A meeting of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees convened on Friday, December 4, 2020, at 10:16 a.m. on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. The meeting was held in Stewart Center, Room 214, to allow for social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions were placed on the number of observers in the room, and other members of the media and the public who wished to observe the meeting virtually were provided such instructions. Everyone in the room was wearing a mask.
All committee members were present in person or, where specifically noted, by means of electronic communication pursuant to the Electronic Meeting Policy: Don Thompson, chair (virtually); Sonny Beck; Malcolm DeKryger; and Michael Klipsch. All other trustees were present: Michael Berghoff; JoAnn Brouillette; Vanessa Castagna; Theresa Carter (virtually); Gary Lehman; and Noah Scott (virtually).
Officers and administrators in attendance were: Mitch Daniels, president; Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity; Chris Ruhl, chief financial officer and treasurer; Jim Almond, senior vice president, assistant treasurer, and assistant secretary; Steve Schultz, general counsel; Trent Klingerman, deputy general counsel (virtually); Janice Indrutz, corporate secretary and senior executive assistant to the Board (virtually); Ron Elsenbaumer, chancellor of Purdue University Fort Wayne (virtually); and Tom Keon, chancellor, Purdue University Northwest (virtually).
I. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Finance Committee voted unanimously to approve the minutes of its meeting convened on August 7, 2020.
II. APPROVAL OF 2021-2022 STUDENT HOUSING RATES
Assistant Treasurer Almond requested approval of student housing rates for FY22. He proposed that room and board rates for housing on the West Lafayette campus be held at current levels for a ninth consecutive year. He explained why FY22 rates would actually be lower than FY13 rates and informed the Board that Purdue’s West Lafayette campus would be the most affordable in the Big Ten, which, he said, was remarkable. With regard to the regional campuses, Mr. Almond proposed an increase of 2.5% for Purdue Northwest’s Hammond campus, which offered 744 beds, and he proposed that the Purdue Fort Wayne campus maintain existing rates for its 1,204 beds.
Trustee Thompson asked Chancellors Elsenbaumer and Keon to share their thoughts on the proposed rates for their respective campuses. Chancellor Elsenbaumer stated that PFW had leased an additional 124 beds from the private sector to meet its students’ housing needs, and he said a rate adjustment would likely be needed in the future to address maintenance of aging facilities.
Chancellor Keon informed the Committee that PNW Hammond’s occupancy rate was at 60%. He attributed this to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, he said, caused an incredible decline in the international student population and caused local students to choose living at home instead of the residence halls. He added that PNW Hammond also had aging facilities and informed the Committee that the need to replace siding on the oldest residence hall had also impacted its housing budget.
Trustee Thompson asked Dr. Beth McCuskey, vice provost for student life, if anything would be sacrificed as a result of the proposed rates. She remarked that Purdue had an incredible housing and dining team that left no stone unturned with regard to cost management.
Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Finance Committee voted unanimously to recommend full Board approval of the 2021-2022 student housing rates. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.
III. APPROVAL OF CONTRACT IN EXCESS OF $2,000,000
Mr. Rob Wynkoop, associate vice president for administrative operations, requested approval to extend the university’s contract with Ellucian for its Banner software for a period of five years, from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2025. He reminded the Committee that Banner was an integrated information system used by all Purdue campuses to manage all aspects of student accounts. Mr. Wynkoop valued the five-year contract at $7.3 million and was pleased to share that a $240,000 adjustment had been negotiated through streamlining use of the software.
In response to a question from Trustee DeKryger, Mr. Wynkoop said the West Lafayette campus had worked with Ellucian since 2006, while the regional campuses had worked with Ellucian since the mid-late 1990s. Trustee Thompson said it was very important for everyone to understand that, even though the contract was for $7.3 million, removing unused modules had optimized the cost. Trustee Beck encouraged Mr. Wynkoop to begin the 2-3 year process of researching other vendors.
Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Finance Committee voted unanimously to request full Board approval of the contract renewal. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.
By consent, the meeting adjourned at 10:32 a.m.