University Senate - April 6, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via WebEx, on Monday, April 6, 2020. Members absent: Cecelia Comerford, Yildirim Dilek, Shelby Frye, Julia Koenig, and Breanna Robinson.

  1. Announcements and Remarks by the Chair of Senate Executive Committee, Dana Cox.

    1. Senator Cox congratulated student senators who received the President’s Distinguished Service Award. Senators receiving the award are: Dante Rossi, Cecilia Comerford, Shelby Frye, and Sarah Siegel.

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the March 30, 2020, minutes of University Senate.

Consent Calendar

  1. The following items were received on the consent calendar. 

    1. Curriculum

New Business

  1. COVID-19 and Campus Update – Jason Osborne, Provost
    1. Provost Osborne noted that this coming week will mark the peak of COVID-19 cases in Ohio. A reminder to stay at home and take care of yourself.

    2. The Provost’s Office is in the process of compiling the results of the questions asked of the Provost last week. The answers will be sent out later this week. The hope is to uncover some of the misconceptions and relieve some of the angst. He urges senate to continue to communicate news with their areas.

    3. Provost Osborne and Dr. Creamer will be presenting the budget symposium next Monday (April 13) during the normally scheduled Senate meeting. Senators may submit questions via a Formstack that will be sent out. Questions will be funneled through senators.

  2. Associated Student Government Report – Jaylen Perkins – President, ASGSenator Perkins gave an overview of the ASG structure and membership.

    1. This year’s initiatives included development of the ASG newsletter, the swipe donation program (donating unused meal swipes to those in need), Campus Cares (drop-in appointments for counseling), and the 1964 Freedom Summer Initiative, which will involve renaming the lobbies of Beechwood, Hillcrest, and Stonebridge Halls in honor of the three slain civil rights workers.

    2. Initiatives in-process include tele-counseling to provide more broad-reaching support, Alcohol safety, The Haven Institute, the Angel Shot/Ask Lexi initiative (working with uptown professionals to provide safety for students in trouble), working to record DACA students, and implementing the Rave Guardian app (hub for Miami University resources).

    3. The cabinet is still meeting every Sunday and Senate meeting as needed. The swipe donation program is assisting students in need who are still on campus. ASG is also working to centralize student concerns before bringing them to the Administration.

    4. Jannie Kamara and Jessica Von Zastrow are the incoming ASG President and Vice-President, respectively. Other cabinet members will be selected in April.

    5. Senator Cox and other senators thanked Senator Perkins for his work this year..

Old Business

  1. Amorous Relationships Policy

    1. There was a concern about whether the graduate assistant rule applies to all GAs or just those in supervisory roles. There could be situations where undergraduate and graduate students would be close in age. It would apply to all GAs, but there would be exceptions granted. A GA would ask for an exemption. The policy does not have anything to do with age.

    2. Some felt it was similar to the Arrest Reporting policy in regards to disclosure.

    3. One senator did not feel that WebEx was the best way to discuss this type of issue and wanted to table the discussion.

    4. There was concern that there wasn’t any input from Senate. Senator Cox reminded senators that this originated in the Senate retreat in January and has been vetted via multiple feedback loops.

    5. Multiple senators felt as though this was moving too fast and wanted to table the discussion because it was too difficult to discuss via Webex. Question as to why we are doing this now. What is so pressing? At what point can the state require information on a person’s personal life. The policy is too broad and there is too much overreach.

    6. Multiple senators indicated that they would vote against it if asked to vote today. One of the concerns is that there is not a guarantee that someone would get an exemption.

    7. A question was asked as to whether this policy can be passed without Senate’s approval. Senator Cox indicated that it can, but she hopes that Senate can endorse the policy.

    8. What does the word ‘immediately’ mean? Having something more specific about the process would be helpful.

    9. A motion was made and approved (31 aye; 11 nay; 3 abstain) to table the discussion indefinitely,

    10. A formstack survey will be distributed so senators can give constructive feedback on how to improve the policy.

  2. Changes to Senate By Laws 8A and Curriculum Process – Discussion
    1. The goal of the discussion today is to charge the Academic Policy Committee with drafting a policy similar to what Associate Provost Haynes has sent out, which would define a parallel process in MUPIM for the inactivation of degree programs. The process currently is embedded in Senate ByLaws 8.a. (also known as SR 14-01), and many department chairs do not know that this process exists to eliminate a major or degree. It is felt that it would be more transparent if it were included in MUPIM 11.1.

    2. The intent of this is not to give permission to cut degree programs, but rather it is a protective measure and a safeguard that doesn’t currently exist (the Western Program was given as an example.)

    3. A suggestion was made to change the word ‘Provost’ for ‘Senate’ in the first line of Step 2. Associate Provost Haynes indicated that this was a change that could be made. It has also been determined that many departments do not have ways of voting for curriculum in their departmental governance documents.

    4. Senator Cox has charged the Academic Policy Committee with reviewing the policy and drafting revisions. She has also charged Associate Provost Haynes to consult with departments about possible changes to their governance documents.

  3. Changes to Senate By-Laws regarding Executive Committee – Discussion
    1. Today’s discussion is regarding whether the position of ‘past chair’ should be added to Senate Executive Committee. The premise is that doing so will allow continuity and a smooth transition between the Chair and Chair-Elect. It was clarified that, if passed, there would be four faculty positions on Senate: Chair; Chair-Elect; Past-Chair; and, at-large. The Past-Chair would be ex-officio (if not a current member of Senate).

    2. A question was raised as to whether staff or regional representation could be considered at this time. The resolution at hand only addresses the concept of past-chair. The additional members will need to be considered at a later date.

    3. The other major change is the collaboration between the Chair of Executive Committee and the Provost in regard to running the meeting.

    4. The Chair-Elect will now be able to be selected in their second year on Senate. Currently, the senator has to run in their first year of their term or face not being re-elected.

    5. Senator Cox indicated that there will be some slight adjustments to the document. Several senators did not want to wait for the revisions, but rather vote today and have the revisions shown at the next meeting. Any amendments would then be voted on. Senator Bretz voiced concern with this approach and wanted to ensure the language was correct before voting.

    6. The question was called and approved (34 aye; 14 nay; 2 abstain) by a 68% margin. Senators voted to approve SR 20-14 (43 aye; 6 nay; 4 abstain). The following resolution was what was approved during the vote.

SR 20-14

April 6, 2020

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that University Senate adopts the following additional language to the Bylaws of University Senate, clarifying the role of Chair of Executive Committee of University Senate as University Senate Moderator, and extending the term of the Chair-Elect/Chair on Executive Committee of University Senate for one additional year as Past Chair.

6.B. STANDING COMMITTEES OF UNIVERSITY SENATE The standing committees have broad responsibilities and will conduct the continuing and regular business of University Senate.

6.B.1. The Executive Committee of University Senate


The Executive Committee of University Senate shall be composed of the Provost; four (4) faculty members of Senate elected by Senate, one (1) of whom shall be elected Chair-elect and one (1) of whom shall be Chair (having served as Chair-elect the previous year); the Past Chair of university senate (with non-voting status in the third year of service, unless elected to a new term following the year of service as Chair); one (1) undergraduate student who shall be the Student Body President; and one (1) graduate student who is a member of University Senate. The Secretary of University Senate shall serve as an ex officio non voting member of the Executive Committee.

6.B.1.b. The Chair of the Executive Committee of University Senate shall also serve as Vice-chair of University Senate. Chair of Executive Committee shall prepare a synopsis of University Senate deliberations and actions for transmission to the Board of Trustees on a regular basis as determined by the Senate Executive Committee. The Chair of Executive Committee, or a faculty member of the Executive Committee designated by the Chair, shall attend each public meeting of the Board of Trustees. Further, the Chair of the Executive Committee shall, in collaboration with the Chair of University Senate, moderate discussions in regularly scheduled senate meetings and retreats and motivate further discussion among senators and constituents through university senate committees, work to build community and trust within and between diverse constituencies, and guide the senate in taking necessary and deliberate action.

6.B.1.c. The members shall be elected for one-year terms, except for the Chair-elect who shall serve a twothree-year term – one as Chair-elect, and one as Chair, and one as Past Chair. If the Chair cannot complete his/her term, the Chair-elect shall assume the Chair's responsibilities. If the Chair-elect or other faculty member of the Executive Committee cannot complete his/her term, Senate shall conduct a special election to fill the position.

  1. Course Evaluations – Additional Questions - Spring 2020Jeffrey Wanko, Associate Provost
    1. Associate Provost Wanko indicated that he has received feedback regarding the proposed additional questions for the spring course evaluations, including one recommendation to reverse the order of the questions. There was also a wording change to the questions that was recommended.

    2. There was concern voiced about the need to have the additional questions and what the intent is behind it. Can these be optional questions? Concern about the word ‘effort’ in one of the questions. Provost Osborne indicated that it would give students an opportunity to express appreciation for all the faculty have done in moving to remote learning.

    3. A suggestion was made to make this an open-ended question. Some senators agreed with this, and a student voiced that an open-ended question is a good idea and that there did need to be some questions on the evaluation to acknowledge the shift to online teaching. The discussion was tabled due to time constraints and will be continued on April 20, 2020. Associate Provost Wanko felt there would be enough time to incorporate the additional questions into the evaluations.


  1. The regular meeting of University Senate was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.