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UVI Board of Trustees Elects Officers, Approves Sexual Misconduct Policy & Tuition and Fees Payment Policy

University of the Virgin Islands President David Hall and Board of Trustees Chairman Henry Smock

In the regular session of its quarterly meeting on June 6, on the St. Thomas Campus, the University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees re-elected Attorney Henry Smock to serve as chairman and Alexander A. Moorhead as vice chairman.

At the meeting the Board approved an update of the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy, which was last updated in 2011. The new policy has been renamed the Sexual Misconduct Policy and encompasses a broader scope of issues regarding sexual misconduct to meet national standards.  The Sexual Misconduct Policy puts the burden of consent on the alleged perpetrator, rather than the victim.

UVI President David Hall thanked Sen. Sammuel Sanes, who was present at Saturday’s meeting, for allowing the University to complete the revision of its policy. UVI had already begun to draft a new Sexual Misconduct Policy, when it received a communication from Sanes, who was drafting similar legislation.  “This, to me, represents a wonderful example of a collaborative effort to move the University and the territory forward,” said President Hall. “I want to thank Sen. Sanes for his support in this regard and for creating a model for how the legislature and the University can work closely together.” An awareness campaign will be launched in Fall 2015.

The Board also approved the Tuition and Fees Payment Policy, which will become effective in Fall 2015. Previously, students were allowed to take classes and had until the census date, which is six weeks into the semester, to pay for classes. The problem that the previous system created is that it allowed students to stay in class for six weeks, if not longer, and take up space that other students could have utilized to take the class, said President Hall.

The new policy ensures that students complete their enrollment by paying the required tuition and fees prior to the start of classes. The policy offers several tuition and fees payment options.

Students can pay tuition and fees:

  • in full for the academic year in August, with a two percent discount.
  • in two installments. The first installment is due prior to the student completing enrollment and entering classes in August, and the second installment is due prior to completing enrollment and entering classes in January. Students paying pursuant to this option will receive no discount.
  • in four installments. The first installment is due prior to students completing enrollment and entering classes in August. The other installments, due in October, January, and March, include a two percent interest rate.  
  • in five installments, with the first installment of 20 percent due prior to the student completing enrollment and entering classes in August. The remaining 80 percent is due in four equal installments on dates in October, December, February, and April specified by the Vice President for Administration and Finance. Interest at the rate of three percent shall be included in the last four installments.

Students who do not conform to one of the four options will be regarded as not enrolled and will be debarred from attending classes, residing on University property, or using services provided to students at the University.

The Board also voted in favor of extending the deadline of the University’s Pathways to Greatness 2017 Strategic Plan for one year. This extension will allow UVI to sync its Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaccreditation efforts and its efforts to create a new strategic plan.  The additional time will allow feedback from the self-study required during the accreditation process to be incorporated into efforts to create UVI’s new strategic plan.  

In his report to the Board, President Hall highlighted the accomplishments of UVI students, alumni and faculty.  He noted that the National Science Foundation has awarded two UVI alumni Graduate Research Fellowships to complete advanced degrees in marine biology and chemistry. Stephan Bitterwolf (‘13) and Marisha Perkins (‘13) are among 2,000 individuals that have been selected from 16,500 applicants in 2015.

One of the other institutional achievements noted by President Hall was that UVI received a five-year $2.7 million National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Grant, through the Minority University Research and Education Program.

The goals of the program are to expand the nation’s base for aerospace research and development, increase participation by faculty and students at minority serving institutions, and increase the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees in NASA-related fields awarded to students from minority serving institutions.

UVI’s program titled, “The First Four-Year Physics and Astronomy Degree at the University of the Virgin Islands: A New Era in Caribbean Participation in NASA Science” includes funding to hire two new faculty to support the existing physics program.

“This major accomplishment brings UVI closer to having a vibrant, sustainable, and expanding astrophysics program,” said Dr. Hall. “This grant will also provide the necessary teaching and research capacity to move ahead with the development of a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physics.” He continued, “This project leverages the exciting work ongoing at UVI’s Etelman Observatory under the leadership of Dr. David Morris, which for the last three years, has been supported by our current NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research grant.”

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Mitchell Neaves provided an update on the Foundation for the Reichhold Center for the Arts. The Reichhold Center for the Arts is currently undergoing renovation and upgrades totaling $750,000. The upgrades will include the completion of walkways, bathrooms, and six parking spaces that will make the facility Americans with Disabilities Act compliant. Other improvements include repair of the cistern, the addition of new siding, new generators and new transformers.

Hospitality and Tourism Management Program Director Tamara Lang and her students were presented with Presidents Appreciation AwardAs customary, President Hall recognized UVI employees or units that have performed exceptionally with the President’s Appreciation Award. This quarter’s award was presented to Hospitality and Tourism Management Program Director Tamara Lang, the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program and the School of Business.

 “UVI’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program continues to make an indelible impact in our community and the hospitality and tourism industry,” said President Hall, who recalled the creation of the program was one of the initiatives he moved forward six years ago.

Dr. Hall credited Lang with much of the program’s success. The Hospitality and Tourism Management Program have partnered with Reichhold Center for the Arts and fully manages the Sky Lounge and Bar. Within the community, there are ongoing developing collaborative programs, training, fund raising efforts and placement of students.

 “Our students have excelled in this program and are a cornerstone of many high-end signature events on campus and throughout the territory,” President Hall said. “They demonstrate a high level of quality customer service and a unique spirit of enthusiasm, which is really contagious.”

Students receiving the Hotel and Tourism Management degree are prepared to become hospitality professionals who possess the business knowledge, managerial skills, and professional competencies to obtain entry level management positions in this industry.

The program graduated its first graduate in the 2015 Commencement Class and has over 90 majors. It is designed to provide students with the necessary academic and practical knowledge to manage various levels of tourism in the Virgin Islands and other tourism markets.

The board also heard presentations of the key performance indicators before moving into executive session.

While in executive session, the Board granted tenure to Associate Professor of Management Dr. Glenn Metts, Associate Professor of English Dr. Rosalyn Rossignol and Associate Professor of Education Nancy Morgan, who passed during Spring 2015. The Board also granted Professor Emeritus Status to Dr. Gilbert Sprauve, former UVI professor of Modern Languages.

In executive session, the Board received a report and update on the University’s School of Medicine, an update on legal issues and personnel matters, approved 14 recommendations made by Dr. Hall on the UVI Next Program report, and a memorandum of understanding with Northeast Maritime Institute.

Board Chairman Smock thanked outgoing Trustee Aletha Baumann, faculty representative, and Trustee Wendy Aurelien, student representative, for their service on the Board.

The next regular meeting of the UVI Board of Trustees is scheduled for Oct. 24 on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix.