A brief explanation of the group responsible for the upcoming 2022/23 tuition increase
On Thursday, March 10th, Saint Mary’s Students received an email from President Richard Plumb regarding tuition and room and board rates for the 2022-2023 school year. President Plumb wrote that the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees has approved an increase in tuition and room and board rates for next year, raising undergraduate tuition and room and board an overall increase of 3.6 percent. Despite the important role they play in decision-making at Saint Mary’s, many students may remain unaware of who the Board of Trustees is or what they do at SMC.
The Board of Trustees are the governing body of Saint Mary’s College and are responsible for concrete things, such as approving the school’s annual budget, advising the president, and helping with fundraising for the College. They are also responsible for a number of vague responsibilities listed on SMC’s website including; “exercising appropriate oversight of the academic quality and fiscal health of the College”(though what constitutes ‘appropriate oversight’ or ‘academic quality’ is not explained).
The Board currently consists of 29 members and is headed by businessman Kevin M. Nagle, businesswoman Kimberly Vogel, and Saint Mary’s President Richard Plumb. The group meets four times a year to vote on resolutions recommended by the President and various committees on campus. The most recent meeting took place on January 20, 2022, where the Board passed the raise in tuition as recommended by the Finance Committee. Previously, during their October meeting, the group approved the withdrawal of $5.5 million from the Board Reserve Fund to be added to the $12 million already approved for infrastructure projects on campus.
Demographically, the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees currently does not reflect the diversity of the SMC student body. Despite making up more than 50% of the student body, women only make up 20% of the board of trustees. Racially the board is 8.2% white. Age-wise, more than 80% of the board is over the age of 50, with a notable portion of the members over the age of 70.
The Board by the numbers:
Madison Sciba '24,