Board of Governors Sets Project Priorities, Changes to Student Conduct Policies


Tyler Spence, Executive Editor

The Marshall University Board of Governors met and approved changes to student conduct policies and approved major projects for construction. 

Notably, the board approved a list of large capital projects as a priority, if the funding were to become available, likely from state funding. However, The board will still have to approve the projects separately at a later date. The list includes $20 million in building system stabilization, health and safety, addressing Title IX, investments to accelerate growth and other miscellaneous items. 

Building system stabilization includes replacing the chillers in Drinko Library, Smith Hall and the Erma Bryd Clinical Center. As well as replacing the roof at Drinko Library and the Erma Bryd Clinical Center and replacing the air handler units in the science building. 

The board will meet next week to finalize plans for the baseball stadium. 

Other notable priorities in the list include updating campus elevator and fire alarm systems, the addition of HVAC into the Henderson Center and Gullickson Hall, locker room replacements for men and women’s golf and the swim and dive team, the technology-enhanced classroom initiatives and the Douglass Center renovation – which is a historic building set to be used by the school of medicine in the Fairfield neighborhood of Huntington. 

Other auxiliary projects that were not included in that list were the baseball field, restroom renovations at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, the demolition of Holderby and Laidly Hall, and additional renovations to the student center. 

The board also approved changes to update the university’s Title IX policy language – expanding the definition of sexual assault to more broadly include oral, anal or sexual assault with an object to the definition of sexual assault. 

The policy also expands the definition of rape to include circumstances when the victim is unable to give consent due to mental or physical incapacity, like being under the influence of alcohol, or being because of age. 

The board also approved a change that will allow students to drop courses without the permission of the professor or an adviser. This will allow students to drop courses independently. 

The board also approved moving the sports management degree from the college of health professions to the college of business, as well as the creation of a new natural resources and environment degree.

University president Brad D. Smith gave an update on his priorities after his 100-day listening tour. Smith listed increasing enrollment without increasing tuition costs, investing in staff and faculty with university standard pay, investing in facilities and managing fiscal responsibilities. 

Enrollment has decreased 19% from 5 years ago, and Smith cited bringing this number back up to be a top priority. 

This was the last board meeting for Tony Stroud, who is joining the university’s general council, and Alyssa Parks, the former student body president.