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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Board of Trustees to meet next week

Published: March 17, 2006
Section: News

The Board of Trustees will meet next week to discuss and vote on various topics pertinent to the university, including revisions to the universitys conflict of interest policies, changes to the Faculty Handbook, and the budget for the 2006-2007 school year.

The revisions to the conflict of interest policy will be presented by the Executive Committee, chaired by Stephen B. Kay. According to Assistant to the President John Hose, the policies exist to ensure that Trustees avoid any inappropriate or unseemly conflicts of interest. He also said that Brandeis is well ahead of the curve and much farther along in the development of these policies than other institutions. In order to become official, the changes must be voted on by the entire Board of Trustees and then approved via paper ballot, mailed to the Trustees at a later date. Upon approval, the changes will be written into the university bylaws.

Two actions relating to the faculty will be put forth by the Academic Affairs Committee. The first action pertains to personnel decisions, such as promotions or appointments, and the second will affirm or deny changes to the Faculty Handbook that have already been approved by the general faculty. The majority of those changes are minor adjustments to the language used in the Handbook. The Board of Trustees has ultimate control over the Faculty Handbook, according to Hose.

The Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by Robert S. Rifkin, will make presentations on two different issues. First, the 2006-2007 university budget will be presented and voted upon. The budget for the upcoming year is always presented at the March Trustees meeting. Also on the docket is a vote approving Phase One of the utilities construction of the new $154 million science quad. The quad is being funded primarily by $80 million of debt approved last November by the Board. The universitys budget, as well as any major changes to the budget, always require a vote of the board, said Hose, along with all major construction projects and any building.

Other issues coming before the Board include a proposal from the Development Committee dealing with designation-pending funds and a report from the Honorary Degrees Committee. Designation-pending funds are monies donated to the university that have not been earmarked for any particular use. The Board is looking to formalize policies having to do with the way Brandeis uses such money.

Student Representatives to the board Albert Cahn 07 and Darnisa Amante 06 will also make a presentation, which will first be given to the Union Student Senate on Sunday. Cahn declined to comment on the content of the upcoming presentation. Professor Robert Sekuler (PSYC) will also give a talk entitled Seeing, Remembering, and Getting Older. Sekuler researches visual perception, cognitive processes, and issues of visual memory.

Hose noted that he would be surprised if any of the major proposals coming before the board were denied or voted down. It would be unusual to bring something to the Board that wasnt approved, he said, and its not that the Board is a rubber stamp, because theyre not a rubber stamp, but you want to have well-prepared materials that are designed so that the Trustees are fully informed and they are knowledgeable voters on the issues, because they have the ultimate responsibility.