Board of Visitors

Executive Committee Meeting May 27, 2021

Executive Committee Members

  • Robert R. Hatten, Esq.
  • Mr. C. Bradford Hunter
  • Ms. Terri M. McKnight, CPA
  • The Honorable Gabriel A. Morgan

Board Members

  • Ms. Regina P. Brayboy
  • Mr. Steven S. Kast

Others Present

  • Mrs. Jennifer Latour, Vice President for Finance and Planning and CFO
  • Mrs. Adelia Thompson, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief of Staff
  • Mrs. Beverley Mueller, Executive Assistant
  • Maureen Matsen, Esq., University Counsel
  • Dr. Lisa Duncan Raines, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success
  • Dr. Kevin Hughes, Vice President of Student Affairs
  • Mr. Keith Roots, Vice President for University Advancement
  • Mr. James Hanchett, Chief Communications Officer
  • Matt Jones, Daily Press

Rector Hatten welcomed everyone present to the Executive Committee meeting. He said the purpose of the meeting was to receive an update on the University’s operations related to COVID-19 and discuss plans for protecting the University Community for the upcoming academic year.

He said that this spring, effective vaccines became widely available. As a result, levels of infection, hospitalization and death across the Commonwealth have dropped dramatically. He said that these conditions are expected to result in the elimination of the mandatory limitations and restrictions required by the Commonwealth. Rector Hatten said it is with this in mind that Christopher Newport University is beginning to plan for the 2021-22 academic year and our commitment to protect our community from this deadly virus must not abate as it continues to be a threat to our health and safety.

Rector Hatten said that Ms. Adelia Thompson, Acting CEO, will present the university’s recommendations regarding the requirement of vaccinations for the University Community. He noted that other institutions have delegated authority to the administration to make the decision about whether or not to require vaccinations, however, given the fact that President Trible is on
sabbatical it is appropriate that the Board make this decision and then charge the administration with executing the planning and implementation of this policy.

Rector Hatten noted that the Attorney General’s opinion letter makes it clear that this Board has the authority to require vaccines and the Board will consult with Ms. Maureen Matsen, University Counsel, in closed session so that she may answer questions on this matter.

University Report

Ms. Thompson said the recommendation comes to the Executive Committee with the full support of President Trible and the University’s COVID Strike Force. She said the University seeks to implement the best tools available to protect the health and safety of our campus and the community around us from virus.

She said the University Community looks forward to embracing the marvelous traditions that are so valued and to be in the class room together, in person thanks to the vaccinations. Ms. Thompson expressed her appreciation to the many members of the CNU community who were able to receive the vaccine as a result of the vaccine clinic conducted on our campus through a partnership with the City of Newport News, York County and the Peninsula Health District. She said that nearly 25,000 individuals, including many members of the CNU community – faculty, staff and students -- received vaccines in our clinic. More than 90% of Christopher Newport’s faculty and staff have been vaccinated and nearly 2,000 students received the vaccine through our clinic and many others have received vaccines elsewhere.

Looking toward the summer and depending on the Governor’s direction, she said the University is hopeful to reopen the campus to the public in July and to be able to bring our colleagues back who have been forced to work remotely. Also, the Ferguson Center, Torggler Fine Arts Center and athletics will begin hosting summer camps. In the fall, it is anticipated that the University will be able to be back to a full life as a residential campus.

Ms. Thompson said that it is the University’s recommendation that all students be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as a condition of enrollment, allowing for necessary medical and religious exemptions. It is also the recommendation that if the Commonwealth requires its employees to be vaccinated, CNU shall do so also. Christopher Newport will require unvaccinated employees to continue to wear masks. Ms. Thompson said that many Virginia institutions are following a similar path and this is especially critical on residential campuses.

It is further recommended that students be fully vaccinated by August 1 and because the vaccine options can take as long as six weeks between the two shots and the waiting period for full efficacy, students should have their first shot no later than June 15. She reported that the University is in the process of constructing an Immunization Portal for documenting compliance with religious and medical exemptions allowed under state and federal law. Ms. Thompson said that the University will follow the guidance given by VDH and CDC and the executive orders issued by the Governor for state agencies and higher education.

Rector Hatten asked that the Board move into closed session. Secretary McKnight called for a motion to enter closed session under Freedom of Information Act Section 2.2-3711(a)(8) Consultation with legal counsel, regarding legal advice on the university’s recommendation. Sheriff Morgan provided the motion, seconded by Mr. Hunter and the motion was passed by unanimous vote of the Board.

The Board returned to open session and Secretary McKnight asked for a roll call certifying that only public matters were discussed that were identified in the motion by which the executive or closed meeting was called. Mr. Hunter, Sheriff Morgan, Ms. McKnight and Rector Hatten certified to the above by roll call.

Rector Hatten read the proposed resolution and then asked for further question or discussion. Rector Hatten called for approval of Resolution 1 Protecting the University Community for Academic Year 2021-22 and the resolution was adopted by unanimous vote of the Executive Committee.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.

quick edit report a problem