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Members of the Ohio University Board of Trustees meet in 2019 in Walter Hall (FILE:). 

Board of Trustees: insurance premium, university updates presented

Ohio University board of trustees met Friday to discuss insurance, cybersecurity and hear an update from OU President Hugh Sherman. 

Audit and Risk Management Committee 

The Audit and Risk Management Committee told the board of trustees that the initial top priority for the Fiscal Year 2023 audits were to finish any remaining audits left from the Fiscal Year 2022 audit plan. 

Although the FY23 annual audit plan was deemed subject to change, a motion was passed to present the plan to the board with a recommendation for approval. The process of certifying the plan may take a few weeks.

The board also discussed the annual Clery Act report, a yearly crime report required by federal law.

One question regarding sexual assault numbers on OU's campus compared to the rest of Athens was raised. The report detailed that reported sexual assault and relationship violence on campus has decreased since 2019. However, it did not have city numbers to which it could compare.

After discussing the Clery Report, the board heard the Annual Risk and Insurance Report. The committee reported that the FY23 property insurance program premium is $1.425 million, 43% more than the FY22 premium of $993,000.

The committee cited rising inflation as one of the principal causes of the increased premium but told the board that the 43% increase is less than the projected 55-60% increase.

Regarding inflation, OU President Hugh Sherman reminded the board that despite rising inflation, students covered by the OHIO Guarantee+ Program will never have their tuition rates raised during their time at OU.

"We're guaranteeing them the same price they walked in the door with," Sherman said.

The Audit and Risk Management Committee concluded its presentation by addressing cybersecurity concerns. It told the board that OU has $5 million in cyber-liability coverage.

The committee also told the board that a large-scale cyberattack would likely cost around $4,000,000 to $5,000,000, which still falls within the amount covered by the cyber-liability insurance plan.

Main board meeting

At the Main board meeting, President Hugh Sherman presented his President's Report, which included how the campus has changed as it comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The freshman class this year was 50% larger than in previous years and from a business perspective, Sherman said this puts the university in a good position. 

Sherman said OU has been working to strengthen its academic reputation and programs, which he believes attracted students who are serious about their academics. 

"We have put in place excellent programs to really differentiate the value that our students are getting," Sherman said. 

Sherman said the university has also doubled down on mental health services for students. 

In addition, Sherman said students are more engaged on campus this semester, noting that special weekends like Parents Weekend were up in attendance and club involvement has increased. 

Sherman also talked about the Black Alumni Reunion and the university's efforts to maintain the Carnegie R1 Classification, including more support for research and a more aggressive approach in OU's federal advocacy. 

After Sherman's report, Peggy Viehweger, the board of trustees chair, said Sherman has done a great job during his time as President. One of the board's main priorities is finding a new president who will continue to move the university forward after Sherman's two-year term. 

To close the meeting, the board voted on and approved resolutions presented during each committee meeting and the consent agenda.



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