The University of Connecticut board of trustees met Wednesday morning to discuss the university’s spring semester pandemic response, as well as items regarding changes to tuition and course fees.
UConn President Thomas Katsouleas started off by saying that UConn Health has been at the forefront of providing relief from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m pleased to report our COVID-19 positivity rate is below one percent,” Katsouleas said.
He also said that the decrease in the spread of COVID-19 could not be done without the combined efforts of both students and staff, and that he was thankful for the support of the college community in combating the spread of the virus.
Board member Thomas Ritter referred to impact.uconn.edu, a website which shows just how much UConn and UConn Health positively affects the quality of each town in the state.
“There’s not a single town in this state that isn’t touched by this university…” Ritter said. He also took a moment to acknowledge the accomplishments of the staff who worked on the site with cheerful applause.
The next item on the agenda was the discussion of Attachment 11, which details a reduction to the previously approved 2022 fiscal year rate, and Attachment 12, which involves the approval of specific academic program and course fee adjustments for that year as well.
Board member Andy Bassettes suggested that discussion of these attachments be deferred to March in order for the BoT to properly review the attachments and come to a consensus in March.
Ritter made a comment that though he was not against the decision, he urged the board to sort out these issues sooner than later.
“There are severe issues that the board needs to review… and we need to consider them today before we get back to them in March,” Ritter said.
Chairman Toscano said that the comment was fair and looked to the other board members to bring up questions if they had them.
“If we do nothing, then action is taken automatically. If anyone has any particular concerns, please voice them,” he said.
In another discussion, board member Shari Cantor drew attention to the engagement gap between UConn’s regional campuses, and its campus at Storrs.
In an effort to lessen the gap, there are plans to improve regional engagement through student activities and programming with a full list of initiatives to be included on the university’s uKindness website.
Another policy decision Cantor emphasized was the one introduced in the fall semester in response to hateful messages written on UConn’s Spirit Rock.
The policy details a list of student expectations for painting the rocks on campus and the specific rocks that can be painted. Among the details outlined in the policy are ones concerning enforcement should these policies not be followed, with the policy of enforcement being a collaboration between the Division of Student Affairs, university law enforcement personnel, and the students of the UConn.