Gitenstein to trustees: Gov. aid misleading

At their Feb. 28 meeting trustees talked budget, housing and construction, announcing that Campus Town plans have made considerable progess. (Ashley Long / Photo Editor)

Gov. Chris Christie promised a 6 percent increase in aid for higher education in his recent budget address, but his statement was misleading and untrue, President R. Barbara Gitenstein said at the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

The increase only applies to employees’ budgets and benefits, which is established by the state, according to Gitenstein. None of the extra funds are going toward appropriations, which would allow for the money to be spent on what the College deems necessary.

“There is not a 6 percent increase to funding higher education,” Gitenstein said. “That is absolutely not an increase to our base budget.”

In addition to discussing the budget, the board recognized several faculty promotions and appointments in departments such as physics, criminology, philosophy, English, Student Affairs and more.

“We have an extraordinary faculty and I am very proud of each and every one of them,” Gitenstein said.

Eleanor Horne, a member of the Student Life and Enrollment Management Committee, had only kind words for new interim vice president of Student Affairs Vicky Triponey.

“We are all looking forward to working closely with Vicky,” she said.

The meeting also came within a week of students being told that all applicants received housing.

“We’ve been able to accommodate every student who applied for housing,” Horne said. “That process was handled with great care and sensitivity.”

Although people in attendance whispered about considerable amounts of complaints by parents regarding housing, board members made no mention of the controversy.

The board of trustees also presented analyses of construction projects and the College’s relationship with Ewing Township.

Vice chair Bradley Brewster provided updates on the new education building near Cromwell Hall and Campus Town.

“The education building is on time and way under budget,” he said.

Brewster also spoke about the considerable progress that has been made with Campus Town and said it “looks like we’ll be cutting the ribbon sometime in the summer.”

Horne announced several achievements made this year, which not only benefits the College but has also helped build the relationship with the community.

“We’ve had very good media coverage by the local press,” Horne said. “That doesn’t happen by accident.”

This time last year, Horne said, Mayor Bert Steinmann was expressing dissatisfaction with the conduct of students, but the tone has seemed to dissipate this year for a few reasons.

Horne told the board that student violations have dropped significantly from 604 in the fall 2010 to 465 this past fall.

“Next year we hope to see that number down even further,” she said.

Horne spent a good deal of her report encouraging members to focus on alumni affairs, as graduates become key donors to the College.

Graduate donors have sent $4.6 million in gifts and pledges to the College since the beginning of the fiscal year, according to Horne.

She announced that the College’s homepage received eight million hits last year, which says a lot about our web presence and the perception of the College by others, according to Horne.

Board of Trustees Chair Christopher Gibson wrapped up the meeting by recognizing senior history major and student trustee Randi Lynn Veenstra for her recent acceptance into University of Pennsylvania’s School of Law.

“From the bottom of our hearts, congratulations,” he said.