By Michelle Lampariello
The College’s Board of Trustees met on Oct. 24, to discuss an array of items pertaining to the campus community.
College President R. Barbara Gitenstein reiterated the major initiatives she discussed in a meeting with with The Signal on Oct. 11. She hopes to tackle these initiatives in her final year as the College’s president, which includes implementing recommendations made by the Advisory Commission on Social Justice: Race and Educational Attainment.
The commission released five recommendations to alleviate social injustice at the College on Sept. 5, including changing the name of Paul Loser Hall to Trenton Hall.
Gitenstein plans to continue the implementation of the commission’s recommendations by holding a recruitment event for high school students from Trenton and Ewing, New Jersey, which will include an opportunity for scholarship money to be raised for local high school students, and enhance welcoming programs at the College for high school students from Trenton and Ewing.
Gitenstein also seeks to establish a history gallery in Trenton Hall that depicts the College’s relationship with the city and create a visibility campaign to highlight the resources the College offers to the local community. There will also be a comprehensive inventory of programs and initiatives that have been previously established to enhance the relationship between Trenton and Ewing.
The president’s second major initiative is to raise at least $7 million for the College through the 18.19.20 fundraising campaign.
In addition to encouraging the campus community to contribute to the campaign on Thursday, Nov. 2, the College’s third annual Day of Giving, Gitenstein plans to visit alumni across the country. Gitenstein is scheduled to attend an alumni event in Denver on Saturday, Nov. 4. Potential visits to Florida, California and Arizona are currently being planned.
Gitenstein said she has launched an initiative to work toward “positioning the College for the future with opinion leaders in the legislature.”
The president has scheduled meetings with the gubernatorial candidates and “likely leaders” of the New Jersey Assembly and Senate to discuss issues that she feels are relevant to the College, and to “put in stronger terms an appreciation of just how special The College of New Jersey is,” according to Gitenstein.
Gitenstein’s final major initiative is to advocate for national issues, specifically Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Gitenstein has been working with the American Council on Education and the New Jersey Chamber of Congress to support DACA in addition to efforts made by on-campus organizations.
“We saw a number of activities on the campus, including the Faculty Senate passing a resolution in support of DACA and the Student Government did as well,” Gitenstein said.
Following the president’s report, Chair of the Board of Trustees Jorge Caballero initiated a discussion on renovating the president’s residence at 110 Murphy Drive in Pennington, New Jersey.
Last renovated in 1999, the property has been used to host a variety of large gatherings during Gitenstein’s tenure, though the home was only built to handle residential use.
“Its systems, meaning water and sewer, are really intended for residential use, and we have put those systems to their fullest test,” Caballero said.
Caballero explained the importance of renovating the property as the College transitions to a new president.
“As we continue through this leadership transition, the board thought that it was appropriate that some action be taken to take a look at that facility as we prepare for the next president of TCNJ,” Caballero said. “While we believe that it’s really important to have a facility and a home that the president can use for a gathering place, one of the things that we would be expecting on a go-forward basis is that… the larger gatherings take place (on campus) to ensure that the systems in that facility continue to be viable.”
The board’s Executive Committee passed a resolution to extend Gitenstein’s contract through June 30, 2018. Gitenstein’s contract was due to expire on Dec. 31, but the board moved to extend her contract through to when she is due to retire at the end of the academic year.
The Outgoing Transition Committee announced that there will be an invitation gala on March 17 to celebrate Gitenstein’s tenure. There will also be a portrait painted of Gitenstein and a naming opportunity for a building. An on-campus reception to celebrate Gitenstein’s service to the College is being planned for May 2018, according to Committee Chair Robert Altman.
As the trustee liaison to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, Altman discussed the impact of Montclair State University being redesignated as a research university on funding for other New Jersey colleges and universities.
A task force of three trustees and three presidents, including Gitenstein, has been established to make recommendations to the association on how to function best on a reduced budget.
John Donohue, trustee member of the TCNJ Foundation, announced that the Alumni Association will be restructured to encourage more alumni engagement, such as mentoring and lecturing students.
“The association will continue to support the work of the College, as it relates primarily to social events and recruiting alumni members to work with the College,” Donohue said.
The Alumni Association also plans to contribute to the Trenton State College Gardens, a proposed re-landscaped area of campus adjacent to Roscoe West Hall, Forcina Hall and the new STEM Building. The TSC Gardens will include signs to commemorate each name that the College has had since 1855.