The Mineral Area College Board of Trustees heard a report about the decline in the crime rate on campus and approved an updated dress code at its meeting on Thursday.
At the beginning of the meeting, during the president’s report, MAC President Dr. Joe Gilgour shared that the presidents and chancellors of Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) met the week prior at University of Missouri (MU) in Columbia and signed the transfer agreement with the university. They also discussed a service region agreement.
During the meeting, the main focus, according to Gilgour, was the request to the state on behalf of the MCCA for $30 million to be added to the core of community college funding, which would benefit MAC at about $500,000 a year.
“We are optimistic we are going to get some of that,” said Gilgour. “There is little optimism that we will get all of that but that is the request.”
Gilgour encouraged the board to talk to legislators and respectfully advocate for this increase in funding. Gilgour said community colleges receive 17% of higher education funding from the state but enrolls 50% of the students in higher education.
“We have a lot of students out there that we are impacting and making a difference on, and the funding is very inequitable as far as that goes,” he said.
Following the report, Mark Easter, MAC counselor and advisor, presented the fall semester census report for 2019. Easter reported that “after the dust has settled on the numbers,” MAC’s enrollment has declined.
There are currently 2,663 students for the current fall semester which is an 8% drop, but Easter continued with good numbers to report.
First-time students enrolled in MAC has gone up by 5%, and the enrollment census shows a slight increase in returning students.
“Hopefully what we are doing right now, getting out there and expanding our service area, will bring more students into our school,” said Easter. “We are always wanting our numbers to be better; therefore, we are always diligently working to improve them.”
Director of Campus Safety, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Instructor Rich Flotron presented to the board the campus safety report. He said there has been a decrease in campus crime which, according to Flotron, was a small amount to begin with.
“I have to give all credit to campus police and campus security,” said Flotron. “They do an outstanding job with what we have to work with.”
It was reported that most types of crime on campus have gone down in percentage except for one reported sexual assault which was handled by Title IX policy.
In order to be more proactive and preventive of crime, there will be training offered for campus security authorities which is “everyone who basically has anything to do with students.”
The board also discussed a matter that had been on a previous meeting agenda, specifically a change to the dress code for staff and faculty which was presented by Kathryn Neff, director of human resources.
“In a world where most people think it is cool to be a hot mess, Mineral Area College is choosing a different path,” Neff said. “We are choosing to live out our values, and our values indicating that a student should expect excellence, opportunity and encouragement to succeed. We think we can demonstrate those values through our appearance and through our performance.”
Neff further explained the policy change.
“We understand that a lot of people believe that a causal dress code is a work perk, so we will still encourage employees to be comfortable and causal on professional development days and school spirit days, but the policy that we are recommending is very simple,” continued Neff. “The spirit of the policy allows employees to empower themselves, make safety a priority and make their attire make sense for what they are doing.”
One board member indicated he agreed with the proposal. “It will be great to walk down the hall and know the difference between a student and an employee,” commented board member Harvey Faircloth.
A motion to change the dress code policy was unanimously approved, and will be put into effect Jan. 1.
Other matters brought to the table, new and old, included an update for the upcoming Higher Learning Commission (HLC) education organization visit and approvals of first and second readings to revisions of board policy.
The next board of trustees meeting for MAC will be on Nov. 14
Macey Adams is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3616 or email@example.com