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Student Trustees discuss the reduction of textbook expenses at Student Senate meeting

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Bridge OHIO leads first Student Senate meeting Aug. 29. Photo via Maddie Sloat on Facebook.

Student Senate President Maddie Sloat addressed the body about the recent rise in reported sexual assaults.

Student Trustees met with Student Senate on Wednesday to discuss the recent Board of Trustee meeting and topics such as textbook cost reduction, environmental efficiency, and capital projects.

Senior Trustee Faith Voinovich and Junior Trustee Austin McClain discussed Ohio University initiatives to reduce textbooks. The 2018 goal was to reduce costs by $1.25 million; the actual savings were $1.63 million. The 2019 goal is to reach $2 million in savings; however, Voinovich said they are on track to reach the tune of $3.14 million.

This figure is generated by comparing previous years’ spending to current statistical figures, Voinovich and McClain said. The overall textbook cost reduction is a result of Ohio U’s deals with Top Hat, an online learning service that can move more classroom content online, Voinovich said.

“We’re looking at what the university has spent in the past on partner programs like Top Hat and deferred on the students,” Voinovich said. “Now instead, [Ohio U] is taking it upon itself to set up strategic partnerships that don’t bring the cost back to the students.”

The trustees also discussed academics, particularly student enrollment. The Academics Committee found that Ohio U’s retention rate among freshmen was 80 percent, which is higher than the Ohio public university average of roughly 75 percent, McClain said.

Ohio U enrollment is projected to have declined by around 75 students, McClain said. He said this is a result of declining high school graduation rates throughout Ohio.

The student trustees also delivered updates Ohio U’s many environment initiatives.

They said Ohio U is the first university in Ohio to be awarded the Silver Star from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education — an improvement from last year’s Bronze Star.

“So far, in the state of Ohio, we’ve not had someone get a gold or platinum, those are our next steps,” Voinovich said.

Furthermore, the Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency reported that Ohio U is outperforming energy saving goals it set three years ago. The 2018 goal was to reach $910,000, but the actual savings exceeded $1.5 million. The university plans to be carbon neutral by 2075, Voinovich said.

Senate President Maddie Sloat also addressed the recent series of reported sexual assaults on campus. She sympathized with the survivors and said she will do everything in her power as president to help alleviate the problem.

Senate plans to hold a series of forums to discuss these issues and hear concerns. The first event is tentatively planned for Thursday, Sept. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Front Room Coffeehouse.

“In my role as president, I will bring student concerns about these issues to every administrator that I speak to, and I hope that you all will come to me with your concerns to share at these meetings,” Sloat said.

In other business:

  • Senate also passed resolution to spend $46.68 on office supplies
  • Senate passed a resolution to appoint a senator to the University Life Commission.
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