Ohio Valley University Will Not Offer Spring Courses Amid Financial Trouble | News, sports, jobs

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The Stotts Administration Center at Ohio Valley University will be shown on Wednesday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

VIENNA – A fellow student passed the freshman Libby Judge on Wednesday on the quiet campus of Ohio Valley University and asked if she was okay.

“As good as we are at the moment” said the freshman from Proctorville, Ohio, with a smile.

The judge tries to stay positive after learning that she will not be able to return to school in the spring semester.

In a press release from OVU President Michael Ross on Wednesday, the school announced that it would no longer offer classes in spring 2022.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission received a letter Tuesday in which Ross wrote that the school’s board of trustees made a decision at its meeting that week to close.

A person walks an Ohio Valley University sidewalk Wednesday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“We are in an extremely difficult financial situation and know that we still have a lot to do to complete the current semester.” Ross wrote.

A hearing before the commission with a resolution on the agenda is scheduled for Friday, 10 a.m., urging the revocation of the OVU’s admission to awarding degrees. Despite the school’s announcement, a HEPC official said the hearing would continue Friday, including matters related to OVU.

Agenda documents for Friday’s session posted on the HEPC website include detailed complaints recently from OVU students, parents and staff about the school’s inability to provide academic transcripts due to a computer server problem and the institution’s failure to keep staff for months Work to compensate.

School officials informed the commission that they are working on a way to access the transcript data.

Wes Crum, vice president of academic affairs at OVU, referred all questions to Ross.

A water tower named Ohio Valley University will stand next to dormitories on Wednesday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The West Virginia Attorney General is aware of the situation. A spokesman said people can file a consumer complaint with their office or with the Higher Learning Commission.

The OVU has not yet given a timeframe by which it can provide students with their transcripts or when the payroll issues will be resolved, the HEPC reported.

The Higher Learning Commission, an independent accreditation body for universities in 19 countries, suspended the OVU on parole in July 2020 due to financial problems

In the press release, Ross said the school will work on its next steps with sister schools, local private and public entities, HEPC and the Higher Learning Commission.

“There was a lot to guess and to rearrange” said judge. “I have no idea (what’s next). I’m trying to find a place where I can play softball and continue my studies. “

She said she was grateful to school officials who are working to find scholarships that are suitable so that athletes can continue their education and athletic careers without paying more than they already are.

Jonathan Torres, a Puerto Rican OVU newbie, said the past few days have been tough.

“Everyone had a different version of what was going on until we had a big meeting yesterday.” said Torres, who is now looking for options for both his education and baseball career.

Ross said the school will host a college mass at Roberts Chapel from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday to help students take their next steps.

“OVU strives to be an institution that conducts business with integrity and at the same time makes good use of our resources.” he said in the press release. “Our current situation prevents us from fulfilling these intentions.

“While much progress has been made, it was not enough for us to continue to work with integrity.”

In his letter to HEPC, Ross said the university had not made its decision lightly and is aware that the work ahead to meet student needs is a priority.

In an email from Ross to the “OVU family”, Provided by an OVU student, the President confirmed “This is an extremely difficult time full of uncertainty and fear.”

“This semester has been a roller coaster ride of events, activities and emotions.” he wrote in the email. “The persistent server problems have complicated transcripts, grades, and registration.

“This, together with the power outage that affected the sprinkler system and the alarm in the women’s dormitory, was so difficult. We’ve also had our in-depth review by the Higher Learning Commission and know there are shortcomings to be addressed. These problems create a negative aura that is difficult to overcome. “

Ross also spoke about the positive experiences the university has had lately in terms of student life and on-campus activities to bring the OVU community together. He mentioned “Games in the front yard, tailgates, the OVU-Königshof and devotions”, as well as a remarkable season for the women’s soccer team.

“The chapel was a positive experience as we tried to constantly introduce Jesus and his meaning in our lives.” Ross wrote. “The highlights include services that are completely managed by our students and the welcoming of the alumni who have their say again.”

He went on to say that the university is diligently working on plans to address several scenarios that could affect the future of the school.

“There’s nothing definite at this point, but I want you to know that our students are our top priority.” he wrote. “I want to assure you that your credits and degrees are not at risk. When you complete a course or a course of study, you receive the full benefits of your services. “

As the university continues evaluation and processing, he said he will keep students updated on their progress and plans.

Though not mentioned in the HEPC documents, the OVU also faces a pending lawsuit from two female students who allege the school took no action after they reported seeing other students sexually abused by other students at an off-campus party being. They said they faced threats and intimidation after reporting the incident.

In response to the complaint, the OVU admitted that the students had reported the alleged assaults and threats, but denied the other allegations.

The lawsuit was filed in Wood County Circuit Court in September 2020. Court documents show the parties are due to mediate by March 31, 2022, with a potential trial slated for June.

Ohio Valley University is a private institution affiliated with the Churches of Christ and was founded in 1958. According to the US News and World Report, a total of 253 students are enrolled in the fall of 2020.

Reporter Candice Black contributed to this story.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at [email protected] and Evan Bevins at [email protected]

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