Trustees elect officers, appoint committee to study beer, wine sales at sporting events

Bryant Kinney was elected to serve as chair of the WCU Board of Trustees.

The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees elected a slate of officers for 2019-20 and made appointments to several committees, including a new group that will study the possibility of future beer and wine sales at WCU athletics facilities.

The action came Wednesday, Aug. 21, during a special conference call meeting of the full board.

Bryant Kinney, a public and governmental affairs executive who resides in Lincoln County and is principal of Kinney Public Strategies, was elected to serve as chair. A 1982 graduate of WCU, Kinney had been serving as vice chair since September 2017.

The board also elected Robert C. Roberts of Asheville, regional executive vice president for First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. and former board secretary, to serve as vice chair, and Rebecca Schlosser of Greensboro, a WCU alumna who is a former high school teacher and current community volunteer, to serve as secretary. All three officers were elected by acclamation. Incoming trustee and former state Sen. Tom Apodaca was appointed to serve on the university’s Endowment Board of Trustees.

During its conference call, the board appointed a new special study committee composed of a wide cross-section of campus and external community representatives to examine issues surrounding a recently approved state law that empowers the boards at University of North Carolina System institutions with the authority to permit the sale of beer and wine at athletics venues.

Board of Trustees member Tim Haskett will serve as chair of the 17-member committee, with fellow board member Kenny Messer serving as vice chair.

In asking the board for approval of the appointments, Kinney cited Haskett’s family roots in the Jackson County community and Messer’s extensive background as a supporter of the Catamount athletics programs.

“We want to do this the right way,” Kinney said. “We have no preconceived conclusion. We want input from everyone. It is our intent, based on the schedule, for the board to receive an update about the committee’s progress at our annual retreat in November and tentatively reach a decision at our regular meeting in December.”

Members of the special study committee are:

* Randy Eaton, WCU director of athletics

* Steve Lillard, WCU chief of police

* Shea Browning, WCU general counsel

* Sam Miller, WCU vice chancellor for student affairs

* Mike Byers, WCU vice chancellor for administration and finance

* Ed Holland, WCU Alumni Association president

* Jim Wood, Catamount Club Board of Directors president

* Todd Dillard, director of Jackson County Emergency Management

* Gorham Bradley, community member

* Keith Corzine, WCU assistant vice chancellor for campus services

* A.J. Grube, WCU faculty athletics representative

* Rebecca Lasher, WCU Faculty Senate representative

* Kaitlyn Alston, WCU Student Government Association representative

* Mike Doppke, interim resident district manager for Aramark

* Deidre Hopkins, staff support and WCU Staff Senate representative

“We want to get the right answer for WCU,” Haskett said. “It may not be the Pembroke answer. It may not be the UNC answer. It may be somewhere in between.”

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will begin selling beer and wine in Kenan Stadium this fall, while officials at UNC-Pembroke have decided against alcohol sales at campus sporting events.

The trustees also named chairs and vice chairs for three standing committees. John Lupoli will chair the academic affairs and personnel committee, with Haden Boliek as vice chair. Robert Roberts will chair the administration, governance and trusteeship committee, with Joyce Dugan as vice chair. Kenny Messer will chair the finance and audit committee, with Casey Cooper as vice chair.