Some of the Ohio State Board of Trustees committees met to discuss compliance issues, including an at-risk Title IX program, and financial education programs Thursday.
Audit and Compliance Committee
Some supporters of former OSU marching band director Jonathan Waters attended the Board’s Audit and Compliance Committee meeting, though they served as silent onlookers.
Waters was fired July 24 after a two-month investigation into the band found a culture conducive to sexual harassment. It was determined Waters was aware or reasonably should have been aware of that culture and did not do enough to change it. Though Waters asked to be reinstated, Board Chairman Jeffrey Wadsworth and President Michael Drake have said they will not consider rehiring him.
The committee heard an update of the university’s external audit for 2014 and the compliance report, which looks at the general university, health system, Campus Partners (a private, nonprofit corporation that works on community planning in the campus area alongside OSU and the city of Columbus) and other components. The overall audit of OSU is set to be released Oct. 8, said Christa Dewire, an audit partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the firm performing the audit.
The committee’s agenda listed concerns over its Title IX program, which it said is at “high risk.” It listed particular concern over the risk of potential litigation or reputational harm. The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is currently conducting a four-year compliance review of OSU’s Title IX program.
Vice president and chief compliance officer Gates Garrity-Rokous said the university is making “a long-term effort to simplify policies and training for staff moving forward.”
Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee
The Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee met Thursday to discuss financial education programs of Student Life and the graduate school.
The programs aim to supply OSU students with tools that will “enable them (to) begin their lives and careers after graduation on a sound financial base,” according to the Board agenda.
OSU programs like Student Life’s Scarlet and Gray Financial Peer Coaching program aim to develop student financial capability, address financial stress, anticipate and offer education, and support in financial crisis, according to the agenda.
“One of the things that we are seeing is that students have a relatively low level of financial literacy. So, most students, when given a quiz on financial literacy, will fail that quiz,” Student Wellness Center assistant director Bryan Ashton told The Lantern after the meeting.
Ashton was involved with a financial wellness and education study at OSU that was presented to the Board committee.
Student Life vice president Javaune Adams-Gaston and Patrick Osmer, vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the graduate school, said they plan to address this problem by developing an undergraduate and graduate financial education program for all students that will be available online, funded by Huntington Bank and a $40,000 grant.
A study conducted by Student Life’s wellness inventory showed that 50 percent of incoming first-year students in 2013 said they were worried about their financial future, according to the agenda.
“What we’re seeing is that while students are in school, we’re seeing an increase in that stress and anxiety around their financial situation,” Ashton said.
The study suggests that supporting students through advising during the early stages of financial stress can set them in a better direction.
This statistic aligns with a National Collegiate Health Assessment 2013 and 2014 survey that showed more than one-third of college students said their finances were “traumatic or difficult to handle” within the year, according to the agenda.
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