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McDavis addresses state funding, other topics at press briefing

ATHENS, Ohio (April 26, 2007) -- President Roderick J. McDavis expressed support for Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted?s higher education funding proposal during Wednesday's bimonthly press conference.

On Monday, Husted announced a plan that would create a $100 million scholarship program for college students. The plan calls for 3 percent tuition cap in 2008 and no tuition increase in 2009. It also calls for increasing the State Share of Instruction by 2 percent in 2008 and 10 percent in 2009.
"It's exciting that higher education has risen to the top of the budget debate," McDavis said. "I applaud Gov. Strickland for making higher education a priority, and I commend Speaker Jon Husted for the proposal he announced Monday, which includes a significant commitment of new funds for colleges and universities in Ohio."

McDavis told the media Husted clearly understands the critical role that higher education will play in moving Ohio?s economy forward, and Ohio University wants to partner in those efforts.

The president also addressed the new peer-to-peer file-sharing policy announced Wednesday. The policy, which will restrict peer-to-peer file sharing on university networks, will be implemented at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 27. He said there were two basic reasons it is important to put the policy in place: Network safety and preserving technical and human resources for academic priorities.

"We are sensitive to the incidents of recent past, like the (Recording Industry Association of America) situation, but more importantly, we have to be concerned about the utilization of resources above and beyond what is appropriate and the security risks that file sharing causes," McDavis said.

"I think this is a good policy that new CIO (Brice) Bible has brought forth. The new policy will free up bandwidth on our servers that can now be used for academic purposes."

In response to a question about newfound ethical misconduct in many U.S. higher education financial aid offices, McDavis said, "We are cooperating with the attorney general's investigation, and our initial review of our financial aid operation didn?t detect any problems. But we have asked our Internal Audit Office to conduct an investigation to make sure we are totally comfortable with our actions."

Regarding campus safety in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings last week, McDavis told reporters, "I want to assure everyone that we are prepared for a wide range of incidents which include random acts of violence, floods and fires. Our Critical Incident Response Team meets regularly to assess and evaluate response plans, which outline a variety of tactics and communication methods."

McDavis emphasized that the safety and security of students is a prime concern. "We remain vigilant in doing everything possible to that end," he said.

He has asked Vice President for Student Affairs Kent Smith to represent the university on Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut?s Task Force on Campus Safety.     

McDavis' next regularly scheduled press conference on campus will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, at the Kennedy Museum of Art.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy at 740-597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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