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Board of Trustees set to discuss tobacco ban, remediation classes

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

It’s already that time again: the Ohio State University Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday to discuss an agenda ranging from the new Ohio remediation-free standards to the Tobacco Free Policy. The meeting will take place at the Longaberger Alumni House. Here are a few things the Board will be talking about.

Standards for remediation-free status
The Board is set to vote on the adoption of the new statewide standards for mathematics, science, reading and writing that each student enrolled in a state institution of higher learning must meet to be considered remediation-free, according to the agenda.
For mathematics, students must receive a 22 or higher on their ACTs or a 520 or higher on their SATs to be “remediation-free,” while for English, students must earn a minimum ACT score of 18 or a minimum SAT score of 430 on writing and 450 on critical reading. For reading, students must meet an ACT score of at least 21 or an SAT score of at least 450. Science, however, will continue to be judged according to the college’s own standards.
Students who do not meet these minimum scores in any given subject will be required to enroll, pay and pass non-credit bearing classes in the remedial subject before continuing in that subject.
OSU already tests students after admission in subjects such as math to determine if remedial classes are necessary, and also already requires a minimum English ACT score of 18 to avoid remedial classes, said John Wanzer, assistant provost of Undergraduate Admissions at OSU, in a January Lantern article.

Tobacco-Free Policy
The Board is set to approve OSU’s development of a Tobacco-Free Policy during its meeting. It is also set to approve voluntary tobacco cessation and stress reduction services that will be made available during the transition to the new policy, according to the meeting’s agenda.
As is, OSU’s campus has had a restriction on smoking inside buildings since 1987. In 2006, that ban extended to include the area outside of the Wexner Medical Center.
The new tobacco ban will include tobacco chew, snuff and snus, which is a “spitless,” moist powder tobacco pouch, according to the American Cancer Society.
The Tobacco Free Policy received unanimous support from the Ohio Board of Regents last July and would make OSU one of 766 other tobacco-free campuses in the U.S.
With regards to cost, the agenda says, “The OSU Health Plan has expanded its coverage of tobacco cessation treatment and reduced its cost … We will incur expenses related to updating door signage, communications, faculty, staff and student cessation benefits, and facility changes.”
The Tobacco Free Policy is proposed to take effect Aug. 1.

Second-year transformational experience program
The Board will receive an update on the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) that is set to begin Fall Semester 2013, according to the agenda.
The program will include 1,000 students and 50 faculty members. The students, all second-years, will live in on-campus housing and will be part of a “cohort” of no more than 20 students who share one STEP faculty member and “clusters” of four to five cohorts.
The students will meet with their designated faculty member every week in various settings to learn about six experiences: study abroad, internships, service-learning, undergraduate research, leadership and artistic/creative expression.
Upon completion of the program, students will each be awarded a $2,000 fellowship to use toward one of the six experiences.
The STEP faculty members, a position open to all regular faculty members regardless of rank or location, will receive a $5,000 discretionary fund to use toward research, academic travel and other education-related expenses to compensate them for their time commitment.

Sequester’s effects on OSU
The Board will discuss the effects of sequestration on OSU’s federal grant portfolio during its meeting, according to the agenda.
The federal government’s Budget Control Act of 2011 established the sequester as a means of levying automatic across-the-board cuts to federal spending. At OSU, the sequester affects federally supported research, student aid and health care.
For the fiscal year 2013, OSU’s total estimated impact of potential loss is $13 million out of a total $120 million commitment. The estimated total impact of potential loss from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2017 is about $66.1 million, according to the agenda.
The sequester went into effect on March 1, and its effects are slated to last until fiscal year 2021.

Other topics on the agenda include a discussion reviewing the trustee conflict of interest policy, updates on the Wexner Medical Center expansion project and the other on-campus construction projects and the establishment of a $1,605 per credit hour instructional fee for the graduate minor of business in health studies.


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