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Ohio University balances cost savings, quality education

ATHENS, Ohio (June 25, 2004) -- In balancing the need to continue to offer a quality education with dwindling state support, the Ohio University Board of Trustees today voted to accept the recommendation put forward by university President Robert Glidden at the April 16 board meeting to increase tuition and fees by 9 percent for the 2004-05 academic year.

Glidden spearheaded a university-wide process to identify areas where costs could effectively be cut.

"To lessen the load on students and their parents, the university has further focused its commitment to being a good steward of its resources and has sought cost-savings wherever possible, without compromising the university's mission of providing a quality educational experience to each student," Glidden said.

The university has reduced expenditures by $4.49 million for fiscal year 2005, which begins July 1, by targeted reductions in areas such as printing, meetings and entertainment, and reducing planning units' budgets by an average of 2.17 percent.

The university's 9 percent tuition and fee increase is less than the 9.9 percent allowed to state universities and includes 6 percent for tuition and fees, 2 percent dedicated to technology projects such as creating a wireless capacity for the campus and a 1 percent increase for need-based aid.

President Glidden noted that the university's budget process balances cost-saving measures and maintaining the quality of the educational experience with preserving a focus on the university's mission.

Freshman, sophomore and junior Ohio resident students on the Athens campus will pay $7,770 in 2004-05 in tuition and fees, an increase of $214 per quarter. Senior students will pay $7,404 for the year, an increase of $204 per quarter.

Non-resident freshmen, sophomores and juniors will pay $16,734 per year and seniors $15,396.

The tuition and fees increases will be 8 percent for College of Osteopathic Medicine students and 6 percent for students on the university's regional campuses except Ohio University Southern Campus, where the increase will be 9 percent.

Increases in residence hall and dining hall rates will be held to 3 percent for 2004-05, based on inflation in the costs of ongoing maintenance and repairs. Students living in the residence halls will pay $7,629 a year for room and board, an increase of about $76 a quarter.

The board authorized the leasing of a 15- to 20-acre site near Stimson Avenue to Continuing Retirement Community for Athens and National Church Residences for $1 a year for up to 80 years for use as the location for a retirement community.

Because of Athens' relatively small market and remote location, such an incentive is needed for the developer to seriously consider a proposal to build in Athens. The proposed retirement community would fill a housing void for area elderly residents, provide a continuing care facility for seniors in Athens, offer educational opportunities for Ohio University students in health-related programs and provide approximately 75 permanent jobs.

The board heard a report from Glidden in which he outlined the university's plans to move forward with the offering of benefits to domestic partners of faculty and staff. The package will include health care, leaves/paid time off and educational benefits and is effective July 1.

"Ohio University is committed to diversity and equity, and the university views the extension of benefits to domestic partners as an issue of equity and economic fairness," Glidden said. "Ohio University is joining several of its peer institutions that have implemented domestic partner benefits in this manner."

"For those who are concerned about the cost, we have studied this matter, and, based on the experience of the more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide that offer benefits to domestic partners, we believe the cost will be minimal," Glidden said.

Projections are that 1 percent or fewer of the university's approximately 3,600 benefits-eligible employees will participate in the program, at an additional health-benefits cost of approximately $50,00 to $100,000 annually.

The board approved action on the following construction projects:

  • The awarding of bids on construction contracts for the renovation of Brasee Hall at Ohio University Lancaster Campus. The $1.1 million project is designed to construct a connector between Brasee and Herrold halls and reconfigure the main entrance to the first floor. The funds are provided by capital improvement funds for fiscal year 2003-04. Construction on the 5,000-square-foot addition will begin in November and is scheduled for completion in December 2005.

  • As a result of a Bicentennial Campaign gift of $5 million from Charles R. Stuckey Jr. and his wife, Marilyn, preparation of construction plans and the hiring of a consulting team can move forward to finalize the design for the Russ College of Engineering and Technology-Engineering Learning and Research Facility. The 66,000-square foot facility, which will be constructed northwest of Stocker Center, will provide space to facilitate collaboration and innovation and serve as a center for the engineering student community. Funding for the $15 million facility is provided by a combination of gifts, bond money and a commitment of funds from the Russ College. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2006 and be completed by fall of 2007.

  • The awarding of bids on construction contracts for further improvements to the pavement, navigational aid equipment and security at Ohio University Bush Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration has committed $1.3 million to the airport, requiring a 5 percent match of $68,500 from the university's Office of the Vice President of Research. Construction is expected to begin Aug. 15 and is scheduled for completion by Nov. 15.

  • The awarding of bids on construction contracts to improve the HVAC systems at Shannon Hall and the Ney Center at Ohio University Eastern Campus in St. Clairsville. The $317,800 project is funded by $303,000 from basic renovation funding for the Eastern Campus, plus state and local funds remaining from the Ney Center Construction Project and the $14,8000 of local funds. The Shannon Hall work will occur during late summer and early fall and improvements to the Ney Center will occur during late 2004 and early 2005.

President Glidden and Assistant Vice President Dale Tampke reported on outcomes of the Civic Responsibility Task Force, a joint city-university committee that is exploring educational and communication initiatives to improve the relationship between university students living in the community and their off-campus neighbors.

The intent of the task force is to help students develop a sense of community and recognize Athens as their home. Some of the recommendations are to establish and communicate expectations for neighborhood living and encourage the integration of students, landlords, permanent residents and university and city officials into the civic life of Athens; confront destructive and uncivil behavior and enforce applicable codes and sanctions; initiate an Off-Campus Living Center to coordinate communications and educational opportunities; and develop a framework to facilitate cooperation and coordination between various groups to address strategic issues related to increasing civic responsibility.

In other action:

  • Vice President for University Advancement Leonard Raley reported that the university's Bicentennial Campaign surpassed its $200 million goal, raising $216 million in support of the university. The effort was capped off by a recent $5 million gift from Charles R. and Marilyn Stuckey. The campaign, which kicked off in November 2000 and is the largest fund-raising effort in the history of the institution, has celebrated the university's 200th anniversary and will provide money to support students and faculty, technological enhancements, innovative programs and select capital improvements.

  • The board passed a resolution to name the Avionics Engineering Center office building located at the Ohio University Airport the Richard H. McFarland Avionics Building. The 11,600-square-foot facility is named for McFarland, the founder of the Avionics Engineering Center.

  • Robert D. Clark and Mina H. Ubbing were appointed to the Coordinating Council at Ohio University Lancaster Campus, effective July 1. Clark will serve a two-year term and Ubbing a nine-year term. Clark, an Ohio University graduate, has served as a district representative for Congressman Dave Hobson since 1992 and previously worked on Capitol Hill with former Congressman Clarence Miller. Ubbing is president and CEO of Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, Ohio, and was previously vice president of Fairfield Medical.

  • The board adopted revisions recommended by the Review and Standards Committee to the university's Student Code of Conduct designed to ensure that code policy: is contemporary and allows the university to address a wide range of student conduct issues; clearly defines expectations for student and student organization conduct and is easily understandable; and effectively balances legal requirements of fairness and due process with the philosophy of educational discipline.

  • Trustees approved a resolution to offer a bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies degree through the Regional Higher Education Program.

  • It was resolved that Alan Geiger be elected secretary, C. Daniel DeLawder vice chairman and Robert D. Walter chairman of the board for 2004-05.

This was the final Board of Trustees meeting for Trustee Patricia A. Ackerman and Student Trustee Tara Stuckey and for Glidden, who is retiring July 1 after 10 years as the university's president. Roderick McDavis has been named the 20th president of Ohio University. As is traditional with retiring university presidents, Glidden has been awarded a 6-month sabbatical at his current salary of $276,420 to assist in the transition. He has also been offered the option of remaining in a consultant's role for the university over the next three years.

The next meeting will be Sept. 9-10.

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Media Contacts: Media specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793, or Associate Vice President for University Communications and Marketing Hub Burton, (740) 593-2563 or Pager (740) 290-4479

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