The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents met virtually on June 30 and approved a $340,551,279 budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, $17 million less than the previous year's overall operating budget, according to Interim President David McFaddin.
The Board announced that tuition, housing and dining costs will not increase this semester.
“The reason we are doing that is multifaceted, but first and foremost it is for our students. We understand that access and affordability is critical to opportunity,” McFaddin said. “When we think about our student body, of which is 60 percent first-generation or low-income students, we understand what our responsibility as an institution is to make sure that opportunity continues to be provided. There is no other school in Kentucky that is going zero percent total cost of attendance this year.”
Executive Director of Public Safety Bryan Makinen addressed the university’s COVID-19 response. Makinen said that on-site COVID-19 testing will be available at Student Health Services but did not say when exactly testing will start. Makinen also detailed plans for cleaning and dining protocols, building signage and laying out classrooms to maintain social distancing when the fall semester begins. EKU will have assistance from third party vendors like Aramark to help with setting up guidelines and cleaning protocols in the dining hall. Makinen did not give any specific protocols during his presentation to the board.
Class delivery will be altered in the fall semester and will include staggered delivery (students attending on alternate days), web-blended, fully online and traditional format with smaller classes in larger class spaces. Many students have already seen the changes to their schedules and more information can be found here.
Makinen announced that the university is 84 percent complete on registrar changes and about 65 percent complete on space allocation.
Students will be required to wear masks and will leave campus at Thanksgiving break and conduct their finals online.
Director of Athletics Matt Roan announced during the regents meeting that the NCAA anticipated to split $600 million to all Division I schools but due to the cancellation of the athletic seasons, the NCAA only gave D-I schools $225 million to split. This left EKU athletics with a $665,000 loss.
Roan said that their fiscal year 2020 budget was approximately $14.8 million and as of June 29 they have spent 97.7 percent of their budget.
In terms of revenues, football season ticket renewals were mailed out in May, as well of Colonel Club annual fund appeals.
Roan said the focus of EKU athletics is fan engagement, renewed focus on scholarships in the Colonel Club, productive relationship with Learfield IMG College and creative revenue streams.
EKU student athletes have been returning to campus since June 8 and are monitored daily, Roan said.
Roan said that their intent is to play every fall sport as scheduled but will adjust operations to protect student athletes, fans and guests, as needed.
Adjustments may include the following:
Maintaining a playing area that protects student athletes, coaches and staff
Assigned gates of entry to properly distribute crowd flow, and screening
Queuing strategies to assist in distancing at concessions and restrooms
Extensive cleaning efforts prior to and during events
Modifications concerning concessions and hospitality spaces
Personal Protective Equipment for frontline staff, as well as fans and quests
Roan said that his department is prepared for 100 percent occupancy, but is planning for 50 and 25 percent capacity contingencies at Roy Kidd Stadium, Alumni Coliseum and the EKU Soccer Field.
Enrollment has been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and, according to Tanlee Wasson, vice president of student success, overall enrollment is down 6.4 percent. EKU’s model predicts a seven percent decline in the fall semester.
Wasson said that EKU’s largest enrollment decrease is in the College of Health Sciences with a decrease of over 200 students in undergrad and 150 graduate students. Wasson said there are decreases in the College of Business and Technology and College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.
To help increase enrollment, EKU has announced test optional admissions, elimination of application fees, acceptance of unofficial admissions documents like transcripts, shift to virtual admissions, additional scholarship programs, expanding Selective Merit Aid/Reduced Tuition rate for out-of-state students, pilot summer programs with Kentucky Community and Technical College System and modified advising and registration.
McFaddin introduced Dannie Moore as the vice president of Strategic Initiatives, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Moore comes to EKU from Northern Kentucky University where he served for 10 years as the chief student affairs officer.
“What attracted me to this opportunity was the team that was in place and the good work that was already happening. Some of the challenges that we see, I see as opportunities and those are similar opportunities we see across the country,” Moore said.
McFaddin said Moore’s duties at EKU is organizational redesign, campus conversations and comprehensive change in training at the university.
The Regents announced that EKU has distributed $4.7 million to 4,500 students through the CARES Act and SAFE Fund.
Students will notice reduced capacity in some residence halls in the fall. Some dorm rooms will be single occupancy to help with social distancing. Move-in will be extended by several days, running from Aug. 8-16, and will be staggered by appointment, to follow social distancing protocols.
Madison Lipscomb, student body president and student regent, said that she will continue to serve in her role until the student body president election in September.
The Board unanimously approved the following:
The audit will review preliminary financial information, COVID-19 financial impact on operations, risk of fraud in financial statements, internal controls, business strategies and risks, significant transactions and determine key audit risk areas.
Degree candidates for Spring and Summer 2020
The Board of Regents formally confirmed the degrees for the candidates who have completed degree requirements for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020.
Recommendations for promotion and tenure for 2019-20
The Board of Regents approved the promotion and tenure of multiple staff and faculty members. Candidates for promotion and tenure undergo a review process at the level of the department, the college and the Office of the Provost to assure that they meet the standards set forth under the policy.
Recommendations for Faculty Emeritus for 2020-21
The Board of Regents approved nominations for faculty emeritus status for retiring faculty members.
Model Lab policy updates
The Board of Regents approved multiple policy updates for Model Laboratory school.
Memorandum of understanding with Madison County and Model Lab School
In this memorandum, the university agrees to cap enrollment of students residing in Madison County to 70 per grade level and collaborate with the District, as appropriate, to sign off on necessary assurances. The Madison County District Board agrees to assist with the transportation program at Model by providing training of Model bus operations at no charge, by providing routine maintenance and checks for buses 426 and vehicles in Model’s fleet at no charge; and by making repairs to buses and vehicles in Model’s fleet at no charge, with Model buying necessary parts at cost. They also agreed to review and approve the free/reduced lunch application as long as Model does not have a federal lunch program and conduct child find as part of the district’s responsibility.
Resolution regarding Model Laboratory School LEA Designation
Interim employment agreement
The Board of Regents agreed to extend David McFaddin’s role at EKU as Interim President until June 30, 2021 or until an appointment of a new President is made.
A search firm was hired in February to perform the search for the 13th president of EKU, but search activities were suspended by Board of Regents Chair Lewis Diaz in March due to the pandemic.
To watch a recording of the Board meeting click here.
The next regularly scheduled EKU Board of Regents meeting will be held in September.
This story will be updated when more information becomes available.