Fall 2020 Board Meeting Summary

The Bates Board of Trustees held its fall meeting virtually on Friday, October 30, 2020. The ongoing global COVID-19 health crisis—and its impact on the Bates community—were the primary focus of the October meeting, as Trustees heard updates on campus progress and planning and engaged in readings on the long-term strategic implications of the pandemic. The Trustees also engaged in conversation about recent events on campus related to the election and how the college is working to support the Bates community in such a polarized environment.

Trustees took a number of important annual actions, including voting to accept the FY20 audit results. The college’s auditor, Mayer Hoffman McCann, had issued a clean audit with no material findings. The Board also approved the recent academic personnel recommendations made by the Committee on Personnel, and elected two Bates-Morse Mountain Corporation Representatives for 2021 (Jeffrey Sturgis ’69 and Geoffrey Swift). Finally, the Board approved a recommendation to reinstate the employer contribution to employees’ retirement accounts for the first half of FY21, which had been suspended in the spring due to the uncertainty regarding the financial implications of the pandemic. Trustees also voted to accept a recommendation to increase the minimum wage for hourly employees and address related equity and compression issues. The Board acknowledged that approving these recommendations was consistent with its fiduciary responsibility to the college. This followed an update on the college’s financial position, including the FY20 financial results.

The October 30 meeting followed two weeks of virtual meetings of almost every standing committee of the Board. These included the first meeting of the new Committee on Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism, which will help focus the Board’s role in creating a more racially equitable environment for all members of the Bates community and in educating all Trustees on related matters.

We regret that the ongoing need to meet virtually prevented in-person engagement between Trustees and members of the campus community, though a variety of faculty, staff, and students participated in many of the Board’s meetings. Trustees are very much looking forward to resuming in-person interactions with the community when on-campus meetings are able to resume in a safe manner. Currently, the next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for February 5-6, 2021.

Clayton Spencer

John Gillespie ’80, P’13, P’18
Chair of the Board of Trustees