Widgets Magazine

Board of Trustees hold quarterly meeting, discuss mental health, renewable energy and alcohol policy

The Board of Trustees held their closed quarterly meeting on Oct. 17, the first for new president Marc Tessier-Lavigne. Steven Denning, MBA ’78, the chair of the Board, briefed the press the following day.

At the press meeting, Denning said that the Board discussed student mental health, clean energy initiatives, the new alcohol policy and campus construction.

The meeting began with a presentation on student mental health and well-being given by Jim Jacobs, the new executive director at Vaden Health Center; Lauren Schoenthaler, the new senior associate vice provost for Institutional Equity and Access; and Laura Roberts, chair of the department of psychiatry and the Katharine Dexter McCormick and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor.

The presentation focused on their department’s collaborative efforts to support student mental health and wellness. The initiatives include confidential support teams for sexual assault victims, more resources for minority and underrepresented student populations, and new mental health and sexual assault prevention educational programming. The programs are the result of the reallocation of about three million dollars by the Board.

In Denning’s view, the presentation represented the priority that the University places on the well-being of its students.

Accompanying the discussion on mental health was reflection on the new alcohol policy, which Denning emphasized the Board did not evaluate during the meeting.

“I don’t think anybody is willing to say, ‘Oh, [the new alcohol policy] is working like a charm,’” Denning said. “It’s just way too early.” However, he did mention that there was a decrease in alcohol related transports during the first few weeks of school.

The Board also discussed its continuing efforts to make Stanford a leader in sustainability and clean fuel use. According to the Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI), the University reduced water use by 15 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent since SESI’s inception. Denning also mentioned that the board is pursuing an agreement to purchase more than 50 percent of the University’s power from solar providers.

Two major construction projects were approved at the meeting.

A partial construction approval was passed for the new Chem-H Neuroscience Institute Building, and approval was granted for a new biomedical innovations building.

The latter will consolidate more than 10 research programs within the School of Medicine, and is projected to be completed in summer 2019.

Three smaller projects were also approved, including the concept and site approval for a new Environmental Health and Safety office building, as well as a new building for the Department of Athletics that will primarily create space for academic advising. A new childcare facility on Escondido Road was the final project approved, it will replace three other facilities and will allow for the care of 50 more preschoolers from the waiting list of over 400.

Finally, the Board honored Isaac Stein, who just completed 20 years (two tenured terms) on the Board of Trustees. He served on the search committee that selected President John Hennessy in 2000, and he chaired the search committee that unanimously selected President Tessier-Lavigne last year.

“To say [Tessier-Lavigne] is a quick study is a very significant understatement,” Denning said.

Contact Katlyn Alapati at katlyn ‘at’ stanford.edu.