MSU President Bob Davies Weighs in on Campus Projects, Enrollment and Potential Tobacco Ban

Sep 29, 2014

MSU President Bob Davies speaks with WKMS News Director Chad Lampe about the state of affairs on campus.

Murray State University President Dr. Bob Davies stopped by for a Sounds Good discussion that ranged from ongoing construction projects to MSU enrollment and a potential campus-wide tobacco ban. Here's a quick snapshot of the conversation:

Chief Facilities Officer Leaves:

Last week, MSU Chief Facilities Officer Kim Oatman announced his impending resignation. Currently, the university is working on a new engineering and physics building along with a new Franklin Residence Hall and the upcoming Breathitt Veterinary Center.

Davies says while the university will miss Oatman, he’s reached out to a former colleague to fill the interim spot.

Central Michigan University’s former Vice President of Finance Administration David Burdette will take office October 21, the same day Oatman’s resignation takes effect.

“We went through the BVC (Breathitt Veterinary Center), the residential hall, the engineering, the deferred maintenance, all the capitol projects, and didn’t scare him off,” Davies said.

Davies says Burdette’s experience with several multi-million dollar university projects make him a suitable leader, at least until a national search for the position can take place.

Enrollment Update:

Murray State hosts its largest student body ever this year with an estimated 11,166 enrolled. That’s up 2.5 percent from last year and marks the third annual increase since the 2012 fall semester.

Davies says he will continue to work with his enrollment and retention teams to ensure that future students are college-ready and equipped for success.

“We cannot always just be concentrating on that number. How are we ensuring that those students who come to us have that probability of success and making sure that we’re not setting them up for failure down the road?” Davies said.

Smoking/Tobacco Ban?

A tobacco ban affecting most Kentucky state property takes effect later this fall; in a release, Governor Steve Beshear challenged all other state businesses and universities to join his cause.

Davies says a university-wide tobacco ban wasn’t the first thing on his mind when he took office in July, but it’s now something he feels is worth a look. A group of students and staff has been tasked with researching the pros and cons of either going smoke free, tobacco free or maintaining current policy.

“I do not have an outcome in mind (…) I will say that beyond parking, one of the most common complaints I receive from students is the smoking on campus,” Davies said.

MSU currently permits smoking on campus, though it’s banned from building interiors. E-cigarettes may be used anywhere.