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5/15/2009 - Jackson, Miss.

During its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, May 14, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), acting as a committee of the whole, authorized the IHL Risk Manager to purchase a System property insurance plan that will improve coverage while saving money.

"The Board is committed to the goal of becoming more efficient, while improving our stewardship of state buildings," said Trustee Aubrey Patterson, who chairs the Board's Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee. "Economies of scale allow us to save money and improve coverage by purchasing property insurance as a System." Currently, each institution negotiates its own property insurance coverage and rates. As a result of Senate Bill 3118, the IHL Office of Risk Management conducted a study to determine the most cost efficient way to provide the appropriate property coverage. The analysis revealed that the universities in general have inadequate coverage. The Board determined that it could achieve cost efficiency and provide more comprehensive coverage for all universities and entities by placing all property coverage through a System property program. The Board approved Willis as its insurance broker at the February Board Meeting, and Thursday moved forward in the process of selecting a coverage provider.

The Board also received a report on the African American Male in College Initiative from IHL Assistant Commissioner for Community and Junior College Relations Dr. Reginald Sykes. The purpose of the initiative is to identify strategies to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation rates of African American males in higher education. More than twice as many African American females as males enroll in Mississippi's universities and community and junior colleges. The six-year graduation rate for African American males is also lower than the rate for African American females. The task force proposed a number of recommendations and strategies for addressing the problem, including the need to collect more and better data; the need to identify specific barriers to student access and success and the best practices for overcoming those barriers; and the need to determine what resources are available.

The Board voted to delay discussion of the FY 2010 facilities needs request until the next IHL monthly meeting, to be held Wednesday, June 17 and Thursday, June 18 in the IHL Board Room in Jackson.

An archived webcast of the meeting may be viewed online here.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.


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