Board’s decision to push meeting to winter recess is unacceptable

By Web Master


The meeting of the Board of Trustees is in session … or is it?

Oakland University’s Board of Trustees holds a monthly meeting to discuss university issues and concerns.

The board’s February get-together has gone through some adjustments that may not be favorable to all.

The assembly is normally scheduled to take place on the first Wednesday of every month.

Unfortunately, the first week of February has come and gone and there still has been no clambake.

This, in itself, is somewhat odd.

Even more surprising, however, is the rescheduled date. The Board of Trustees has picked

Feb. 28 as the date to hold the meeting, a day the university is on break.

The rationale for the date change, according to the university administration, was due to the lack of “substantive agenda items ready in time for the meeting,” originally scheduled for Feb. 6.

This, however, does not mean that the meeting should be rescheduled over winter recess. The sporadic shift, in itself, is troubling, however the exact choice of date is more suspicious than anything else.

The reality is that there is plenty to discuss. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to link the rescheduled date to the hot-button issue on campus — the $4.8 million deferred payment the university received in October 2007.

The move is questionable, with possible elements of impropriety. With the current issue at hand, whether intentional or not, one cannot help but be concerned.

By coincidence, one of the most important decisions of the semester involves the $4.8 million. The money was promised to go back to the students. However, there are a variety of possibilities as to the specific nature of how it will be returned.

Options include improvements on campus, mitigation of tuition for 2009 or a direct refund to students (see page 6).

The problem is not in regard to the money itself, but rather the fact that students may not be present because of the fact that classes are not in session.

Decisions made regarding the university should be made while the university is open. The Board of Trustees’ meetings are open to the public for a reason — so that members of the Oakland University population (faculty, students and others) can participate. It is how democracy works.

It is not justifiable, regardless of the circumstances, to allow such outcomes when students are away.

The only thing worse than learning about important school matters during a hedonistic trip to paradise is learning about important school matters a week after a hedonistic trip to paradise when the damage has already been done.

So, the meeting will be in session … but at what cost?