Monday, November 30, 2020

Four takeaways from the Board of Trustees meeting

December 18, 2015

MSU's Board of Trustees met Friday, Dec. 18 to discuss various items from contracts to a new scholarship.

Here are four takeaways from the meeting which show what's to come in the MSU administration:

1. President Lou Anna K. Simon will not receive a salary increase this year.

In lieu of the increase, the board voted to endow a scholarship in President Simon and her husband Dr. Roy J. Simon's name.

Simon said she asked to have this happen last year but the board granted her the increase anyway.

Simon's last pay increases were in 2014 and 2007.

The $50,000 scholarship will be offered for first generation MSU students in financial need.

2. Suite 1515 in the Engineering Building will be transformed from what used to be the engineering library into 25 faculty offices.

The $7.5 million budget will create the new offices and construct the new area within the building.

The alterations come after the administration announced the closing of the library in May.

Student outcry followed the announcement specific to students in engineering programs.

Study space is expected to be created in Anthony Hall for students.

3. MSU now advocates for a specific campus-wide health initiative.

The Healthy Campus Initiative will promote recreation and fitness on campus without creating or promising updated facilities.

The board's discussion on the initiative brought up the current state of the IM Facilities.

Simon said, "We have movement classes occurring in residence halls, in residence hall space lots of things that are not labeled as exercise space but are part of this whole purpose."

The Healthy Campus Initiative is budgeted for all 50,000 students in response to the inability to build a large enough facility for all students and faculty.

Simon said the initiative steers clear of labels and a specific building for health.

Some trustees expressed disapproval with the age of the buildings.

"The IM West building looks like when I went to school," Trustee Brian Mosallam said.

Mosallam attended MSU in the early 1990s.

The board plans to discuss the initiative in more detail during a committee meeting in June 2016.

4. Liberate MSU attended and spoke on behalf of their group at the meeting.

Three students discussed a variety of issues that students of color face on MSU's campus and the administration's lack of accountability and action.

Two Sankofa graduate students in the African American and African Studies Program, or AAAS, called for the board to consider transforming the AAAS into a department.

Graduate student AJ Rice said the current program has several issues and puts students at a disadvantage.

Specifically, the university does not offer an undergraduate major in AAAS, so it is difficult for graduate students to actually experience teaching for their specific area of study.

Rice said MSU is 1 of 15 black studies doctoral programs in the country, the AAAS program is the only doctoral program without a department.

Wayne State University, the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University all have black studies departments.

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