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New GRCC PD officer sworn in, presidential update, and more in Sept. 19 Board of Trustees meeting

Officer Mario Jimenez being sworn into the GRCC Police Department during the Sept. 19 Board of Trustees meeting. (GRCCtv YouTube livestream of the meeting)

By Shane Madden

The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees met on Monday, Sept. 19, with the intention of discussing the Local Strategic Value Solution, grant rewards and requests and personnel transactions, as well as the swearing in of new GRCC police officer Mario Jimenez.

The meeting began with a swearing in ceremony with Officer Jimenez and his family. 

Vice President for Finance and Administration Lisa Freiburger took the podium to share details about GRCC’s Local Strategic Value Resolution.  

“This particular resolution requires us to note how we comply and provide service to our community in four out of five individual categories, and each of three goal buckets, if you will,” Frieburger explained. “Just a couple pieces of information; total state aid for us is $19.9 million, a 3.9% increase from last year. This Local Strategic Value Resolution comprises 5% of the new allocation we received…That total is approximately $46,000.” 

Executive Director of Human Resources Christine Coon was then invited to the podium to deliver a presentation on the various ways GRCC has broken down our affirmative action reporting to show a clearer picture of workforce data for GRCC employees. Her presentation involved numerical breakdowns of the percentages of women and people of color hired by GRCC, as well as a demographic breakdown of the GRCC student body. These charts show a gradual return towards pre-covid trends. 

“One notable item here (separation rates) is that we have hired more Black, Hispanic, and Asian employees than we have separated, which is significant given the job market and the number of separations we have experienced,” Coon said.  

Freiburger was given the podium once more to give a finance and expense update. 

“One thing that might stick out when you look at these statements in August, comparing this year’s numbers to last years, is that our tuition and fees, primarily tuition revenue, is down…it’s down about 7%,” she said. “We are still analyzing overall financial impact…I am not concerned at this point in time with (the) overall financial picture for this year.” 

Student Alliance President Pablo Villalvazo was up next to give an update on Student Alliance activities and budgetary decisions.  

“Student Alliance voted in favor of allocating $30,000 for new furnishings in the student alliance office,” Villalvazo said. “Influenced in part by what you see at the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse, we at Student Alliance believe that creating spaces where students can visually see pictures of past students and their accomplishments will inspire future fellowship.” 

Finally, Chairman David Koetje gave an update on the search for GRCC’s next president. 

“The application process has been closed,” Koetje said. “The narrowing down process is just at the early stages. It is our expectation that the selection committee will begin bringing in candidates for initial conversations at the end of this month and the beginning of next month. We are on track, we think, to be able to present to the Board of Trustees a list of final candidates by the middle of October.”  

 The next GRCC Board meeting is set for Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. A work session is scheduled for 3:15 p.m., with the regular meeting starting at 4:15 p.m.  

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