Minutes of the Special Meeting


Tuesday, April 8, 2003


A special meeting of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Tuesday, April 8, 2003, in the Ontario Room of the Bottum University Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 8:30 a.m. by Chair Mary Campbell.


Trustees present included:


        Mary L. Campbell, Chair

        Karl A. Weber, Vice Chair

        Samuel S. Benedict

        Scott L. Holman

        Mary C. Lukens

        Douglas B. Roberts

        Judith I. Bailey, ex officio


Trustees absent were Alan T. Ackerman and Larry C. Inman.


Vice Presidents/Board staff present included:


        Michael J. Roy, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer of the Board

        Alfred N. Joyal, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

        R. Gavin Leach, Associate Vice President for Finance and Planning


Note:    Copies of presentations and handouts are available in the Office of the Secretary of the Board.





Chair Mary Campbell discussed the purpose of the meeting and reviewed the budget situation and the alternatives being considered for budget reductions.  She explained how the public comment portion of the meeting will be conducted.  Chair Campbell said that she is arranging the order of the public comment to have all presenters for a specific topic speak and then move on to all presenters for another topic and so on.  Each person will be allotted three minutes.





Approximately 20 individuals -- community members and students -- addressed the board.  A majority spoke in support of preserving one or both of the public broadcasting stations.  Current and former students spoke to the value of hands-on training provided by Public Eye News that prepares them for internships and employment opportunities.  The Board was presented with a petition signed by nearly 1,300 students opposed to suspending public broadcasting operations.

A separate petition was submitted on behalf of 350 students who pledged support for a one percent tuition increase to preserve the Health Promotions Office and the Wildcat Shuttle. 


The other interests represented during the public comment period were support for the communication disorders graduate program and the U.S. Olympic Education Center (USOEC). 


Copies of numerous written comments were also provided to the Board members.





ASNMU President Carissa Waters gave a presentation of the students’ viewpoint of the budget cut recommendations.  Ms. Waters reviewed student feedback and stated that the quality of education and the high-touch capability at Northern are most important for the students.


10:00 a.m. - Break


10:15 a.m. - Reconvene





Chair Campbell read a memorial to former Board of Trustees member Barbara Labadie, who died recently after fighting a long battle with cancer.  She asked for a moment of silence.


Provost Fred Joyal read a memorial to Senior Systems Technologist Bruce Hanninen, who died unexpectedly last month.  He asked for a moment of silence.





President Bailey presented the following recommendation:


It is recommended that the following resolution relative to holding a Closed Session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University be approved:


RESOLVED, that the Board shall meet in Closed Session at a time determined by the Chair in connection with the Regular Session of the Board of Trustees held on Tuesday, April 8, 2003, pursuant to Section 8 of the Open Meetings Act:


To consider matters connected with the strategy and/or negotiation of its collective bargaining agreements;


To consider material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statute.


Ms. Lukens moved that the resolution be approved.  It was supported by

Mr. Holman.  On a roll-call vote, the Board voted as follows:

                                                    Aye                            Nay


                                                Mr. Benedict

                                                Ms. Campbell

                                                Mr. Holman

                                                Ms. Lukens

                                                Dr. Roberts

                                                Mr. Weber



                        The resolution was thus approved unanimously.





Vice President Roy gave a presentation on recommendations of the Budget Alternatives Committee.  Chair Campbell asked for discussion from Dr. Roy about the USOEC cuts and the impact on enrollment because the projected loss of students is important when considering closing the USOEC.  Trustee Benedict asked that the staff prepare a response to the individual who gave the financial information on the USOEC, with net increases/decreases, all costs included, i.e., parking passes of students and staff, etc.  Trustee Weber asked that the Board receive a copy of that response.  Trustee Holman asked that a minimum budget necessary to retain the USOEC be developed for review. 


Chair Campbell asked how much of the total savings from no salary increase in FY2004 is for non-represented staff.  Mr. Gavin Leach will provide the information. 


Trustee Doug Roberts asked for a breakdown of the $2.5 million budget increase related to enrollment growth.  Dr. Roy responded that it is $1 million this year over our projected number, it would be slightly over $1million next year projecting a 3 percent growth, and we are projecting a 1.5 percent enrollment growth the following year.  Dr. Roberts expressed concern about being too conservative with our estimates now and then discovering later that the actual numbers are quite different than the projections. 


Dr. Roy said that approximately 40 equivalent student positions (approximately 3 percent of the student positions) are affected by proposed budget cuts (approximately $112,000).  He said that 58 employees are affected by the proposed staff adjustments.


Dr. Roy said that the BAC did discuss the alternative of cutting Football.  He referred to NCAA regulations that impact the number of sports we are required to have.  If we eliminate football, we would have to add a men's sport.  He reviewed the number of students involved, the amount of scholarships and the costs and revenues involved.  He said that we could realize a net savings of approximately $200,000 if we eliminate football but the committee did not feel that it was the best decision to eliminate that sport when considering all the options.  The Board discussed the trade-offs of cutting athletic scholarships vs. public broadcasting.  The graduation rate of athletes is higher than the general student body and in many cases their GPAs are higher as well.  There are 116.75 full-time equivalent scholarships that are available.  In FY2002 of the 307 athletes 220 received some portion of an athletic scholarship.  The hockey program brings in the majority of the athletic revenue monies.  It was the general consensus of several Board members that athletics is not the best choice for elimination when considering impact on enrollment. 

Mr. Benedict said he requested and received information on the top administrative salaries and does not feel that NMU is out of line in this area, especially when compared with competitors and the excellent track record of the employees in those positions.  Supporting that was mention of the difficulty in recruiting replacements the past few years. 


Dr. Joyal gave a presentation on the “Preserved” portion of the BAC recommendations and on “What’s Already Happened.” 


President Bailey reviewed the Summary of Feedback and thanked Mr. Brian Zinser and Ms. Cindy Paavola and their staffs for assistance in compiling this information. 


12:05 p.m. - Recess


  1:50 p.m. - Reconvene


Dr. Roy continued his presentation with a review of Tuition and Fees and Room and Board rates.  He explained that we would need a room and board rate increase to cover increased expenses.  He then summarized the Revenue Offsets presentation and said that even though we may not yet know our state appropriation level, we will be asking the Board of Trustees to approve tuition and fees and room and board recommendations at their May meeting. 


Dr. Roy reviewed the proposed Reduction in Force (RIF) Plan.  If the BAC recommendations are implemented, 28 staff members would be laid off on July 1, 2003, and the remainder would be laid off on July 1, 2004.  Therefore, the RIF Plan is structured into a 2003 piece and a 2004 piece.  The RIF, which is available only to employees whose positions are eliminated, is designed to encourage eligible employees to accept the plan rather than to exercise bumping rights.  Affected employees would be eligible for unemployment benefits based on the amount of their RIF and how payments are made to the employee.  Trustee Mary Lukens asked if we could find out what unemployment benefits a person would receive, how much we actually save with this plan, and what it costs NMU. 


Mr. Benedict moved that the RIF Plan be approved.  It was supported by Dr. Roberts.  The RIF Plan was approved unanimously.


Chair Campbell asked for more information about how we will fund the RIF. 





Chair Campbell referred to a proposal for a $1 million loan to Northern Initiatives.  Dr. Roy gave a brief history of Northern Initiatives and its relationship to NMU.   Board members expressed concern about providing funds to assist another nonprofit when we have internal needs.  Mr. Benedict asked about the future of Northern Initiatives if we do not make the loan and Dr. Roy said it would be at risk.  Trustee Karl Weber said that there are other sources available in the Marquette area to assist small businesses in getting started, which wasn’t the case when NI was founded.  President Bailey summarized the concerns of the Board:  1) Is a loan the appropriate mechanism to try to save NI; 2) What other alternatives exist for NI to continue operations; 3) What is the risk to NMU for the loan; 4) Is a higher interest rate possible. 




Chair Campbell asked to return to the subject of public broadcasting and referred to a report on public broadcast fund-raising prepared by the NMU Development Fund.  Dr. Joyal said that Mr. Scott Seaman, Director of the Learning Resources Division, is calculating what the minimum cost would be to retain the licenses and what alternatives exist for providing public radio and television to the area.  The Board discussed the suggestion that additional fund-raising lead by public broadcasting supporters could supplement a minimally-funded operation. 





Chair Campbell asked for input on the USOEC Talking Points handout.  Dr. Roy was asked to get additional financial information on actual costs for this program.  Mr. Holman suggested that perhaps we could approach someone who benefited from this program to help facilitate federal assistance. 


Chair Campbell expressed concern that the Board's discussions have been focusing on ways to keep programs rather than looking for alternative sources for budget reductions.  In May 2003, the administration will be presenting a balanced budget for Board approval.  If revision is necessary, an adjusted budget may be presented to the Board in August 2003. 





Chair Campbell adjourned the meeting at 3:50 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,




Pamalene R. Grundstrom, Secretary of the BoardHolman