JULY 7, 2021 | MINUTES

A special meeting of the Purdue University Board of Trustees convened at 10:14 a.m. on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Stewart Center, Room 326, on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.

All trustees were present in person or, where specifically noted, by means of electronic communication pursuant to the Electronic Meeting Policy: Michael Berghoff, chairman; Sonny Beck; JoAnn Brouillette; Vanessa Castagna (virtually); Theresa Carter (virtually); Malcolm DeKryger; Mark Gee (virtually); Michael Klipsch; Gary Lehman, vice chairman; and Don Thompson (virtually).

Officers and administrators in attendance were: Mitch Daniels, president; Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity; Jim Almond, senior vice president, assistant treasurer, and assistant secretary; Steve Schultz, general counsel; Janice Indrutz, corporate secretary and senior executive assistant to the Board; and Ethan Braden, senior vice president for marketing and communications.


Chairman Berghoff called the meeting to order and noted that all trustees were present in person or virtually.


Upon proper motions duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve two recommendations from the Physical Facilities Committee, which met immediately prior to this meeting: (1) approval to plan, finance, construct and award construction contracts for Wade Utility Plant Chiller 7 Replacement and System Improvements; and (2) approval to purchase land from Purdue Research Foundation. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.


President Daniels respectfully requested the Board’s ratification of operating principles for Fall 2021 with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the principles were based on personal responsibility and freedom of choice regarding vaccination, and the same rules would apply to everyone, with the ultimate goal of keeping the university open. Individuals could choose to Protect Purdue either by getting vaccinated and submitting valid proof of their vaccination or participating in routine surveillance testing and contact tracing. President Daniels asked Mr. Ethan Braden, senior vice president for marketing and communications, to further comment on what would be communicated to the Purdue community.

Chairman Berghoff remarked that the university had managed through one of the most difficult years ever in higher education and it had been recognized for having managed well. He said today’s action would allow the university to further manage the pandemic in the coming year through appropriate, consistent, and logical measures. Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the following resolution:

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees has received and reviewed a status update on the Protect Purdue Plan, including recommendations for plan modifications going forward;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board hereby endorses the present intention to open Purdue University’s campuses to normal operations in the 2021-2022 academic year in order to allow students to make continued academic progress and to enable research to proceed in customary facility conditions; and

RESOLVED, FURTHER, that the University's leadership and Protect Purdue team are hereby directed to continue active monitoring of COVID-19 developments, including but not limited to vaccination levels among the campus population, the emergence of new variants of the virus, data on their transmissibility, and all other emerging medical and scientific data on the prevalence and continuing effects of the pandemic, as well as data gleaned from the University's ongoing testing and tracing regime to indicate the incidence of COVID-19 on campus; and

RESOLVED, FURTHER, that the University's leadership and Protect Purdue team are hereby authorized and empowered to take all actions and make all adjustments in the current plan to maintain campus continuity as they deem necessary or appropriate to respond to changing conditions, emerging data, and related advice of the Medical Advisory Committee.

A copy of the resolution and Protect Purdue guidelines for Fall 2021 were filed with the minutes.


Mr. Braden informed the Board that Purdue had sought a strong public radio partner to enhance the public service mission of radio station WBAA while preserving WBAA’s strong local heritage. In doing so, he said, Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media (MIPM) had been identified as the appropriate partner, and he recommended that the WBAA license be transferred to MIPM, with MIPM to assume operation of WBAA on or around October 1, 2021. Mr. Braden explained that the WBAA call letters would be preserved, along with WBAA’s physical presence on campus, and he said listeners would continue to enjoy WBAA’s National Public Radio, classical music, and reporting of local news and events. He added that the partnership with MIPM would provide internships and post-graduate employment opportunities for Purdue students, and he indicated that many other higher education institutions had forged similar partnerships.

Upon hearing Mr. Braden’s recommendation, Chairman Berghoff called for a motion to (1) ratify a letter of intent outlining the proposed transfer of the WBAA license to Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media and (2) authorize the university’s officers to negotiate the definitive agreement and complete the transfer, subject to regulatory approvals.

Mr. Braden responded to questions from Chairman Berghoff, Vice Chairman Lehman, and Trustee DeKryger. He assured the Board that the student experience would be enhanced, and he explained that, though WBAA had provided ten student internships in its heyday, currently there were zero. He said MIPM could provide students more and richer opportunities spanning sales, marketing, broadcasting, and operations, not just through internships but also post-graduation. Mr. Braden informed the Board that MIPM would retain some employees to maintain local operations while others would pursue other opportunities, and he noted that WIPM would need to address WBAA’s location in Elliott Hall with regard to needed technology upgrades.

Chairman Berghoff observed that MIPM was in the media business and said, while WBAA had a long history at Purdue, the university’s priority was educating 40,000 students. He expressed his belief that WIPM could better fulfill WBAA’s mission and enhance opportunities to improve what it provided to the community, its donors, and the students who help run it. Vice Chairman Lehman echoed that the university’s mission was the education of students and expressed his belief that an internship with an organization such as WIPM would be of greater value to a student’s resume. Mr. Braden concluded that the university would be forging a new partnership while preserving the local listening experience for WBAA’s audience.

Upon proper motion duly made and seconded, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to ratify the letter of intent and authorize negotiation of the agreement. Supporting materials were filed with the minutes.

Chairman Berghoff addressed members of the public who were present to observe the meeting and visually express their opposition to the action. He explained that calling for public comment was not a practice of the Board, but Mr. Braden would be available at the conclusion of the meeting to answer their questions.


Mr. Cline was pleased to report that there had been a successful Request for Proposals process to select an operator for the new child care facility for which the Board had approved construction at its meeting on December 6, 2019. He said the selection of Early Learning Indiana would allow the university to move forward with construction of the new facility beginning in October 2021, with expected occupancy in August 2022. In response to a question from Trustee Klipsch, Mr. Cline reminded the Board that the new facility would have the capacity for 150 children, whereas the capacity of the current facility was 90. President Daniels interjected that the goals for the new child care facility, greater capacity and greater quality, would be met, and Vice Chairman Lehman pointed out that the new facility would be convenient for those employees who worked in the 2550 Northwestern building. Chairman Berghoff said he was pleased with the outcome.


By consent, the meeting adjourned at 10:31 a.m.