Main Board Meeting

The Board of Trustees discussed Friday making the Ohio University campus safer by eliminating hazing.

In the Fall Semester, all IFC fraternities, three sororities, the Marching 110 and multiple other campus organizations were suspended due to allegations of hazing.  

In addition to eliminating hazing, creating an overall positive experience unparalleled to other universities is also a goal for the board. Proactive efforts toward hazing and other issues, such as sexual assault, are being made.

Dr. Anna Harvey was also introduced as a new member to the Board of Trustees during the meeting. 

“I’m honored to serve on the group here … and I look forward to the opportunity to work with the university and do whatever I can to help,” Harvey said.

The board also announced multiple other new hires.

Stacey Bennett was announced as the next general council. Bennett comes from Ohio State University, where she was an associate vice professor in addition to senior associate general counsel. 

Chris Ament was announced as the new chief information officer. Ament has been serving as interim CIO since April 19, 2019. 

The university is still looking to fill the dean of the College of Business position as well as find a new chief enrollment management officer. 

Ohio University has now introduced Ohio Guarantee+. Similar to the original Ohio Guarantee, the cost of tuition and fees is included. The Ohio Guarantee+ also focuses on individualized advising with students, so students can develop their graduation plan in addition to mentorship. 

OU President Duane Nellis said the Ohio Guarantee+ is unique in that it offers fixed costs for fees and individualized plans. Most universities only offer fixed costs on tuition and not fees.

“This is something that is really forward thinking and really nationally on the leading edge,” Nellis said. “We're all about student success and the academic experience of this institution.”

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Board of Trustees Chair Dave Scholl said while OU is doing all right financially, outside factors, like a falling enrollment rate, is forcing the university to shift its focus to remain sustainable and competitive as an institute for higher education. 

“I think that we are in a financial position that is strong, but the data is clear that the change is occurring,” Scholl said. “So I would argue that it's not a crisis unless we don't act. And I think we're in a financial position to be able to manage well to the strategic initiatives that have been defined by our president and by the leadership team.”

When asked about faculty silently protesting budget cuts during an earlier Board of Trustees meeting, Nellis said that the university administration makes an effort to field faculty input for any decision made. He also said making budget decisions is a process that requires many different perspectives. 

Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Deb Schaffer said the university does not have a target number of faculty who take advantage of early retirement and voluntary separation programs. 

“It's no secret that we have multiple targets for administrative and for academic units over the last several years,” Schaffer said. “Those include cost reduction strategies as well as growth strategies in all of the academic units and mostly cost reduction strategies in all of the administrative units. If you have employees leaving voluntarily, you have fewer reductions that you have to make to employees that are on the payroll. We try everything we can to not affect employees that are currently employed.”

Nolan Simmons, Kirsten Thomas and Ellen Wagner contributed to this report. 

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