Board of Visitors

Board of Visitors Meeting September 17, 2009

The Board of Visitors of Christopher Newport University met on September 17, 2009, in the Board Room of the David Student Union with Rector James R. Joseph presiding.

Present from Board

  • Mr. E.G. Allen
  • Mr. Carlos Brown
  • The Honorable Flora Crittenden
  • Mrs. Jane Susan Frank
  • Mr. William P. Heath, Jr.
  • Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Hoinkes
  • Mr. Thaddeus B. Holloman, Sr.
  • Mrs. Ann N. Hunnicutt
  • Mr. James R. Joseph
  • Mrs. Frances Luter
  • Mr. Michael C. Martin

Absent from Board

  • Mr. John A. Conrad
  • Mr. Preston White
  • Mr. Veasey Wilson

Present from the University

  • President Paul Trible
  • Ms. Cynthia Perry, Chief of Staff
  • Mr. William L. Brauer, Executive Vice President
  • Dr. Mark Padilla, Provost
  • Mr. Maurice J. O'Connell, Vice President of Student Services
  • Dr. Elizabeth Taraski, Vice President University Advancement
  • Mr. William Thro, University Counsel
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Dean of Students
  • Dr. Peter Carlson, President of the Faculty Senate
  • Mr. Scott Millar, President of the Alumni Society
  • Ms. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Ms. Lori Jacobs, Director of Public Relations


  • Ms. Cathy Grimes, Daily Press

The first order of business was the election of officers. Mr. Heath, at the request of Rector Hornsby, chaired the nominating committee which consisted of Ms. Luter, Mr. Holloman, Ms. Frank and Mr. Allen. The nominating committee submitted a slate of officers for approval - Mr. Joseph as Rector and Ms. Hunnicutt as Secretary. Mr. Heath called for other nominations from the floor and there were none.

Mr. Heath called for a motion to waive the election of officers by secret ballot and Ms. Crittenden provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Allen and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Mr. Heath called for a motion to elect Mr. Joseph as Rector and Ms. Hunnicutt as Secretary. Ms. Crittenden provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Allen and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

With the election of Mr. Joseph as Rector, the position of Vice Rector became vacant. The committee recommended Ms. Hoinkes as Vice Rector and there were no other nominations from the floor. Mr. Heath asked for a motion to waive the election by secret ballot and Ms. Frank provided the motion, seconded by Ms. Hunnicutt and passed by unanimous vote of the Board. Mr. Heath called for a motion to elect Ms. Hoinkes as Vice Rector and the motion was provided by Ms. Frank and seconded by Ms. Luter and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Rector Joseph called for a motion to approve the minutes of the June 19, 2009 meeting. Ms. Frank provided the motion seconded by Ms. Luter and the minutes were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

President's Report

President Trible reported that this year is off to good start with a great class of freshmen. This year the number of freshman is up by almost 100 from last year making a freshman class of 1,213. The average GPA is 3.6 and average SAT is 1200 -- 19 points higher than last year. Almost 8,500 applications were received for a freshman class of 1,200. The freshman class is made up of 59% women and 41% of young men. He noted that the class is made up 10% African Americans (20% total of color) and that CNU is working hard to increase minority enrollment. He also noted that out-of-state students comprise 9% of the class.

President Trible then moved to a discussion and overview of the budget and reviewed with the Board a handout summarizing the general fund reductions. President Trible recommended that the November meeting scheduled as an Executive Committee meeting become a full board meeting for the purpose of discussing the budget and how CNU will deal with the reductions. He noted that this marks the fourth time in two years that general fund reductions have occurred. Earlier in the year the General Assembly mandated a 15% reduction and another 15% reduction was imposed in September, resulting in a loss of $7.8 million. It is anticipated that through the federal stimulus fund CNU will receive $5.1 million making the deficit $2.7 million. President Trible said the allocation of federal stimulus funds is for the current year only. He reviewed the impact of this reduction for the next two years. CNU has offset the reduction by a 4.99% increase in tuition and fees and $430,000 which was set aside in a rainy day fund. Even with these offsets, there still remains a $1.4 million shortfall.

He reminded the Board that a Budget Advisory Committee had been formed during the 2002 budget cuts and the committee is meeting and making recommendations on how to offset these cuts. The Budget Advisory Committee will come forward with a plan to be approved by the President and Board. President Trible noted that we have taken all actions possible to protect our students and the academic experience on the campus. It is now necessary to look at tuition increases and personnel reductions. At the November meeting a more detailed budget reduction plan will be presented. Rector Joseph mentioned that some of the other schools are considering mid-year tuition increases and it is an option that may be considered for CNU.

President Trible welcomed new board member Carlos Brown and said that Preston White, the other newly appointed member could not attend due to a funeral of a close friend. President Trible also welcomed Mr. Martin as a returning Board member.

President Trible reviewed with the Board the new master site plan of the University noting that there are no new properties added to the plan, but rather it reflects the current boundaries of the university. The site plan presented reflects the reality of the new CNU and allows CNU to purchase properties as they are offered and allows the University to purchase the properties which have been acquired by Foundation. Mr. Joseph explained that this plan is just a footprint of the university boundaries and does not lay out building locations, etc.

Finance and Audit Committee Report

Mr. Allen said the finance committee was given a very detailed report on the University's financial status. The internal audit was fine and there is nothing material to report. Revenues and expenditures were reviewed for the 12 months ending June 30 and the University ended with a balanced budget. The University is required to provide an annual debt service report and Mr. Allen asked Mr. Brauer to share this with the Board. Mr. Brauer noted that annually the Board is to be advised on the university's debt service and that we have established a debt ratio of 10% so debt cannot exceed 10% of non-revenue producing facilities. Mr. Brauer reviewed the report in detail with the Board noting that the university is well within the 10% ratio.

Mr. Allen reviewed the list of capital projects underway noting there are nine projects that total $132 million, however currently only $14 million has been spent. The Board is assured that none of these projects are at risk of not being built.

Mr. Allen asked Mr. Brauer to present Resolution 1: Authorization to Issue Debt for Capital Construction: Expand Freeman Center and Resolution 2: Authorization to Issue Debt for Capital Construction: Ratcliffe Hall Addition. He explained that these are routine resolutions that come before the Board for approval. These resolutions give the University the authority to issue the remaining debt on these two projects. Mr. Brauer stated that the resolution shows what impact this will have on debt ratio and that we are well within the 10% as required by the Board. Mr. Allen called for questions and discussion. Mr. Allen said that Resolutions 1 and 2 come before the Board at the recommendation of the Finance Committee. Mr. Martin moved for approval of both resolutions, seconded by Ms. Hunnicutt and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Mr. Allen then asked for a motion to approve the master site plan boundaries as previously discussed. Following questions and discussion, Mr. Heath provided the motion to approve the master site plan, seconded by Mr. Martin and approved by unanimous vote of the Board.

Mr. Allen noted that the most serious issue before the Board is the effect of the budget cuts and how the University is going to deal with the reductions. The Finance Committee believes that the focus needs to be on tuition and fees and recruiting more out-of-state students. Currently 9% of the freshman class are from out of state and 7% of the total student body are from out-of-state. He said that the current admissions efforts need to be directed to recruit out-of-state students. President Trible explained that the tension is that CNU is a state funded university and the priority is to educate the students in Virginia. However, there is a need to make up for the lack of state funding. Mr. Holloman said recruiting out-of-state students is preferred over cutting programs and raising tuition. The Board engaged in a full discussion of this matter. Mr. Joseph stated that the Finance Committee had several follow up items for a future meeting which includes master site use plan, report on a potential housing plan which would include more students living on campus, budget cuts and an out-of-state student study to see where our peer schools are and a study to see what impact it would have on CNU. Ms. Crittenden said that increasing out of state students would also increase the diversity of the student body, however, she does not want to deny Virginia students the opportunity to attend CNU.

Mr. Brown mentioned the SWaM report and noted that the minority numbers at 1% and inquired as to what CNU was doing to improve that number in light of the number of capital projects underway. Mr. Brauer has requested that the Department of Minority Business Enterprises review our policies and procedures to provide advice on how we can improve in this area. He explained that some of the minority numbers may be lost in the small business numbers because it takes much less time to be approved as a small business than it does to be approved as a minority business. Our goal is to engage our vendors and CNU requires all contractors with projects of $100,000 and over to provide SWaM workforce. He assured the Board that we work with our major contractors to ensure that they are using SWaM vendors. President Trible asked Mr. Brauer to meet with Mr. Brown and the Director of our Purchasing department to further review our policies and explore ways to improve our current numbers.

Academic Affairs Committee

Ms. Hoinkes stated that the Committee did not have any action items for the Board. The Provost introduced the two new Deans, Dr. David Doughty and Professor Stephen Breese, at the committee meeting and Ms. Hoinkes reported they are full of energy and enthusiasm and are excited about their new positions. They all reported they were happy with the new three college structure. Dr. Doughty expressed a need for offering courses in the neurosciences. Dean Breese suggested that CNU take a world wide look at curriculums at colleges to which we aspire, that we implement a minor in Asian studies and that we think "outside of the box" think creatively about courses such as "creating a course" instead of "taking a class." The Committee also had a presentation by Dr. Reuter who is conducting a seminar on Israeli Palestinian conflict and Ms. Frank suggested a trip to the Middle East to compliment this seminar. The Committee was told that the faculty are happy about the 4-3 course load and the faculty hopes that with the budget cuts don't impact class size. Provost Padilla added that CNU is being very careful and considerate when dealing with the budget reductions and how the reductions impact curriculum and class size. The increase in class size has only jumped from 22 to 24. Ms. Hoinkes pointed out that the Board notebook contained the recent hires and asked if there were any questions. Ms. Frank added that the Israeli-Palestine seminar was funded by a private donor.

Student Life Committee Report

Mr. Martin reported that there were 8,500 applications for our class of 1,200 and the average GPA is 3.6. The Committee discussed the President's Leadership Program which has 316 students and Honor's Program which has 109 students. The average GPA for the Honors students is 4.03 and average SAT is 1318. He noted that if a student has a 3.5 GPA, they are not required to take the SAT, however the average SAT is 1200. The Committee also discussed how the University is prepared for the H1N1 virus.

Vice President O'Connell commented that this freshman class is one of the best socially and academically and he attributes that to the fact that 25% of our class are in PLP. He reported that the Barclay Apartments had been converted into Greek Village with five sororities and 4 fraternities. The Committee discussed freshmen move in and he noted that at the beginning of the year out of 1144 freshmen students, 138 suites tripled. As rooms become available students are offered the opportunity to de-triple. This year more than half declined to move and decided to stay together in a triple room. Vice President O'Connell asked Dean Hughes to report on the H1N1 and the alcohol policy.

Dean Hughes reported that a task force was convened to address the preparedness for the H1N1 virus and stated that CNU is promoting healthy behavior and are following CDC guidelines. The Dean's office and the Provost's office are communicating with students and faculty and there have been no reported cases at this time. It is anticipated that in October CNU may have the H1N1 vaccine for students, faculty and staff. Mr. Martin suggested that we find a sponsor to pay for the flu vaccine.

Dean Hughes reported that the Alcohol Task Force has been meeting and reviewing the alcohol policy. They have found that CNU is very comfortable with our current policy but there is a recommendation for change for tailgating. This year a Homecoming tailgate will be allowed in a designated and controlled area and depending on that outcome, a recommendation will be made for future events. Mr. Martin distributed the Champions 2009-09 Athletic Year in Review publication which talks about the CNU athletic success and noted there was a Captains Crew form in the back should anyone wish to contribute.

Faculty Senate Report

Dr. Carlson said the faculty are pleased overall this academic year and are well aware of the difficulties with the budget. They are willing to make adjustments as necessary. He commented on the amazing construction on campus and the faculty is looking forward to the new academic building. The Faculty Senate is very appreciative of their meetings with Provost and President and he thanked the Board for helping them meet the challenges of the current financial situation.

Alumni Society Report

Mr. Millar reported that there are two new alumni chapters one on the Southside and one on the Peninsula. There are also Chapters in Northern Virginia and Richmond. The Alumni Society will host a tailgate for Homecoming. Scholarships continue to be a major focus. There are seven endowed scholarships and one annual honors scholarship. The scholarships are funded through fundraising of the alumni society. He stated that engagement with the university is a key focus and the society is working hard to create opportunities to bring the alumni back to campus. The fundraising for the Alumni House continues and their first solicitation will go out in the mail shortly. Three new members were added to the Alumni Board - Will Holt, Steven Maxey and Matt Martin (Mike Martin's son).

Development Committee Report

President Trible reported there were over 6,100 donors in the year just ended and this is a record of CNU and this number includes more alumni giving than in previous years. In terms of overall cash and pledges are even with past year but in 2008 had 3 $1 million pledges. In this time of economic turmoil CNU is performing fine but plan to do better in the next year. President Trible encouraged the Board to share their insights on potential contributors to the University and thanked all the Board members who have contributed to the University in the past. He directed the Board to the President's Report on Appointments of Professional and Administrative Faculty.

President Trible presented Resolution 3: In Memoriam Dr. John E. Anderson recognizing past President Jack Anderson for his many contributions to CNU as president and as a tenured faculty member. He told the Board that President Anderson's memorial service was held on campus. President Trible asked for a motion to approve Resolution 3, Mr. Allen provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Heath and passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

Ms. Crittenden told the Board that she was very proud of the Christopher Newport students who volunteered in the Southeast Community and how much she and others appreciate their hard work in landscaping, repairing buildings and painting. This was done as part of CNU's Day of Service at the beginning of the semester for the Leadership Students, faculty and staff. In the second phase of the Day of Service, CNU is partnering again with the Food Bank and Smithfield Foods. Ms. Frank said this was a great partnership with the Food Bank and CNU. Smithfield Foods who will be providing a tractor trailer full of food. The event is scheduled for November 4th. President Trible thanked Ms. Frank for her support and that of Ms. Luter for the contribution of Smithfield Foods.

Rector Joseph called for any other business or discussion and there being none, the meeting was adjourned.

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