by GABRIELLA DEPINHO, News Editor
Nearly a month into the school year, Manhattan College’s Senate hosted its first meeting; on the same day, a public meeting for students regarding the issue of finding a new provost for the college was held.
Tuesday, Sept. 17, was a busy day for upper administration. President Brennan O’Donnell, Richard Satterlee, VP of Student Life, and Provost Bill Clyde were all in attendance of the first senate meeting of the year. Later that afternoon, consultants from RH Perry & Associates, a search counsel to assist higher education institutions, hosted a public forum with students to inform them of the process of searching for a new provost.
O’Donnell addressed the senate and constituents in attendance for nearly half an hour, continuing a five year tradition of updating the senate about summer happenings, changes to institutional plans and any other topics O’Donnell feels necessary to discuss.
O’Donnell updated the attendees about the South Campus construction, which you can read more about on page four. In addition, he addressed the slow-coming renovations that are being made to the residence halls, stating that Horan is seeing some work and some redesign tests first.
While O’Donnell shared that this year, Manhattan has received the most money in donations – upwards of 16 million dollars – the school has been facing a slimmer budget because of lowering enrollment.
“We’re in a tighter budget year than we have been in many, many years on campus. We’ve been riding the wave of very strong annual revenue streams and we have been running counter to most of higher education. This year, for a number of reasons having to do with our enrollment figures, we’re just a little tighter, we’re not in crisis mode,” said O’Donnell.
Due to the smaller size of the sophomore and junior classes, the school is seeing smaller revenue from tuition. In addition, the class of 2022’s retention rate dropped to under 82 percent, compared to previous retention rate highs of 88 percent in the past. Another strain on the budget comes from the school trying to give large financial aid packages.
The college is looking at how to diversify revenue streams, as well as possibly tightening budgets throughout campus, in order to manage the overall tighter budget this year.
After O’Donnell spoke, Satterlee addressed the senate regarding a few issues, including access control and parking facilities.
“It’s main aim was to protect the safety and welfare of the students who live in the residence halls. We’ve got folks living here and their safety was paramount to us,” said Satterlee about the decision to implement access control.
“After [the respectful pushback] … we met with Student Government leadership on September 3rd … we really wanted to engage them and talk about the criticism they were receiving and we were receiving,” he said.
Satterlee shared the updates that were made to the policy and acknowledged the lack of student involvement in discussions. Satterlee also addressed the issue of overselling parking passes and answered questions about problems with access to the parking garage.
The Senate addressed a number of other business issues such as updates from the Educational Affairs Committee and the Campus Life Committee.
While the senate meeting was wrapping up, the meeting regarding finding a new provost was starting. Students received an email on September 13 announcing that as of July 2020, Bill Clyde, Ph.D., will be stepping down as Provost and returning to full time teaching and research.
At the meeting, Matthew J. Kilcoyne and Sue DeWine, consultants from RH Perry & Associates shared with students that while faculty makes the final decision, the process to find a new provost will be inclusive. The consultants will do some on-campus recruiting, meet with students and faculty and help guide the search process.
One thing is for certain: Kilcoyne and DeWine want the process to be transparent. The transparency started with that initial meeting.
The search for a new provost was also briefly touched on at the Senate meeting; it was stated that the search should continue through to February.
The Quadrangle will provide continuing coverage of the search for a new provost.