Board action taken today regarding new downtown arena


The Board provided unanimous support today to an arrangement with Summit County, the City of Akron and the Development Finance Authority for the creation of a new downtown arena. Though details remain to be finalized, the Board of Trustees endorsed a preliminary term sheet that allows the community partners to move forward in the creation of a new arena.

The City of Akron and The University of Akron would be providing parcels of land owned or used by each entity located across the street from Canal Park. The University would have no financial obligations to contribute to the construction of the facility so the new arena would not increase the University’s debt.

Under this arrangement, the University would receive a new home for the Zips basketball program. The new arena would also be the location for many other sporting and entertainment events.

The University’s action, taken today, was required for the project to move forward.

In other Board action:

  • The Board approved a recommendation by President Luis M. Proenza to accept in full the recommendations of the Faculty Senate and its Academic Policies Committee on the suspension and continuation of academic programs and tracks that have been under review. The Report of the Academic Policies Committee to the Faculty Senate, identified 29 programs/tracks for suspension of admissions and eventual elimination; 20 programs/tracks for suspension of admissions with the expectation of revisions/additional resources that would be necessary to resume admissions; and 13 programs originally considered for suspension to be continued for the 2014-15 academic year.  Of the 29 programs/tracks for suspension and eventual elimination, the Faculty Senate recommended 7 programs/tracks that were not on the original list of 55 presented to the Board in February.  Students currently enrolled in programs recommended for suspension and eventual elimination, or for suspension of admissions, will still have an opportunity to complete their degree.  In addition, any students seeking admission to such programs will be advised immediately of the Board decision, and advisors will help them identify suitable alternatives at UA.  The Board, as per its resolution, also expects that faculty will revise curricula for programs identified as needing significant revisions in order to become viable.
  • The Board approved a 2% increase in tuition and the general service fee for undergraduate students enrolled on the main campus for the 2014-15 academic year. This will raise tuition per semester (for 12-16 credits) by $84.48 and general fees per semester by $8.40. The tuition/general service fee increase also applies to baccalaureate programs at Summit College. There is no increase in tuition or the general service fee for associate degree-seeking students at Summit, and no increase in tuition/general service fees for undergraduates at the Medina County University Center or Wayne College. See details.

    Additionally, the Board approved a transportation fee increase of $10 per term for students at the main campus and Summit College.  Board members also approved a 6% increase in room rates and a 2% to 5% increase in meal plan rates.
  • The Board praised the commitment and contributions of Dr. Stephen Cheng, who is stepping down as Dean of the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering but will remain at The University of Akron in a newly created position as the Frank C. Sullivan Distinguished Research Professor. Dr. Cheng, who has been at UA since 1987 and became Dean in 2007, has an international reputation in polymers and advanced materials and has attracted millions in research dollars and opened pipelines for student recruiting.  Rather than take a paid professional leave to prepare to return to the faculty, common for administrators who step down from their administrative position after a prolonged term of service, Dr. Cheng will begin immediately his new research faculty position. In his new role, he will have the opportunity to expand his research group and acquire equipment necessary to significantly enhance the innovations that have become a hallmark of the College.  Dr. Cheng, who holds eleven patents (five of which are licensed to industry), will also keep his current titles of Trustees Professor and Robert C. Musson Professor, Polymer Science. 
  • The Board approved an agreement between the University and the Communications Workers of America Local 4302 for a 2% across-the-board wage increase, covering July 1, 2014 through June 30. 2015. Currently 245 employees are members of Local 4302.
  • Board members also endorsed an agreement between UA and the 31 employees represented by the Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council, Inc. The agreement includes a 2 percent wage increase.  
  • The Board approved additional assignments for Nathan Mortimer, Associate VP for Institutional Effectiveness, who will also take on the title and duties of Interim Chief Technology Officer as he manages the University’s centralized information technology operations.  Jim Sage will remain at UA until October, working on special assignment to Provost Mike Sherman to advance the University’s online initiatives.
  • Wilson Huhn of the School of Law and Dr. Lu-Kwang Ju of the College of Engineering were awarded the rank of distinguished professor, and 42 other faculty members received tenure or promotion. See the list.

Media contact: Eileen Korey, 330-972-8589 or