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Board of Trustees pulls no punches, gets to work over summer break



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As part of their April 5 meeting, the IU Board of Trustees discussed the international service fee increase. Donna Spears, from Richmond, Indiana was elected June 30 to replace Trustee Phil Eskew and will now join the IU Board of Trustees. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

The majority of IU students may have gone home over the summer, but the IU Board of Trustees continued to make decisions and grind away at its regular meeting June 15 at IU-Northwest in Gary, Indiana.

From bumping the cost of tuition up by around $140 for all campuses to updating the Universities' non-discrimination policy to include gender expression, IU’s trustees were busy. Here is everything you need to know.

2018-2019 budget: tuition increase, financial aid and salary bumps

The tuition bump was a relatively modest one and was only a piece of the budget approval. The fiscal year’s budget for 2018-19 calls for $3.7 billion spread across the nine different IU campuses in Indiana. 

The increase was originally discussed at a tuition forum. While the increases will affect all of the campuses to differing degrees, this is the first time since 2015 IU-Bloomington will be affected.

Tuition and fee increases for resident and nonresident undergraduate students at IU's five regional campuses — IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast — will increase 1.9 percent each of the next two academic years, which equals $134.36.

IU-Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will increase resident undergraduate tuition and fee rates by 1.4 percent each of the next two academic years. The increase comes to about $145.46 at IU Bloomington and $128.66 at IUPUI.

Undergraduate, non-resident students at IU-Bloomington will find their rates slightly higher with an increase of about 1.75 percent each year for the next two years.

While the University has increased tuition slightly, the budget approved at the meeting also called for a 7.3 percent increase in financial aid, bringing the total figure offered by IU to $288 million. 

There is more good news, this time for faculty and professional staff. The 2018-19 budget calls for staff making less than $15 an hour to receive an increase of two percent and an additional $600. The University’s stated goal is to bring all employees to $15 an hour. Current projections show that just after the 2020 IU Bicentennial at least half of those currently below $15 will be above the line.

"These recommendations for very modest increases reinforce our commitment to student affordability while allowing us to continue delivering a world-class education," McRobbie said in a press release.

The other major change brought the employee benefits budget down $7 million. Those savings are meant to fund academic and research programs, among other things. 

New administration positions and changes

IU has appointed some administrators into newly-crafted positions and shifted responsibilities for current leaders after the BOT meeting. Think of it as a game of administrative musical chairs.

The University has appointed John Whelan as the first ever IU associate vice president for human resources effective July 1.

"This new position further signals IU's continuing strong commitment to doing all that it can to improve the conditions and workplace environment of all IU employees," McRobbie said in the release.

Whelan joined IU in 2014 and has been working in the Office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, where he has been working to reorganize human resources across all IU campuses into single uniform policies. Before joining IU he was chief human resources officer at Baylor University.

Effective July 1, IU Vice President for Engagement Bill Stephan is taking on the new job of working with Mike Sample, vice president for government relations, on IU’s federal relations activities. Sample has indicated, according to the release, he would like to retire and, after June 2019, Stephan will take full responsibility for IU’s government relations.

While IU’s system of offices and positions is positively Byzantine in origin, Stephan and Sample’s role is simply to oversee economic development and commercial use of technology linked to IU in coordination with stakeholders like the Indiana General Assembly. Basically, they’re lobbyists.

Stephan is also currently responsible for University-wide marketing and communications, but will soon be bereft of that job because Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for Information Technology and CIO, will be stepping in to take over, while keeping his own job at the same time. 

In his current role as CIO, Wheeler keeps an eye on the technological infrastructure supporting University communications and marketing. His knowledge of that infrastructural support is one reason he was chosen to take over from Stephan.

Construction, Construction, Construction

IU has approved the construction of a $17.5 million, 40,000 square-foot facility which will become an International Center. The new building — which should be near the School of Global and International Studies on the corner of North Jordan Street and Seventh Street — will centralize international services into a single building.

For example, the Office of International Development is on North Jordan Avenue and the Office of International Services is in the Poplars Building on East Seventh Street. Both of these services will be brought under the new roof and will help free up campus building space. 

This centralized service building comes at an opportune moment after IU has steadily increased its international presence over the past several years. International students number 8,530 on all IU campuses and, from 2010-2016, the University has granted 23,738 degrees to international students. 

The Board of Trustees also approved the $10.2 million renovation of dining facilities at the Indiana Memorial Union. As previously reported by the Indiana Daily Student, the IMU is undergoing changes after the creation of IU Dining a new group which has taken over dining services there. 

IU’s previous dining contract with Sodexo ended earlier this year. IU Dining is the University’s solution. Areas to be renovated include: Circle Café, Food Court, Sugar and Spice, Dunn Meadow Café and the Commons.

Architectural plans for these projects will be addressed at a later meeting.

IU changes Non-Discrimination/Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy

The University altered the non-discrimination policy at IU, adding that no one at an IU campus could be discriminated against because of “genetic information” and “gender expression.”

The IU Bloomington Faculty Council included gender expression in a diversity statement it made last year, but this change will make it official and for every campus. 

The term gender expressions refers to a person's name, pronouns, clothing and other characteristics which might be cause for discrimination.

The slightly more ambiguous term for some is “genetic information.” The term simply means students with genetic issues, or DNA differences which might affect their health, cannot have those characteristics used against them. For example, a genetic predisposition to get a disease later in life.

These changes bring IU fully into compliance with the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 and in agreement with the other Big Ten universities and their policies.

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