East Carolina University’s Board of Trustees (BOT) met in regular session the morning of Nov. 12 to discuss recent university advancements and finances.
Chancellor Philip Rogers followed with the Chancellor’s Report, as well as Purificación Martínez, chair of the faculty, with the Report of the Faculty, where she discussed the Faculty Senate’s final recommendation to the chancellor, recent ECU achievements and the university’s COVID-19 advancements and improvement in health, vaccination rates and case numbers.
“We (the university) have the foundations to ensure yet another successful semester: vaccines, testing, masks,” Martínez said.
Chandler Ward, Student Government Association president, followed with the Report from the Student Body and celebrated ECU for the recent opening of the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building on Nov. 11 and other university advancements. Ward said students have had incredible persistence and energy for on and off-campus events despite the pandemic. Ward also mentioned the university efforts that have led to vast improvement in COVID-19 case numbers.
The month of November has brought various successes for the university, Ward said, including the opening of ECU’s Indigenous Land Acknowledgement space for Indigenous students and staff which featured ceremonial dancing and artwork in honor of North Carolina’s indigenous tribes.
Mental health has been an important focus for the university, Ward said, and university officials have worked with ECU’s Center for Counseling and Student Development in an effort to promote discussion and resources surrounding mental health. Ward mentioned his excitement for the upcoming Fall 2021 Commencement Ceremony and its importance to graduates who have faced many obstacles throughout the pandemic.
“I’m very excited to speak at commencement this December and just feel the raw energy in that room,” Ward said. “It certainly, without question, no one can question the perseverance of this class. They’ve certainly been through a lot and I’m very excited for that ceremony.”
Following the Report from the Staff led by chair of the Staff Senate Hector Molina and the Report from the Board of Visitors made by chair of the Board of Visitors Wanda Montano, committee reports and recommendations officially began with Vince Smith, chair of the Audit, Enterprise Risk Management, Compliance and Ethics Committee, who reviewed audits conducted regarding health, research and athletic compliance that he deemed “on track.”
Smith said university audit productivity and completion in these areas are on target and have exceeded university expectations. The committee had only one action item that did not require action from the full BOT, Smith said, in which the committee approved changes made to the fiscal year of 2021-2022 annual audit plan. He said the committee has reviewed presentations regarding risks of mental health and well-being on campus as well.
“The committee reviewed our operational metrics for audit health compliance, research compliance and athletic compliance,” Smith said. “For October the internal audit is on track and the targets for audit plan completion and audit productivity, Mr. (Wayne) Poole reported, are at 92%.”
Fielding Miller, chair of the Athletics and Advancement Committee, followed with a report regarding financial contributions and profits made by east and west ECU campuses. Miller discussed athletic metrics regarding the Pirate Club as well as recent football successes in the American Athletic Conference.
The Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building provides a great opportunity to peak the interest of donors, Miller said, as these donors are essential to providing students with academic programs and opportunities.
Miller said goals for an upcoming comprehensive campaign were discussed with university deans and administration and presented to the Athletics and Advancement Committee, who unanimously approved the campaign.
“There’s a new eight-figure gift discussion going on where this could be transformative for ECU and (would be) our first eight-figure gift,” Miller said. “A motion was made endorsing the public phase of the campaign and unanimously approved.”
Reports made by the Finance and Facilities Committee Chair Jason Poole, the Health Sciences Committee Chair Tom Furr and the University Affairs Committee Chair Leigh Fanning followed these reports. The BOT then went into closed session to discuss items regarding an honorary scholarship award with information not yet ready to be publicized before adjourning the meeting.