The Board of Governors of Trent University held its second regular meeting of the 2017/18 academic year in the newly opened Student Centre on December 1, 2017.
As it was the Board’s first meeting in the new building, Stephen Kylie, chair of the Board of Governors, remarked on its exceptional design and sweeping campus views, thanking the students of Trent University for their vision in supporting the initiative – and the many donors who contributed to make the completion of the Student Centre possible.
In addition to approval of a number of items, Board members heard two student presentations. Ms. Tessa Smith, the recipient of this year’s Board of Governors scholarship, made a presentation about the positive impact the scholarship had for her as a first-year English Literature and Gender & Women’s Studies student. Sharing her inspirational experience being “shaped by things beyond (her) control,” the two-time cancer survivor, motivational speaker, journalist, aspiring author, poet, model, body equality activist and self-described “go-getter” thanked the Board for their generous support.
The Board also heard a deputation from Trent Ph.D. candidate, Ms. Debbie Jenkins, who attended the meeting to make a presentation on the ecological impact of the Trent Lands Plan. Dr. Neil Emery, vice-president, Research and Innovation, thanked Ms. Jenkins and responded with information on the green, cleantech objectives of the research park (now called Cleantech Commons) as well as an overview of the environmental studies and mitigating strategies in place that have surpassed all legal requirements, including those set out by the Otonabee Regional Conservation Authority. Julie Davis, vice-president, External Relations and Advancement, provided an overview of the public consultation process and invited Ms. Jenkins and anyone interested in providing input to watch for opportunities in the next update to the Trent Lands Plan in late 2018. More information is available at trentu.ca/trentlandsplan
Approval of 2017-18 Tuition Strategy
At the meeting, the Board approved the OSAP-eligible tuition fees for 2018/2019. In accordance to the Tuition Fee Framework extended to 2018/2019 by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAUESD), the Board approved undergraduate and graduate tuition rates increase by 3% for the fiscal year 2018/2019.
Further analysis will be undertaken regarding non-OSAP-eligible tuition fees (international and non-Ministry funded professional programs) and a proposal for these tuition rates will be brought forward at a later date.
Approval of 2017 Pension Plan Financial Statements
The Board also approved the 2017 financial statements of the Contributory Pension Plan for Employees represented by OPSEU Local 365, Exempt Administrative Staff and TUFA Employees of Trent University, based on external audits.
Approval of Investment Strategy for Supplemental Retirement
In addition, the Board approved revisions to the Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures: Trent University Pension Fund, Supplemental Retirement Arrangement Fund, and Special Investment Fund. The asset mix will transition to 100% Money Market in order to protect the assets and lock in the current ability for the assets to pay benefits, and to ensure that the University would not be required to make any contributions until the assets in the SRA is fully expended
Revisions to Policy on Annual Distribution from Endowment Fund
Revisions to the Trent University Endowment Fund annual distribution policy were approved to allow the University to maintain a 4% annual distribution rate from the Fund and establish thresholds for the stabilization fund to support the distribution commitments during years of market underperformance.
Trent University’s Endowment Fund is a large financial resource that helps advance the University by providing additional funds beyond its operating budgets. The funds assist in recruitment by providing financial aid to students, assist with cutting-edge research, attract and retain world-class faculty, maintain and upgrade facilities as well as many other purposes.