Kent State Board Votes to Establish Unified Student Government Across All Kent State Campuses
Kent State University Board of Trustees approved establishing a unified student government across all campuses – Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Kent, Salem, Stark, Trumbull and Tuscarawas – during its March 9, 2016, board meeting.
Each campus’ Undergraduate Student Government is recognized as the representative voice of the students’ interests, concerns and needs. Elected presidents from each campus will serve as the liaison between the student body, Undergraduate Student Government and university administration.
The Board’s vote reflects university core values to create a collaborative community to promote freedom of expression and exchange of ideas.
The revised charter was approved by the Undergraduate Student Government – Kent Campus on Feb. 10 and in a Kent Campus student referendum vote held March 7-8.
Board Approves the Establishment of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality
Kent State will expand its rich legacy of supporting and engaging Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) students by establishing the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.
The center, which will be housed within the College of Arts and Sciences, will build upon the successes of existing academic programs, financial support and other resources, which have increased the recruitment of LGBTQ students and the demand for more courses.
In the future, the center will develop a multidisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and provide interdisciplinary support for grant writing, research and scholarship for faculty and students from multiple academic areas.
In addition to providing an inclusive learning environment, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality will help enhance university and community relations by providing educational opportunities for law enforcement, government agencies, schools, corporations and small businesses through programs, workshops, outreach and partnerships.
A new living-learning community also is being established with the Department of Residence Services where the center serves as the lead academic partner for this new program.
Kent State Projects Positive Enrollment, Housing Growth for Kent Campus
More students and housing are on the way for Kent State.
University leaders briefed the Board on a five-year forecast highlighted by an expected growth of 2,600 students for the Kent Campus. The growth is based on projections of larger freshman classes, increases in retention and more graduate students enrolling in distance learning degree programs.
Kent State’s enrollment of international students topped an all-time high of 3,000 in the fall, a level that is forecasted to remain steady over the next five years.
Meanwhile, projections for additional housing on campus and in the Kent community indicate there will be enough places to house the expected growth in students for the Kent Campus, which reached an enrollment of 28,981 last fall – a new all-time high for the seventh consecutive year and an increase of 524 students from fall 2014. Living on campus remains popular and occupancy of the nearly 6,500 beds in Kent State’s 25 residence halls remains strong.
Board Hears Next Steps Toward Healthier Campus
Kent State President Beverly Warren’s Cabinet has endorsed moving forward with steps toward making Kent State smoke- and tobacco-free in support of the university’s healthy campus initiative.
Shay Little, Kent State’s interim vice president for student affairs, presented the Board with the cabinet’s endorsement, information about the health impact of smoking and tobacco and an overview of steps other universities have taken in dealing with smoking and tobacco use. The Healthy Campus Steering Committee, chaired by Dr. Angela DeJulius, director of University Health Services at Kent State, recommends steps that Kent State should take to be smoke- and tobacco-free beginning July 1, 2017.
The Board was told of future meetings to be held with constituents on all Kent State campuses, efforts to bolster cessation programs, and a town hall meeting on smoking and tobacco use March 16 at the Kent Student Center, which corresponds with national “Take a 1 Day Stand Against Tobacco” aimed at curbing smoking and tobacco use.
The university’s current policy limits smoking and tobacco use to at least 20 feet away from buildings and bans it in university vehicles.
Undergraduate Student Government recently passed a Tobacco-Free Campus Resolution that supports banning tobacco products like cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, oral tobacco and hookah products.
A Game Plan for Intercollegiate Athletics
Kent State Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen, along with Warren, presented to the Board the findings of the university’s Athletic Strategic Visioning Process. This broad-based, community effort began September 2015 and incorporated input from more than 300 constituencies.
Key takeaways from the strategic visioning process are:
- Kent State is committed to maintaining its current sport mix.
- The university’s 425 student-athletes currently compete in 18 sports (10 men’s and 8 women’s).
- Kent State will invest in the safety and well-being of our student-athletes.
- This includes the new training and education facility currently under construction in the MAC Center Annex and an enhancement to the Academic Resource Center.
- Kent State will utilize men’s basketball as the initial vehicle for revenue generation and national distinctiveness.
- Success in men’s basketball provides the best opportunity for national exposure, which is aligned with the university’s “A Distinctive Kent State” priority.
- Kent State will add the sport of women’s lacrosse and have its first competitive season in 2018-19.
- The university has identified 38 teams in driving distance to compete against in this spring sport that is growing in popularity in Kent State’s footprint as well as nationally, and the sport can be played on an existing field, sharing either with field hockey or football.
- Kent State will invest in enhancing its identity and game atmosphere.
- An improved game atmosphere leads to increased attendance, revenue and national distinction.
- Kent State will rely on predominantly private support to enhance its budgetary aspirations with the intent of minimum impact on university resources.
- The university will focus on major gift giving from its donor base, the need to increase annual fund support and increased ticket revenue.
Board Sets Fall 2016 Room and Board Rates
Kent State operates its 25 residence halls containing close to 6,500 total beds and dining program on a self-sufficient basis, with the goal of providing high-quality, competitive accommodations and services at an affordable price. The university’s residence halls have been improved significantly over the past decade through renovations and new construction, and they also now provide consistent amenities and updated facilities for students. Increasing costs of operations and reinvestment in facilities necessitate fee adjustments to preserve and improve residence hall offerings and board plans.
The Board approved a change in the room rate structure that was recommended to simplify the rates for students and families, create less disparity in room rates, provide flexibility for the location of living-learning communities and potentially increase occupancy levels. Applying the new rates yields a range of changes that include decreasing rates by nearly $902 (or -15.21 percent) for a single apartment to increasing the rate by $342 (or 9.81 percent) for a standard single room. The majority of room rates will decrease, and the standard double-room will cost $3,380 per semester. The rate proposal, if occupancy rate targets are achieved, results in a revenue-neutral operating budget.
The basic meal plan will cost $1,980 per semester, which is a $45 (or 2.33 percent) increase over the previous year. University Dining Services expects to incur increases in operating expenses primarily from salary and benefit costs for employees, facility maintenance costs, utilities and food production. In addition, an increase of 2-3 percent in Food Price Indexes for 2016 was forecasted in January’s publication by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which must be balanced with the need to maintain product quality and variety.
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Eric Mansfield, emansfie [at] kent.edu, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent, evincen2 [at] kent.edu, 330-672-8595