Lincoln raising room and board fees for students

Curators approve several changes, OK upgrades at buildings

Lincoln University students will pay more for room and board next year, curators voted Thursday.

The fee increases range from $50 to $100, Jerome Offord, LU’s chief of staff, told the board, and were requested “basically due to the need to continuously repair older buildings, as well to keep our residence halls current for this generation of students.”

Several buildings will get “upgrades” such as new water heaters and restroom improvements this summer, he added.

Curators also approved a board change dropping the current 19-, 14- and 10-meal plans in favor of a “single meal plan,” with unlimited access to the cafeteria.

The students will be able to eat as much as they want, between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.,” Offord explained. “They can come and go in the cafeteria as many times as they want.

“They will still have the three ‘heavy’ meals but, in between those times there will be other food there to consume.

“The goal is that the cafeteria will be more like a ‘Starbucks hangout location,’ where they can come in and grab some food — bananas, something to drink, or a salad or soup — and then sit at the tables, co-mingle, study or watch TV.”

However, he added, student IDs still will be needed to get into the cafeteria, “because we can’t feed everybody in Jeff City.”

President Kevin Rome has launched an “I’m In” campaign encouraging students to commit to returning to Lincoln next year.

Those students “who sign up to recommit to Lincoln in the residence halls” before the end of April will “have their room rates for this year honored for next year,” Offord said — so the new room rates, which differ from one dorm to another, would affect new students and those current students who don’t sign up until May 1 or later.

He said 76 students already have made that commitment.

Lincoln plans to build a new “Wellness Center,” with ground-breaking scheduled at Homecoming in the fall.

It’s intended to “house the Wellness academic program and provide students with a facility that supports healthy living,” a memo to board members said.

Curators approved a $75 per semester fee for all “main campus, degree-seeking students,” starting next month.

That money will go into a fund to be used to “purchase state-of-the-art equipment in year one and future years.”

The center will be built on Locust and East Atchison streets, south of the new Scruggs Residence Hall.

It will have classrooms, a full-sized gymnasium with a basketball court — and space to build another court in the future — and the proposed new home for the Boys and Girls Club, which must move from its present space because of the construction of the Lafayette Street interchange with the U.S. 50/63 Expressway.

Cary Gampher of Architects Alliance showed some conceptual drawings of what the floor plans will be.

The plans also provide space for a possible future swimming pool, a facility long-promised to LU students.

The school began collecting a student fee for that project in the 1980s, but hasn’t collected money in around 25 years, curators were told.

The Swimming Pool Fund has $615,114 in it. The board on Thursday approved transferring that money to the Wellness Center.

Curators also approved changes in LU’s Drug and Alcohol Policy and the policy statement on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking.

Offord said those changes were required by federal and state law changes.

“We haven’t updated our policies since the early ’90s or late ’80s,” he told the board.

The drug and alcohol policy clearly notes that “Lincoln University prohibits the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and/or alcohol by students or employees on the university property or as a party of any official university activity.”

But, Offord said in answer to a question, students who are 21 or older — old enough to drink alcohol under state law — still may not have alcohol on campus.

Punishment for violations of the policy vary with the violation that occurred.

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