November 28, 2023

The Ohio University Board of Trustees approved a new campus free speech policy in alignment with the Ohio Higher Education Reform Bill and received updates on enrollment planning and the Housing Master Plan development process during its meetings Thursday.
The Board also approved naming the football field in Peden Stadium to Frank Solich Field in honor of longtime coach Frank Solich, who has more wins than any football coach in Mid-American Conference history. In addition, the Board heard updates on the College of Health Sciences and Professions programs on the Dublin Campus, as well as heard about the accomplishments of the Voinovich Academy over the last five years. 
Items on the Board agenda include:
The Board approved the new campus free speech policy, which amends University policy to create a process for any student, student group, or faculty member to submit a complaint about an alleged violation of freedom of speech on campus.
The Ohio Revised Code, Section 3345.0215, titled “Campus free speech policy,” codifies the public policy of the State of Ohio concerning campus free speech, and requires the Board of Trustees to adopt a policy affirming certain principles of campus free speech. The policy builds on OHIO’s long commitment to freedom of expression, debate and deliberation.
The Board received an update on Fall 2022 Athens Campus freshman enrollment, which is projected to be among the largest classes in the institution’s history. Vice President for Enrollment Management Candace J. Boeninger also discussed strategies that have been deployed to accommodate and manage ongoing demand and interest. She detailed some of the environmental trends happening in the industry and informed the Board about how those trends can impact our ability to secure and protect a stable share of college-bound high school graduates, particularly in the state of Ohio. 
A brief update on OHIO’s new partnership with Guild Education, one of the many strategies in place to increase access to OHIO’s in-demand online undergraduate degree programs for working adults, was also shared.
The Board approved the sale of a 10.6-acre parcel of land east of Stimson Avenue and north of the Hocking River to the city of Athens for use as a future site of a fire station. The city will use approximately three acres for the station, with the rest being maintained as greenspace. The price has not yet been determined and will be based on independent appraisals.
The location is optimal for the city and will improve response times to the Athens campus once constructed. Should the city opt not to build on the site within five years, the University would have a right of reversion to reacquire the site.
The Board approved a long-term lease of University land to the city of Athens for the purpose of installing soccer fields for community members, including University employees, alumni and students. Under terms of the lease, the city will pay for and install netting, to be approved by the University, and maintain the soccer fields. The lease will have an initial term of 20 years, with an option to extend it with an additional five-year term.
Steve Wood, senior associate vice president and chief facilities officer, presented the annual sustainability update, highlighting accomplishments throughout the year, and provided Sustainability Hub Coordinator accomplishments.
The presentation included Facilities Management and Safety’s key performance indicators, such as customer service ratings and work order backlog, as well as a peer comparison based on outcomes from the Association of Physical Plant Administration Facility Performance Index. It also included an analysis of the University’s utilities consumption.
The Board approved several capital expenses to make repairs and address deferred maintenance concerns.
The projects include:
Chief Audit Executive Marion Candrea provided an overview of audit activities in FY22 and explained the reorganization and rebranding of the Office of Audit, Risk, and Compliance (OARC). 
Candrea introduced Laura Myers, the University’s first director of university compliance, who presented the plan to launch the function, which includes balancing immediate compliance needs and developing a comprehensive compliance network.  For example, the initial focus has been monitoring and coordinating academic unit compliance with federal vaccine mandates for students completing clinical rotations and internships with our partner medical and health care entities who receive reimbursement for Medicare/Medicaid. In addition to the special vaccine requirements in health care fields, focus has also been on supporting vaccination documentation for non-clinical settings, including congregate housing, international study, and other experiential learning programs.
Myers outlined the initial approach to developing the OHIO compliance network: cataloging the decentralized compliance functions across the University; coordinating and supplementing training and outreach efforts; implementing processes for ad hoc or emergent compliance issues; and compiling a prioritized compliance review schedule. 
University officials provided an update on the Housing Master Plan, including draft recommendations on rationale for changes and goals, residential programming principles, bed capacity assumptions, and recommended renovation and new build strategies. They sought Board feedback to inform final recommendations to be presented at a future Board meeting.
In other news, the Board:
The full Board of Trustees agenda is available at
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