by Max Brantley
The line is open. Final notes:
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You can read more on that on the jump. Note, too, that the UCA Board has approved a two-year employment agreement with President Tom Courtway. I don't know if there are any changes in salary terms. I'll let you know if I get a response to my after-hours inquiry.
ALSO: Courtway will talk to freshman students Monday, the school announced, about the dangers of texting while driving.
“This is an epidemic, not only for teenagers but for all ages,” said Courtway. “If a 15-minute lecture can save a life or keep a student out of a hospital bed, then it’s well worth it.”
UCA NEWS RELEASE
The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees discussed a presentation today about a proposed Greek Village to be constructed on the campus.
UCA President Tom Courtway presented the board with an overview of Greek housing, a proposed location and the financial considerations for a Greek Village project. Courtway began the discussion by telling the Board and the public, “I am not asking the Board to take a vote today, but we want to explain it, answer questions, and then ask the board to act at some future date.” He explained that the concept of constructing a Greek Village had been discussed for more than a decade, but “this is the furthest this idea has ever gone.”
The Board was presented with several visual scenarios of what the Greek Village might look like with five sorority residences, each housing 20 sorority members. In future construction phases, additional Greek housing and a Greek community center could be added. The presentation indicated a construction cost of approximately $12-million for the five sorority houses. The suggested location presented to the board is on the north side of campus south of College Avenue and between Western and Donaghey avenues.
The UCA administration supports the idea of constructing a Greek Village. Ronnie Williams, vice president of student services and institutional diversity, said, “This is the most important initiative we could implement for that demographic.”
Greeks at UCA generally have higher grade point averages, participate in other student organizations in leadership roles, and have higher retention and graduation rates than other students. Specifically, the all-Greek grade point average for the spring 2013 semester was 3.06 compared to 2.8 across campus. In 2006, the four-year graduation rate for Greek students was 38 percent and 20.6 percent for non-Greek students.
“Clearly, this is a demographic we need to grow,” Williams said. “It’s a way of bonding with our students and getting them to stay.”
UCA has approximately 1,000 students who are members of Greek-letter organizations that are governed by the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, or Independent Greek Council.
A total of 20 Greek organizations have expressed interest in seeing Greek Village come to fruition. “Students are definitely excited that the university is looking into the process,” said Lindsey Osborne, director of sorority life.
UCA began discussing the concept of a Greek Village in 2004. School administrators have visited several university campuses to review Greek housing systems including Arkansas State University, which plans to open five new sorority houses this fall.
“I think it is a wonderful concept,” commented Victor Green, chair of the board. “I think it falls in line with the long-range goals of the university.”
Among other items, the Board of Trustees approved the following:
· A two-year employment agreement with Courtway from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015.
· The acquisition of property with a street address of 2331 College Avenue in Conway.
· A request for qualifications for an architectural firm to develop a design (for both the street and mixed-use buildings) for the east side of the two blocks of Donaghey Avenue between South Boulevard and Martin Street.