First years signing the Matriculation Book today aren’t the only ones leaving a mark on Kenyon this week. Members of the Board of Trustees are on campus for their annual fall meeting to plan the future of the College.
President Sean Decatur said this meeting will include discussions about the Master Plan — such as the fate of Sunset Cottage — financial aid and the upcoming capital campaign, the plan for a new Environmental Studies major and issues related to sexual assault at Kenyon.
The fall meeting is a chance for the trustees and senior staff to hold conversations about Kenyon’s affairs and talk about future plans for the College, like next steps in the Master Plan and tuition rates. Typically no major votes are held in the fall, according to Decatur. Trustees make decisions and approve the annual budget during their winter and spring meetings.
While trustees often meet with students during their gatherings, this year, the Office of the President invited students invited students to apply for a luncheon with the trustees. Brackett B. Denniston III ’69, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said today’s the luncheon is, in part, a response to feedback from trustees that they would like more opportunities to meet with students during their on campus meetings. He said there is no specific agenda for the luncheon.
One focus of the meeting will be the College’s finances, specifically related to its financial aid budget and capital campaign, the latter of which is a fundraising effort to provide for construction and renovation, the endowment and scholarship funds. The campaign is currently in the “quiet phase,” when the College seeks out substantial gifts.
Another focus for the week, according to Decatur, will be growing Kenyon’s endowment, specifically for financial aid. The trustees will begin to determine how to prioritize financial aid dollars — for example, replacing loans with grants or providing students with funds for internships.
The board will also discuss the proposal to create an Environmental Studies major at Kenyon, although Decatur said creating a new major is ultimately the decision of the Curricular Policy Committee (CPC) and the faculty at large; the CPC is currently reviewing the Environmental Studies major proposal. Decatur expects a vote on adding the new major to take place this academic year. If the major is approved, it could be official by the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.
The trustees will also consider the future of Sunset Cottage, which became a controverisal topic this semester when a Change.org petition protesting the Master Plan’s proposed demolition of the building received over 500 signatures.
“I don’t think it will be a final decision, but an update on the process,” Decatur said.
He said discussions on the Master Plan will mostly focus on future English buildings and projects in the Village, rather than projects like the new library. “Those are two things that I think are just further along the pipeline and so have more attention,” Decatur said.
Other topics slated for the meeting are general discussions of Title IX implementation and education on campus — as the audit currently underway by Rebecca Veidlinger, an independent Title IX investigator and consultant, is not yet complete — and voting on whether or not to promote several unnamed faculty members to full professorships.
Addtional events held for the Board will include a retirement party for Professor of Sociology Howard Sacks, the dedication of a portrait of former Kenyon president S. Georgia Nugent and a celebration of the fifth anniversary of Gund Gallery.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 2 and 3 of 2017 and will be held in Washington, D.C.