Update on Ohio University awarding process for selected gift accounts

As a public university, Ohio University continues to believe firmly that our mission demands that we work to remove barriers so that all students might pursue a university education, and that includes the awarding of scholarships to reward merit and support access and affordability. In addition, we remain confident that attracting and retaining a student body from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, geographic regions and ideologies, is necessary to deliver an education that prepares students for lifelong success.

Also, as a public institution, we must abide by state and federal laws. Within that context, following the June Supreme Court decision in the Harvard case, we began a process to review selection criteria for admissions and scholarships as well as language in our gift agreements. This review is to ensure our processes and agreements continue to follow the law. Amid a complex and evolving legal landscape, this is a time-consuming undertaking. The work to date has helped us identify gift agreements that include language that may need to be revised. We are temporarily pausing the awarding of impacted scholarships, which represent a small but important subset of our annual awards, as we contemplate any necessary revisions. Scholarships already awarded to current students are not impacted by this review. Current students will continue to receive renewable scholarships if they meet the renewal criteria. We will work with our dedicated donors to ensure we continue to honor their wishes and support students.

This necessary work in no way changes our values as an institution, which include a commitment to fostering an inclusive University community where all students – regardless of race, background, gender, religion, or disability – are welcome and feel a sense of belonging. We are confident this commitment is shared by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the State of Ohio, and we will continue to seek appropriate guidance from the state as we work through this process.

February 22, 2024
Staff reports