Board of Govorners addressed University policy and finances

Quinten Sargent

At Missouri Southern’s Board of Governors meeting hosted on Sept. 16 the motion to push the single course withdraw date back to the last full week of the semester presented by the Academic Affairs committee due to the COVID-19 pandemic was granted.

The committee motioned to push the last day for a single course drop from the original dealine of Oct. 30 to the new deadline, Nov.30. 

 “We wanted to develop student-friendly policies, to provide as much flexibility for students as possible,” said Vice-President of Student Affairs and Director of Provost, Dr. Paula Carson. 

 Chair of The Board of Governors, Alison Hershewe led the meeting held in Billingsly Student Center’s Connor Ballroom. Hershewe promptly welcomed and introduced, University President, Dean Van Galen, who proceeded to deliver his report. 

President Van Galen continued to express his commitment to ensure and sustain the University’s active presence within the Joplin community. Van Galen also prioritized a need to take action to shape the future of Southern amid the pandemic. 

One of the highlighted areas of concern from the president’s report was, student experience and success and finding ways the university can build upon the commitment to high-impact practices including study abroad. 

Although the Study Abroad Program has been given restrictions this semester, Carson’s report included some opportunities the Fall 2020 International Themed Semester can provide, including thirty-one themed events, nineteen of which can be accessed digitally. 

Carson’s report also included new policy updates for theatre productions, including admittance to University affiliates only. 

“Because of our limitation on external visitors, we’re not able to have the normal audience members either in terms of size or scope,” said Carson.  

The decisions to limit the audience size of theatre productions and to not allow external visitors were initially announced in the Faculty Senate meeting on Sept. 14 by Carson. 

Following Carson, Vice-President of Student Affairs, Darren Fullerton delivered the Student Affairs report, including the approval of a 5-year grant for Project Stay totaling $1,473,505 over the 5-year period. 

Fullerton’s report also stated that as of Sept. 14 the University had distributed $11,330,990 to students in Federal Financial Aid, $1,076,850 had been distributed to students in State Financial Aid, and 3,308 of all student accounts have been paid to less than $50. 

University Treasurer, Linda Eis also delivered budget reports for the University. According to Eis’ report, the University ended the fiscal year of 2020 with a cash balance of $11,954,681 which was an increase of $1,632,970 from the previous year. 

The University’s cash balance for the fiscal year of 2021 as of August 31 was $11,069,618, a decrease of $700,821 compared to the same date last year. 

The motion to approve the budget report presented by Eis was approved by the Board. 

Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities Management and Event Management, Cori Reid delivered the Athletics Report prepared by Athletic Director, Jared Bruggeman. 

Reid reported Men and Women’s basketball ranked top ten in overall attendance in the Division II conference, the men ranked seventh nationally, and women ranked ninth. 

The athletic report also included a total number of 76 Linebackers, members of the Linebacker Booster Club dedicated to aiding the athletic department to meet the needs of their twelve NCAA Division II programs. 

Reid concluded that the typical number of Lionbacker memberships for this time of the year is around 200.  

The substantial decrease concerned Governor Gibson, who asked Reid if there were efforts in place to try and raise that number.  

“In discussions with Elisa Bryant, who handles that [Lionbacker Booster Club memberships] for us I think a lot of our supporters were waiting to see what announcements come out as far as basketball’s concerned and the spring sports,” said Reid. 

Hershewe ended the meeting with the motion to approve the update the single course withdraw policy and the plan to discuss commencement at the Nov. 18 Board of Governors meeting.