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Students protest Board of Trustees meeting, call for lower out-of-state tuition

T.J. McGarry / Lantern photographer

About a dozen protesters gathered outside the Longaberger Alumni House before the Ohio State Board of Trustees meeting Friday to voice their demands about tuition, sexual violence and more.

C.J. Jones, a third-year in public affairs and member of Buckeyes Organizing in Student Solidarity, said the group was there for four reasons, including protesting the new international student fee and potential increases in out-of-state student tuition. The tuition freeze proposed by OSU President E. Gordon Gee earlier this semester did not include out-of-state tuition.

A $500 additional fee per semester for international students was approved at the June 2012 board meeting.

“We expect the trustees to do right by students,” she said.

The group stood inside the meeting for the first 10 minutes holding signs that read, “End Sexual Violence. Don’t Cover It Up!!” and “Protect Students from Campus Crime,” another issue BOSS members believe the Board needs to address.

“We want more crime alerts for violent crimes in and around campus including sexual assault. We’re tired of the university trying to cover it up,” Jones said.

All matters on the agenda were approved unanimously with trustee Judge Algenon Marbley abstaining from one matter after committees met yesterday and their reports were presented at the meeting Friday.

OSU’s Chief Financial Officer, Geoff Chatas, gave a student affordability presentation starting off by showing where OSU’s enrollment, state funding, tuition and budget numbers have gone since 1985.

Enrollment is about the same, with some 56,000 students enrolled now compared to the 54,000 enrolled students in 1985. State funding is up almost $300 million, but tuition and the university’s budget have inflated at much higher rates.

Chatas said if tuition had stayed on point with the rate of inflation at 1985 annually, in-state tuition being $1,600, it would be $4,800 today rather than the roughly $10,000 in-state students are charged.

He presented six ways the university is generating money including the privatization of parking that went into effect in the past year and assets and expenses reviews he said are on track to save the university $30 million.

Robert Schottenstein, chairman of the Board, emphasized the model of OSU’s growing revenue and reduction of expenses fueling the academic core of the university.

“(We) need to balance affordability while pushing quality, being smart stewards of how we manage our resources,” Schottenstein said.

The advancement and medical affairs committees reported both being on track for reaching fundraising goals in the “But for Ohio State” campaign and raising money for the new hospital that is being built on campus.

The medical affairs committee reported that the Wexner Medical Center’s revenue is 16 percent over its budget and is having “the best year ever” as far as finances go.

Agenda items that were passes include:

-Honorary degrees presented to Annie Leibovitz, Spring Commencement speaker President Barack Obama and others
-Revisions to the university tobacco policy (tobacco-free, not only smoke-free)
-Committee appointments for the 2012-2013 year

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