Board of Trustees approves 2009 budget, contract extension

Ben Wolford

Non-tenure track faculty will receive domestic partner benefits

Amid rising costs of operating the university, the Kent State Board of Trustees approved the continuation of the state-mandated tuition freeze along with the 2009 fiscal year budget today.

The budget was set at $470,264,000.

“Seventy-five percent of our budget is coming from student tuition,” President Lester Lefton said. “Given that tuition has been fixed and the 9.6 percent increase of our budget that the state provides, we are in a pinch.”

Lefton cited the rising costs of electricity, gas, food and salaries as expenses causing the pinch.

Tuition at Kent State is $4,215 per semester for a full-time undergraduate student living in Ohio.

The board also approved a one-year extension and modifications in the collective-bargaining agreement between the university and the non-tenure track faculty.

The agreement gives a three-percent increase in base salaries and, for the first time, offers domestic partner benefits for opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

It also extends the three-year contract, set to expire August 16, 2008, by one year.

The university proposed the agreement to both tenure and non-tenure track faculty at the beginning of April, but the tenure-track faculty rejected it and will continue with negotiations.

Outlining the importance of being an “international community,” the board approved the establishment of a master’s in translation and master’s in business administration dual degree program, effective Fall 2009.

“The understanding of foreign languages and cultures is increasingly important,” said trustee Brian Tucker.

Lefton said the program will make graduates more capable of competing in a global job market.

“A translation studies program is totally consistent with our building a global university,” Lefton said. “You are not competing in a statewide or local economy, you are competing on a national or international stage.”

The Board also elected the following trustees as officers: Patrick Mullin as chair, Tucker as vice-chair and Jacqueline Woods as secretary.

Contact principal reporter Ben Wolford at [email protected].