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June 4, 2015
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Eastern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees met Thursday to discuss recommendations to make to the State Board of Higher Education regarding a proposed tuition increase, approve a resolution on shared governance and discuss preparations for Tom Insko, EOU’s incoming president.
The meeting began with a public comment period and reports from EOU Faculty Senate, University Council and ASEOU representatives, as well as Jay Kenton, interim president, who gave a legislative update.
Kenton, who is retiring in June, expressed heartfelt thanks to the board, executive leadership, college deans, and his executive assistant, for showing unwavering commitment to the university in a time of transition.
To begin the conversation on tuition, Kenton provided background information on the proposed increase of 4.9 percent for resident undergraduates and 3 percent for non-resident undergraduates in the 2015-16 academic year.
The Oregon State Board of Higher Education is meeting at EOU Friday. If the proposed increases are approved, annual full-time undergraduate resident tuition will be $6,345 and annual full-time undergraduate non-resident and international tuition will be $16,560.
After much discussion, the majority of trustees voted to support the increases with the understanding that the board currently serves in an advisory role regarding tuition until the transition of governance from the State Board of Higher Education to EOU is completed July 1.
“EOU will still be the lowest-cost public university in the state, even with the proposed increase,” Kenton said, referencing the many comparators taken into consideration.
Kenton also said EOU’s fee remission budget is being increased to $2.3 million with an additional $200,000 in housing fee remissions. “This is a significant increase to help us maintain access and affordability,” he added.
Dixie Lund, board member and retired interim president, echoed Kenton’s comments.
“When looking at the total cost to attend Oregon’s other technical and regional universities, fees can really make a huge difference in the bottom line for students,” she said.
EOU is also proposing a differential tuition of $500 per full-time student per year for undergraduate and graduate students admitted to any business degree program beginning summer term 2015.
During the meeting the board welcomed new trustee Bill Johnson, of Fruitland, Idaho, whose appointment was confirmed by the state Senate May 21. His term of service begins July 1. Johnson owns Sage Farms, a multi-faceted farm in the Treasure Valley, is a founding member of Malheur County Poverty to Prosperity and serves on several other business and agricultural boards.
In other business, the board voted to adopt several new policy statements on ethics and conflicts of interest, and a resolution on shared governance.
The role of the president and board in the event of an emergency was reviewed and clarified, including delegation of authority.
The board also approved charters for two of its committees: the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, and the Finance and Administration Committee. These committees also convened today for their regular meetings prior to the full board meeting.
In conclusion, Kenton reported progress toward satisfying statewide conditions for EOU’s board and Sarah Witte, interim provost, highlighted new university programs expected to be approved by the state board Friday. The programs are in communications studies, politics and economics, and a bachelor of applied science in business administration. Witte also reviewed EOU’s achievement compact and mission alignment.
The agenda and related documents for the board meeting and committee meetings, as well as an archived live stream of the board meeting, are available at www.eou.edu/governance.
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