The Florida State University Board of Trustees Meeting
Union Ballroom - Oglesby Student Union
September 24, 2001
Members Present: Duda, Ford, Garcia, Hinkle, Johnson III, Knowles, Marshall, McGee, Sundberg, Thrasher, Uhlfelder
Members Excused: Bloch, Furlow
President Talbot D'Alemberte convened the first meeting of The Florida State University Board of Trustees appointed by Governor Jeb Bush under legislation passed in the 2001 regular session of the Legislature at 4 p.m., September 24, 2001. The President apologized for the delay in and format of the meeting. Due to the horrendous events of September 11, 2001, the two-day meeting scheduled for September 12-13 was cancelled and a conference call was planned to bring the Board together. He noted the Board would use materials and the numbered agenda items previously mailed to the trustees for the September 12-13, 2001 meeting.
The President recognized Mr. Phil Handy, Chair of the Florida Board of Education for briefs remarks. Mr. Handy recounted the strong ongoing support of President D'Alemberte and President of the Faculty Senate, Dr. Karen Laughlin, for the work of the Task Force on Educational Governance and the new Florida Board of Education. He urged the Board to help insure that the task of educational reform be completed. In that vein, he suggested that the Trustees approach their efforts with an attitude that they would "ask for forgiveness, not permission" from the Florida Board of Education.
Following Mr. Handy's remarks, the President noted that the current Board was not the first for Florida State University. Boards of Trustees also governed the predecessors to Florida State University, Florida Seminary West of the Suwannee and the Florida State College. This fact, he noted, was brought home by the realization that one of his relatives had actually been a trustee of the institution.
The President initiated consideration of the first action agenda item: election of a Chair of the Board (Item 2.0). He recognized Mr. Knowles who nominated Mr. Thrasher. Mr. Thrasher, he stated, had the vision, knowledge and love for the university needed to serve as Chair. Mr. Uhlfelder seconded the nomination. After a brief discussion, Ms. Hinkle moved that the vote for Chair be made unanimous. Mr. Johnson III seconded the motion, which passed by acclamation. Mr. Thrasher became the first Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Mr. Thrasher assumed the Chair and called for action regarding election of the Vice Chair. He recognized Dr. McGee who nominated Ms. Hinkle. Ms. Duda seconded the nomination and after brief consideration Dr. Marshall moved the nomination be made unanimous. Mr. Uhlfelder seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously. Ms. Hinkle became the first Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees. Later in the meeting, Mr. McFarlain explained in response to a question from Dr. McGee that the vice chair did serve a two year term.
The Chair took up the agenda item: Affirming the Appointment of the President (Item 3.1). Chair Thrasher recognized Mr. Richard McFarlain, university General Counsel, to provide background on the issue and frame the Board's action. After discussion, Mr. Uhlfelder moved the resolution affirming the appointment of the President in his position. Dr. McGee seconded the motion. In discussion, Dr. McGee asked about the term of the president's appointment, noting the contractual nature of many president's tenure. The Chair asked Mr. McFarlain to investigate the issue and report to the board at its next meeting on his findings. On call for the vote by the Chair, the resolution passed unanimously.
Chair Thrasher recognized Mr. McFarlain to introduce the next item on the agenda: Proposed organizing Resolution (Item 3.2). Mr. McFarlain noted the need to affirm and delegate the authority of the President on a variety of matters under the legislative reforms. On a motion from Ms. Hinkle with a second by Mr. Garcia the Board adopted the proposed resolution unanimously.
The Chair initiated discussion of the action agenda item: Proposed Organizing Resolutions (Item 3.3) by calling upon Mr. McFarlain. The General Counsel requested the Board direct a staff review and report to the President of existing delegations and presidential authority to determine if changes should be made to current practices. At a motion by Dr. McGee and a second by Ms. Duda, the motion passed unanimously.
At the direction of the Chair, the Board considered Appointment of a Committee to Review and Recommend Permanent Procedural Guidelines in a Report to the Board at the Next Meeting (Item 15.1). Mr. McFarlain noted that such guidelines had already been drafted and indicated that the draft would be sent to the Trustees. Mr. Thrasher proposed that Ms. Hinkle chair a small committee composed of her, Mr. Uhlfelder and Mr. Garcia to conduct the review and report recommendations. He indicated that participation by all members was welcome. On a motion by Dr. Marshall with a second by Mr. Knowles, the committee structure, membership and reporting was approved unanimously.
Mr. Thrasher recognized President D'Alemberte to introduce the agenda item, Future Meeting Dates (Item 15.2). The President reviewed suggested meeting dates, adding the possibility of meeting on October 29th to the dates of November 15-16, February 14-15, May 9-10 and July 18-19. Following his overview, the Chair recognized Ms. Hinkle who suggested monthly conference calls lasting one hour each be added to the list of suggested meetings in order to accommodate education of the Board and timely response to state actions in this transition period. Dr. McGee and Mr. Sundberg reinforced Ms. Hinkle's position. Summarizing the discussion, the Chair indicated the proposed conference calls would be held on Mondays at 4:00 p.m. beginning October 15th. Mr. Sundberg suggested that such informational meetings should not be counted in against the attendance requirements in state statute since they would not be regular meetings unless noticed as such. Ms. McGee accepted this clarification and moved the list recommended by the President as modified by Ms. Hinkle and the Chair. Mr. Garcia seconded the motion. Unanimously, the Board agreed to regular meetings on: October 29, 2001; November 15-16, 2001, February 14-15, 2002; May 9-10, 2002; and July 18-19, 2002. They also agreed to informational meetings via conference calls on: October 15, 2001; November 26, 2001; and December 10, 2001.
Mr. Thrasher initiated deliberation of the agenda item Authorizing the Chair to Appoint Committees and Have Them Report at the Next Meeting. (Item 15.3) He recognized the President to provide background on the item. The President indicated there were issues such as legislative development and the joint engineering school on which some committee action might be necessary relatively soon. He proposed allowing the Chair to appoint ad hoc committees and have them report at the next meeting. In response to a question from Mr. Sundberg, the Chair indicated he did envision standing committees as part of the recommendations of the Guidelines Committee. Mr. Sundberg moved the recommendation of the President. His motion was seconded by Ms. Duda and passed unanimously. The Chair indicated he had an interest in forming committees on engineering and legislation. He suggested he would discuss this at the October 15th conference call.
The Chair recognized the President. The President briefly discussed the honorary degrees awarded by the university in recognition of outstanding services or contributions (Item 16). He reported his interest in awarding an honorary degree to Charlotte McGuire. The Chair reinforced the President's view and without objection obtained the Board's endorsement of the President's proposed action.
In continuing remarks, the President explained his strong support for the process of educational reform. Contrary to some published reports, he had not wavered in his belief in the direction of reform. He urged trustees to support legislation and rule making that would grant the universities' greater autonomy. Such autonomy was necessary, he indicated, if the university were to continue its progress. He pointed to the success of the university's enrollment efforts and had the Provost, Dr. Abele, outline the process briefly.
The Chair, as part of closing remarks, recognize Mr. Uhlfelder who commented on the need for the university to make its students feel welcome and comfortable in difficult times. He stressed the importance of tolerance to the university's mission. Following these remarks, Mr. Johnson III briefly reported on student activities in the wake of the September 11th attack. He provided the Board with an overview of student efforts to maintain tolerance and foster understanding.
The Chair noted the important role of both student government and the faculty senate in shaping the university. He recognized Dr. Laughlin, President of the Faculty Senate, who indicated that the faculty looked forward to working with the Board. Mr. Thrasher said that he would like to meet with the Senate and intended to have a representative from the Senate on the agenda of every meeting.
The Chair, on motion from Mr. Uhlfelder, adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.
Approved by The Florida State University Board of Trustees on October 29, 2001.