It has been no secret that the University of Montevallo has taken some financial hits due to the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic. Despite this, UM’’s board of trustees voted at its February meeting to freeze tuition, room and fees for 2021-2022 school year, marking the fourth year in a row the board has frozen tuition.
Due to contractual obligations, board was not frozen and will be raised 3.9%.
According to Susan Hayes, UM’s chief financial officer and treasurer, most universities are keeping their rates the same “to help students.”
Board chairman, Todd Strange, “I don’t know if we’re going to be able to keep doing that.”
The Board of Trustees also passed a motion to make online tuition the same for both in-state and out-of-state.
In other matters, SGA President Thomas Dillard informed the Trustees that SGA was working on a resolution to thank faculty and staff for all of their hard work.
Student Trustee Anakate Andrasko stated that SGA would be sending out another student survey to gather student feedback on the semester and thanked the Trustees for responding positively to the previous survey.
On behalf of the Academic and Student Affairs, Trustee Wynelle Sewell informed the Board of five action items from the committee. The five items were renaming the department of English and Foreign language to English and World; establishing a new Ed.D. degree program in Restorative Leadership; extending tenure track for professors due to COVID-19 disrupting plans; approving a new marketing concentration for students; and making a revision to the current calendar to move College Night to March for this year only.
All of these motions were passed. There were also plans discussed by Alumni Affairs to stream College Night performance for $30 online.
Disruptions caused by COVID was a common theme for the meeting. The board of trustees normally does its end of year evaluations at its in-person retreat, but due to COVID-19 concerns, they will be completing the evaluations online.
Scott Dillard, the vice president for advancement and external affairs, mentioned that COVID-19 had forced his department to readjust and they were working on a developing a plan for fundraising moving forward.
Looking toward the future, many of the trustees expressed hopefulness that the pandemic would be under control by the fall.
One of the events planned for the fall is a lecture series being put together by the Black Heritage Committee. UM President, Dr. John Stewart asked Dr. Greg Samuels, an associate secondary education professor and the chair of the Black Heritage Committee, to speak to the board about the lecture series.
Samuels explained to the board that the committee would like to name the series in honor of Dr. Wilson Fallin Jr., a professor emeritus of History in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
The proposal issued to the board stated that “he [Dr. Lee] has been a consistent and fearless supporter of numerous efforts in the area of civil rights and social justice and beloved friend to all those who made his acquaintance, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Himself.”
The board accepted the proposal, officially naming the lecture series in honor of Dr. Lee.
Despite all of the disruptions caused by COVID-19, Strange stated that he was proud of how well UM was handling things compared to other universities.
“This institution we call Montevallo is exceptional,” said Strange.
Harrison Neville is the editor in chief for The Alabamian. He is a fourth-year English major whose hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking and writing. He has previously worked for The Alabamian as a managing editor, distribution manager, copy editor and SGA columnist.