During today’s meeting of the Ball State University Board of Trustees, President Geoffrey S. Mearns briefed the Board on the campus response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, presenting the Extraordinary Temporary Paid Leave Plan to protect any employee unable to work for a COVID-19 related reason.
“I consulted with the leadership team and the Chair of the Board of Trustees to develop a plan to provide reassurance to our valuable University employees,” said President Mearns.
The Trustees unanimously approved the plan. Under this plan, an employee unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason, will receive regular, full pay through June 30, or through the end of the employee’s regular employment period, whichever comes first.
In order to receive this additional paid leave, an employee will not have to use any pre-existing paid leave.
To prepare for the possibility that this public health crisis extends beyond June 30, the Board of Trustees also approved the University’s plan to create a donated paid leave bank from which an eligible employee would be able to draw, after June 30, for COVID-19 related absences.
President Mearns said the vice presidents and academic deans have already joined him in pledging donations of leave to the bank.
“Our overarching goal is simple,” said President Mearns. “During this unprecedented public health crisis, we want to provide University employees with reassurance that this pandemic will not cause individuals to suffer any additional financial stress.”
He also said additional information regarding the University’s efforts during the public health crisis may be found at bsu.edu/coronavirus.
In other business, the Ball State Board of Trustees approved the scope and budget of the renovation of the Cooper Science Complex. The $59.9 million project is designed to transform the aging science building into a state-of-the art complex.
The project will include the demolition of about 45% of Cooper Science and retrofitting the remaining portion to house several science departments, including physics and astronomy, geography, and environment, geology, and natural resources. Construction is underway on the new Foundational Sciences Building to serve the needs of students in chemistry and biology programs.
At the recommendation of President Mearns, the Board of Trustees also reappointed Mark Ervin, an attorney for the local firm Beasley & Gilkison, to a new four-year term on the seven-member board of trustees that governs Muncie Community Schools (MCS).
Board Chair Renae Conley noted that Mr. Ervin, an MCS graduate who earned his bachelor’s degree in 1981 (magna cum laude) and a master’s degree in 1985 from Ball State, has played a significant role in reshaping the school district during his first two years serving on the MCS board.
Chair Conley said Mr. Ervin and the MCS board have helped spur a renewed sense of optimism.
In partnership with Ball State, the MCS Board of Trustees has raised approximately $5 million in philanthropic support, stabilized enrollment, and provided stipends for teachers and staff for the first time in years.
“Mark is a proud graduate of MCS,” she said. “He brings a strong commitment to education as the school board engages with the entire MCS community. With the MCS board’s leadership and dedication, the future of our local schools is bright.”
In accordance with Executive Order 20-09 issued by Governor Eric J. Holcomb on March 23, the Trustees participated through virtual communication. Members of the public and media were provided call-in information.