Guest columnist: 10 things KSU students need to know about the Board of Trustees

Jody Michael

1. Your room and board rates are going up more than 3.8 percent next year. The Board of Trustees decided that on Wednesday.

2. While students are paying hundreds more, President Lester Lefton is receiving a $106,538 bonus. The Board of Trustees decided that on Wednesday, too.

3. This is not unusual. In the seven consecutive years Lefton has received a bonus, the Board of Trustees pretty much always simultaneously punishes students with tuition and/or room and board hikes.

4. Students with loans now graduate with an average debt of $30,000, according to new data from the Project on Student Debt.

5. Lefton’s bonus is supposedly dependent upon a Board of Trustees evaluation of his performance. The university refuses to let anyone see the evaluation, despite that Kent State, as a public university, is required by law to give the public access to such information.

6. In 2012, after Lefton received another bonus following another tuition increase, the university sent Daily Kent Stater reporters a copy of the evaluation, which an outside firm had performed. It contained extensive amounts of criticism of Lefton. Not once did the Board of Trustees acknowledge the existence of such faults during the meeting in which it awarded Lefton the bonus.

7. In 2013, Lefton again received a bonus after fulfilling a set of goals that the Board of Trustees let him choose himself. In that same meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a room and board increase. Three months later, the Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase.

8. Lefton will also receive his $425,155 salary and another bonus this year, despite no longer being president of the university.

9. The next Board of Trustees meetings are May 28 and September 17. Meetings take place at the executive offices on the second floor of the library and are open to the public. Anyone who wants to address the Board must give at least two weeks’ written notice to the board secretary in the executive offices.

10. Anyone who thinks it’s not OK for the president to take more while students pay more can also contact the Board of Trustees by visiting the executive offices, calling 330-672-2050 or writing to [email protected].

—Jody Michael is a 2013 Kent State graduate.

—Editor’s note: Because of a reporter’s error, Thursday’s story “Board approves Lefton’s $100K bonus, more than $33 million in building plans,” this guest column mistakenly stated when President Lester Lefton will receive his bonus. He will receive his salary and bonus this year and will be on paid sabbatical next year, which amounts to being paid his salary.