Colleagues,Good morning. I wanted to update you regarding the activities of yesterday. Last evening, President Frederick, Mr. Kindle, Ms. Laura Jack (Interim VP of Advancement) and I met with @25-30 students leading the #TakebackHU group for over an hour.Students voiced a number of concerns including; improved customer service throughout campus and focused on advising, financial aid, Registrar, etc.; consistency in information that they receive from various offices; better communication overall; improved infrastructure in buildings, supplies and equipment in their academic programs, etc.President Frederick acknowledged a number of shortcomings in the distribution of aid this year and apologized for the inefficient implementation of various services (primarily refunds, etc.).He also committed to improved customer service in all areas, and noted that HR will be rolling out a Customer Training program for all employees.He then provided context regarding software issues with Banner, level of service provided by contractors (several under review), over $750 million in deferred maintenance, and relatively low level of giving by alums, etc.In context, last year the University received @ $200 million in tuition payment, and provided over $100 million in scholarships and student aid. This is against the total budget of over $800 million.Several of our infrastructure problems will require longer term solutions, leveraging of our real estate assets, creative financing, etc.The meeting concluded with several updates from Financial Aid. Thus far, the patch to enable continued communication with the Department of Education is working.The Federal Pell Grant disbursements were completed yesterday afternoon.We have also contacted Treasury and they agreed to be on standby for a refund file which was sent late last night. We are awaiting confirmation of bank receipt this morning. Provided that it is confirmed, students will receive refunds between today, Saturday and through next Wednesday, depending on their banking institution (and noting that Monday is a banking holiday).Meanwhile, the students have begun their peaceful sit-in protest in the Administration building.We are hardly under siege, but Campus Police are taking no chances and there is a high level of security in the building. If you are coming to the A building, you may want to use the rear entrance near the parking lot. I will keep you updated. Thank you.
September 4, 2015 at 11:12 AM EDT