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Board of Trustees voted in favor of increasing tuition

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The Board of Trustees meeting carried on despite the “snowpocalypse” that struck Ohio University’s campus on Friday.

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis began the meeting with the President’s Report.

“Ohio University will be the nation’s best transformative learning community,” McDavis said, reminding the audience of the university’s vision.

McDavis then noted some of OU’s best accomplishments over the past year. Some of the best moments included how Ohio University expanded its regional campuses into Cleveland and Dublin, the discontinuation of coal as a heating fuel for the Athens campus and how alumnus John Swartz was a co-producer of the movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“While these are not all of the accomplishments the university has seen this past year, these give you a good idea of the variety of what we have done,” McDavis said.

Additionally, the board unanimously voted for a proposed increase in tuition for next year’s incoming freshman class by 1.7 percent for in-state students and 5.6 percent for out-of-state students, along with raising the cost of both room by 3.5 percent and board by 2 percent. It was explicitly stated that no current student on campus will face any sort of raise in tuition.

“We have a commitment to student affordability and financial aid,” Chair Trustee Sandra J. Anderson said.

Beth Quitslund, an associate professor in the English department who gave the Faculty Senate’s report at the meeting, discussed Graduate Student Senate President and Ohio House candidate Eddie Smith’s presentation from the day before regarding some of his concerns with the tuition hike. She said although she understood his views, she still voted for the tuition increase. She also took time to recognize student athletes for their academic success.

The Faculty Senate report focused on Shared Governance, which Quitslund described as “embodied in partnership among university groups to create change.” An example of Shared Governance was the collaboration between Faculty Senate and Undergraduate Student Senate to reduce textbook costs.

Plans to expand the Athens campus were also discussed. This plan entails adding five new Greens, including Union Green, The Ridges Green, East River Green, South River Green and West River Green. Although no action has been taken on the green expansion plan, a new, updated plan is expected to be developed in a few months.

The board also voted to raze the Presidential Street Academic Center despite calls from the Athens City Council and Athens Mayor Steve Patterson to postpone the vote or to instead renovate the building.

“We don’t renovate a building just to renovate a building so we can put something in it that we don’t know what we’re going to put in,” Stephen Golding, vice president of finance and administration, said in a press conference after the meeting. “We renovate a building because it supports what we’re trying to do from an academic purpose, from a research purpose because the objective here is to use our facilities, our assets and the dollars associated with that to support our academic mission.”

Upon the end of the meeting, President McDavis took time to memorialize Will Konneker. Konneker was an OU alumnus and a top donor who helped organize the Cutler Scholars Program.

Konneker passed away on Jan. 7, 2016, at the age of 93, according to Compass.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be March 10-11 in Athens.

Austin Linfante contributed to this report.

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