MAY 26, 2020 | MINUTES

A special meeting of the Purdue University Board of Trustees convened at 3:45 on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, in Hovde Hall, Room 201.

On March 23, 2020, during the unprecedented, worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Eric Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-09 which provided that all members of the Board (or a committee thereof) may meet by means of electronic communication so long as a quorum of members participated and the meeting was made available to members of the public and the media. Michael Berghoff, chairman, and JoAnn Brouillette were present in person and wearing masks, while all other trustees were present via video: Sonny Beck; Vanessa Castagna; Malcolm DeKryger; Michael Klipsch; Gary Lehman; Noah Scott; Thomas Spurgeon, vice chairman; and Don Thompson.

To comply with federal social distancing guidelines established to prevent spread of the disease, restrictions were placed on the number of people in the room. Only these officers and administrators were in the room, all of whom were wearing masks: Mitch Daniels, president; Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity; Steve Schultz, general counsel; and Janice Indrutz, corporate secretary and senior executive assistant to the Board. Other officers who attended by video were: Chris Ruhl, treasurer and chief financial officer; and Jim Almond, senior vice president, assistant treasurer, and assistant secretary.


Chairman Berghoff called the meeting to order and asked Ms. Indrutz to conduct roll call. He noted that all trustees were in attendance, and he acknowledged those who were participating in and observing the meeting by video.


Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously by roll call to approve the minutes of both the executive session and special meeting convened on May 7, 2020, the latter during which the Board approved initial measures for operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Chairman Berghoff announced that the Board had met with members of the Protect Purdue Implementation Team to understand, in detail, what work had been done to welcome students back in the fall and what was left to do to be prepared in the very best way possible. He then reviewed the following resolution:

WHEREAS, consistent with earlier actions approved by the Board at its special meeting held on May 7, 2020, the Board of Trustees has received, reviewed and discussed additional plans for preparing the West Lafayette campus to return to its learning, research and engagement missions in the midst of the present pandemic, with the objective of protecting the people of Purdue, and particularly those who may be at greater risk for severe illness due to COVID-19:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board hereby approves, ratifies and confirms the University leadership’s plans:

1. To adopt the fall 2020 academic calendar attached to this resolution as Exhibit A, including the designation of: (i) December 23rd as an additional holiday to replace Labor Day, which will not be observed this year due to the calendar adjustments previously approved by the Board, and (ii) December 13, 2020 as the new date for winter commencement.

2. To organize and plan a virtual commencement ceremony for August 2020 graduates in a manner consistent with the method successfully used for the May 2020 commencement.

3. To deliver an online option for students who cannot or choose not to come to campus for a residential experience in the fall 2020 semester.

4. To de-densify living and learning spaces on campus to the extent necessary to reflect guidance from the Medical Advisory Committee, using facility reconfiguration, space management principles, assignment and scheduling protocols, and other means and methods necessary to promote safe distancing and other practices consistent with that guidance.

5. To implement new and enhanced measures and practices for disinfecting campus facilities, including the mobilization of existing staff and the hiring of additional staff as required for this effort.

6. To adopt a definitional framework for identifying those most vulnerable in the campus community and thus at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and to implement a process for making accommodations for such individuals where medically appropriate.

7. To administer and enforce the previously announced COVID-19 face mask protocol on campus, which is hereby ratified by the Board as an official University regulation.

8. To administer the Protect Purdue Pledge as a way of receiving the shared commitment of all members of the campus community to take protective measures for themselves and others in the collective effort to keep the community safe by stopping the spread of COVID-19 and other potential infections, and to enforce the pledge as an official University regulation.

RESOLVED, FURTHER, that the University’s leadership is hereby authorized to take such other actions as are deemed by them to be necessary and proper to carry out the purpose and intent of this resolution, whether herein specifically authorized or not, except such actions as are specifically required by law to be taken by the Board of Trustees as the governing board of The Trustees of Purdue University.

RESOLVED, FURTHER, that the University’s leadership is hereby directed to report regularly to the Board on the development of additional plans related to these and other COVID-19 mitigation measures prior to their final implementation, where appropriate.

Trustee Brouillette moved approval of the resolution; Vice Chairman Spurgeon seconded the motion.

Trustee Klipsch pointed out that the resolution included responsibility of the administration to regularly update the Board, and he noted that it was another in a series of steps. Trustee Thompson thanked the university leaders and everyone who had participated on the teams to arrive at these next eight recommendations, saying it was no small feat. He expressed his appreciation for the Medical Advisory Committee and the additional assurance and medical support it was providing to navigate the knowns and unknowns of COVID-19 in an effort to provide for a safe university community. Trustee DeKryger remarked that he especially liked the Protect Purdue Pledge, saying it was a great way for everyone to be mindful of the challenge to protect themselves, others, and the Purdue community.

Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously by roll call to approve the resolution. A formal copy of the resolution was filed with the minutes.


By consent, the meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.