ECU's Board of Trustees starts a special called two-day retreat in Raleigh on Thursday that will include a state mandated self-assessment and a discussion on enrollment.

Only two day's notice was given to the public for the meeting even though it has been in the works. The state says university governing boards must hold assessments every four years.

The trustees have been streaming their meetings since 2020 due to the pandemic and encouraging the public to view them remotely. However, the retreat will not be streamed online or broadcast.

Thursday’s session, which begins at 1 p.m., is being held in the Captrust Tower, 4208 Six Forks Road, Raleigh. Along with the self-assessment, the board also will hold a discussion on the topic “Setting the Stage,” according to an agenda distributed along with a notice of the meeting on Tuesday.

A detailed agenda package like ones made available for regular monthly meetings of the trustee board in Greenville was not posted on ECU's website for the retread.

Along with discussions about enrollment and the comprehensive campaign, Friday’s meeting, which begins at 9 a.m., will include a presentation entitled “Demographics, Degrees and New Directions in Higher Education.”

A closed session also is planned, although the agenda did not list which of the nine state permitted reasons the board was using to close the session.

East Carolina University has struggled with enrollment in recent years. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the university’s enrollment had either decreased or remained flat.

The university’s fall 2021 enrollment dropped 2.8 percent over the previous year. Administrators said the decline was spread across new freshmen, transfer students and individuals seeking advanced degrees.

University officials gave no reason for failing to stream the meeting other than it was no longer required by state law to hold remote meetings.


Just last month, however, the university encouraged students, faculty and members of the public to virtually attend the trustees’ Sept. 9-10 session, which was held at the main campus student center.

The meeting announcement discouraged in person attendance to protect the public health and reduce the potential spread of coronavirus.

"We encourage the public to utilize the virtual options for viewing the meetings," the announcement said. "Access to the physical location of this meeting may be limited to board members, employees and any other individuals whose presence is required for the conduct of the meetings if social distancing of at least three feet cannot be maintained. ECU requires face coverings in any indoor setting.”

ECU Chief Communications Officer Jeannine Manning Hutson said Wednesday the trustees board is required to perform a self-assessment every four years. She said more than two day's notice was not required.

“This is not a regularly scheduled meeting; it’s a special called meeting so the public notice requirement is 48 hours,” she said.

Hutson said it is common for boards to meet off campus to conduct self-assessments.

“In this case, Trustee Fielding Miller has generously offered this meeting space in the Captrust building at no cost to the university,” Hutson said.

Milller is cofounder and chief executive officer of Captrust. The site is convenient because several trustees either live in the Triangle area or live closer to Raleigh than Greenville, Hutson said.

“According to staff members planning this retreat, the anticipated/estimated cost for rooms and food is comparable for Board meetings held on campus in Greenville,” Hutson said.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.