Indiana Daily Student

6 vying for spot on board of trustees

Six alumni, including the son of a current trustee, an international consultant and a law student, are vying for an open slot on the IU board of trustees.\nAll alumni are eligible to vote in the election via mail until June 30, when the votes will be tallied.\nWith a new University president taking office July 1, the recent outsourcing of the IU motor pool and bookstore and an ongoing debate about raising admission standards, the trustee candidates agree this is an important election.\nTrustee Sue Talbot is seeking a third term on the board this year.\nIn an e-mail, she defended the decision to outsource the motor pool and bookstore because current University employees will be able to keep their current benefits and positions under those plans.\n“We are facing an $80 million shortfall in health care costs and $50 million in operational costs,” she said. “Our fiduciary responsibility demands that we seek out ways to provide these important benefits to our employees and students.”\nSteven A. Miller, senior vice president of Northern Trust Global Advisors, Inc. and IU treasurer for nearly 14 years, believes his understanding of University finances will benefit the board.\nOutsourcing, he says, needs to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.\n“The criteria should be whether the outsourcing provides a net long-term financial benefit to the University,” he said in an e-mail. “I feel strongly that any outsourcing arrangement should have a verifiable benefit, should do everything possible to protect affected IU employees and provide clear provisions to terminate the agreement if it does not work out.”\nTuition increases are inevitable, he said, and so IU must look to sources other than the state and students for funding.\n“The University must find other sources of revenue, including fundraising, research grants and leveraging technology to partner with industry,” he said.\nLaw student Tyler Daniel Helmond is seeking a seat on the board because he believes trustees are out of touch with the needs of students and alumni.\n“I think there is very little question that IU’s reputation has declined,” he said in an e-mail. “The Indianapolis Star has reported on an IU degree program that grants a bachelor’s degree to out-of-state community college students after only one year of IU study. The trustees have done nothing to combat diluted requirements that hurt our reputation for producing outstanding graduates.”\nHelmond said that, if elected, he will work to raise the University’s standards for achievement, which he believes would also encourage alumni to donate more money to IU.\nHe said it is too early to see what impact outsourcing will have on IU, but as a labor studies major, he has a good understanding of what such decisions can mean to employees.\n“I think the board failed to calculate the intangible costs in executing the outsourcing agreement. Book and apparel prices are likely to rise,” he said. \nRecent search committees, such as the one that selected Interim Provost Michael McRobbie as IU’s 18th president, have been criticized by groups such as the IU Student Association as lacking student involvement.\nHelmond says he will vote for all such committees to contain one-third students.\n“Students have some of the best insight and instinct when it comes to making these decisions and the current board has locked them out of any meaningful participation,” he said.\nTalbot, who chaired the presidential search committee, which was criticized by some Bloomington students for having only a grad student from the South Bend campus on it, defended that decision.\nShe noted that the grad student, Michael Renfrow, was chosen by the All University Student Association and went to all the IU campuses to get feedback from students.\n“As for the future of student involvement in search processes, when it applies to the specific campus and discipline that a student group (undergraduate or graduate) then yes, students should be considered for the committee,” she said.\nAllen Woodhouse, an international consultant, considers himself as the “only true reform candidate” for the board because he is not as closely connected to IU as some others seeking positions.\nHe said he does not oppose outsourcing that benefits IU and he also believes in more student involvement in search committees.\nPhil Eskew III, son of trustee Phil Eskew Jr., who is looking to follow in his father’s footsteps with a position on the board, has expressed concern with outsourcing in his biography on the trustees’ Web site\nOn the page, he also said the University must remember to put students’ education ahead of monetary concerns.\nGreenfield, Ind., attorney Ray Richardson, who served on the board of trustees from 1992 until 2001, is seeking a return to reverse what he calls “several ill-advised board of trustee actions,” according to his biography on the trustees’ Web site.\nChief among Richardson’s concerns is the increasing enrollment of out-of-state students, which he claims is taking educational opportunities away from Hoosiers, according to his page.\nPhil Eskew III and Ray Richardson did not respond to requests seeking comment by press time.

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