The Board of Trustees met for their first meeting of the school year during Homecoming Weekend on Oct. 17 and 18. The Board consists of 36 members, most of them alumni, and they meet three times a year to ensure Kalamazoo College is fulfilling its mission as well as to discuss the College’s financial plans.
The Board of Trustees focus on the big picture instead of the day to day issues. “Board level institutional issues differ from what students think are institutional issues,” said Dean Sarah Westfall, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students.
During these recent meetings no by-laws were changed. The Board approved the audit for the college, discussed Title IX and how the college handles sexual assault as well as recommendations for honorary degrees.
Within the Board, there are several task forces and six subcommittees. At the recent meeting student representatives elected by Student Commission (StuComm) President Cameron Goodall ‘15, were present for four of the subcommittee meetings. Though the representatives do not vote, they do have the opportunity to voice any student concerns.
A few Student Commission Representatives attended the various meetings: Andrew Kaylor ’17 at the Academic Affairs committee meeting, Alex Werder ’15 at the Advancement committee meeting, Amanda Johnson ‘17 at the Finance committee meeting, and Emily Sklar ‘15 at the Investment committee meeting.
The meetings are not open to all students, but students wanting to voice their opinions should speak to their student representatives. The meetings are not open to all students, because many of the topics discussed are confidentially, are not definitive, and they vote on issues that do not affect student life.
“It’s not a plan for tuition to be $60,000 in 5 years, it’s just a model,” said Westfall. “The meetings aren’t about students having their voices heard, they are about the Board of Trustees voting.”
President Wilson-Oyelaran commented on student involvement and believes that the current model works because it is “the better option to use this students that we have.”
Besides these meetings, there are other opportunities throughout the year for students to voice their concerns to the board. During the winter, they have a dinner with StuComm Commissioners and Student Trustee Conversations. The Conversations involve an invited group of 35-50 students of various interest and backgrounds, who meet for about an hour and half with the Board and discuss student affairs.
“Usually we have more seats, than we do attendees,” said President Wilson-Oyelaran.
The Board members are often chosen by the Selection Committee who identify people that have an interest in the institution and believe in the mission. The members support the college with time and talent.
“They love K and want to hear from students. They go to student events when they are here,” said Dean Westfall.