NMU Board of Trustees today approved housing and dining rates for the 2009-10 academic year. The annual cost of a standard double-occupancy room and the “constant meal pass” option will be $7,646, an increase of $204. Gavin Leach, NMU vice president for finance and administration, said the university’s 2.75 percent increase is the lowest to date among the eight Michigan public institutions that have announced rates for next year. The other increases range from 2.9 to 6.4 percent. Trustee Stephen Adamini of Marquette said, “Knowing that many parents are suffering in this economy, I want to be able to look those parents in the eye and assure them we’re doing what we can to manage the cost of a Northern education. We’re not acting recklessly or absorbing all of the rising operational expenses with this increase. We’re doing our best to contain costs.” Trustees also authorized continuation general fund and designated fund budgets until new versions are approved pending a decision on state higher education appropriations. The budgets will not exceed the current level, except for increases required by existing or newly negotiated union contracts. In other action, the board: ▪Reauthorized the North Star Academy Charter School contract for a five-year period—through June 30, 2014—and expansion of the charter to include grades K-5. ▪Appointed or reappointed the following public school academy board members to terms expiring June 30, 2012: Patricia Paris and Debbie Cook, JKL Bahweting Charter School; Arthur Bone, Burton Glen Charter School; and Jonathan Kniskern, Gary Ebrecht and Jack Noble, North Star Academy. ▪Agreed to abide by NMU President Les Wong’s decision to freeze his salary. The board’s executive committee had recommended a $10,000 base salary increase, but Wong declined to accept it. ▪Added a new post-master’s family nurse practitioner certificate program, effective fall 2009. ▪Approved the addition of two projects to the previously issued 2008 bond series, based on remaining funds that must be utilized under bond covenants. The $1.7 million renovation to the Quad II residence hall lobbies and $600,000 Cohodas cooling tower and air conditioning project would be paid for with the previously bonded 2008 money and will not require the allocation of additional funding. ▪Approved the purchase of property and structure at 1716 Schaeffer Ave. at a cost of $72,000 plus related miscellaneous expenses. The university is planning to rent this property in the short term. ▪Agreed to continue the existing Reduction in Force (RIF) plan for fiscal years 2009-11. ▪Approved revised pass-through fees for two courses. The $80 bowling fee reflects the increase being charged to NMU for lane usage. The $15 cosmetology fee is required to register students with the State of Michigan to track their clocked hours. Also, the non-refundable comprehensive residence hall fee was adjusted from $194 to $200. ▪Accepted $9,350 in gifts and $429,000 in external grants. ▪Approved a departmental name change from clinical laboratory sciences to clinical sciences, effective fall 2009. ▪Adopted an initial identity theft prevention program in compliance with the “Red Flag” rules issued by the Federal Trade Commission pursuant to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). ▪Granted professor emeritus status to James Panowski, who recently retired from the communications and performance studies department. ▪Approved faculty tenure and promotions. ▪Participated in a focus discussion that provided an update of the Alumni Association and a history and overview of the NMU Foundation.