University Senate - June 22, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via WebEx, on Monday, June 22, 2020. Attendance was not taken.

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

    1. Senator Cox reminded senators and guests of the norms and voting procedures.

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the June 8, 2020, minutes of University Senate.

Consent Calendar

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

    1. Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee – Annual Report

    2. Student Life Council – Annual Report

    3. Undergraduate Research Committee – Annual Report

    4. Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum – Annual Report

New Business

  1. Title Policy Updates – Kenya Ash and Robin Parker

    1. Robin Parker, General Counsel, indicated that the deadline to decide on how to act upon the new Title IX regulations is August 14, 2020. The issue is whether faculty and staff are going to be required to be mandatory reporters. Currently, all faculty and staff are required; however, with the changes to the regulations, there is now an option to not require mandatory reporting except in certain cases.

    2. An overview was given about the regulations. Title IX covers sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment and misconduct applies to students and employees.  There is a second law, Title VII, that covers many areas of discrimination against protected classes, including sexual harassment, but is for employees only. One of the differences between Title IX and Title VII is that for Title IX, the conduct must be severe and pervasive. This is a new definition in the new regulations. In Title VII, the conduct may be either severe or Title VII is a broader definition of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.

    3. It also changed the scope of the kinds of conduct the university can address. Title IX covers programs or activities sponsored by the University, property controlled by student organizations, but there is limited jurisdiction off-campus. While it would cover fraternity houses, it does not cover off-campus locations. For example, a sexual assault in an off-campus apartment would not be covered under Title IX. In comparison, for Title VII, where the harassment occurs is not determinative. An off-campus incident would be covered under Title VII. If there is a Title IX complaint filed, and it is not within the jurisdiction, it must be dismissed. There are also permissive dismissals (person quits, person is a non-student, etc.) We are working on a dual system. We still are addressing conduct issues that occur off-campus.

    4. The misconduct must have occurred in the U.S. to be considered Title IX. Title VII would be used otherwise.

    5. The issue of mandatory reporting was discussed. Several years ago, all employees were required to report. The person has to have actual knowledge of the incident and then file a formal complaint.  With Title VII, there is broader liability, and all supervisors are required to report cases.

    6. A student can be suspended before the hearing if they are deemed to be a threat to another student. With the new Title IX regulations, there will be a live hearing with cross examination. The questions have to be asked by an advisor. The institution has to provide the advisors to both students if they don’t have representation. Even if one of the parties does not appear, the advisor has to appear and ask questions on their behalf. The advisor requirement applies to all student hearings as well as employee hearings.

    7. Caution was suggested about using the word ‘confidential’. It would be wrong to present it this way because you may have to testify in court and disclose information. It was suggested to use the word ‘private’, which would not mislead a student. The informal resolution process being created in Student Life will be useful for students.

    8. The following questions and comments were made:

      1. Professors are put in a position of keeping information confidential. It would mislead a student to tell them that it is confidential

      2. What happens in cases of student misconduct during study abroad? They would be covered under ‘other sexual misconduct’, which covers off-campus assaults including study abroad.

    9. Senator Ash indicated that Senate could take several directions. One is to go back to the old duty to report policy (2016-17) that can list specific positions. The other way is to not take any action and continue the duty to report policy as it now stands. Senator Ash did note that the November election could change the policy again. Faculty who are directors of programs or supervisors, would have to report under Title VII.

    10. The following questions and comments were made:

      1. Are Licensed Psychologists exempt from this policy? Yes

      2. Are SOULs (Student Orientation Leaders) covered under Title IX? No, they are covered under the Clery Act.

      3. We need to keep in mind how students will understand this. It can be confusing who is and who is not a mandatory report. The decision needs to be communicated so the student can choose with whom to speak.

      4. What are the advantages/disadvantages of having a broad duty to report? If we are going to have a community that is free of sexual harassment and assault, we need to have it reported. Even if the person doesn’t formally file, Miami will put the person in contact with support services to assist them. Even if a person doesn’t want to go forward, we can track the complaints and try to intervene.

      5. Would the student feel safe talking to faculty when they are mandatory reporters? Would that prevent them from seeking someone to talk to?

      Senator Cox indicated that Senate can choose not to act and we would be in compliance with the new regulations. However, we have the opportunity to make a change. Anyone can make a request of Executive Committee, nothing this year has been rejected. The recommendation is that concerned senators who wish to bring forward a resolution should work under the guidance of Kenya Ash. She also encouraged non-senators that may have an interest to get involved. Executive Committee will accept these through July 3rd. Executive Committee has expanded to include the incoming members to allow for transition over the summer.


      Prior to the report from Senator Bretz, Senator Bielo indicated that we are going to be hearing from senate committees in the summer and into the fall.  Other committees were invited to contact Senator Bielo or Senator Green should they want to report to Senate. Since it is likely that committee reports will generate robust discussion, reports will be limited to 20 minutes..

  2. Report from Fiscal Priorities Committee (Committee Members: Vipul Batra (GSA); Stacey Lowery Bretz, Chair (CHM); Yvette Harman (FIN) Joe Johnson (PSY); Jim Kiper (CSE); Alicia Miller (CTE); and, Sean Poley (IT)) 

    1. Senator Bretz and Chair, Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee, introduced the committee members. The committee has been meeting regularly this summer to assist with budget planning. It is important to recognize the significant amount of time that members of this committee have spent.

    2. Multiple recommendations were presented in the Annual Report. It is hoped that Senate reviews these over the upcoming year. The Board of Trustees finalized and approved the 2020-21 budget at the June 19, meeting. The budget is well aligned with strategic plans. Considerations were both the size and the composition of the incoming class. It was also important to gather data regarding summer enrollment, international student enrollment (how many have remained in the States), and orientation (in anticipation of a summer melt). Also reviewed was the amount of scholarship money needed to maintain a high caliber group of students, knowing that it also reduces net tuition revenue. Also examined was SSI (State Share of Instruction). We could face unexpected reductions during the next fiscal year. Additionally, if we have to send students home again, that could have a significant impact on our budget.

    3. In addition to the reductions done during the agile budgeting, more reductions are going to be made. Each V.P. was tasked with looking for additional reductions. A voluntary furlough had been offered to some classified employees. It is important to keep investing in areas that can help grow revenue and meet student demand. The plan is to move forward with the Clinical Health Sciences building, including capital money from the State budget. Note that capital funds are one-time money and cannot be used for other purposes

    4. Permanent expenses cannot be met with carry-forward money. The approved budget is based on 3,955 confirmed students (this number is based on the data from previous years of summer melt.) A census date of October 15 is used. The budget does not include a salary increment. There is a decrease in State Share of Instruction of 14 Million for the Oxford campus and 2 Million for the Regionals. There is a decline of 12 Million in support from the State and a decline in instructional revenue.

    5. The reductions are being driven by national trends. Each division was given different strategic reduction targets. Academic Affairs has been fairly protected. All other divisions, including Athletics, are being asked to reduce at a higher rate. There is no plan to reduce benefits, salary, rank, or impose involuntary furloughs. Senator Bretz asked that senators take this message back to their constituents.

    6. An update on AEPIP was given. Every department now has a data book. The Dean’s are now issuing preliminary program ratings.

    7. Senators engaged in the following questions and comments:

      1. A concern was voiced that workload went up. Has money been saved? It was explained that courses were evaluated to determine what courses were essential to deliver. If contingent faculty are needed, they will be allowed. There was a close examination of course releases, and faculty are being asked to deliver what they are supposed to.

      2. A comment was made that this is not a long-term strategy and research will be impacted. Creating more TCPL positions may help the overall situation.

      3. There was a concern that a 3/3 load was never the expectation, and it was questioned where the policy is. The Policy Library says there is no universal workload. Note:  the workload norms are available on the Senate website: . Provost Osborne recognized that most faculty are teaching more than usual and stated that this was not the new normal


  1. The Regular Session of University Senate was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.