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Board Holds Summer Session Virtually

June 26, 2020

Board Acts on Several Agenda Items

Huntsville, Ala. ---- The Alabama A&M University Board of Trustees held its 10 a.m. summer session virtually on Friday, June 26, dealing with a range of agenda items, from budget approval to a comprehensive listing of re-opening protocols for Fall 2020. 

The body, led by President Pro Tem Jerome B. Williams, began the one-hour meeting by first considering a slate of action items from its Business and Finance subcommittee.  That subcommittee sought and received approvals for the Bulldog Life Program (which focused on tuition-only assessment for special needs students); a flat tuition and fee schedule for the upcoming academic year; a $192 million operating budget for FY21; removal of the Old Shop Building near the campus’ Old Stadium; a critical capital projects list that will be funded by state bond and advancement and technology monies to the tune of $10 million; and an Event Center easement at North Memorial Parkway and Stallworth Drive. 

Under the Academic Affairs subcommittee, the Board approved the deletion of five program tracks, all under the College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences.  Among the tracks were Wildlife, Ecology. GIS/Remote Sensing, Forestry Business and Tailor-Your-Own.

During her standard report, Trustee, Distinguished Professor and Faculty Senate President Jeanette Jones acknowledged the Senate’s continued meetings with President Andrew Hugine, Jr., and Provost Daniel Wims on various faculty concerns via the Zoom platform, thanks to quality technical assistance.  Jones further urged the administration to continue to consider the high-risk categories common among the many African Americans who make up the faculty and student body and to plan accordingly in re-opening efforts.

The Development and Technology Committee submitted recommendations for the naming and/or renaming of several structures.  The Board approved the naming of the Henry & Nell Lane Bradford Auditorium in Bibb Graves Hall (now Buchanan Hall); the renaming of McCalep Building to the George McCalep and Ronald and Patricia McCalep McIntosh Hall; the naming of the Felicia Wilson Dining Hall in the Knight Center; and the renaming of Bibb Graves Hall to Walter S. Buchanan Hall (after AAMU’s president).

The Board also amended its bylaws to include the position of vice president pro tem, as well as approved the hiring of a consultant to assist trustees in conducting a mandatory self-evaluation process.

Trustees also heard a summary from AAMU Vice President Gary Crosby of recommendations from a multidisciplinary university re-opening task force.  Dr. Crosby outlined a meticulous plan of safeguards and protocols necessary prior to, during and after school re-opening.  These measures included numerous sanitation actions, testing procedures, virtual training modules, etc.  Further, the plan, which will be posted on the University’s website and other platforms, encompasses every aspect of campus life:  e.g., students, faculty, staff, vendors, housing, dining, student activities, Internet access, health, etc.  

The Task Force members (as cited by Crosby) include:  Michael Johnson, M.D., Student Health; Daniel Wims, provost; Clayton Gibson, senior vice president; Angela Debro, general counsel; Carlquista Slay, Student Counseling; Dwayne Green, Admissions; Bryan Hicks, athletics director; Dr. John Jones, Graduate Studies; Dr. Andrea Cunningham, Title III; Dr. Rhonda Moore Jackson; Brenda Williams, registrar; and Darryl Jackson, Financial Aid.

AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr., urged members of the University community to take personal responsibility for their health, as well as for the health of their neighbors.

President Pro Tem Jerome B. Williams introduced his “AAMU Reimagined” initiative, stating that now is an opportune time for AAMU to brainstorm and “to think about the A&M we can only imagine,” an A&M replete with resources and state-of-the-art equipment. 

“We must continue to think large and without financial restraints,” Williams continued.  “We are long overdue for having the resources that have been denied us.  This is what we expect as a down payment on what we were meant to be.”   Dr. Williams further challenged the AAMU community to put those ideas on paper, while Dr. Archie Tucker II, AAMU vice president for marketing, communication and advancement, and Trustee Frank Williams will compile the “reimaginings” to develop white papers and proposals.

“It’s critically important that we don’t have any small dreams,” added President Hugine.  “This is a time to layout the roadmap for an A&M not limited by resources.”

The Board will hold subcommittee meetings again on October 28-29, along with the next regular session on Friday, October 30, in Birmingham, Ala.