Trustees appointed to SOU board

Ten SOU trustees appointed and confirmed

(Ashland, Ore.) — Three new and seven continuing members have been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown and confirmed today by the Oregon Senate to serve on the Board of Trustees of Southern Oregon University.

The new trustees are Brent Barry, superintendent of the Phoenix-Talent School District; SOU faculty member Andrew Gay; and SOU alumna Christina Medina, regional business manager for Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp.

“The Board of Trustees is truly excited to welcome aboard these exceptionally qualified individuals,” said Daniel P. Santos, the board’s chair. “Each will add a unique perspective and expertise to the university’s governing board. I appreciate Gov. Brown’s appointment and legislators’ confirmation of these community leaders, whose service will enable the university to continue to meet the needs of our students and the challenges of higher education.”

Returning to serve additional terms as trustees are Lyn Hennion and Bill Thorndike, who have served on the board since its inception; Sheila Clough, who was appointed to fill a vacancy and then completed a full, four-year term; Jonathon Bullock, Shaun Franks and Barry Thalden, who have completed their initial terms on the board; and Debra Fee Jing Lee, who was appointed last year to fill a board vacancy.

The terms of all of the new and reappointed trustees begin July 1 and run through June 30, 2026, except for that of faculty member Gay, whose term, by law, is two years.

Outgoing SOU faculty member Deborah Rosenberg and non-faculty staff member janelle wilson, as well as community members Paul Nicholson and Steve Vincent, are completing their service June 30 as members of the SOU Board of Trustees.

“I sincerely thank these trustees who have given SOU two full terms of service and are now retiring from our board,” Santos said. “We are a stronger SOU today because of their service, dedication, guidance and expertise.”

Continuing trustees are Santos, an SOU alumnus from Salem, and SOU student member Mimi Pieper. Non-faculty staff member Katherine Cable, a registration systems analyst at SOU, was appointed in February to the board’s SOU staff position and will begin her term July 1. One vacant seat on the SOU board will be filled at a later date.

Each of our trustees – new, continuing or retiring – demonstrate their outstanding commitment to SOU,” President Rick Bailey said. “These trustees all have essential roles in helping us to steer this beautiful ship. Under their watch, our university embraces opportunities, negotiates challenges and commits each day to excellent service to our students and community. We all look forward to moving the university forward under their leadership.”

SOU was granted authority by the state to form its own independent Board of Trustees beginning July 1, 2015, following the legislature’s dissolution of the Oregon University System and State Board of Higher Education. SOU’s board is responsible for governance and oversight of the university.

Trustees are gubernatorial appointees, subject to confirmation by the Oregon Senate. As many as 11 at-large trustees serve four-year terms and one position each is reserved for an SOU student, a faculty member and a non-faculty staff member, each of whom serve two-year terms. The university president serves in a non-voting, ex officio capacity on the board, bringing total membership to 15.

New trustees

Brent Barry
Barry has served five years as superintendent of the Phoenix-Talent School District, and a total of 18 years in various roles with the district. He was named the Oregon Superintendent of the Year for 2022 by the Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE) and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA). Barry was vice principal and athletic director at Phoenix High School, then principal at the district’s Orchard Hill Elementary and finally assistant superintendent for academics and student programs before being promoted to superintendent in 2017. He has also taught health and math in Prineville, Oregon City and Medford. He was born and raised in the Rogue Valley, attending Medford schools and then earning his bachelor’s degree at Linfield College and his Master of Education degree at SOU.  He currently serves on the boards of the Rogue Valley Family YMCA and Rogue Power Pack, and  is a member of the Bear Creek Valley Rotary Club.

Andrew Gay
Gay is an associate professor and chair of Communication, Media & Cinema at SOU, teaching digital cinema courses in storytelling, screenwriting, directing, producing, production management, film festival programming, career design and development, and short film production. He earned the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2021. Gay is an active scholar and media artist, with a variety of recent academic and creative works to his credit. He is the former board president of Film Southern Oregon, sits on the board of the Oregon Media Production Association, is a programmer for the Ashland Independent Film Festival and serves on the Teaching Committee for EDIT Media (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Teaching Media). He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy/religion from Flagler College, and both a bachelor of fine arts degree in film production and a master of fine arts degree in film and digital media from the University of Central Florida.

Christina Medina
Medina is the regional business manager for Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp for Jackson County and northern California’s Del Norte County, and is responsible for managing the accounts of significant customers and performing governmental affairs, economic development and community and stakeholder relations functions. She has served 20 years in the electric utility industry and is bilingual in Spanish. Medina earned her bachelor’s degree at SOU in innovation and leadership, with a minor in psychology. Her volunteer roles include service on the board of directors for Asante Hospital System, as an Oregon American Leadership Forum fellow, president of Remake Talent, co-convener of R3V Reimagine Rebuild Rogue Valley, co-chair of the Medford Vision Task Force, community advisory council member for Rogue Retreat and executive board member for the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

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College access agreement signed by SOU, Grants Pass schools

Grants Pass schools sign college access agreement with SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Grants Pass School District and Southern Oregon University finalized an intergovernmental agreement on Friday that will make college admission information more widely available to students. The district will make basic contact information for Grants Pass  high school students available to SOU, which will promote college attendance and provide timely enrollment guidance – improving college access, especially for traditionally underserved students.

The arrangement is the third in a series of the rare agreements that SOU has negotiated over the past few weeks with southern Oregon school districts. The university signed identical pacts with the Medford and Ashland districts.

“These agreements illustrate our commitment to work in partnership with school districts throughout our region to make high school students aware of the opportunities that are available to them,” said SOU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Neil Woolf. “Many students mistakenly believe that college is beyond their means. We want them to know that the life-changing benefits of a college education are accessible to virtually any student with the desire to achieve.”

Woolf said that communicating more efficiently with the region’s high school students – and encouraging more of them to attain their educational goals – will improve the prospects of students and communities throughout southern Oregon.

SOU President Rick Bailey said partnerships such as those with the local school districts lead to focused efforts on areas of mutual interest. “We all agree that helping people achieve their academic goals and become career-ready is good for the students, the schools, the university and the region,” Bailey said. “Relationship-building is the first step toward achieving the result that benefits us all. It is our intention to offer similar partnerships with every interested school district in the region and beyond.”

The Grants Pass school district will provide SOU with basic “directory information” about its students – name, school, mailing address, school email address, phone numbers and grade level or expected year of graduation. The agreement ensures that the district and university will comply with all federal and state privacy laws, and that no information will be provided about students whose parents have asked their school not to disclose the information.

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Rating system give SOU gold

SOU achieves “Gold” in prestigious sustainability rating

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has jumped from a “Silver” to a “Gold” rating for campus-wide sustainability achievements, as measured by an evaluation system developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and used to grade colleges and universities worldwide.

Gold rating from AASHE“It is an honor for SOU to be recognized for its contributions to heal and preserve our environment,” SOU President Rick Bailey said. “Achieving the ‘Gold’ level is a huge accomplishment that reflects our commitment to sustainability.

“We still have several projects in the works or in development that I am convinced will make our university even more of a national model – and will lift us to this rating system’s very highest level,” Bailey said. “We are very grateful to Becs Walker and all of the staff members and students who lead us in these important efforts.”

Participants in AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) can be recognized simply for reporting their sustainability achievements, or for rating at the organization’s bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels. STARS is used by more than 900 participating institutions in 40 countries, rating their sustainability efforts in five categories: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

SOU first achieved the system’s silver level in 2017, and that rating was reaffirmed in 2019. The new gold rating takes into account the university’s ongoing efforts to attain its sustainability goals. STARS assesses environmental factors, along with social and economic considerations. SOU has demonstrated progress in many areas related to sustainability in achieving the gold rating, including governance of sustainability, health and wellbeing, protecting the environment, equity, social justice and community engagement.

SOU has completed eight new green building projects over the past three years, for instance, with four of them including new solar arrays. Three buildings on campus currently fall under the “net-zero” category, meaning they create more energy than they spend. President Bailey and the SOU team are also working to secure funding for solar projects that would eventually enable SOU to produce all of its own electricity, and potentially to sell excess power production.

“SOU’s gold STARS rating demonstrates leadership in sustainability across the SOU community,” said Becs Walker, SOU’s sustainability and recycling manager. “Sustainability is not just about doing something that has a positive impact – or negates an adverse impact – on the environment. It is about system change for the economy, society and the environment. We are continuing to challenge ourselves in building a better way of doing things here at SOU.”

The upgraded STARS rating from AASHE is the latest of many recognitions of the university’s sustainability efforts in recent years. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities recognized SOU in 2019 as the organization’s Excellence and Innovation Award recipient for comprehensive sustainability and sustainable development. The university also received an honorable mention that year at the Presidential Climate Leadership Summit.

SOU was the nation’s first certified Bee Campus USA and has maintained that certification, has been named a Tree Campus USA for five consecutive years and has been recognized for the ninth year in a row as one of the nation’s top 30, “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities by Campus Pride – a nonprofit that supports and improves campus life for LGBTQ people on campuses nationwide.

AASHE is a nonprofit organization that helps colleges and universities work together to create and lead the way to a sustainable future. Its STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance.

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Esports event to preview new game

SOU Esports hosts community night and game preview

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Esports Hub at Southern Oregon University’s Student Recreation Center is hosting a community game night from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday to preview the unreleased alpha version of a local video game development company’s new product.

The event, a partnership with SunSpear Games of Medford, will feature the fantasy game “IMMORTAL: Gates of Pyre.” Developers from SunSpear will be on hand, along with representatives of the Cyber Center Esports Gaming Lounge in Phoenix and Funagain Games, a game store with locations in Ashland and Eugene.

There will be complimentary snacks, along with gaming equipment giveaways and a t-shirt raffle.

The Esports Hub, which features 12 top-end gaming stations, is located in the Student Recreation Center, at Wightman and Webster streets in Ashland. The facility is used for intercollegiate competitions, intramural gaming and open play for all SOU students and SRC members.

SOU is among the first institutions on the West Coast to offer both an academic program and a competitive team in Esports – a billion-dollar global enterprise. The university’s academic minor in esports management is one of just a handful that are offered nationally and its combination of programs positions students for future employment in the growing industry.

The “IMMORTAL: Gates of Pyre” video game features action among three planets surrounding the mythical “God-Star” Pyre. The SunSpear website describes it as “an action-packed battle strategy game” that puts players in the roles of god-like commanders who create alliances, command armies and conquer enemies. It has intuitive controls and enables team play.

SunSpear was formed as a collaboration of community design teams and gaming industry veterans, with the goal of building better Esports, according to the company’s LinkedIn profile. It has “co-crafted” games with other developers around the world has created its IMMORTAL game to combine “social, accessible, free-to-play design with the competitive excellence and visual clarity of Real Time Strategy genre.”

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New pathways to college access with agreement

Ashland district is second in a week to sign college access agreement with SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Ashland School District and Southern Oregon University finalized an intergovernmental agreement on Thursday to make the basic contact information of Ashland high school students available to SOU – less than a week after the university and Medford School District completed an identical pact. The groundbreaking agreements enable SOU to promote college attendance and provide timely enrollment guidance that may improve access to college, particularly for traditionally underserved students.

“Agreements such as these are rare in the world of higher education, but we anticipate additional partnerships with other local school districts in the weeks ahead,” said SOU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Neil Woolf. “Our hope is to open pathways to college that haven’t previously existed for many high school students in our area.”

SOU President Rick Bailey said that raising awareness of the steps that are necessary to attend college – and offering support for those who are interested – will raise the prospects of students, the university and communities throughout the region.

“This latest agreement illustrates our ongoing partnership with the Ashland School District, and our shared commitment to the educational needs of all students – including those who may not have family histories of college attendance,” President Bailey said. “I am a first-generation college student myself, so I am well aware of how helpful it is to have someone who can point out both opportunities and obstacles.”

Ashland School District Superintendent Samuel Bogdanove said the arrangement with SOU will help address questions that some students may not otherwise be able to answer.

“We are excited to give our students access to information on local post-secondary options, and to learn about how post-secondary education is both possible and a good fit for their career and life interests after high school,” Bogdanove said. “Students need to know that college is within reach.

“Having a local university like SOU is an exceptional opportunity,” he said. “When students register for high school, they can elect to participate, or not, in sharing directory information with third parties, including colleges. By participating, students and their families have the opportunity to learn more about the options available to them.”

The school district will provide SOU with basic “directory information” about its students – name, school, mailing address, school email address, phone numbers and grade level or expected year of graduation. The agreement ensures that the district and university will comply with all federal and state privacy laws, and that no information will be provided about students whose parents have asked their school not to disclose the information.

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Medford School District enters agreement with SOU

Medford district, SOU sign agreement to increase college access

(Ashland, Ore.) — A new intergovernmental agreement between Southern Oregon University and the Medford School District (MSD) will be “a game-changer for college awareness and access,” providing the basic contact information of MSD high school students so the university can offer them timely enrollment guidance and opportunities.

“What this will do is allow us to promote college attendance to all of the Medford School District’s students,” said SOU Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Neil Woolf, who described arrangements of this type as rare.

“This will help with improving access to and awareness of college possibilities for all students,” Woolf said. “It will improve access to college for underrepresented students in a number of ways, and it’s a testament to the good working relationship the Medford School District and SOU have built together.”

Medford School District Superintendent Bret Champion said the goal of the new intergovernmental agreement is to give students in the district access to information that may help them discover life-changing academic pathways. The arrangement is intended to increase college attendance among Medford students.

“In the Medford School District, we have a shared vision: ALL are learning and learning is for ALL,” Champion said. “This partnership helps bring that shared vision to life for our students. SOU plays a key role in providing options for our students that are open and hopeful, in addition to guiding students to own their present and future. We are grateful for their partnership.”

SOU President Rick Bailey echoed the appreciation. “We are very excited about this new agreement, and are grateful to Superintendent Champion and his incredible team,” President Bailey said. “I am confident that this will become the new statewide role model for collaboration between public and higher education.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the school district will provide basic “directory information” about its students – name, school, mailing address, school email address, phone numbers and grade level or expected year of graduation. The document specifies that the district and university will comply with all federal and state privacy laws, and that no information will be provided about students whose parents have asked their schools not to disclose the information.

The agreement says the school district and university recognize the importance of “seamless transitions from secondary to postsecondary institutions,” and both are “committed to improving the options for K-12 students to succeed in college and be career-ready.”

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low tuition rate increase approved

SOU Board of Trustees approves low tuition rate increase for second year in a row

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees agreed today with a recommendation from the university’s Tuition Advisory Council and President Rick Bailey, Jr., for tuition rates in the 2022-23 academic year to increase by $8 per credit hour for resident undergraduate students. The new rates were approved following a lengthy, collaborative process involving students, faculty and staff members, and came just a year after the university enacted its lowest tuition rate increase in recent memory – just $5 per credit hour.

SOU’s tuition rates will remain among the lowest of Oregon’s seven public universities, and the increase approved today for the coming year ranks near the middle of increases ranging from 3.19 to 7 percent that have been approved or proposed at the other schools for 2022-23.

Undergraduates from Oregon will pay $209 per credit hour at SOU, up from $201 this year – an increase of 3.98 percent, following last year’s increase of 2.55 percent. Residents of 16 Western states and territories that are part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange will pay $314, up from $301.50; and other non-resident undergraduates will pay $617, up from $597. SOU’s tuition rates for graduate students from Oregon will increase to $525 per credit hour, up from $505; non-resident graduate students will pay $630, up from $610.

“These tuition rates are the result of a very thoughtful process, and based on many months of analysis by our students, working alongside faculty and staff members,” said Daniel Santos, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees. “The Tuition Advisory Council members very clearly understand the needs of students and the university, and I appreciate them finding this balance between the costs of a high-quality education and affordability for our students.”

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the rates recommended by SOU’s Tuition Advisory Council, which met eight times and is made up of students, faculty and administrators. President Bailey reviewed the council’s recommendations and forwarded them to the trustees.

SOU has committed to keeping higher education within the reach of all students and prospective students, and strives to offset any tuition increases with opportunities for institutional aid – particularly for those who are least able to afford additional costs. The university has also implemented measures to reduce student expenses for textbooks, and to maintain affordable room-and-board costs for those who live in residence halls.

“All students who want to improve their lives through higher education should absolutely have the opportunity to do so on our campus,” President Bailey said. “We are committed to innovations that will change the current funding model, which relies almost entirely on tuition revenue from students and funding from the legislature. With creative endeavors, over time, we can relieve the dependence on both.

“We are actively pursuing a variety of other revenue sources for SOU, and those could prove to be transformational for our students and the institution. In the meantime, we must do our best to balance the academic and financial interests of our students.”

The state paid for two-thirds of its universities’ operating budgets 30 years ago and tuition covered the remaining third. The ratio is now exactly opposite.

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SOU News Podcast: Faculty Spotlight on Perrow

SOU and faculty union agree to four-year contract

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University and its faculty union have come to terms on a new, four-year collective bargaining agreement. The contract is the result of a collaborative process that ultimately addressed faculty concerns related to pay equity and job security while also recognizing the university’s financial condition.

The university and Association of Professors of Southern Oregon University (APSOU) agree it is critical to now focus on the student academic experience.

“We all share a deep commitment to our students,” said Susan Walsh, SOU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This agreement allows us to move forward together in service to our students and the community.”

APSOU, the union that represents SOU faculty members, sent the contract to its members and it was ratified late last week.  The university and APSOU finalized their proposed agreement two weeks ago, following a declaration of impasse by the union.

Walsh – who has served the university for more than 30 years as professor, department chair and now SOU’s top academic administrator – joined the final stage of bargaining to urge unity. She said that all university employees – faculty, staff and administrators – have contributed in many ways to keep SOU financially viable despite enrollment declines, the region’s wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and an uneven economy.

“Our collective ability to deal with challenges often comes from the recognition that we must always keep what is best for our students at the center of all of our decisions,” Walsh said. “When it comes to a commitment to student success, there is no question that we are all on the same page.”

The new collective bargaining agreement starts with a 1 percent guaranteed minimum raise for the remainder of the current academic year. The contract provides for guaranteed minimum salary increases of 2.5 percent beginning next academic year, and then 2 percent for each of the two following years, as well as annual salary adjustments, based on years in rank, of as much as 2 percent. The university will continue to pay 95 to 97 percent of faculty members’ medical, dental, vision and life insurance benefits.

The agreement, which took effect upon ratification, will run through August 2025.

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Guanajuato students on SOU visit

Guanajuato students visit SOU for collaborative business development project

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is hosting nine business students this week from Universidad de Guanajuato, and will send nine SOU students to the Mexican university next month as the two longtime sister campuses launch a new collaboration on multicultural business development as part of a far-reaching program under the U.S. Department of State’s umbrella.

The 18 total students from SOU and UG are working together this week on development plans for three local businesses – Irvine Roberts Family Vineyards, Indigo Creek Outfitters and Northwest Pizza and Pasta – and will do the same for three Guanajuato businesses during the May exchange. The Global Innovation Scholars program also includes international, online coursework for participating students during this year’s winter and spring terms, and the opportunity for immersive social and cultural experiences.

SOU's Dee Fretwell with Giuanajuato visitors“This program is so valuable and unique,” said Dee Fretwell, the SOU business instructor who proposed the project along with UG business professor and SOU alumnus Martin Pantoja. “We push the boundaries of an exchange program, blending cultural experiences with hands-on business development for live, operating businesses. I’m not sure we as a society are even grasping how valuable this is to our students and businesses alike.”

The collaboration between SOU and UG – which have maintained a steady stream of exchange and cooperative projects since 1969 – is part of the “100,000 Strong in the Americas” program, sponsored by the State Department, the U.S. Embassies and the nonprofit organization Partners for the Americas. The SOU-UG partnership applied for and received a $25,000, one-year grant from the 100,000 Strong program, which now serves 534 higher education institutions in 25 Western Hemisphere countries and 49 U.S. states. There is hope that a funding source will be found to continue the new program beyond its inaugural year.

A unique link between SOU and UG has led more than 1,000 students, faculty members and others to participate in exchanges, and has resulted in more than 80 marriages tying people from Ashland and Guanajuato over three generations. In fact, the current SOU-UG project grew out of a previous partnership between the two schools – the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program, which brought together classes of upper-division business students to work on the development of international business relationships.

The collaborative relationship that Fretwell and Pantoja formed through that program provided a natural segue to the “100,000 Strong in the Americas” grant application.

SOU student RJ Henry, who is participating in this week’s events and will be among the nine from the Ashland campus who visit Guanajuato next month, called the program an “extraordinary opportunity” that will build cooperative skills and provide valuable real-life lessons.

“The 100K Strong program offers a remarkably exciting opportunity to embark on a life experience that combines business education with cultural immersion, while making new friends along the way,” Henry said. “The benefits are the various academic, travel, cultural and social activities, which include the development of business-related critical thinking skills within group work settings, and the experience of unique cultural perspectives.”

The Guanajuato exchange students arrived in the Rogue Valley last Saturday night. They have toured the community and SOU campus in the days since, and have had meetings or events with SOU President Rick Bailey, state Rep. Pam Marsh, Ashland Mayor Julie Akins, SOU’s Faculty Advisory Board, the university’s Small Business Development Center in Medford and Ashland’s Amigo Club – an organization of community members and alumni who support the Amistad exchange program and have created an endowed scholarship fund for participants.

The SOU and UG students have visited the three local businesses that are receiving development advice, and will present their business plans at a Friday event in SOU’s Stevenson Union. They will tour Lithia Park and go on a rafting excursion on Saturday before returning to Mexico on Sunday.

The students and participating faculty members from Guanajuato were welcomed to southern Oregon by Vincent Smith, director of SOU’s Division of Business, Communication and the Environment, and a faculty leader for the project. He told the visitors that we face many problems in common as a global society, from the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters, to environmental destruction and political conflict.

“You are here this week to assist three businesses in planning,” Smith told the SOU and UG students as this week’s field work began. “That is important work. It is practice for the many problems you will need to solve in your lives.

“Unfortunately, the problems you will need to solve are complex. They cannot easily be solved without collaboration and cooperation. In fact, unless we work together to solve these problems we will fail.”

Smith told students from the two universities that working together, developing friendships and building trust will provide their greatest strengths.

“We are more alike than we are different, but it is our differences that will help us solve the most complex problems,” he said.

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SOU approaches COVID as endemic

SOU shifts to endemic approach on COVID-19

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University announced this week that its COVID-19 policies will shift from a pandemic footing to an endemic approach, emphasizing safety and caution as changes are made in practices such as masking, quarantines and restrictions on campus visitors.

Masks will not be required either indoors or outdoors at SOU beginning March 19, the day after winter term ends, but those who prefer to wear masks for their own safety are welcomed and encouraged to do so. President Rick Bailey told students and employees in a campus message on Monday that N95 masks will continue to be made available for their use in most campus buildings.

“As you know, Southern Oregon University has been a role model in the way we have fought to keep each other safe and healthy despite the challenges of the pandemic,” Bailey said. “We recognize that COVID may not disappear anytime soon, but we feel we can safely return to largely normal operations by exercising caution and following the advice and recommendations of scientific and public health experts.”

SOU’s vaccination policy will remain in effect – students and employees are still required to attest that they have received all CDC-recommended COVID vaccines and boosters, or that they have been granted medical, religious or other exemptions. New students will be required to attest that they are fully vaccinated or apply for exemptions. Compliance with the policy will be monitored by randomly selecting students to show proof of their vaccination status.

The most significant change to the vaccination policy is that guests and visitors to campus for indoor or outdoor events will no longer be required to show proof of their status. Mandatory weekly testing for students or employees who have been granted exemptions under SOU’s vaccination policy will be discontinued as of March 12, and the isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19 will be reduced to five days, from the 10 days now required, bringing SOU in line with current recommendations from the CDC.

President Bailey pointed out in Monday’s announcement that all changes to the university’s policies “may be subject to further revision depending on evolving conditions.” The latest modifications were recommended by the university’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee, with input from local, state and federal health authorities.

“The guiding principle of that group, and of our university, is that the health and safety of students, employees and community members will always be our highest priority,” Bailey said.

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