Editor’s Note: After each Board of Trustees meeting, Western Today provides a recap of decisions and discussion.
Trustees Approve 2021-23 Biennial Operating Budget Request
Western’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved a 2021-2023 biennial operating budget request of $165,401,914 in state funds and net tuition revenue, in support of university academic, administrative and departmental operations.
The funding request to the state includes a Decision Package on Advancing Equity and Inclusive Success, which includes a new academic curriculum in Ethnic Studies that equips Western students with the practical and conceptual tools to deal with today’s increasingly diverse and stratified society, coupled with the critical support services needed to ensure underrepresented students receive the same opportunities for academic success as their peers.
Rich Van Den Hul, vice president for Business and Financial Affairs, and Faye Gallant, executive director for Budget and Financial Planning, also provided a financial update, noting that the state is still likely to ask for university budget reductions – in the face of a statewide economic downturn due to COVID-19 - but that the final amount of those reductions could change, depending on the state economy and revenue received by the state.
Another federal stimulus funding measure remains uncertain in Congress and it is unclear when the state Legislature will hold a special session this year on the budget.
Becca Kenna-Schenk, executive director of Government Relations, said that a $9 billion state budget deficit projection based on a prior revenue forecast may be less than that, as state revenue collections have been more positive lately.
And the trustees also approved the issuance of bonds to refund and restructure certain outstanding Housing and Dining System Revenue Bonds of the University. See: https://trustees.wwu.edu/files/18%20Approval%20of%20Finance%20Resolution%20for%20Housing%20and%20Dining.pdf.
In other business, the trustees:
- Approved a reduction in mandatory student fees. See: https://westerntoday.wwu.edu/news/trustees-approve-reduction-in-mandatory-fees-for-fall-quarter.
- Melynda Huskey, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services, provided a report on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She referenced the timeline of projects to advance diversity, equity and inclusion on the president’s website (see: https://www.wwu.edu/diversity), and described progress on a number of initiatives, such as creation of a Structural Equity and Bias Response Team and completion of an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Northwest Indian College in an effort to encourage more students from the regional tribal nations to attend and to succeed at Western.
- Approved a resolution of appreciation for Trustee Earl Overstreet, whose six-year term on the board is ending in September. Trustees praised Overstreet’s many contributions to the board and to the university. Board Chair John Meyer said that he endeavored to live up to Overstreet’s leadership on the board and his example of “always doing things in the right way.” Trustee Faith Pettis said that Overstreet “set the bar very, very high” and Trustee Karen Lee praised Overstreet as “a model board member and trustee.” Western President Sabah Randhawa expressed his gratitude for Overstreet’s service and said that he will be missed very much.
- Welcomed new AS President Abdul-Malik Ford, who has served in numerous leadership roles on campus, including as the president of Western’s Black Student Union (BSU) for two years, as an elected student senator for the College of Business and Economics, and as the vice president of Hall Representation for his first-year on-campus residential community. Ford introduced Sargun Handa, AS Senate Pro-Tempore, who provided an update on the Student Senate. Ford also described goals for the coming year, including fulfilling demands forwarded by the BSO. For more information, see: https://westerntoday.wwu.edu/news/abdul-malik-ford-appointed-as-the-new-as-president-for-2020-2021
- Welcomed Faculty Senate President Jeff Young, who is serving a second one-year term as president of the Faculty Senate.
- Heard a report from Trustee Mo West on the Student Success Committee, which reviewed a survey of student attitudes toward remote learning during spring quarter and discussed the Advancing Equity and Inclusive Success decision package for the 2021-23 biennial operating budget.
- Trustee Pettis also provided a report on the board’s Finance, Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee.
- Approved awarding a $6,106,511 (plus associated sales tax) contract to BN Builders of Seattle for framing, drywall, painting, miscellaneous specialties, and doors/frames/hardware for the Interdisciplinary Science Building, now under construction; and awarded a contract to Dutton Electric Co. of Lynnwood in the amount of $921,000 (plus associated sales tax) to replace the main electrical switchgear at Fairhaven Academic Building. See: https://trustees.wwu.edu/files/14%20Public%20Works%20Projects.pdf.
- Approved changes in Western’s Student Conduct Code to reflect federal Title IX changes. See: https://trustees.wwu.edu/files/17%20Rule%20Changes%20in%20Response%20to%20New%20Title%20IX%20Guidance.pdf.
- Approved summer quarter degrees.
The next regular meeting of the Board of trustees will be Oct. 8 and 9. Meeting documents are available at the Board of Trustees website at https://trustees.wwu.edu/meeting-materials