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Board of Trustees approve tuition increase, medical college expansion

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The Board of Trustees met last Friday for the final time this academic year. It was both a first and a last: incoming president Duane Nellis’ first meeting, and chair of the Board David Wolfort’s last. Here is what they discussed:

  1. Tuition increases

Starting the next academic year, tuition will increase 2 percent for regional campuses, where tuition varies based on campus and number of credits, and 3.5 percent for OU’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, where tuition is $29,076 for in-state students and $42,086 for out-of-state students.

  1. Incoming President Duane Nellis’ first day

OU’s newest president will take office on June 12. The Board of Trustees originally announced in February that Nellis’ first day would be July 1. The Board decided to move up the date because an earlier start date would make for a smoother transition into the school year. Nellis was present at the Board of Trustees open session meeting and several other sessions.

  1.  Nine approved resolutions

The Board approved nine resolutions by “consent agenda,” meaning there was no discussion on any of the resolutions before voting. One resolution allows OU to buy 31 South Court St. for $8 million. The building, which is currently leased by the university for $800,000 per year, is home to the Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention (OMSAR), School of Film, Interdisciplinary Arts, Media Arts and Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and African American Studies. The Board also approved a $9 million budget for the design and the start of construction for a major project to expand facilities for the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

  1. Increase in applications

Craig Cornell, senior vice provost for strategic enrollment management, said applications for the university have increased nearly 30 percent since last year after the school switched to the widely used Common Application. However, there are concerns that President Donald Trump’s travel ban and immigration orders could decrease international student enrollment by as much as 10 percent.

  1. Activists from the Multicultural Action Committee

Student and faculty representatives from MAC were at the open session to push their platform. They held up signs that supported making OU a sanctuary campus, with slogans like “No Human Is Illegal,” “Refugees Are Welcome Here” and “Support Making OU Safe for All.”

The organization also put fliers around the Walter Hall to spread its message. International Student and Faculty Services Representative Krista Beatty outlined the university’s plans to continue to support international students who might be affected by Trump’s travel ban, stating 90 students from six countries have been affected.

  1. Park Place renovation

The Board heard a presentation about possibilities for a renovation of the Park Place area of campus. Board members discussed their ideas for how to use the existing space and small houses. Some suggestions were adding more student recreation spaces. Students can share their own ideas for Park Place here.

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