In an email sent Wednesday, April 8, 2020, UAFS Chancellor Terisa Riley outlined the resolutions presented by the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees in their April 8 meeting.
Today, the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas met and voted to adopt several resolutions that will guide our institution and all colleges and universities in the U of A System as we move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, I will summarize the most critical and pressing actions, though I hope you will review the full resolutions at this link: https://www.uasys.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2020/04/UA-Trustees-Approve-Covid.pdf
First, I am happy to share that the Board of Trustees voted not to raise tuition and fees for students enrolled in fall 2020 classes. The Trustees noted their concerns for Arkansans who have lost employment or whose income may be reduced as a result of the current national health crisis as the reason not to allow any U of A schools to raise tuition and fees. They will monitor the economic impacts of COVID-19 to determine if a tuition and fee increase is warranted in January 2021.
Next, the Trustees voted to require all colleges and universities to conduct courses online or remote education throughout the summer 2020 terms. This means UAFS will not offer face-to-face courses this summer. I will work with Provost Georgia Hale and academic leaders to determine how we will provide access, to the best of our ability, to the courses our students need for graduation or credentialing.
The Trustees voted to cancel all summer camps and conferences, both academic and athletic, which were scheduled for face-to-face delivery for summer 2020. Some of our departments have already started to create content for online camps and conferences, and the UAFS MANE Event new student orientation programs and ROAR First-Year Advising programs will be hosted digitally as well.
The Board of Trustees also voted to allow universities that close down residence halls to provide a housing and/or food service refund for graduating seniors and credit for future housing for those students who are not graduating by August 31, 2020. I have formed a Student Room and Board Refund/Credit Task Force which will review this option and bring forward recommendations, but UAFS has not formally closed university housing, so no refunds or credits will be issued until such time as we announce building closures. The Board of Trustees did not vote to approve any other refunds or credits for any tuition, fees, or university charges.
Employees were previously notified that they will be working remotely until April 17; however, I will extend the remote work opportunity for our professional staff and faculty to May 29, 2020. Supervisors will continue to stay in close contact with employees to provide guidance and work assignments.
To provide more information about these decisions and the ways that UA-Fort Smith will plan and respond, I will prepare a video message for campus, which will be sent to you via email on Friday, April 10. In the meantime, please know that I am thinking of you as you adjust to learning, teaching, and working from home.
You are doing great and I’m proud of you!
Terisa C. Riley, Ph.D.