GSU Board votes to freeze tuition and fees
The Governors State University Board of Trustees voted Friday not to increase tuition and fees for the 2014-2015 academic year. The University maintains its position as the most affordable public university in the state.
GSU president Elaine P. Maimon said keeping the rates the same as they were for the 2013-2014 academic year builds trust with families.
“As we recruit our first class of freshman students,” Maimon said, “it does no good at all to raise tuition above the rates that we have been advertising for this year.”
President Maimon said that GSU has had the lowest tuition and fee rate in the state for several years and wanted it to stay that way. Even though students are eligible for grants such as the Pell Grant and MAP Grant, she said there is still a phenomenon of sticker shock, especially for those families who may be sending their first students to college.
“We think that no tuition increase will send a message that encourages more students to consider GSU,” she said.
The decision to freeze tuition and fees was made in accordance with prudent fiscal management at the university, Maimon said. The university is allocating budgetary resources to accommodate the new freshman class and to make sure that all students have a high quality experience.
Trustee Patrick Ormsby said that a student taking a full course load each semester still pays less than $5,000. “That’s just outstanding. It’s substantially less than some private high schools,” he said.
Board chair Jack Beaupre said freezing tuition and fees at last year’s rates is one of the more significant moves the university has made in the last two decades.
Library and academic computing services lab to be renovated
The GSU Board approved construction contracts in the amount of $2.572 million to renovate the academic computing services lab and library. Legat Architects will oversee the project, which is scheduled to begin in April and conclude by August.
Michael Lundeen, architect and associate director of the firm’s higher education unit, said the scope of the project is a “light remodeling” because it doesn’t involve moving walls. Rather, it involves changing carpet, changing finishes of certain surfaces as well as adding new furniture and new lighting, he said.
In the computer lab, the overall space will go from about 5,500 square feet to about 9,000 square feet and add 80 more additional seats for computers. The corridor will be widened and the entrance to the library will be remodeled.
Sylvia Kowalk, senior interior designer with Legat, said the goal with the library’s layout is to create a more modern, 21st Century design. The layout will be more inviting and have seating situated in a way where students will face each other more so they can work more collaboratively, she said.
In other financial business, the university entered into a contract with The Brill Company, Inc., which will provide furniture for the Prairie Place student residence hall. The winning bid was for $700,000, significantly lower than the originally projected cost of $888,000, said Karen Kissel, vice president for administration and finance.
GSU Board of Trustees elects new officers
The GSU Board elected three officers at the end of its meeting on Friday, Feb. 28.
Brian D. Mitchell was elected the board’s next chair while Eileen Durkin was elected vice chair and Bruce N. Friefeld was elected the board’s secretary.
Outgoing GSU Board chair Jack Beaupre bid farewell to his tenure as chair but will remain on the board.
Mr. Beaupre said Friday that he has been proud of having been part of the university’s recent successes as he reflected on his tenure as board chair. He mentioned some of the university’s accomplishments he was able to be part of, such as the construction of the first student residence hall, which will open in the fall.
Mr. Beaupre also commended the university for its role in keeping higher education accessible and affordable to students.
“Students today have an average student loan debt of $26,600. The cost of a year’s education at the average public university is over $17,800,” he said. “We are making an attempt to not be a part of the problem, but a part of the solution. So GSU is well on its way. Thanks to the leadership of this administration as discussed, we are in a position to rapidly become a model for the 21st Century for regional public universities.”
By freezing tuition and fees for the 2014-2015 academic year, the university has enhanced its role as a model for accessible and affordable higher education, Beaupre said.
Incoming secretary Bruce N. Friefeld thanked Mr. Beaupre for his service and his advocacy on behalf of the university and looked forward to working with him on the board. GSU president Elaine P. Maimon expressed her appreciation to Mr. Beaupre on behalf of the faculty, administration and students.
Concealed carry policy goes into effect
At the Feb. 28 GSU Board voted unanimously to adopt a policy regarding concealed carry of firearms.
The possession and carrying of weapons on GSU property is prohibited and illegal. This extends to all property owned or controlled by the university including, but not limited to places outside of the University Park campus and where university classes, programs and activities are held.
The policy states that "A weapon or firearm may be transported into an unrestricted parking area within a vehicle if the weapon or firearm and its ammunition remain locked in a case out of plain view within the parked vehicle. "Case" is defined as a glove compartment or console that completely encases the weapon or firearm and its ammunition; the trunk of the vehicle or a weapon or firearm carrying box, shipping box or other container. The weapon or firearm may only be removed for the limited purpose of storage or retrieval from within the trunk of the vehicle. A weapon or firearm must first be unloaded before removal from the vehicle."
The two parking lots where firearms are prohibited are the Family Development Center and campus housing.
The primary place of storage for a weapon or firearm is within a locked case out of plain view within a parked vehicle in an unrestricted parking area. When storage of a weapon or firearm in a vehicle is not practical, the weapon or firearm may also be stored with DPS. Prior arrangements should be made with DPS when using its storage devices, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Anyone not able to store their weapon in their vehicle must proceed immediately to the Dispatch Center of DPS in room C1375 to temporarily secure their weapon. They are required to present all necessary forms of identification, including their valid concealed carry license and Firearm Owners Identification Card.
Violations of this policy may constitute a criminal offense, qualify as student misconduct subject to discipline, and/or result in employment discipline up to and including termination of employment.
The first concealed carry permit is expected to be issued in early April.