Remarks to the Board of Regents

February 24, 2009

I am pleased to report that Eastern Michigan University has received the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's Community Engagement Classification. This honor recognizes the strong passion and commitment that Eastern has to community service and public engagement. Eastern Michigan University students provide thousands of hours of service to many organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, SOS Community services, Upward Bound and many others. The Office of Diversity and Community Involvement helps students find a path to serve others in a wide range of activities and organizations. We take great pride in this work and recognition. On a similar note, I am pleased to report that the men's swimming and diving team won their third straight MAC championship.

Recently, the Governor's budget proposed a reduction in state funding for higher education and a tuition freeze. As we learn more about this proposal and the terms of the federal economic stimulus package, we will strive to keep Eastern Michigan accessible and affordable for our students. We will work together to develop a budget for the future that invests in critical facilities like our science complex, public safety building and our residence halls, yet one that also looks for cost containment opportunities through energy savings and other means. We face difficult fiscal challenges as a nation, as the State of Michigan and as a public university. I am confident we will meet this challenge and emerge even stronger to provide more students with a quality education at a reasonable price.

There have been several recent leadership changes. Ron Miller was appointed Executive Director of the Foundation and Associate Vice President for Advancement through FY 2010. Provost Don Loppnow will be moving to serve one year as Vice President for Advancement from May 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010 before taking a sabbatical and returning to faculty. The Provost Search Committee has been formed and a search firm has been hired. Two Vice President positions have been combined to form a Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management position and that search is well underway. A new Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs position has been posted and applications are arriving daily. The net number of Vice President positions remains unchanged.

Safety remains an important issue and our crime statistics on campus are improving:

Crime Comparisons
September 1 to January 31
CRIMES 2007-08 2008-09 % change %
Murder 0 0 0 n/a
Negligent Manslaughter 0 0 0 n/a
Sex Offenses - Forcible 5 3 -2 -40%
Sex Offenses - Non-Forcible 0 0 0 n/a
Robbery 1 2 1 100%
Aggravated Assault 4 1 -3 -75%
Arson 0 0 0 n/a
B&E 58 33 -25 -43%
UDAA 5 3 -2 -40%
Hate Crimes 1 0 -1 -100%
Drug Arrests 19 17 -2 -11%
Alcohol Arrests 45 19 -26 -58%
Weapon Arrests 1 0 -1 -100%
Larceny 124 88 -36 -29%
MDOP 46 41 -5 -11%
TOTAL CRIMES 451 369 -82 -18%

Crime on campus has decreased significantly this school year. Burglaries are down more than 40 percent and total crime is down 18 percent for the year-to-date.

Off-campus crimes do occur and we have been issuing timely warnings to advise our students who either live in or frequent the areas where these crimes occur. Our police department continues to work closely with the Ypsilanti Police Department on crime issues.

I encourage faculty, staff and students to attend a safety and security open forum March 5 at 4 p.m. in room 310A of the Student Center. Chief Matt Harshberger of the Ypsilanti Police Department will be a presenter at the forum. This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions and to learn more about Eastern's safety and security measures.

Finally, I'd like to invite the university community to an important event on Friday, February 27 when Eastern Michigan hosts the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education Hearings. The hearings begin at 10 a.m. in room 310 of the Student Center. Central Michigan University and Oakland University also will be giving testimony. This is an important meeting because it provides the university with an opportunity to present its strengths and needs to subcommittee members. Hearings are open to the public.