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Vote set on UNT-Dallas president

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

The University of North Texas Board of Regents will meet today to vote on making Wayne State University Provost Ronald T. Brown the president of UNT-Dallas. Brown was named the sole finalist in February.

During the special called meeting at the University of North Texas at Dallas, regents also are expected to vote on establishing undergraduate tuition guarantee plans and increasing the student services fee.

The UNT system has experienced leadership changes at each of its three campuses this year.

John Ellis Price, the current president of UNT-Dallas, will step down when his contract ends in August. Price announced in July that he would be stepping down.

V. Lane Rawlins, president of UNT, announced this month that he would retire later this year after a successor was named for the Denton university.

And the regents voted in December to fire Scott Ransom, who served as president of the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. He was accused of interfering in discussions about a possible merger between the Denton and Fort Worth campuses as well as undermining the implementation of shared services between all campuses.

Michael Williams, a former regent, was named the interim president of the UNT Health Science Center.

“In these transitions, in both Dallas and now at UNT, our presidents had contracts, they gave notice and entered into a professional transition,” Chancellor Lee Jackson said when Rawlins made his announcement.

The regents also are expected to consider increasing the student services fee. That issue had been postponed during a February meeting because regents were concerned about student costs and wanted more information.

The agenda also includes a scheduled vote on establishing undergraduate tuition guarantee plans.

“We’ve actually been working on it for a little while,” said Rawlins.

He said that UNT is ready to hear from the regents.

A tuition guarantee option would mean students might pay higher rates at first but their tuition would be locked in during their four years at UNT, Rawlins said.

UNT is looking at having it as an option but not the only choice, he said.

It could provide some certainty to students’ costs and offer protection against big increases.

“We had a couple years where we had about 8 percent [increases],” Rawlins said.

But plans like that are a little harder to administer, he said, and UNT doesn’t know how it would affect university funding.

“It’s hard to know because we don’t know what the state is going to do with its end of the funding,” Rawlins said.

The goal is to not transfer the burden to other students.

“We don’t want one group of students subsidizing another group of students,” Rawlins said.

UNT is working to make it as neutral as possible, he said.

The plans wouldn’t be available until the fall of 2014.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter @rmehlhaff.