Board discusses presidential search
Last Thursday, the Board of Trustees convened for its monthly meeting to discuss the financial future of the University and the presidential search process.
Committees within the Board held sessions, and then the entire Board convened for a general meeting and executive session. Senior Student Representative to the Board Mohamed Sidique ’15 and Junior Student Representative Grady Ward ’16 attended several of the sessions and were invited to sit in on the executive session.
Sidique participated in both the Students and Enrollment and the Library and Technology Services sessions. The Students and Enrollment session consisted mainly of updates presented to the Board, Sidique said in an interview with the Justice. “We got to look at this year and how things went, and moving forward, where we want to go,” Sidique said.
During this session, Sidique said he also gave a presentation on student life in which he mentioned protests and causes that the student body has been participating in lately, citing the Brandeis Labor Coalition and the Brandeis-Al-Quds Student Dialogue Initiative as specific examples. “I think it’s good to come up with great solutions to solve issues we have on campus, and what we can do on the student side—that’s a conversation we have [with the Board],” Sidique said.
During the Library and Technology Services session, Sidique said, the Board discussed the earlier hours the Goldfarb Library has instated this year. Getting the library into a place of financial self-sufficiency in the near future was also discussed in depth, he said.
Ward participated in the sessions for the committees on Academic Affairs, Physical Facilities and the Audit committee.
At the Academic Affairs session, the committee voted to name Prof. Anita Hill (Heller) a University Professor and also to grant her tenure. The title of University Professor, according to Brandeis’ website, is awarded to Brandeis faculty members of surpassing eminence whose work cuts across disciplinary boundaries. “It’s for someone who transcends the bounds of what we usually think of as an academic discipline, and [Hill’s] service here has been so multi-faceted, she has done so much in so many different areas of the campus,” Ward said.
The committee also discussed faculty retention and ongoing changes in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, according to Ward.
The Physical Facilities committee spoke about deferred maintenance, Ward said, especially in the Goldfarb Library, the special collections and the heating and air conditioning systems. “There are a lot of ways that we need to improve our physical buildings … the good news is that this is probably the second or third year that we’ve really started to chip into that,” Ward said. “It sounds like it’s going pretty well.”
The Audit committee reviewed the University’s institutional tax forms during their session, Ward said. They discussed the new Vice President for Research position, which a search committee is currently looking to fill, and talked about a roll out of programs around Title IX, Ward said.
“The number of the [Title IX] cases have rapidly escalated as reporting has, and accompanying that has been a lot of structural changes,” Ward said, referring to the addition of the Title IX Coordinator position this year. “[The Board] wants to make sure that we’re doing things correctly and not jumping in to change things just to change them.”
Sidique and Ward, along with Student Union President Sneha Walia ’15, will be looking to gather feedback from the undergraduate student body this week, both Sidique and Ward said, as to what they would like to see in the University’s next president.