The EKU Board of Regents swore in a new regent, approved the acquisition of White Hall Historic Site, approved revisions to the Student Government Association’s constitution and approved funding for institutional research projects during its meeting on Feb. 22 in Black Box Theatre. 

The Board of Regents voted to approve the acquisition of White Hall with a vote of 9 yeas and 1 nay. 

The decision came after a proposal was made during a meeting in the fall to transfer ownership of the property to EKU from the state. EKU is currently in possession of several properties from the state, according to Chair Lewis Diaz. Diaz did not name specific properties, but rather stated that the properties were held by the Commonwealth of Kentucky for the use and benefit of EKU. 

The decision caused some controversy among members of the public. The board normally does not allow members of the community to address the regents during meetings, but during this meeting, Diaz invited community members to share their concerns. 

The most frequent concern addressed by members of the community within the meeting involved the upkeep and maintaining the historical site as open to the public. The board assured community members that a caveat in the deed included the requirement that the site remain open to the public. 

Faculty Regent Richard Day spoke against the acquisition of the property in both the meeting and in an email to the faculty of EKU prior to the meeting. 

In an interview with the Progress before the meeting, Day said the property would be more of a liability than an asset to the campus. His major concern was the money that would be required to upkeep the site as well as to fix some maintenance issues that already exist with the property, such as water leakages and the windows.  

Day said during the interview that, “I [Day] have been led to believe that a majority probably favors the transfer.” Day was the only individual on the board to vote against the transfer during the meeting. 

Prior to the committee meetings, the board’s newest member, Lynn Taylor Tye, was sworn in by Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Laurance B. VanMeter. Tye was appointed by the governor in January.. She has been appointed to serve on the Audit and Compliance Committee and the Finance and Planning Committee, according to the EKU Board of Regents website. 

The board also voted within the Student Life, Discipline and Athletics Committee agenda to approve the revisions to the SGA constitution presented by Madison Lipscomb and Ted Herr. The revisions were then sent to the full board for approval and were subsequently passed during that meeting as well. 

The board also approved the funding necessary for five research projects being conducted by faculty, staff and students within the university that applied for funding through the Board of Regents Innovation Fund. Faculty members presented each of the research projects. 

Dana Bush, chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, addressed the board regarding funding for her research project to help grow the Scholar House so that children and families could received health services. This would allow the entire family to prosper, Bush told the board. 

Lindsay Calderon, an associate professor of biological sciences and Margaret Ndinguri, an associate professor of chemistry, presented their research about cancer treatment to the board for approval of funding. Calderon and Ndinguri have been working on chemical compounds that can be used to combat aggressive cancers such as triple negative breast cancer. 

Judy Jenkins, an associate professor of chemistry, presented her proposal to the board for her project that would help decrease energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions by using solar panels for electricity. 

Lastly, Jason Marion, an associate professor of medical laboratory science, asked the board for money for his research involving testing the levels of E. coli within water sources. Marion’s products, which can not be disclosed due to the intellectual property rights associated with the products, would allow for quicker, easier and more cost effective ways to measure the levels of E. Coli in water sources. Marion explained that testing the water is essential not only for poorer countries, but also for individuals like military personnel in the field. 

All of the projects presented to the board received their requested amount of funding. 

Other business at the meeting included:

  • Committee meetings and reports presented to the full board

  • The conferral of an honorary doctorate of law to Chair Emeritus Craig Turner

  • The approval of the Jan. 9 board meeting minutes

  • The approval of personnel actions presented by President Benson

  • The approval  academic policy revisions including Policy Revision 4.1.3, Academic integrity; Policy Revision 4.1.15, Grade Appeals; Policy Revision 4.3.8, Posthumous Degrees; Policy Revision 4.4.14, Laboratory Safety; Policy Revision 4.6.5, Evaluation of Non-Tenured Tenure-Track Faculty and Policy Revision 4.7.2, Sabbaticals.

  • The approval of the recommended retirement transition program participants or 2019-2020

  • The approval of the recommended sabbatical leaves for 2019-2020

  • The approval of administrative policy actions Policy Approval 9.3.3, Policy Governing Time, Place and Manner of Demonstrations, Meetings and Other Assemblies;  Policy Approval 11.2.4, Information Security Policy and Policy Repeal 5.1.1P, Hazing Policy

  • The approval of the hazing statement within the student handbook

  • Approval of the proposed tuition and fees for Model Laboratory School for 2019-2020

  • Approval of the 2019 schedule for the Board of Regents meetings

  • Recognition for Dana Fohl, university counsel.

Following the adjournment of the board meeting, a reception was held in honor of Craig Turner. Remarks by Diaz, President Michael Benson, Regent Alan Long and others were made in honor of Turner’s time at EKU.

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