Board of Trustees meeting covers array of issues

Contracts between Oakland University and three employee unions were finally made official at the OU board of trustees formal session on Monday, Nov. 9.

The board also approved several items proposed by the administration, including the Golf and Learning Center’s 2010 budget, Meadow Brook Hall’s 2010 budget, a capital outlay plan and choosing a construction manager for the upcoming Human Health Building.

Before starting the meeting, the trustees responded to “rumors going around campus” about conflicts between the board and President Gary Russi.

Each of the trustees defended Russi’s leadership and said they support him and his vision for OU, and said the board is doing its job in looking out for the university.

Treasurer’s report

Vice president for finance and administration and treasurer John Beaghan announced that OU’s general fund budget remains strong, though it is not clear how much of the money the university will receive from the state. He said the state fiscal situation will likely continue to be tenuous throughout the fiscal year, but the administration will continue to monitor the checks received from the state.

Beaghan said that cuts from the state government, which include a 3 percent across the board cut, add up to about $1.76 million in lost allocations from the state or about 1 percent of the general fund budget.

Beaghan reported that the 4.1 percent student enrollment increase exceeded the planned budget, and expenditures are proceeding at a pace similar to past years.

According to Beaghan, OU’s investments are also performing well with a 5.52 percent increase in the pooled cash summary.

Contracts approved

Three unions reached tentative agreements with the administration this fall, and the union members voted to ratify the contracts.

The contracts for faculty members represented by the American Association of University Professors; OU Campus Maintenance and Trade, which is made up of the university-employed maintenance and grounds workers; and OU Professional Support Association, which consists of the clerical and technical staff on campus, were each approved unanimously by the board.

The three-year deals were approved by each union Oct. 29, more than 15 months after both groups’ previous deals had expired.

OUPSA President Sandy Gabert expressed her disillusionment in an address to the board.

“We have just concluded a very long, difficult and contentious contract negotiation with the university,” said Gabert. “The goal of my negotiating team was to bring back to our members a fair and reasonable contract. We wish that we could have been more successful … It is my hope and my wish at Oakland University that the attitude changes and all employees regardless of the hat they wear, the position they hold and the daily tasks they perform will be valued, appreciated and respected.”

Visit our archives for details about the contract changes and previous Post coverage of the union contract negotiations.

Human Health construction

The board approved the administration’s recommendation to grant Lansing-based Chrisman Construction Inc. the exclusive contracting rights to the Human Health Building, but not without robust discussion.

Trustee Henry Baskin expressed discontent over the fact that there were no provisions stipulating that at least half to three quarters of all contracted employees must come from the tri-county area, a point that many trustees sympathized with.

The resolution passed with all trustees except Baskin voting to approve Chrisman.

Baskin abstained from voting, stating there was not enough information about the contracts for him to make a decision.

Dayag asks for Pepsi money

Moments after the board approved a 10-year vending contract renewal with PepsiCo, Student Body President Kristin Dayag asked that $100,000 from vending earnings be allocated annually to the division of student affairs.

Over the next 10 years, Pepsi is planning to give about $4 million to areas like student activities, athletics, cultural events, etc.

Parking proposals “coming soon”

Student Ashley Gordon addressed the board and said that parking needs to be increased, and suggested that OU build a parking structure in P1, the main lot.

Trustee Dennis Pawley said he told Beaghan increasing parking (not necessarily in P1) is a priority, and Beaghan said there will be a proposal to add parking soon.

Baskin said that at the board’s next finance meeting, it should create an ad hoc committee for parking.

OU Student Congress has open meetings on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. in 61 Oakland Center to discuss parking.

Get more details

Visit to read the full detailed agenda items, and archived minutes and agendas of previous meetings.

The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for Feb. 3 at 2:00 p.m. in the Elliot Hall auditorium.