A quick glance at minutes for some recent meetings of The Citadel Board of Visitors

When The Citadel Board of Visitors has a meeting, its minutes are eventually published online. I like to peruse the minutes, as it’s just another way to keep up with the goings-on at the military college.

This post is just a short review of the published minutes for the last three meetings — April 1 (a teleconference), April 15-16, and May 3 (also a teleconference). The minutes for the most recent BOV meeting (June 10-11) have not yet been released.

April 1 meeting

It is always dicey to hold a meeting on April Fools’ Day, but the board plunged ahead with its business anyway. Much of the discussion appears to have taken place in executive session.

The board recognized David L. Preston for winning a major award for his book, Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to RevolutionPreston is the Westvaco Professor of National Security Studies at The Citadel. More importantly, he’s a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. The Citadel desperately needs to add more Steelers fans to its faculty.

Also honored was a cadet, James McManus, who received a Fulbright scholarship. He will study in Norway. Sadly, McManus will not be able to go speed skating in Oslo with Johann Olav Koss, as Koss now lives in Canada.

It was also noted that the Commission on Higher Education was to meet the following week to consider approving the school’s new nursing program. The commission did indeed make that consideration, and approved the program at a subsequent meeting, subject to State Board of Nursing approval.

The CHE also signed off on The Citadel’s new Center for Cyber, Intelligence, and Security Studies. That led to the school getting a grant from the National Security Agency.

A final tidbit from the minutes: apparently, it’s hip to be a mechanical engineer. There are 161 declared majors from the Class of 2019 in mechanical engineering, the second-most for any discipline.

April 15-16 meeting

After broaching legal matters in executive session, the board discussed tuition and fees for out-of-state students. It was noted that the school’s focus was changing to more need-based scholarship assistance. The importance of ROTC programs was mentioned.

It was reported that the demolition of the school-owned housing units along Hagood Avenue would begin in June. Also of interest: cellular communications equipment on the water tower is being upgraded.

The board decided to cancel a Request for Proposals for the proposed new parking garage. Apparently some technical issues have arisen. Among other things, that does impact varsity athletics (particularly basketball, in my opinion).

Speaking of varsity athletics…

[Director of Athletics Jim Senter] introduced the Athletic Facilities Master Plan. He discussed the details of the purpose/methodology of the plan, comparison schools data, findings, recommendations, projected costs, and way ahead…

…the “Blue and White Auction” netted over $99,000; membership renewals [in the Brigadier Club] are up to 909 through 11 April 2016; and new memberships are at a high of 103 for the same period.

If I read that correctly, as of mid-April there were over 1,000 active members of The Citadel Brigadier Foundation. The minutes also included a report from The Citadel Alumni Association, which stated that as of mid-April there were 11,849 total members in that group.

Maybe it’s just me, but I would like to think that your typical alumni association member also has a stake in the TCBF. However, unless I am reading the numbers wrong (quite possible), that is the case for less than 10% of CAA members.

I’m not saying it should be 100% or anything close to that, but less than 10%?

Other odds and ends from this meeting:

–  John Rosa got a pin for ten years of service to the college. Based on at least one recent news story, I’m guessing he won’t wear it with his uniform.

– “[We] must anticipate less funding from the state.” This is a sentence that could be uttered on an annual basis. I suspect that “we must anticipate no funding from the state” will be a more accurate statement in a few years. I’m not excited about that, but it seems inevitable. That leads to the question, where does the school find more money? Well…

  • “…the Board of Visitors approves the naming opportunity proposed for the space in the future Capers Hall building as the ‘Leidos Center for Diversity and Global Engagement’.”
  • “…the Board of Visitors approves the naming opportunity proposed to designate The Citadel’s Nursing Program as ‘The Swain Nursing Program’ with an option to rename as ‘The Swain Department of Nursing’ in the future.”
  • “…the Board of Visitors approves the proposed donor recognition signage for the Envisioning, Founding, Sponsoring, and Sustaining classes and organizations.”
  • “…the administration is authorized to use $750,000 from unrestricted funds…to support the online revenue growth initiative.”

Incidentally, page 28 of the CHE report on the nursing program indicates the “total signed pledge” to cover some of the startup costs is $4,000,000, so more power to the Swain family. I’m not sure what the issue is concerning the proper name of the program, but I wish it could be finalized before The Citadel has to spend a little extra money making new signs, letterhead, etc., in the event of a name change.

– “[According to a report by The Citadel Foundation]…total funds raised in 2015 exceeded the goal of $34.5 million, with a strong pipeline going into 2016. The total endowment is currently at a record of $271 million…”

– The Citadel Real Estate Foundation, a 501(c)3, has been incorporated. I’m going to assume (always dangerous) that the object of this foundation is to deal with gifts of property to the college.

– A potential new haircut policy for freshman was proposed. The suggestion: male and female haircuts would maintain the current fourth class haircut standards until Parents’ Day. After that, the existing upper class haircut standards would apply to freshmen as well. This policy may start during the 2016-17 school year.

May 3 meeting

This was another teleconference situation. A couple of BOV members couldn’t make it. A reporter from The Post and Courier was in attendance (she is described in the minutes as a columnist).

Notes from this meeting:

– “The College has received over 900 deposits from the Class of 2020, with 80 deposits from female students and 193 minorities — the most ever.”

– There were several motions regarding requests from graduating seniors to have a specific person (presumably a family member or friend) present the cadet with his or her diploma. This was also the case for the April 15-16 meeting, and led to a recommendation by BOV vice-chairman Dylan Goff to have a “formal procedure with a specific deadline be formulated to avoid last-minute requests for diploma presentation exceptions being submitted to the Board”.

One of The Citadel’s better traditions is that it allows an alumnus parent to personally present his son/daughter with his/her diploma. The school has been careful about making exceptions to this policy. From what I can determine, the BOV has no issues with, say, an alumnus grandfather doing the honors, or an uncle who is a grad (particularly if the father is deceased). The majority of recent requests were denied by the board, however.

While the minutes for the June 10-11 meeting haven’t been posted yet, we do know one thing that was presumably discussed: tuition. The school announced late last week that tuition and fees would increase by approximately 3% for the 2016-2017 academic year.

What does it all mean?

It means that football season is getting closer…