By Gabrielle Beacken
Project developments, budget overview and transfer of powers were all topics presented in the College’s Board of Trustees “Sunshine Agenda” meeting in Loser Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 7.
After the Board of Trustees discussed the agenda in a closed meeting, a public session was held in order to review all sections of the agenda.
The Sunshine Agenda included three special components: swearing in of new student trustee, shift of chair position and an extended presentation on Campus Town.
There are two student representations on the board: one alternate student trustee and one voting trustee. The alternate student trustee serves for one year then becomes the voting trustee.
“Students participate in all deliberations of the board, as permitted by state statute, on committees of the board and, like all trustees, represent the best interests of the citizens of the State of New Jersey,” said Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees Heather Fehn.
This year, new Student Trustee Kevin Kim was sworn in with a brief ceremony at the public session. Ryan Boyne currently serves as student-voting trustee.
Following the swearing-in of the new student trustee was the official transfer of the gavel: the initiation of a new chair of the board.
According to Fehn, the chair of the board holds responsibilities like publicly representing the board and working “with the President to ensure that the Board provides appropriate guidance and policy oversight for the institution.” Chair positions are typically held for two to three years, according to Fehn.
“It’s not my funeral. I’m not going anywhere,” said former Chair of the Board Christopher Gibson. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank President Gitenstein, the cabinet, faculty and staff.”
Gibson is transferring the position of Chair after a three-year term. “We’ve achieved many things these last three years,” Gibson said. “Take a look out the window, and you see things happening here.”
Due to his commitment to education, Gibson will continue to advocate for the value of education from outside the College’s board.
“We have to find a way to provide affordable education for all citizens,” he said.
New Chair of the Board, Jorge Caballero, former secretary and six-year board member, made two promises to the public.
“One: I will always do my best,” Caballero said. “And, two: I will always have the best interest of this institution.”
Caballero detailed his educational journey to the public and board. Coming to America at the age of 10 with his family, penniless, he has endured struggles along the way.
“Without these public institutions, I would’ve never been able to go to college and have a career,” Caballero said. By becoming the new chair, Caballero is “giving back and paying it forward.”
The Board carried all presented resolutions and reviewed alternative academic information.
An undisputed carried resolution includes the Resolution Concerning Implementation of Increase in Compensation for the President of The College of New Jersey.
“This item was taken very seriously by board and committee,” Caballero said.
This document details that the Board of Trustees “authorizes a one-time bonus of 3.090 percent and authorizes a 6.154 percent increase for the president effective (Wednesday), July 1, 2014,” according to the official resolution document.
The document also specifies that the President’s salary has remained unchanged since Monday, July 1, 2013, her most recent increase — an increase due to the efforts and services of President Gitenstein.
“She continues to move the institution toward its mission with unwavering principles and has been instrumental in the advocacy for the College and higher education not only in New Jersey, but nationally,” the Resolution said.
An additional carried resolution, approving a revised policy in repeating courses, explains that students must receive advisement before repeating a course. A student can only repeat a course once, and the prevailing grade, except in the Engineering Department, will be counted.
“I would like to clarify — this is a requirement for us to submit to the state of New Jersey,” Gitenstein said, introducing the Resolution Concerning Submission of the FY 2016 Capitol Budget Request Totaling $18,655,000 (for fiscal year of 2016) and $219,779,000 (seven year term 2016-2022). “We never get the resources, but we always ask.”
The high-ticket items of the 2016-2022 proposed budget were the STEM Complex Phase II in 2018, $30,000; the new Nursing Building in 2019-2022, $48,900; the Roscoe West Library renovation and renewal in 2019- 2022, $20,783; and asset renewal, academic and administrative, spanning through all four years with $41,007.
According to Caballero, representing the Report of the Finance and Investments Committee, the College has been doing financially well, even resulting in slight surplus this past fiscal term. Though there are slight revisions to the College’s investment procedure, he said, their investing policy is still moderate risk.
Reporting on the Student Affairs Committee, Rosie Hymerling commented on the Committee’s collaboration with the Alumni Association to plan a fun-for-all and successful Homecoming, as well as its new health initiations, such as appointing a new Director for Counseling.
Several other faculty and staff additions were announced, including six two-year term Athletics temporary staff labeled Project Specialist.
An extended Campus Town presentation was given at the conclusion of the public session, depicting the project’s positive and beneficial publicity, construction progress, retail and residence details and overall investments. An original $65 million investment has now increased to $86 million.
Campus Town October activity will include roofing, sheathing and the primitive steps to install windows. With 376 leases already signed, Campus Town currently has 58 beds left to fill.
Closed session topics included personnel actions, such as faculty hires, retires and resignations; pending litigation, including Susan Guerrini v TCNJ; and contract negotiations related to Campus Town.
The next public meeting of the College’s Board of Trustees will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. Time and location are to be announced.