Petition about the House of Black Culture’s future presented to faculty

By Liz Hardaway, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Right before the faculty meeting started on April 17, an unexpected guest voiced his thoughts on the future of the House of Black Culture (HBC).

Senior Jemil Ahmed shared his petition, which included 124 signatures from students, stating his and other students’ concerns for the fate of the cultural hub and the rich history of HBC.

“We ask for guarantee that the house be renovated and the house and land will be preserved for [HBC],” the petition stated. Students wanted assurance of this request by Wednesday, April 19.

President Rock Jones acknowledged the petition in an email sent Tuesday evening to multiple students who signed the petition.

Jones recognized the disrepair the building fell into, and has appointed an advisory group to explore all options for the community.

The advisory group includes three alumni, three faculty, three administrators and six students.

“[The] committee has heard how important this is to students,” said Nancy Comorau, associate professor of English and a member of the advisory group.

Jones wrote that it would be inappropriate to make any decision about HBC prior to receiving the advisory group’s input.

“The Advisory Group is undertaking its work in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner,” Jones said in the email. “No one is being ‘evicted’ from the dwelling.”

The petition stated that if renovations were not guaranteed for HBC by Wednesday, the group will meet with other advocacy groups to further its request.

Once the meeting officially commenced, faculty voted to approve three new majors. Faculty approved the film studies program and an environment and sustainability program, which will include a major and minor. A resolution also passed allowing students to receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in microbiology and geology.

Tom Wolber, associate professor of modern foreign languages, also gave a statement expressing his concerns for the lack of funding for pedagogical conference grants since the 2015-16 academic year, citing this as a reason for the dramatic decline of applications for this academic year. “Given OWU’s nature as a teaching institution, it is critical to encourage faculty to participate in pedagogical workshops and conferences and make the necessary resources available,” Wolber said in his statement.

Wolber said he was troubled by the discontinuation of the Performing Arts Series because of financial restrictions found in the year-end report conducted by Ohio Wesleyan’s Committee on Teaching, Learning, and Cross-Cultural Programming (TLCCP).

A committee is still working on getting the academic calendar for 2018-19 because of some contention that arose during the meeting.

Memorial resolutions were also approved for Jed Burtt, a zoology professor, and Kim Lance, a chemistry professor. Their memorials were written by Professor Ramon Carreno and Professor Dan Vogt respectively.

On April 20, the HBC Advisory Group will hold a live, online chat to discuss the house’s future and role in the community.

Faculty Meeting: Faculty vote to approve changes to curriculum

By Gopika Nair, Editor-in-Chief

Faculty voted to allow Human Anatomy (ZOOL 329) for permanent addition to the zoology program and also approved changes to the curriculum for music majors at the faculty meeting Feb. 20.

Ohio Wesleyan’s music department requested “alterations to music courses, the addition of specified general education distributions and adding a foreign language requirement,” according to the meeting agenda.

The changes will give students a greater opportunity to take courses across the curriculum, said Provost Chuck Stinemetz.

“I don’t think it’s a net increase in the number of courses they have to take as much as creating space for them to potentially take courses outside of music,” Stinemetz said.

At the meeting, President Rock Jones said Kathy Boles Smith ‘71, a member of the Board of Trustees since 2011, and her husband Alton Smith have funded $500,000 for faculty support. The Smiths had also created a faculty support fund in 2014.

According to an email Jones sent to faculty Feb. 21, “The creation of Kathy and Alton Smith Endowed Fund for Scholarly Leave will allow the selected faculty member a semester away from classroom responsibilities to complete work on an established significant professional project.”

Jones also said some international students are concerned about going home for the summer, according to Tom Wolber, associate professor of modern foreign languages.

“[They are] worried about what will happen once they go home … What if they can’t come back? What if they are stopped at the border?” Wolber said. “We don’t know what [Donald] Trump and his administration will bring, but things could be much worse months from now.”

OWU doesn’t currently offer provisions for housing or food specially for international students during breaks. But Jones said he would look into housing concerned international students on campus over the summer, according to Wolber.

Additionally, six professors who started teaching at OWU in 2011 were granted tenure at the faculty meeting.

The professors included Sarah Bunnell, assistant professor of psychology; Sally Livingston, assistant professor of comparative literature; Scott Kelly, assistant professor of zoology; Glenda Nieto Cuebas, assistant professor of modern foreign languages; David Eastman, associate professor of religion; and Katherine Glenn-Applegate, assistant professor of education.

During the Board of Trustees’ retreat in Florida, the board and the eight faculty members who attended discussed OWU’s 2,020 by 2020 plan in more detail. Wolber said the board is enthusiastic, but some members of the faculty are unsure about achieving the 2,020 goal in the next three years.

Wolber said the admissions report, given by Susan Dileno, vice president for enrollment, was similar to last year’s, but OWU has seen a growth in the number of international student applicants.

Come October, OWU will also celebrate its 175th anniversary. The state of Ohio originally awarded OWU its charter on March 7, but festivities won’t take place until October during homecoming weekend.

The next faculty meeting will be held March 27.

*This story was updated on March 7, 2017 at 2:06 p.m.

Faculty: 1, The Transcript: 0

Matt Cohen, Editor-in-Chief  

Areena Arora, Managing Editor

After more than 35 years, faculty meetings will no longer be open to reporters.

On April 18, Ohio Wesleyan faculty members voted to disallow The Transcript, the school’s independent student newspaper, from attending future faculty meetings.

Bob Gitter, professor of economics and a member of the faculty’s Executive Committee, presented the motion. Faculty asked the Executive Committee to reconsider the issue of banning The Transcript’s attendance, according to the faculty meeting agenda.

Gitter read the agenda and said, “Faculty meetings will not be open to reporters and a new mechanism in the form of a faculty meeting summary will be made available to the public within 24 hours after the end of the faculty meeting.”

Gitter then called for executive session, which was supported.

The vote was 47-21 in favor of the motion.

“It has a chilling effect on what people are willing to say if they feel the comments are going to be published in the newspaper,” he said.

The length of the meetings was also one of Gitter’s concerns.

“The fact is, too often, going into executive session, the meetings are lasting much too long,” Gitter said. “Here it is 7:30 p.m. I had to stay and count balance, but the meeting didn’t get over until just a few minutes ago.”

“There’s a number of reasons, but not everybody that supports a motion supports it for the same reasons.”

Paul Kostyu, chair of the journalism department and associate professor of journalism at OWU, opposed the motion.

“I had a lot more questions and I wasn’t allowed to ask them,” Kostyu said. “I would not call it a debate. It was a series of questions and statements from various faculty.”

Thomas Wolber, chair of the Executive Committee and associate professor of modern foreign language, said he agreed with Kostyu.

“Kostyu was the first one to stand up and ask a number of questions. which were not satisfactorily answered,” Wolber said.

He also said there was inadequate discussion during the meeting.

“I was not given a chance to speak and to voice my opinion,” Wolber said. “The discussion was truncated and that I found unfortunate.”

Kostyu also said he believes OWU is being ironic.

“Nationally, there is more of effort in higher education to be more transparent. It’s ironic we’re going the other direction.”

“We are restricting freedom,” Kostyu said. “It’s ironic and hypocritical that our speaker for commencement is Greg Moore, who opposed this policy. But yet, we’re inviting him, who may have actually covered these meetings as a student.”

Moore is the former editor of The Denver Post and a 1976 graduate of OWU. He will speak at commencement this year on May 8.

Previously, The Transcript was denied access to a faculty meeting on Nov. 16, 2015.

Faculty take aim for 2020

Matt Cohen, Editor-in-Chief

Fourteen empty chairs sat in the front row as President Rock Jones stood behind the birch plywood podium and addressed the room filled with Ohio Wesleyan faculty during their Monday, Feb. 29 meeting, the second official meeting of the semester.

The faculty discussed options to increase enrollment, but Jones began by thanking everyone who was involved with the I³ 30-minute lecture and the production of “Artifice.” He was impressed by the diverse crowd of the lectures and called the production a “terrific, major production.”

Jones then asked a popular question: What’s the right size of OWU and “what strategies will achieve that size?”

A long list of ways to reach the goal of 2,020 students by the year 2020 was presented. A couple of those items to improve upon were career services, athletics, international admission strategies, regional recruiters and the physical campus, which Jones talked about and said “we’ve made strides, but there’s more to be done.” He also specifically brought up the improvement of first-year housing.

Chris Wolverton, professor of botany-microbiology and the chair of the Committee on University Governance, began with a PowerPoint to highlight student recruitment, student experience, program initiative and physical campus.

He reiterated the importance in finding the right students when recruiting.

“Identify students who are able to pay so we can continue to offer heavily discounted tuitions to those who need it.”

When talking about student experience, Wolverton said he wanted to get the point across to potential students.

“What are we about?” he said. “We could be about 50,000 things, but if [students] don’t see themselves here, they won’t come.”

The equation “630 + 85% = 2,026” was left on the screen. Wolverton explained that 630 represents the number of students and the percent represents retention rate.

When talking about the retention rate, which is currently at 81 percent, Wolverton said there’s a lot of work behind the number.

“It’s arguable this number is doable,” he said. “Redesigning the entire student life side of campus.”

When Wolverton pointed out the bold new strategy of the Board of Trustees, Michael Flamm, a faculty member, said, “We invest in the future because the faculty don’t take salary increases.”

Ellen Arnold, Andrew Brandt, Glenn Bryan, Susan Gunasti and David Councilman were awarded tenure and a neuroscience major with behavioral/cognitive and cellular/molecular tracks was approved by unanimous vote.

Faculty reevaluate student population size at first meeting

Faculty met in Merrick Hall. Photo courtesy of
Faculty met in Merrick Hall. Photo courtesy of

Matt Cohen, Editor-in-Chief

On the evening of Jan. 25, the sun dove beneath Elliot Hall’s horizon and the remaining rays raced past the cold, naked trees and through Merrick Hall’s third floor windows, throwing their duplicates on the opposite wall.

The scene provided the backdrop for Ohio Wesleyan’s President Rock Jones to open the first official faculty meeting of 2016 by thanking faculty for “rolling up (their) sleeves and working together.”

After mentioning the struggles the university has faced with declining enrollment and number of applicants received, Jones posed a question.

“What is the appropriate size of OWU?”

He rhetorically asked if they were willing to take the time and put the appropriate money into the school to grow it back to where it once was. If not, OWU will become a smaller school.

Jones wants OWU to explore different programs and improve upon everything from parking to the process of applying for classes in order to reach potential students the school normally doesn’t reach.

Chris Wolverton, professor of botany-microbiology, addressed the room as a member of the university’s Governance Committee.

He echoed Jones’ push to put the OWU back in the right direction. He suggested leading marketing strategies based on the school’s academics.

When Mark Allison, an associate professor of English, confronted the faculty’s recent frustrations regarding new marketing techniques, he simply said, “What we dislike, the kids love.”

“They think Taylor Swift’s music is terrific.”

He also pointed out that faculty had input about the new marketing campaign at every level.

Additionally, a new computational neuroscience major was approved by a unanimous vote.

Access denied

By: Dr. Thomas Wolber

soapboxOhio Wesleyan University is justifiably proud of “the quality and accessibility of its faculty” (“Catalog” Introduction). Yet at the Nov. 16 faculty meeting, half a dozen duly elected members of the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs and bona fide reporters from the student newspaper, The Transcript, were denied access to the deliberations of the faculty, which included several topics of direct relevance to students.

Why was this unprecedented step taken? The conflict seems to have been triggered by Transcript stories appearing in the local newspaper, the Delaware Gazette. This has been happening for a while now and is rooted in a mutually beneficial arrangement between the two papers.

Transcript reporters see a wider distribution of their articles whereas Gazette readers receive information about OWU from student insiders. However, the arrangement meant that the monthly faculty meetings had become a public ­media venue, which was not to the liking of some faculty members. Concerns over journalistic standards and misrepresentations were voiced and privacy issues were raised. Primarily, however, it seems that many faculty members were worried that the presence of the press may lead to a situation where free and open discussion about contentious and sensitive issues might be stifled.

And this is, in my mind, the crux of the matter. We live in uncertain times. Many colleges and universities in Ohio and elsewhere, both public and private, are experiencing tremendous difficulties.

Institutions have been shuttered or merged, departments and programs eliminated, and faculty positions frozen or cut. This is an era of retrenchment, austerity, and exigency, and there is widespread fear and anxiety about what the future will hold. Across the nation, the faculty’s social status and standard of living are eroding; their very survival is at stake. The status quo is no more, and there are worried conversations about what the new norm might be. What was radical and unthinkable only a few years ago, is now being openly discussed. Maybe the unnerved faculty, especially from more vulnerable disciplines and departments, are instinctively sensing that control is slipping through their fingers and that ugly battles and wars might be ahead of them.

Change is never easy, especially if you are not the one driving it. We know from history and politics what effects the experience of displacement, disempowerment, and dispossession can have. It can lead to heated arguments, imprudent statements, disregard for established norms and values, and raw hostility. In their bewilderment, people start looking for scapegoats for either they do not understand the real reasons for what is happening, or if they do they feel helpless against the inexorable forces of destiny.

I, for one, view the exclusion of WCSA and The Transcript from the last faculty meeting as just one such event. Neither the students nor the press are not the faculty’s adversary; they are their natural allies and partners. It would be a strategic error to alienate them. The current fissure between the faculty and the students is an unfortunate distraction and a false dichotomy. In addition, the measure has done considerable harm to the faculty’s and the institution’s reputation and may negatively impact student recruitment and donor giving in the future. Therefore, the faculty’s student ­exclusion act of 2015 must be rescinded. Elected WCSA students should be readmitted immediately. Then reasonable students, faculty, and administrators should sit together, start a constructive dialog, and negotiate a balanced accord that ensures The Transcript access to faculty meetings on the one hand while protecting and preserving legitimate faculty interests on the other. Perhaps the student newspaper is willing to voluntarily suspend the arrangement with the Delaware Gazette for faculty meetings only while leaving it intact in other areas? In any case, for people of good will there is always plenty of common ground to be found.


Soapbox articles are unique platforms in which any member of the OWU community can “get up on their soapbox” and discuss any issue in 400 to 1000 words. Soapbox articles can be submitted on using the Submit Your Story link on the upper left.


Dr. Thomas Wolber is an associate professor of German at Ohio Wesleyan.  He teaches all levels of German language, literature and civilization. In addition to those subjects, he specializes in comparative literature and environmental studies.

Students allowed into December faculty meeting

After much deliberation, faculty voted to allow student representatives from the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA) and The Transcript into their December meeting.

When the student guests arrived in Merrick Hall this Dec. 7, they were greeted by signs at the stairwells and elevators asking them to remain on the first floor.

A group of three faculty members waited downstairs with the students to relay messages about their admittance. After five minutes, the president and vice president of WCSA were allowed upstairs.

It took a half hour after this announcement before the reporter for The Transcript was permitted to join them.

The controversy over student presence at faculty meetings came to a head last month when faculty voted by a narrow margin to turn away student representatives from the Nov. 16 meeting out of concerns for privacy.

In the wake of that decision, articles about the meeting, first reported on by The Transcript, appeared in the Delaware Gazette and the Columbus Dispatch.

The publication of Transcript reports on faculty meetings in the Delaware Gazette, made possible by a sharing agreement between the two papers, initiated the three-month conflict. According to a campus-wide email signed by the Governance Committee, faculty were concerned that story sharing “could inhibit the frank and open discussion necessary in order to work through contentious issues.”

Other professors, namely professor Paul Kostyu of the journalism department, disagreed. And at the Dec. 7 meeting, while the motion to admit The Transcript reporter was still on the floor, Kostyu read a statement expressing his concerns.

Kostyu argued that “meetings shouldn’t be closed just because you think something might be said that you don’t like.”

After the faculty agreed to allow all students into the meeting, Provost Chuck Stinemetz announced that President Rock Jones was delayed in San Francisco and that there would be no administrative reports.

Professor Chris Wolverton, chair of the Governance Committee and a member of the department of botany and microbiology department, made remarks about the February board of trustees meeting. He said that it would be a “critical meeting” and that some faculty members might be asked to present information on their committee to members of the board.  

Professor Dale Brugh of the chemistry department went on to present a proposed change to the wording of the faculty handbook. The amendment, which extends the deadline for those faculty applying for promotion, was approved.

Next at the podium was professor N. Kyle Smith, chair of the Academic Policy Committee and a member of the psychology department. Smith announced that his committee had approved a new math class, changes to politics and government course titles and numbers, and updates to the language of the existing academic catalog.

After a short reminder about the due date for final grades by professor Karen Poremski of the English department, the last meeting of the semester was adjourned.

Jour Board calls for transparency

By: OWU Journalism Board

As members of the Ohio Wesleyan Journalism Student Board, we strive to uphold the Journalism Code of Ethics–one of the staples of this code being to report the truth and to minimize harm while doing so. It is never a reporter’s goal to misquote or exploit comments made; in fact, it is the exact opposite. As journalists we strive to understand. The decision to leave students out of the November 16 faculty and staff meeting is something we cannot comprehend.

Based on the precedence set by Verne Edwards, students at Ohio Wesleyan deserve to know what is discussed at faculty and staff in meetings. We understand the right of faculty to issue an executive session, however it must be justified. In this instance, the faculty neglected to conduct such a session yet still denied the entry of students.

True transparency between the university and students is hard enough to come by. It’s imperative that students are not barred from attending the meetings in which their education is discussed.  It’s understandable for faculty members to want to be able to speak freely, but students do not need to be excluded for this to occur.

A faculty meeting is news. A faculty meeting in which students are excluded is news. As journalists it is not only our duty, but our passion to cover such events. Those who happen to be subjects of an issue do not have the right to determine whether or not it is newsworthy.

Faculty shuts students out of their November meeting

In an unprecedented move, student representatives from the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA) and The Transcript were denied access to the Nov. 16 faculty meeting.

For the short period of time that students were outside Merrick Hall’s third floor meeting space, the monthly gathering of OWU faculty and staff simmered with controversy. Following the usual invocation, Provost Chuck Stinemetz moved to allow the student guests to enter the room.

After the motion was seconded, professor Bart Martin of the geology department raised his hand with a comment.

Citing the recent publication of Transcript articles in the Delaware Gazette reporting on faculty business, Martin asked that his colleagues consider barring student entry to the Monday meeting in the interest of confidentiality.

Martin’s speech was immediately condemned by an impassioned Paul Kostyu, an associate professor in the journalism department. He reminded the faculty that “we are members of the Delaware community,” and that “they have a right to know what goes on here.”

Kostyu also added that the faculty serves the students and that everything discussed at the faculty meeting “becomes public eventually.”

Professor Chris Wolverton of the botany department stood up to rebut this claim. “It is not unreasonable for faculty members to be allowed to make comments without fear of it being published in the newspaper the next day,” he argued.

As the tension grew between colleagues, one non-faculty member weighed in on the controversial motion. Deborah Peoples, head of collection services for Beeghly Library, said she supported Wolverton’s sentiment.

“I am thinking we deserve a place to air our feelings in relative safety where we are not feeling that it is going to be on the front page the next day,” Peoples said.

Peoples continued, suggesting that, “there are ways to make The Transcript widely accessible to every student and faculty member on this campus in its online form without having to make it accessible to the whole community.”

Sensing the emotion driving both sides of the argument, professor Thomas Wolber of the department of modern foreign languages noted that the issue at hand was indeed contentious.

“We have to find the right balance between transparency and valid argument,” Wolber reasoned, “but we also need to protect the integrity of the institution and the privacy of faculty.”

“I would recommend we not make a quick motion on this issue,” Wolber concluded. “I think somebody should study the issue carefully, weigh the pros and cons and come up with a decision that is rational and logical and that we can defend to the public.”

But professor Carol Neuman De Vegvar of the fine arts department objected to the idea that the faculty’s already precious time be further diminished. And if the faculty open the meeting to students, she argued, the entire Delaware community should be invited to sit in.

“Why don’t we just open the meeting to the entire township,” De Vegvar said. “Why don’t we put it on video and immediately broadcast it as it is happening. The answer is plain: we have business to do as a faculty, we admit people on vote. It is not a matter for the entire community.”

During the brief pause in debate that followed De Vegvar’s suggestion, Stinemetz interjected with a call for remaining comments. When no faculty members raised their hand, he requested a vote.

The faculty were at first asked to speak “yea” or “nay” on the motion to allow student representatives into the meeting, but with the sides being so close, a vote-by-hand was required.

After a silent minute, the motion to allow students into the faculty meeting failed.

With that announcement, Kostyu collected his coat and hat and walked out of the meeting.

As he left the building, Kostyu said his “principles prevent me from being a part of this.”

For the members of WCSA in attendance, the decision to bar their entry was a disappointment.

Junior Jessica Choate, president-elect of WCSA, hoped that her future “communication with the faculty can be open.”

Seniors Emma Drongowski, vice president of WCSA, and Jerry Lherisson, president of WCSA, reported similar feelings.

Speaking on both of their behalf, Drongowski said, “I am very disappointed that students were not granted access to the faculty meeting today. We believe that it is important for students to fully understand decisions that faculty members make, as it directly impacts us as students and as members of the OWU community. We sincerely hope that we, as students, will be included in these meetings and conversations in the future.”

Faculty meeting focuses on financials

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Is it financially sustainable?

That question guided discussion at the Oct. 19 faculty meeting, underlying many of the talking points on the agenda. With enrollment declining, departmental budgets have been cut, book orders for the library reduced, staff laid off, teaching positions remain unfilled, faculty and staff benefits changed and retiree benefits slashed.

President Rock Jones said he and the Board of Trustees discussed, earlier this month, ways to maintain OWU’s liberal arts core in the university’s current economic climate.

“We want to continue the conversation about the importance of our mission as a residential liberal arts institution and to discuss what strategies can help us fulfill that and whether those strategies are sustainable financially, in the 21st Century.”

“We need to be careful,” Jones warned. “If we were to have three or four years of classes that looked like the classes this fall, that would require dramatic action and would threaten our ability to fulfill our mission.”

Provost Charles Stinemetz followed Jones at the podium, and in theme. He told faculty he had been working on a project lately “to estimate the appropriate size of the faculty in relation to student enrollments.”

As hands began to raise, Stinemetz clarified, “The question is, we have a decline in enrollment, how many faculty do we need to serve those students?”

Zach Long, associate professor of English, was the first to speak after this explanation. “Where’d the idea of coming up with an appropriate number of faculty members come from? What was the origin of it?”

Long repeated the question when he wasn’t satisfied with the answers he got from Stinemetz.

Chris Wolverton, chair of the University Governance Committee and a professor of botany-microbiology, tried to help Stinemetz.

“It is the charge of the Governance Committee in the faculty handbook to look at the appropriate size of the faculty,” he said. “This initiative was taken by the Governance Committee.”

Though the investigation is only just beginning, Stinemetz said, “We are far away from having a final model or number. We have had some preliminary discussions with the committees involved, which have brought up some very good points.”

Those committees contributing are the Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC) and the Academic Policy Committee (APC). Suggestions or data generated by these bodies will eventually be reported back to the Governance Committee, Stinemetz said.

After the floor was turned over for committee reports, Wolverton elaborated on what Stinemetz introduced.

“The Governance Committee is tasked with determining the appropriate size of the faculty and administration,” Wolverton said. “So one measure taken was to assemble a working group.”

“That group met and made the recommendation to freeze open faculty positions,” said Wolverton. “That was the outcome. That was what we did.”

When asked by Randolph K. Quaye, associate professor of black world studies, if the hiring freeze is “temporary or permanent,” Wolverton suggested that it remains to be seen.

“One of the variables that has a strong impact is the size of the student body. Now we have several hundred fewer students in our student body.” But, Wolverton suggested, “I would argue that the freezing is going to be temporary.”

Wolverton stressed the importance of cooperation between committee members in making decisions about the number of faculty and administrators OWU can sustain.

“The Governance Committee wants to see a representative of our committee and APC and FPC get as many variables on the table as possible and to see how these variables interact.”

At this point, Wolverton moved to begin an executive session, a period in which all non­-voting members of those present, including The Transcript and members of WCSA, had to leave the room. Wolverton said he wanted the closed meeting so faculty would feel comfortable talking about the economic issues facing the university without their views being made public. The vote to close the meeting was not unanimous.

The closed session ended in about 30 minutes.

When N. Kyle Smith, associate professor of psychology and chair of the APC took the podium, to have faculty vote on a new course and other measures, it was discovered not enough faculty were in attendance for a quorum. As a result, faculty could not vote.

Smith announced that at the faculty’s next meeting in November, he would move for a vote to make UC160, an 0.25 unit course, a requirement of all freshmen.

“Overall, UC160 has been shown to increase the retention rate, to make students more aware of possibilities available to them and to make students more engaged with the university,” Smith said.

But many professors did not seem to share this sentiment.

Karen Fryer, professor of geology­geography, said that for high performing freshmen “who hit the ground running, they simply don’t need it.”

Carol Neuman De Vegvar, professor of fine arts, said that “before we even have a discussion about this, we need to be sent information about the class as it already exists. We don’t really have a sense of the shape of it. This needs to be widespread knowledge before we are in a position to talk about this.”

Expanding UC160 to all freshmen would require a considerable expansion of the number of sections offered, which would mean adding to the faculty workload or hiring adjuncts to teach the sections. Given a tightening budget, faculty said they we were concerned about the added cost.

Earlier in the meeting, Jones said a current goal of his administration is to focus renovation efforts on University Hall. But assessments show that the initial estimate of $10 million for the work won’t be enough to foot the bill.

“We need to put everything on the table,” Jones said. “What are the best uses of that building for the future and what is the cost of allowing that building to serve those purposes?”

Jones also announced that long­time supporters of the University, Phillip J. and Nancy Meek, both members of the class of 1959, recently pledged $10 million to added to the $10 million the Meek family has already donated to the University.