Board of Regents: 12.9.11

Jeremiah Johnson, student regent, entertains comments from Student Government Association members during the report of the constituency regents portion of Friday's meeting. || Austin Ramsey/The News

Austin Ramsey
News Editor

The Murray State Board of Regents voted to demolish Ordway Hall unless donors pay for its restoration, and took action to accept the audit statements at its quarterly meeting Friday.

Ordway Hall, which has been an issue in front of the board for several months, is reportedly no longer meeting state building codes, and Kim Oatman, chief facilities manager, said a renovation project for the building would cost almost six times as much as razing it.

The vote was 8-1, with Marilyn Buchanon voting against it. She said she is for renovating it, as the building is one of six “core buildings” of the University campus.

She gave a statement to The News, following the meeting, stating her concerns over the credibility of a 5-year-old recommendation by the Council on Postsecondary Education that the building be torn down.

Ordway Hall has undergone an evacuation of sorts for several months. In the spring, administrators began moving offices under the Office of Student Affairs into the Applied Science Building. Now only the head of Student Affairs offices remain along with those of Career Services.

Also at the board meeting, the regents accepted the complete audit reports of the University’s external auditing firm Rubin Brown.

The regents entertained no discussion during the formal meeting, but earlier that morning, Jeff Winter of Rubin Brown, presented the executive summary of the campus-wide audit.

He raised a few concerns including proper communication between department heads in product transactions.

Winter also advised that the board adopt a formal “whistleblower” policy that would give employees at Murray State formal avenues to take should he or she uncover fraudulent activity on the part of another employee.

Faculty Regent Jack Rose asked Winter if there had been any incidents that had merited the policy, and Winter responded by saying no incidents of significance had occurred.

“We’re not here reporting a fraud,” he said. “If there’s a procedure that may not be effective, that’s what we’re communicating.”

Chair Constantine Curris said he agreed with the idea of a policy change, and said he would tell Regent Harry Lee Waterfield II – who was absent from the meeting due to prior arrangements – that he would like to see formal action taken by the board at the next meeting in March.

“If we do have a problem, I don’t want folks in Frankfort to know about it before we know about it,” he said.

Retired Regent Bill Adams accepts a resolution of appreciation from Chair Constantine Curris at the University Board of Regents meeting Friday. || Austin Ramsey/The News

Winter, who was assisted in his presentation by Tom Denton, vice president of finance and administrative services, told the board they were well on their way to making the budgeted mark of the year, and that the University currently sat on $54 million in unrestricted net assets.

Denton added that he anticipated that number to grow.

“That’s a significant amount of expendable resources,” he said. “Our net assets only continue to grow.”

Also in the meeting, the board formally presented a resolution of appreciation to Bill Adams. Adams, a longtime Murray State regent, served his last term ending last spring.

Adams, who attended the meeting briefly in the afternoon, accepted a plaque from Curris. He said he was thankful for the honor and he appreciated the hard work existing regents were doing.

“I know the struggles you go through,” he told the board, “and I wish you the best.”

Adams heads Adams Construction Inc., a private and commercial contracting company based in Murray.

Dunn also proposed and passed a motion to name a laboratory in the Science Complex the Dr. Howell Clark Analytical Chemistry Laboratory. Dunn said Clark was an important person to the University and its operation.

The board also accepted the National Collegiate Athletic Association governing certification for the University and unanimously passed all professorial designations and staff leaves of absences without pay.

The board accepted three gifts-in-kind for University Communications, the telecommunications systems management program and the Hutson School of Agriculture.

Near the start of the meeting, the board formally conferred all degrees from August and December of 2011.

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