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Trent University Board of Governers open session

Open Session Information
The meeting took place Friday, December 4 from 1PM to 3:30PM in the A.J.M. Smith Conference Room of Bata Library. The next meeting is scheduled to take place January 29, 2016 at 1:30PM. The following summary does not contain every motion and discussion put forth by the Board. Meeting minutes are available on the University’s website.

Student Presence
TCSA President Alaine Spiwak asked the board to consider international student tuition fees. While the TCSA understands that the Board is concerned about sustainability, it also understands the financial concerns of international students.

The student association has therefore decided to ask that the Governing Board of Trent University not allow the tuition fees of international students to rise at a higher percentage than domestic students (currently capped at 3% per year maximum).

The Board has agreed to consider the concern. Spiwak spoke briefly to the Board about the students’ support of the new ownership to the Student Centre. “The students are very excited,” she said.

Otonabee College Capital Redevelopment
The Board is looking towards contracting a $12 million package to renovate parts of Otonabee College. The package includes a maximum of $3 million to replace the roof of the building, which is identified as a time sensitive issue.

The roof will look much the same except the steel will be stained a dark brown and much-needed rain gutters will be added. This project is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2016.

The additional $9 million borrowed will include upgrading the College residency and lifespan while making the building more “current”. Windows, walls, and mechanical upgrades were listed as important structural updates. However, accessibility costs were not included in the outlined package, which lead to a brief discussion.

One member said that past studies have determined Otonabee College as “not accessible” and that upgrade accessibility measures would cost close to $1 million without the inclusion of an evaluator.

It was suggested that an elevator would easily cost another $15 million. A counter argument was made that $1 million would be an “unnecessary” amount for an elevator.

It was pointed out that since the building is only being upgraded a small amount, accessibility requirements outlined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) do not yet need to be met. Additionally, board members were unaware whether a building permit has been required or not.

Trent Alumni Strategic Directions 2016-2018
Jess Grover, President of the Trent University Alumni Association (TUAA), and Alumni Affairs Director, Lee Hays, led a visual presentation of their two year strategic plan to increase the community brand and philanthropic gifts of Trent University alumni.

Alumni engagement and longevity of engagement is the first strategic priority for the TUAA.  Through supporting department events, creating physical alumni presence at Durham campus, building on the Trent After Trent and Day of Green programs, and fostering outreach, the TUAA plans to achieve their goal.

The TUAA lists maintaining regular contact and fostering communications with alumni as its second priority. By redesigning its magazine and continuing to distribute one edition per year to the entire alumni mailing list, TUAA hopes to establish more contact that does not overwhelm some alumni, as does electronic communication.

Lastly, database improvements and volunteer recognition programs will be implemented to increase the capacity of alumni involvement at Trent University.To pay for the $40,000 per year increase in its budget, TUAA is looking towards fundraising philanthropy to bridge the gap.

Quickly after it was revealed that an anonymous alumni gift of $100,000 was donated to this project earlier in the week, the Board of Governors unanimously voted to endorse the initiative by formally agreeing with the project in principle and

TUAA will now launch a two month broad communications plan with ongoing conversation fostered among stakeholders, in order to begin this project.

Trent University Art Collection
The Mackenzie House of Traill College housed Trent University’s first art gallery in 1963, showing a small collection of sculptures. Fast-forward to today, and there are an abundance of important works and collections of artwork all over the Trent University campuses.

Professor Julia Harrison is a volunteer and hard-working representation of the Trent Art Collection Presidential Art Committee (TACPAC). Harrison gave a presentation at the Board meeting to emphasize the importance of this visual aspect of the University.

Her vision is that members on campus will soon be able to look at an art piece at Trent University and immediately access its information on their smart-phones.  In the meantime, Harrison wanted to recognize the role that cleaning staff and secretaries play in ensuring the safety and preservation of the campus’s multiple art pieces.

The presentation ended with an exciting announcement. To accompany the existing work of the University’s sculpture garden (think of that big black sculpture between Gzowski College and the NAME Bridge), artist Shayna Dark will soon be donating her piece titled “This Column Ends”.

Concerns for Traill
There was a small joke made during the meeting that may have hinted that the future of Traill College is coming to an end. Governors of the Board quieted down as soon as it was made and no further  discussion continued on the topic.

With Traill College coming under review in the new year, and no budget allocated for the College in the $50 Million Campaign of Trent University, it is possible that Traill will soon cease to exist as a part of Trent University.

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