Published Fri, Nov 16, 2012 3:01 pm Dateline
The possibility of another tuition hike this year has students protesting in front of Ohio University's top administrators.
The discussion continued Friday at the Ohio University Board of Trustees meeting about OU's own fiscal cliff and what it could do to tuition costs. Board members did not vote on any resolutions regarding tuition increases.
The full Board of Trustees meeting included comments from Chairwoman Gene Harris and a report from OU president Roderick McDavis.
Following Vice Chair Sandra Anderson’s recap of the joint committee meetings regarding possible tuition changes, Harris made it clear this was not the end of the dialogue.
"I want the students to know, and everyone in the audience, that this is an ongoing conversation," said Harris, adding that the conversation may lead to adjustments for the current academic year and future years.
The Ohio University Student Union, a new grassroots organization on campus, attended the meeting with signs of protest.
Signs read "college is a dream, debt is a nightmare" and "baby it's cold outside, freeze tuition" among other messages, but they all meant one thing: students do not want another tuition increase like the one the trustees voted to approve last year.
Student Trustee Allison Arnold said she appreciated their interest but asked, "why haven't you been in my office?" as she encouraged them to come talk to her about their concerns.
Harris thanked the students for coming.
"I want the students to know, and everyone in the audience, that this is an ongoing conversation," said Harris, adding that the conversation may lead to adjustments for the coming academic year and future years.
Trustees previously approved a 3.5 percent increase in tuition at their meeting in April, which came into effect this school year.
OU Junior Jess Miller says the group's goal was to show the trustees that the OU Student Union is already in motion to advocate a tuition freeze in the spring.
“Frankly, we think it's ridiculous that our tuition continues to increase by the maximum 3.5 percent each year yet the top highest paid administrators keep getting raises,” said Miller.
Miller also says she wishes the student trustees had voting power.
The bill allowing colleges and universities to decide whether to allow its student trustees that power has passed in the Ohio House and is now in the Senate waiting for vote.
The Ohio University board of trustees has not taken a position on this bill yet, but Harris says OU's student trustees have been proactive in all discussions.
Board members approved several resolutions, including the authorization to develop construction contracts for projects on Galbreath Chapel, Bush Hall, Bromley Hall and the Central Foods Facility.
These projects total more than $21 million.