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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Board of Trustees hears concerns, approves new members

Board of Trustees hears concerns, approves new members

On Friday, Oct. 6, Macalester’s overall governance body, the Board of Trustees (BoT) met in the Weyerhaeuser boardroom for their first meeting of the 2023-24 academic year. 

Trustees heard updates from individual committees and reports from chair of the Staff Advisory Council (SAC) Rachel Weeks, chair of the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) Julie Dolan and co-chair of the Parent Council and parent liaison Renée Ryan.

The BoT manages institutional policies and changes such as the Strategic Plan. Members primarily consist of business leaders, most of whom are Macalester alumni. The BoT is divided into committees that focus on different aspects of life at Macalester.

After voting to approve the meeting minutes from the board’s previous meeting in May 2022, trustees shared committee updates. Noteworthy updates included those from the Committee on Trustees and the Infrastructure Committee.

Giving an update for the Committee on Trustees, Vice Chair Rebecca Van Dyck ’91 P ’24 shared that over the summer, the committee finalized the results of the annual survey of trustees. Survey results were shared during individual committee meetings. Van Dyck also announced that six new trustees — Decker Anstrom ’72, Tom Dohrmann ’92, Matt Intenza ’83, Dana Mortenson, Tyler Robinson ’93 and Zia Yusuf ’91 — were attending their first board meeting.

Aukse Jurkute ’98 reported that the Infrastructure Committee discussed moving student services out of the campus center and into another building, and considered how students can have more access to on-campus food services. 

Following this, Department Coordinator for the Community Engagement Center (CEC) and Chair of the SAC Rachel Weeks gave an update for the SAC. Weeks shared that SAC has received feedback from staff asking for more explanation of pay grades, especially regarding how different positions are titled and paid; concerns about the Employee Handbook being changed without notifying SAC or the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC); and criticisms of Macalester’s Pparental Lleave Ppolicy.

“The Parental Leave Policy — especially the fact that staff cannot access it for two years while faculty can after just 6 months — is outdated and not in alignment with Mac’s stated values,” Weeks said, reading off of a transcript that she later shared with The Mac Weekly via email.

Weeks read a list of select anonymous community concern submissions that SAC received, many of which pertained to the issues Weeks summarized, to the trustees. A full list of submissions can be found on the SAC homepage.

Julie Dolan, political science professor and chair of the FAC, shared that faculty have been cautiously optimistic for the current academic year. Dolan also discussed the faculty’s role in the new Strategic Plan implementation, stating that while many faculty members participated in a working group related to the Strategic Plan over the summer, some were unsure of how to contribute to the implementation process.

Moving to hear reports from liaisons to the board, Alumni Board Liaison Justin Brandon ’00 shared that recent initiatives have prioritized alumni engagement events and supporting recent graduates into their transition to post-Macalester life. 

Student Liaison to the BoT Bobbie Pennington ’24 reported that he has seen more student engagement with the Comprehensive Campus Plan (CCP) and that students generally felt positive about the rest of the year to come. Pennington stated that students are concerned about the upcoming demolition of the Cultural House and campus center remodeling plans. After acknowledging that Macalester’s recent signing of an automatic textbook billing contract with Barnes & Noble is part of an industry-wide change, Pennington urged the BoT to support Macalester in brainstorming alternative models. 

Ryan shared that three families of the class of 2027 students joined the Parent Council. The Parent Council is also planning a webinar series and parent gatherings with President Rivera in Boston and Chicago to increase parent and family engagement. 

Before transitioning to the Executive Committee Session, which is a private meeting, the board voted on seven motions, all of which were passed.

The first motion, proposed by the Advancement Committee, updated the Gift Acceptance Policy. 

The second motion created a campaign to provide robust funding to the Imagine, Macalester strategic plan, at a planned total of $200 million. The members of the board pledged personally to advance the campaign, through direct funding and word of mouth advocacy in spreading the word about the campaign. 

The third motion approved an independent audit of Macalester College’s finances in the 2022-23 fiscal year.

The fourth motion named former trustees Timothy D. Hart-Andersen, Mark G. Leonard ’65, Alice Mortenson, Paul L. H. Olson ’72, Sandra R. Ortiz ’97 and Sara L. Peterson ’72 as Trustees Emeriti.

The fifth motion officially approved Sara Suelflow as the Assistant Secretary through May 31, 2024, and the sixth motion approved Patricia Langer as the Assistant Treasurer through the same date.

The seventh and final motion approved the Signature Authority Policy, which dictates who can sign legal documents on behalf of Macalester, as recommended to them by the Governance Committee.


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About the Contributor
Cal Martinez
Cal Martinez, News Editor
Cal Martinez '26 (they/them) is one of the news editors and an English major from metro Detroit, Michigan. Their best friend in high school, who happened to be their English teacher, introduced them to journalism and annotating poetry with fancy highlighters, and their sleep schedule has never been the same since.

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