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May 25, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees convened for its final meeting of the academic year on May 20, covering a range of topics from new degree programs to ongoing pandemic response.
Trustees recognized outgoing Student Trustee Brittney Nia Hamilton and welcomed a new student member, Cedric Riel, who will serve through June 2022. Former Chair of the Board and retired senator David Nelson was awarded the university’s first-ever Award for Meritorious Service, for five years of “dedicated leadership and exceptional service to the board and the university.” Nelson will receive the award publicly during EOU’s Commencement Ceremony next month.
Executive Director of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission Ben Cannon joined the meeting to report on the group’s recent work. He praised trustees for their decision to freeze undergraduate tuition in 2021-22.
“You’ve been especially committed as a board to maintaining access for students through keeping tuition where it’s at,” Cannon said. “That’s a significant step, and I know it’s not an easy one… that’s a strong reflection of the board’s and the university’s leadership.”
The Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) completed its work by recommending several actions, all of which were unanimously approved. Going forward the Board will develop an official Board Statement on DEI, hear regular progress reports on the university’s 2020 DEIA Strategic Plan, and provide annual DEI training to acquaint trustees with systems and tools for expanding access and equity within the university.
Trustees approved updates to the university’s Pandemic Resumption Plan, and had a robust discussion about the variables involved in determining whether to mandate COVID-19 vaccination in the fall. The university gathered feedback from students and employees through an online survey, and is expected to make a decision next month.
Finally, the Board approved new academic programs for Marketing and Data Analytics. Both will progress to the next phase of approvals from the state and accrediting bodies.
Full minutes and meeting materials can be found at eou.edu/governance.
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