FLORENCE, S.C. — The Francis Marion Board of Trustees voted Thursday to freeze tuition for the second consecutive year.
President Fred Carter also discussed plans to reopen the university in the fall and facilitate a community forum on diversity.
“I think everybody in this room understands how unconscionable it would have been, given the financial circumstances that exist in this state right now, to do anything other than what we did,” Carter said.
The resolution passed unanimously for the tuition to remain at $5,192 for in-state students.
Carter said he is pleased that this is the second consecutive year the university has done this.
“We’re all proud of the fact that we have one of the lowest tuitions in the state of South Carolina,” Carter said. “In any event, I think beginning to hold tuition at a solid state level makes this institution more and more accessible to more and more people.”
Carter, in his report, outlined how the university will reopen for the fall semester.
The calendar will be revised so that the last day of regular classes will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Exams will be during one of the final class sessions or online during the normal exam schedule. Students will not come back to campus after Thanksgiving, which will allow the university to not alter the rest of the calendar.
The university will add some additional online classes, as well as making some hybrid classes, or combine online and in-person instruction. There will be reduced classroom capacities, and the university will use larger spaces on campus for classroom space, including the gymnasium and the Palmetto and Hendrick rooms of the dining hall.
Capacity will also be reduced in FMU’s residence halls by creating more single rooms in the dorms. The dining hall will have new procedures, such as more spacing and more takeout dining.
The university is also increasing safety measures, Carter said. Some of those additional safety precautions include increased sanitation on campus between classes and on weekends contracting for enhanced campus health services through HopeHealth and contracting additional mental health counselors.
Carter announced at the meeting that the university will work to facilitate a community forum at some point in the next few weeks.
“George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis last week was an American tragedy,” Carter said. “It was a barbaric act that should anger all of us and remind us that we must do better — not only for ourselves but for our sons and daughters.”
Carter noted that FMU is one of the most diverse universities in the state and the Southeast.
That legacy is something that Carter said he’s proud of.
“This is a harmonious place racially, but we can make it even better,” Carter said. “I’ll tell you what else we can do. We can continually remind the communities and people around us that diversity, in thought, opinion, culture and belief, is the best antidote against hatred and intolerance.”
Carter said he believes the university can play a large role in sustaining the dialogue.