[ Editor’s Note: After each Board of Trustees meeting, Western Today provides a recap of decisions and discussion. ]
Western’s Board of Trustees discussed issues, concerns, actions and the university’s commitment to preventing sexual assault on campus during a presentation on Thursday, June 12.
Sue Guenter-Schlesinger, Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, and Ted Pratt, Dean of Students, gave a presentation with members of Sue’s staff about the university’s efforts in this area, such as:
- How does Western prevent and respond to sexual assault on campus?
- Finding gaps and vulnerabilities in our processes is of paramount importance
- Conducted a student climate survey in 2010; a new climate survey specifically on issues surrounding sexual misconduct will be conducted next fall and winter; this will allow for benchmarking with peer institutions
- College culture has traditionally been accepting of drinking and drug use, which creates an environment that boosts vulnerability
- Need to increase ongoing training to students, faculty and staff; engage student leaders; and engage all the university’s students about being a part of the solution
- In response to incidents that have occurred, there are many reporting options, including confidential ones, given immediately; the university is there with immediate emotional and medical assistance; goal number one is to ensure the survivor is safe and has access to education and resources as the investigations proceed
- As always, WWU needs to further increase transparency and improve enforcement
The ensuing interactive dialog with Trustees revolved around the fact that there needs to be a societal change in how these actions are viewed and that needs to start with the student body. Associated Students President Carly Roberts said that she feels a groundswell of new thinking on this issue is beginning to occur within students in particular and society as a whole, but that for it to really form on this campus it needs the backing of the University to uphold its end of the conversation around the topic.
In other business, the trustees:
- Received an update on accreditation from Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Steve VanderStaay and provided feedback on the visit made to Western in April by its accrediting body, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The NWCCU visited and evaluated WWU’s “Year-Three Accreditation Self-Study and followed that visit with three days of extensive telephone interviews. The campus accreditation process is one of peer review on resources, fiscal affairs, and programming. Western passed all processes with flying colors, and was lauded for transparency during its budgeting processes and for recent efforts to boost student achievement. Special thanks were extended to Gary McKinney and Wendy Knight for their efforts in coordinating and preparing the final draft of the report.
- Approved the 2015-2017 Capital Budget Request
- Approved the 2014-2015 tuition rates and 2014-15 annual state operating budget. There will be no increase for resident undergrads, a 3% increase to non-resident undergrads and resident graduate and MBA tuition. The Associated Students formally opposed the increases but understands that the increases still keep WWU well within the range of its peers. After approval of tuition rates, the BOT approved the 2014-15 annual state operating budget of $145,009,266.
- Discussed the 2015-17 Decision Package proposals in preparation of a formal August vote. Initial package of 13 proposals has winnowed down to four: Investing in Student Success and Achievement; moving the master’s degree in Audiology to a clinical doctorate program; elevating the Vehicle Research Institute to a Vehicle Engineering program; and the creation of a Geology Engineering program.
- Approved student fee structure for 2014
- Approved academic program fees for Extended Education and Summer Session
- Approved the renaming of the College of Sciences and Technology to the College of Science and Engineering; and the Engineering Technology Dept. to the Engineering and Design Dept.
- Approved the Board of Trustees officers for 2014-16: Karen Lee will be chair; Sue Sharpe vice chair; and Dick Thompson will be secretary
- Recognized the incoming AS board of directors; the 2014-15 Fulbright winners; and the HR Wellness Program staff, winners of a Leaders in Health Care award for 2014
- Thanked retiring CST dean Jeff Wright, Faculty Senate President Johann Neem, AS President Carly Roberts and student trustee Heather Flaherty for their service
- Recognized CFPA Dean Kit Spicer, Athletics Director Steve Card, and Director of Public Safety Darin Rasmussen on their promotions
For more information on the trustees’ meeting, go online.
The date of the next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees is Aug. 21.