At its quarterly meeting held on campus today, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved several resolutions, including one honoring the life of the late Deriek W. Crouse.

Crouse, a Virginia Tech Police officer, was slain in the line of duty Dec. 8, 2011. The board will present a copy of the resolution to Crouse's family.

Also at the full meeting of the board, the selection of the student representatives to the board for 2012-13 were announced. Nicholas Onopa of Wausau, Wis., a junior majoring in public and urban affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, was named the undergraduate student representative. Robyn Jones of Blacksburg, Va., a master's degree student in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, will join the board beginning July 1, 2012. 

A full story on the two new student representatives will appear in Virginia Tech News the week of April 9.

The adoption of a short-term disability program for restricted faculty was also approved by the board. As a well-established research university with almost 800 restricted faculty, this new employee benefit will help Virginia Tech recruit and retain researchers who will foster continued growth in the university’s research portfolio.

Next year’s compensation package for graduate and teaching assistants was also approved. The university will advance the stipend scale by providing a base stipend increase of one percent, as well as increase the academic year supplement from $200 to $300 to help mitigate the university’s assigned costs.

A resolution extending university policy to require conviction checks on all non-student full-time, part-time, and temporary/wage positions, including teaching and research faculty was approved by the board. The action will further protect university interests, institutional resources, and the welfare of Virginia Tech students, employees, and the public.

Conviction and driving record checks are currently required in all administrative areas for administrative/professional (A/P) faculty, staff and 1,500-hour wage positions, as well as throughout the university for those hired for specified wage and salary positions. Current Virginia Tech employees will not be subject to retroactive conviction/driving checks, unless a check is required by state law, federal law, or university policy.

The board approved a resolution to establish a regulation concerning weapons on campus. In 2011, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that policies at public institutions governing weapons are not enforceable by law. In its action’s today, the board approved a regulation regarding weapons on campus that would be enforceable by law.  The weapons on campus regulation will be posted on Virginia Tech’s policies website.

The Virginia Tech Crisis and Emergency Management Plan, which includes all-hazards plans and procedures for disasters, was approved by the board. The plan is a living document, and as such, the Office of Emergency Management will update it as required. The board must review and adopt the plan every four years as required by the Code of Virginia.

The board voted to rename the Academic and Student Affairs building currently under construction on Old Turner Street at the north end of campus to Lavery Hall in honor of the university’s 12th president. During the late William E. Lavery’s 12 years as president, which spanned from 1975 to 1987, the university established the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and entered the ranks of the nation’s top 50 research universities.

On Sunday, board members received several reports from university officials, including those on the progress of the Long-Range Plan, university budget, and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

On Monday, the Academic Affairs Committee received a report from Associate Vice President for Human Resources Hal Irvin and Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs Jack Finney on organizational climate. They reported an employee climate survey of salaried employees provided data highlighting changes in employee opinions from fall 2009 to fall 2011. Even though employees expressed concerns about staffing levels and compensation, given the difficult economic climate, there were many positive results including improved employee perceptions regarding campus morale, opportunities for career growth, and support for professional development. Ninety-two percent of survey respondents believe Virginia Tech is a good place to work.

Rosemary Blieszner was reappointed to her second 10-year term as an Alumni Distinguished Professor. In addition, the board honored nine current faculty members with appointments to endowed professorships or fellowships, and approved resolutions to honor five faculty members with emeritus status. 

Complete stories on Blieszner and the other 14 individuals honored will appear in Virginia Tech News beginning Tuesday, March 27.

The board did not consider a resolution for 2012-13 tuition and fees at this meeting and will do so at an additional meeting to be held later this spring. The Virginia General Assembly has yet to pass a budget. Thus, the university is unable to finalize its proposed budget for next year and its potential impact on tuition and fees. The board plans to meet again in late April to consider and set tuition and fees for academic year 2012-13.

The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held June 3 through 4, 2012, in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

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