June 20, 2000

CONTACT: Ward Mullens




YPSILANTI - The financial foundation for a new residence hall at Eastern Michigan University is being put into place.

The EMU Board of Regents authorized the issuance and delivery of general revenue bonds and initiation of negotiations for a contract with the Christman Company to design and build a new residence hall.

"The University is committed to providing sufficient, affordable on-campus housing to support the institution's enrollment goals," said Patrick Doyle, vice president for business and finance.

The new residence hall, which will be built in two phases, will include 500 additional beds when both phases are completed, according to Doyle.

Phase I, which will house 276 students, will open in the fall of 2001. It will be located immediately west of the Hoyt Towers. All units in the hall will be connected to the University's computing network and will feature a commons building that includes classrooms and student social areas.

"This is the first new residence hall that we have had in more than 30 years," said Jim Vick, assistant vice president for university marketing and student affairs.

The new residence hall will help offset an 18 percent increase in the number of high school graduates from Michigan and Ohio that is projected through 2008. The Office of Admissions indicates an increased freshman enrollment that should steadily increase.

Existing university residence halls and apartments provide housing for 3,670 students. There are 1,385 double rooms and 700 single rooms. There are 565 apartments.

The estimated total cost of the project will not exceed $13 million. The new building will result in virtually no change in the University's debt service ratio, which is currently 4.6 percent. The debt service ratio norm for universities ranges from 4-5 percent, according to Moody's and Standard & Poor's rating agencies.

In other action the Board of Regents approved:

New student conduct code

The board approved a revised Student Conduct Code, the first major revision of the code since 1986. The code was revised to more adequately reflect the current state of campus affairs. Additional issues have been included that were not contemplated by the 1986 code.

One of the major changes is covered in Section IX, entitled University Disciplinary Process. The section has been rewritten to reflect legal changes due to legislation and court cases in Michigan. One major difference is the appeals process. The new appeal is a true appeal process, rather than a re-hearing of the case as in the 1986 code.

Another change to the code is the addition of special disciplinary provisions governing acts of academic dishonesty. It allows a faculty member to handle the issue as a classroom matter, but gives them an option of referring the situation to Student Judicial Services under certain conditions.

Acquisition of real property

Acquired was the building and property at 1764 Stonebridge Drive, Pittsfield Township, at a sale price of $489,900. The residential building, which was constructed in 1992, will be designated as the temporary residence for the University president. It is anticipated that it will serve in this capacity for not more than two years.

The net present value savings of purchasing versus leasing, assuming the market value of the house remains constant and the house is resold in two years, is $39,018.


Policy changes

The board approved a new policy that modifies the University's admissions application to include questions pertaining to criminal convictions and/or disciplinary history at any secondary school and/or college. The policy also calls for the establishment of a review board, consisting of the director of admissions, director of housing, dean of students, director of student judicial services and the chief of police, to evaluate and make admissions decisions regarding students who answer yes to either of the two new questions. The vice president of enrollment services must approve any decision to deny admission to an applicant. This policy addresses concerns raised by parents, students and campus officials, and is consistent with similar policies at other universities.

In other policy changes, the board approved an amendment of the contract authority policy that requires the Board of Regents approve and authorize contracting authority for all contracts with terms exceeding 5 years. Additionally, the amendment provides that the board be informed of all major contract proposals prior to the contract being executed.

The board also approved an amendment of Article III (Meetings of the Board) of its bylaws, to include a definition of "formal" meetings/sessions. This amendment was necessary because Article 8, Section 4 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963 provides that "formal sessions of university governing boards shall be open to the public." The amendment defines a "formal" meeting/session as "one which is convened for the purpose of memorializing final board action which is binding on the board."