Once each semester, Student Senate puts on an Open Coffeehouse with the President of ONU, where students can come eat as many cookies and drink as much coffee as they want. And, of course, ask the President literally anything that’s on their minds. President DiBiasio has been a great sport with past coffeehouses and he wasn’t a disappointment this semester either. Students came for an hour and asked him questions, talked with him, and discussed hot topics and concerns about campus. Here are some of the highlights from this semester’s coffeehouse.
Q: Will the Northern Promise continue?
The Northern Promise has four components: 20-25 percent reduction in tuition rates, a 4-year graduation guarantee, hands-on high-impact learning, and sustained job placement, graduate and professional school admissions rates for graduates.
As far as the tuition component goes, it will not be “frozen” next year. Tuition was just reset at a base price this year based on both the CPI (consumer pricing index) and HEPI (higher education pricing index), based on national data. Each year, ONU will look at: 1-Do we need to raise tuition? 2-Should we raise tuition? ONU hopes to keep these increases at a minimum in accordance with the national CPI and HEPI. The three other components of the Northern Promise will still be in effect, including the 4-year graduation guarantee.
Q: What is the New American Colleges and Universities group that ONU just recently became a part of?
It’s a consortium of private universities, with similar attendance as ONU, that are just as focused on liberal arts and civil responsibility as ONU. The idea is that an exchange program will be made available for students to go spend a semester at another university. Belmont in Nashville, TN for example, has a program for music business that is unlike anything at ONU. There are some universities within the consortium that have the same majors as ONU (such as pharmacy and engineering) so that these students could also take part in the exchange program while remaining on track to graduate.
Q: Last year, a Master Plan was presented at Senate for a 10-year vision of ONU. What’s going on with that?
A final version was presented to the Board of Trustees a few weeks ago, and the plan was approved. Of course, not everything will be done right away, but five priorities have been set.
1. A new engineering building (and a campaign for funding for this building)
2. Redesigning the first floor of the library with more collaborative learning space, extended hours, and food/coffee
3. To expand and renovate McIntosh
4. A new recreational center (still looking at funding for a swimming pool)
Many of these changes will not be immediate, or even happen during our time at ONU, but the future of ONU certainly looks bright and on the move for im- provements.
Q: Why can’t juniors live off campus?
One of the biggest reasons is that there isn’t enough housing in the community of Ada to support another class living off campus. Many universities that are similar in size to ONU also have students living on campus for three years, and some even have students live on campus for four years. While the University recognizes the desire for some juniors to live. off campus, due to the adequate amount of housing we have on campus versus the inadequate amount of housing available off campus, it’s just not feasible.
Q: What’s going on with the empty room by White Bear?
The process of tearing out the bowling alley and turning it into a multipurpose room hasn’t been as quick or easy as anticipated. It should be complete by the end of this semester, though. A ribbon cutting will be held at beginning of the spring semester if the room is ready, along with revealing what activities can be held in it.
Q: Is ONU planning to go smoke free anytime soon?
Following the example of all the public universities in Ohio and many of the private universities, ONU is planning on going smoke free! Currently ONU is working on how they will implement and enforce this change, along with putting cessation programs into place to be accessible to both students and staff. ONU also has to work with community of Ada to make sure students aren’t just going to the nearest street that’s technically considered “off campus” instead. This transition will be done in a professional and appropriate manner. ONU is taking a lot of examples from OSU’s transition to a smoke-free campus. The current timeline is set for initiating a smoke-free campus in August of the 2015-2016 school year.
Q: What are your comments on the TJ Lane incident?
President DiBiasio was off campus at the time, but disappointed in the way ONU handled the incident on campus. Security works with public officials (both the Ada police and the state police), yet neither of these entities put out alerts for Ada. But that doesn’t mean that ONU shouldn’t have, and President DiBiasio acknowledged this. He said that the university learned
a lot from the experience and the response will be greatly improved for the future.
Many suggestions were also made at the meeting:
• Reducing the $10 mandatory donation for lockout charges, or having some hours without a charge.
• An online resource to help students find off campus housing.
• More student artwork around campus, like the mailroom, the mosaic in Kinghorn, and especially in Mac to liven it up.
If you have more suggestions or comments, feel free to share them! Student Senate meets every Wednesday at 5pm in the Mac Activities Room, and there is a specific time set aside at the end of each meeting to hear students’ thoughts and concerns. Student Senate’s President Joe Railey also holds regular office hours in the Student Senate Office on the second floor of McIntosh. Email is also an effective way to communicate with Senate at j-railey@ onu.edu.