Home Money Board of Trustees approve ‘Ohio Guarantee’ approval, executive family raises

Board of Trustees approve ‘Ohio Guarantee’ approval, executive family raises

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The Ohio University Board of Trustees has unanimously agreed to a new comprehensive guaranteed tuition model that could take effect as early as the 2015-2016 academic year, barring approval from the Board of Regents.

Speaking from the floor of Walter Hall during Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, Trustee Chairwoman Sandra Anderson extolled the proposal’s passage, citing it as exemplary of the university’s commitment to be “predictable, transparent and helpful in the financial planning process.”

The proposal, now formally branded as the Ohio Guarantee, would see the university set effectively locked-in rates for housing, tuition, dining and other miscellaneous fees that would continue for 12 consecutive semesters for every undergraduate degree-seeking individual.

Aside from trimming away individual student financial ambiguity, Anderson additionally made explicit the university’s vested interest in the measure by explaining that it would increase student retention rates, a key indicator of success in the higher-education sphere.

“One of the benefits of the Ohio Guarantee is that it encourages students to complete their degree in four years,” Anderson said. “This matches a lot of our goals, including those of our leaders in the Statehouse.”

Movement in regards to executive compensation for OU President Roderick McDavis and his wife, first lady Deborah Davis, was also vetted, culminating with the board resolving to increase his annual salary of $489,250 by $12,000.

McDavis will also be granted an additional $62,250 bonus. This bonus does not include a marginal award of $4,270 for surpassing student-enrollment goals.

“Dr. McDavis has earned this,” said Board Trustee J. Patrick Campbell. “Our job not only is to recruit the best people, but to retain the best people, and if we don’t recognize and compensate, whether it’s faculty, whether it’s administration or whether it’s the leadership, we run the risk of somebody taking somebody who has been very valuable away from us.”

First lady McDavis was also awarded a $900 raise and a $309 bonus to add to her annual salary of $30,900.

Other items of interest included testimony from a panel headed by Vice President of Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi, commending the continued philanthropic efforts of OU’s Service Living initiative in the Athens and greater southeastern Ohio communities; an explication from the board concerning progress towards fruition of their Statehouse-mandated Completion Strategy Initiative, which seeks to identify barriers to student success and increase the number of degrees awarded; and a report by Faculty Senate President Elizabeth Sayrs in which she called for an increase in the number of full time, tenure-track professors, citing down-trending statistical correlations between the compensation of faculty professors and overall outstanding success from the student body.

The board also made a motion to discuss the possibility of delegating their subsequent meetings to a venue in Columbus, citing concerns of “inclement weather” and its ultimate impact in complicating their attempts to reconvene in Athens during the winter months.

The meeting was underscored by throngs of protesting students that took to the streets of the Athens campus yesterday to demonstrate against some of the more controversial measures that were seeking validation, such as the now-approved Ohio Guarantee and compensation raises for the McDavis family.

Sarah Volpenhein contributed to this story.

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