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Students reflect on Ohio Valley University...and what led to its closing

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:19 PM EST
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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) - A former student at Ohio Valley University, who asked we not identify her, told us Wednesday she is still awaiting her student transcripts, four months after she graduated.

She said those transcripts-and those of other students-are in a server owned by a company to whom the school owes money.

She says she, and others, put the blame on OVU’s problems on the shoulders of the current administration.

“We kind of knew there were things happening, but it was kept from the student body and from the public, which I think is what kind of hurt them from the end.”

The student, who graduated in August, says her experiences on campus were good, but that things changed when the administration of President Michael Ross took charge.

Ross sent a letter Tuesday to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. It states:

“I am writing to inform you that the Board of Trustees for Ohio Valley University met last night. Unfortunately, it is with regret and sorrow that we decided we will not be offering classes in the Spring Semester 2022. We find ourselves in an extremely difficult financial situation and know that we have work to do to complete the current semester. We do not make this decision lightly and realize the work ahead to meet the needs of our students is priority. We will continue to work on teach-out plans and communicate the path to all constituents. We will be making the formal announcement this afternoon to our faculty, staff, and students.”

The commission was scheduled to discuss at its meeting Friday the suspension of the school’s ability to award degrees, citing financial and other issues at the school.

Brandon Brammer, a senior who is graduating next week, calls plans for OVU’s closing “unfortunate”. He says most students found their experience positive.

“There’s a lot of success from our sports teams,” Brammer told us. “If you ask any student on this campus why they’re at Ohio Valley University, they’ll tell you it’s for the people. It’s for the students they’ve made friends with, and it’s for the mentors and the students and the teachers.”

In the agenda for Friday’s meeting, the commission indicated it had looked into the server issue, plus reports some employees and faculty had not been paid.

In a statement to WTAP Wednesday, President Ross did not address the issues that led to the decision to close. He did say the school would be holding a “college fair”, Friday from 1 pm to 4 pm on campus in Roberts Chapel, “to assist students with their next steps.”

Brammer has a sister who is an underclassman.

“The school has 25 other colleges coming this Friday to help prepare students find a new place. I think those programs are going to work well.”

The anonymous student we spoke to said she had taken part in clubs and various activities, and raised money for the institution. She adds she met students with whom she formed friendships.

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