SBU trustees focus on fiduciary responsibility
Issue addressed during budget approval process
May 16, 2006
BOLIVAR – The fiduciary responsibility of trustees was among the topics addressed at the May 9 meeting of the Southwest Baptist University (SBU) trustees held at the Sells Administrative Center.
Trustee David Tolliver hesitated to vote for a budget he had yet to see, stating that his fiduciary responsibility is to examine the full $34.67 million budget as opposed to a budget summary. SBU President Pat Taylor did not dispute Tolliver’s point.
“We made a commitment to get more information to you, and we failed this time,” Taylor said.
Tolliver emphasized that he is simply looking out for the best interests of Missouri Baptists. Trustees eventually voted to move forward with the preliminary budget that will go in effect June 1.
“I don’t come to the meeting with a rubber stamp,” Tolliver explained. “They may decide in the future, ‘I can just send Tolliver an email.’ In fact, if I was them, that’s exactly what I would do, because then if I want to print it out, it’s my paper, not theirs.
“I do have complete trust in the system, and trust in the administration, and trust in the subcommittee that does the budget. I just believe as a trustee, having been given this trust from Missouri Baptists, that I owe it to them to look at what I voted on. And so when I get the budget, I will study it, I will anticipate that I’ll be in full agreement with it, and I’ll vote for it.
“Every trustee of every Missouri Baptist Convention institution has been given a trust by the convention when they were elected trustees, and they owe the convention accountability for what they do. Likewise, every trustee of every Southern Baptist institution is accountable to the convention for what they do. The trustee board I serve on nationally is Midwestern (Baptist Theological) Seminary. I’m accountable to all Southern Baptists for the decisions I make at Midwestern Seminary.”
Trustee David Mason agreed with Tolliver that a budget document of 75 or 80 pages need not be handed out to inquiring board members.
“This doesn’t have to be stacks of paper,” Mason said. “It’s a click of a button.”
In other news, it was announced that SBU ranks first among American colleges and universities in the number of student missionaries mobilized for 2005, as tabulated by the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Formal recognition of this honor came May 10 at the Mabee Chapel. Hannibal-LaGrange College was ranked third by NAMB.
Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) continues its long tradition of excellence at the university, capturing its 22nd consecutive regional championship. A team of eight SIFE members made a presentation to trustees, with six standing for alternate speaking parts while two ran PowerPoint. SBU has 35 active SIFE members.
The SBU basketball team finished with a record of 27-5, good enough for a No. 6 ranking in the final NCAA Division II poll. Taylor noted the excellence that produced that record, “and we did it with great kids,” the university president said.
There are currently eight faculty openings—a librarian, two physical therapy positions, one biology opening, one opening for a head athletic trainer, and three positions in the Music, Arts and Letters Department.
Trustees approved a $1.26 million renovation of the Jim Mellers Center to be completed late in the summer of 2007.