ETSU President Brian Noland attended the Student Government Association meeting on Feb. 28 during open forum to discuss plans for the university.
“One of the things that I think is extremely exciting, at this point of time in the history of the university, is so much of what is underway is new,” Noland said.
For the past 106 years, the university has been governed under the Tennessee Board of Regents, but starting this semester, ETSU will be self-governed for the first time.
Noland has already worked on a strategic budget to introduce to the board next year, and with the Board of Trustees, Noland would like to make designated fees permanent.
“What I would like to be able to do with designated fees so, that’s rec sports and intramurals, that’s athletics, that’s nursing clinics, that’s parking fees, etc. is say to an incoming freshman, ‘Here’s what your fees are going to be for the next four years and they’ll never go up if you graduate in four years,” Noland said. “Your fees for things like the library or rec sports, those things, for which there are designated purposes, those fees do not go up.”
Noland wants to eventually see stability among fees.
“Next year’s freshmen class will have an auto-inflator,” he said. “So, they pay a little bit more than the freshmen class did the year before that. You graduate in four (years), your fees never go up. If you graduate in six (years), then you have to pay what the rate is at that point, but it gives you all permanency.”
The first meeting of the Board of Trustees is on March 24 in the East Tennessee Room in the D.P. Culp Center. The meeting is open to the public and will be live streamed.
Noland also discussed the renovations of Lamb Hall and the construction of the new fine arts building and the football stadium. He said the stadium will open in the fall, is ahead of schedule and slightly under budget.
“We’re hopeful that it can open for a couple things above and beyond football,” Noland said. “Potentially a concert or potentially an interdenominational worship service. We want to use that facility for more than just football.”
There were also legislative issues that Noland wanted to discuss, such as the legislation to allow students to open carry on campuses.
“I am opposed to open carry and I am opposed to students having weapons on campus and that is the position I am going to take in the general assembly, but right now, I really don’t think there’s any need to get too excited,” he said.
As of July 1, 2016, full time employees at public universities in Tennessee may carry a concealed weapon on colleges campuses, and this may be expanded to students.
“We’re here to test what you think and how you believe,” Noland said. “I don’t think we could do that, if everybody has pistols in front of them. You all may not agree with me, but that’s my opinion.”