y Cady Inabinett, News editor
The University of Montevallo Board of Trustees opened their May 4 meeting by honoring the life and contributions of David Wheeler. Wheeler, who passed away in March, had been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2008 and a Montevallo alumnus.
His wife, Diane Wheeler, was present at the meeting and was presented with a commendation from the board. The commendation outlined David Wheeler’s accomplishments as an alumnus, businessman, Alabama State Representative and Montevallo trustee.
Diane Wheeler told the board how much Montevallo meant to her husband and how much he enjoyed being a trustee—saying that Montevallo had been his heart. She added that the commendation that was presented to here would hang in his office at their home.
Another trustee, Sen. Rodger Smitherman, attended Montevallo with David Wheeler and was a fraternity brother of his. Smitherman said that David Wheeler was a catalyst for facilitation of diversity and inclusion on campus, especially within their fraternity, and that he epitomized the idea of inclusion to Smitherman.
Faculty Senate President, Dr. Ray Ozley, updated trustees on Faculty Senates recent actions. He reported that the Faculty Salary Committee had proposed a set of revisions to the Faculty Salary Administration policy and submitted them to the Board of Trustees for consideration. These changes, Ozley reported, are meant to clarify thresholds for pay increases in tandem with promotions, emphasize that future pay adjustments will be based around College and University Professional Association data, minimizing salary compression issues, ensuring the provost’s office is responsible for future salary adjustments and edits to remove old, out-of-use language in the policy. These changes were voted on and approved later in the meeting.
Ozley went on to share feedback from a faculty survey. He shared that faculty felt areas to celebrate included university grounds, the M.A.D.E. program, counseling services, the Falcon Success Center, Disability Support Services, the Malone Center and the library. However, Ozley said faculty would like to see improvement in compensation-related concerns, technology support, support for faculty travel, support for grant writing and transparency and input into budget procedures.
Staff Senate president Brian Prady also shared results from a survey of university staff. He reported that staff felt more supported than ever, but pointed out that staff salaries were the most major point of concern.
SGA president Anakate Andrasko gave her last report to the Board of Trustees as SGA president. In it, she outlined the bills and resolutions passed by the group, spoke on the success of The Big Event and announced the results of April’s SGA elections. Andrasko also thanked the Board of Trustees for their dedication to the university.
Similarly, in his report to the board Student Trustee Cody Hodge provided a summary of student body responses to Board of Trustees actions throughout the year before thanking the board on behalf of the student body.
The Audit and Finance Committee presented several spending recommendations that were voted on and approved by the Board of Trustees. This included approving a Men’s Wrestling program and a Women’s Acrobatics and Tumbling program, as well as approving up to $3 million in additional funding for repairs and renovations to Vacca Hall following the tornado damage it sustained in March.
The board voted to approve changes to the 2023-2024 academic calendar suggested by the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. These changes included closing the university on June 19th during the 2024 summer semester for Juneteenth.
Also under the recommendation of the Academic and Student Affairs committee, trustees approved changes to the Student Code of Conduct. The changes are intended to make the code’s language more understandable.
Board chairman Todd Strange closed the meeting by saying that he’s proud of the work accomplished by the Board of Trustees during the past couple of years that had been defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. He went on to say that institutions are about people, and that Montevallo’s people are what makes the university different from others.