Board of Trustees.