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Board of Trustees discuss enrollment, COVID-19 vaccinations


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Trustee Todd Anson speaks while President Bob Davies watches at the Board of Trustees meeting in the Bovee University Center, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2019.

Central Michigan University Board of Trustees discussed declining enrollment, COVID-19 vaccinations and student mental health during its Feb. 11 formal session.

"Together we face three overarching strategic imperatives for CMU," said Richard Studley, who chaired his first board meeting Thursday. "One is declining enrollment. Another is increasing competition. The third reality we must confront is that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in either Washington D.C. or Lansing."

Studley discussed the effects of the declining enrollment and COVID-19 on CMU's operating budget. Finance and Facilities Chair Edward Plawecki continued the conversation later in the meeting by referencing the university's decade-long enrollment decline.

"It's no secret that CMU has had a significant loss of enrollment in the last 10 years," Plawecki said. "We dropped from approximately 29,000 students 10 years ago to approximately 17,200 students two years ago."

CMU's operating losses within the last two years are due to declining enrollment, Plawecki explained, as well as the ongoing costs of COVID-19.

Davies updated the board on CMU's partnership with the Central Michigan District Health Department to assist with vaccinations. He also discussed the university's role in helping provide COVID-19 vaccinations. 

"We are honored to play a role in the community's fight against COVID-19. We will continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus," Davies said. "We are providing space in our freezers for the vaccines, (and) we continue to assist with contact tracing. Next week, CMU will provide a venue and staff support for two vaccination clinics on our campus."

College of Medicine students and staff will help administer around 290 second doses of the vaccine a day for two days in Finch Fieldhouse. The clinics are appointment only and not open to the broader community.

Davies said he hopes CMU will become a certified vaccination center.

"What we are waiting for is to be in a position to receive allocations of the vaccinations themselves," he said.

When CMU receives vaccinations, they will be distributed following CDC, state and local guidelines.

"Once that supply is more robust, CMU will be able to receive vaccinations that we (can) use to vaccinate our own population," Davies said. "And when I say that, again, be very clear, we will have to follow the guidelines that are set forth by the by the state, as well as the local board."

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