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Ohio University President Duane Nellis opens up the OU Board of Trustees meeting Friday. (FILE)

Board of Trustees discuss medical marijuana, new academic programs

The Ohio University Board of Trustees met to discuss new academic programs, a new IT network and NCAA infraction reports Thursday.

Here is what you need to know about the meeting. 

Academics and Student Success Committee 

During the Academics and Student Success Committee, the Board heard presentations on topics including student misconduct, medical marijuana and three new academic programs.

Academic misconduct charges rose by 16 percent in the past year. Theft charges have also increased and the number of fire safety equipment charges have increased significantly. That has been attributed to students vaping and using e-cigarettes in their dorms, setting off fire alarms, Martha Compton, director of the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility, said.

Low-risk alcohol charges have decreased by 10 percent this year. Other decreasing cases of misconduct include charges related to harmful behavior towards others and school property. Meanwhile, marijuana-related charges have remained consistent.

Overall, cases of misconduct are declining, with cases decreasing at a rate of 21 percent over the past four years. 

Medical marijuana is expected to become legal sometime this semester, Compton said. That raised questions about whether or not students would be allowed to use medical marijuana on campus.

“Medical marijuana will not be permitted on campus,” Compton said. “We would be risking the loss of federal funding.”

Sexual misconduct cases were also addressed. In 2017-18, there were 26 sexual misconduct cases and 23 of those have been resolved. For eight of the cases, a hearing resulted in at least one violation of the code of conduct.

The Board also approved the implementation of a Strategic Transfer Education Plan, or STEP, which aims to enhance the OHIO Guarantee as a way to explore pathway programs for students from partner institutions, Senior Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management Craig Cornell said.

The Board also discussed plans for three new degrees. They approved the launch of a Bachelor of Arts in global studies, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and a professional tennis management program.

Resources, Facilities, and Affordability Committee 

The Resources Committee discussed everything from the budget to the university’s IT network strategy. 

Craig Bantz, chief information officer, said that the university has updates to their technology every 10 years, but Bantz would like to implement a new strategy. 

The new strategy would be considered a continuous upgrade, Bantz said. It would allow Bantz and his colleagues to begin updating the technology on campus before the 10 year mark if they believe it is necessary. Ultimately, Bantz said they aren’t asking the committee for money. 

Deb Shaffer, vice president of finance and administration, presented on fiscal year results for 2017, fall enrollment and fiscal year 2019 budget forecast.

“As we ended (fiscal year 2018), we did better than budgeted in both revenues and expenses,” Shaffer said. 

The committee then went on to pass several resolutions. The resolutions included the Undergraduate Scholarship Match Program and multiple regarding capital projects. 

Nico Karagosian, vice president of university of advancement and president and CEO of the Ohio University Foundation, said the match program is meant to allow donors who want to start a scholarship program at OU and give them more room to customize their program.

Audit and Risk Management Committee

During the Audit & Risk Management Committee meeting, the Board reviewed audit plan reports concerning the Scripps College of Communication, the Patton College of Education and the NCAA, among others. 

Council will move to vote on these issues in Friday's meeting.  

There was also a discussion on a plan to vote on utilizing a software program called JumpForward. 

The program will allow the Ohio University Athletic Compliance Office to go paperless for all athletic records. Student-athlete profiles, recruiting logs, practice logs and compliance documents will be some of the data that is transferred if the use of JumpForward is approved Friday. 

The committee also discussed the NCAA infraction reports for Division I schools. The reports are broken down in three levels of infractions: Level 1, a severe breach of conduct; Level 2, a significant breach of conduct and Level 3, a minor breach of conduct. 

OU had 10 Level 3 violations last year 3. In total, there were 3,519 out of all Division I schools in Ohio.  

Erik Hildebrand, the associate athletic director for compliance and student athlete services, said that level 3 breaches are normally accidental in nature. He said the university has never had to report a level one or two breach.

In the past, OU has received about six violations per year since 2013. The most common sport that has violations is football. 

This report was contributed by Tedi Delashmet, Sophia Englehart, Susie Griffin, Chloe Meyers, Abby Miller and George Shillcock.


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