Board of Regents to Address Key Issues at BHSU This Week

The South Dakota Board of Regents will meet at Black Hills State University this week, where they will address their December agenda. Among other items, the agenda includes a proposal to allow for the sale of alcohol at specific university events, a program productivity review of graduate rates by major, and a pilot test for a flat tuition rate at BHSU.

Perhaps the most discussed item on the agenda is the proposal to sell beer and wine at university events. South Dakota law currently prohibits the sale of alcohol on campuses statewide. If accepted, the Board of Regents will have to petition for a change in the law. So far, state universities have weighed in individually on the subject.

Most, including BHSU, appear to be neutral on the matter. South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota anticipate having the most to gain from the revision, with projected revenues of over $100,000 each. BHSU estimates a gross income of $2,500 if sales are permitted, which would be earned by selling at music, theatre and sporting events.

Student consensus reported to the Board of Regents showed opposition to the proposal from students at Northern State University and a split opinion at Dakota State University. Student feedback from all other state schools was generally supportive with varying levels of concern for implementation protocols and safety.

The proposal comes at a time when Title IX compliance and assault prevention are also on the agenda. A Board of Regents summary of the proposal shows concern for public perception on the matter, and claims that no evidence exists for increases in crime or assault when alcohol sales are implemented. However, multiple studies have shown that alcohol sales at college stadiums can lead to increased crime. The cost of security and other measures necessitated by the alcohol has yet to be reported to the Board of Regents.

Another item on the agenda is a pilot test for a flat tuition rate at BHSU. Currently, the tuition rate for on-campus resident students ranges from $266.80 for English courses to $295.45 for Business courses, per credit hour.

The new rate and fee structure would set the cost of all courses at $280 for on-campus, resident students. Classes offered at the University Center in Rapid City would cost $325 per credit hour, as would Internet and remedial courses.

Military rates would be set at $250, and the new structure would allow for greater federal reimbursement to those with military benefits. The current structure allows for reimbursement of only $139, since fees do not qualify. The pilot program restructuring would allow for reimbursement of all but the $34 General Activity Fee.

Some programs are also up for review at this month’s meeting. The Board of Regents has established a Program Productivity Review, which sets a threshold of five graduates per year or 25 over five years for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. At BHSU, 13 programs fall below this threshold. Tourism is the only associate’s degree on the list, while bachelor’s programs include Chemistry, Communication Studies/Theatre, Music Education, Physical Science and Spanish.

A program’s placement on the list does not necessarily mean that it will be terminated. The purpose of the review is to flag programs that are not meeting the average number of graduates approved by the Board of Regents. Degree programs may be retained due to critical need, retained for further review, consolidated with another program or terminated. The Program Productivity Review was established in 2010.

The Board of Regents will meet at BHSU from Dec. 1st to Dec. 3rd.