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Members of Ohio's Board of Trustees listen to Deborah Shaffer, Vice President for Finance and Administration during a BOT meeting on January 19, 2017 in Walter Hall.

Board of Trustees discusses Trump immigration policy, passes tuition increase for HCOM

President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries has already had effects on some students and faculty, International Student and Faculty Services Director Krista McCallum Beatty told the Ohio University Board of Trustees at its Friday meeting.

Beatty said Ohio University has about 90 students and faculty from countries affected by the travel ban. Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have all been affected by the ban. Those faculty and students may not be able to study abroad or travel home over summer break because they can’t be sure they will be allowed to reenter the United States. Beatty said one Ph.D. student has had to change her focus of study because she can’t complete necessary studies abroad.

Activists from the Multicultural Activist Coalition attended the meeting. They silently held signs reading "no human is illegal” and “refugees are welcome here.”

The trustees passed all of the resolutions on the agenda, including a 3.5 percent increase in tuition for Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine students. Trustees also passed a resolution for a 2 percent tuition freeze for regional campus students, meaning the trustees will not increase tuition more than 2 percent for next year. 

The trustees devoted nearly half of the two-hour meeting to discussing Park Place Planning Strategy and the Small House Planning Strategy. Trustees held a roundtable discussion of the future of the high traffic area.

“If you bring someone here for a half hour and want to introduce them to campus, you’re going to take them to this location,” Trustee David Pidwell said. “This is the Taj Mahal. This is who we want to be known as.”

Shawna Bolin, director of University Planning and Space Management, used Top Hat, an interactive poll app, to guide the trustees in the discussion. 

The poll showed most of the trustees are interested in seeing more student and academic services and departments on Park Place. Wider sidewalks, some modification of the streets, the repurposing of the buildings and keeping the historical aspect of the street were also mentioned. 

The trustees passed a resolution congratulating Pete Souza on his work as the White House chief photographer.

The meeting was the last for both student trustee PJ Roden and board chair David Wolfort. The board thanked them for their service, and Wolfort received a standing ovation from those in attendance.

The board also finalized the starting date for incoming president Duane Nellis for June 12 and announced that he had signed his contract Thursday night. 



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