University Senate - June 8, 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 8, 2020. Attendance was not taken.

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

    The following remarks were made and submitted by Senator Cox:

    Before we begin, I have some announcements and remarks. The first announcement is that the next Town Hall will be on June 15 from 2:30-4pm. We are inviting a panel of faculty and chairs to present their thoughts on Instructional Innovation and Leadership. We will be taking a look back at what we learned as we pivoted to remote delivery and also forward as we think creatively about teaching in the fall semester. We will be piloting a system for live Q and A and we hope that you will come and engage with the ideas that are shared.

    The second announcement is that I will be attending the Justice for George Vigil at Uptown Park this evening from 6:30-8pm. I hope you will bring a mask and join me in this peaceful vigil for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, Sean Reed, Tony McDade and many, many others who are victims of unjust racialized violence.

    I also want to address the behavior of Doug Brooks at the recent protest organized by Miami students. While protestors peacefully gathered, he arrived at the gathering point and expressed himself using racial slurs that are abhorrent and absolutely contrary to the duty, mission and aspirations of our university. To this day he has not acknowledged his actions, nor expressed any remorse.

    I join others including students, faculty, and community members in expressing disgust and let me state that the views that he expressed here and in the past are not compatible with the ideal we hold for the Miami community, though it can be said that we have not yet attained that ideal. I cannot express in words the danger of individuals who simultaneously embrace the racism that is pervasive in our culture and also prepare classroom teachers. As Miami Alumna Kristy Jacobs believes, “So many pre-service teachers have learned inherently racist and biased teaching practices from him and implicitly carry those beliefs into their classrooms.”

    Some of my outrage, however, is reserved for myself. You see, I am just as guilty for not taking action. We must all vigilantly oppose explicit racism, sexism, and able-ism (reports of which emerge regularly from all parts of the Miami Community). We must also recognize that while events like those involving Doug Brooks are more visible, it is equally important to be vigilant when similar sentiments are expressed in more private venues and to work against the more insipid and implicit forms of racism that work within our system (at Miami) to exclude and alienate people of color.

    As a white woman, I am a beneficiary of these systems. I am aware that student evaluation scores are biased against people of color, but I continue to use them to mark my own success in the classroom. I am aware that the odds of black scientists being funded by the National Institute for Health are 35% less than for white scientists and that faculty of color in all disciplines face more stringent requirements for promotion and tenure. I also know that faculty of color are expected to perform more service and emotional labor to educate white faculty about diversity and inclusion, mentor students and faculty of color, and live with the impact of microaggressions performed across campus.

    As a University Senate, we have a responsibility. I stand before you today to ask that we express our collective outrage at the behavior of Doug Brooks as a symbol of our outrage against all forms of racism within our Miami Community, but that we go further and design an action plan with measurable outcomes and hold ourselves accountable for the change we want to see.

    I have been supported in writing and expressing these remarks by the advice and writing of many people, mostly people of color, and I need to acknowledge them publicly and specifically, for the ideas expressed in the resolution to come. Thank you to Juan Carlos Albarran for his email “What Can We Do About This?” Thank you to Kenya Ash for her prompt to consider forms of protest in our plans to return safely to campus this fall. Thanks to Kristy Jacob and other Miami Alumni who are willing to hold us all accountable even after graduation; and thanks to Xadi Ndiayeand and her large group of co-authors for their work writing “On Love, Honor, Diversity & Inclusion”. Thank you to the entire Senate Executive Committee for their whole-hearted support in bringing this resolution to you. Incoming Chair of Executive Committee James Bielo and Provost Osborne are committed to ensuring continuity of this effort as we transition from one seated Senate to the next.

    At this time, I seek your permission to suspend the rules and hold the agenda to first consider Senate Resolution SR 20-27.

    An electronic vote was conducted and unanimously passed to suspend the rules. The resolution was presented and the following discussion points were made:

    • A senator expressed concern regarding the specifics of the incident involving Professor Brooks.
    • A senator expressed concern as to how counter-protests would be handled. Senator Cox expressed that it is not within our purview to design these types of guidelines, but rather to acknowledge that racism does exist and take steps to deal with it. We repeatedly find ourselves in this situation, so how do we repair the damage? How do we send the message that the damage has been done and that we care?
    • Several friendly amendments were made. Senator Cox remarked that there has been much collegiality with the wordsmithing process, and it has gotten much smoother in this past year.
    • The resolution was passed by electronic vote with 3 abstentions.

    SR 20-27

    June 8, 2020

    Whereas we as representatives of the Miami Community reject the reported racist views expressed by Doug Brooks with the full awareness that they are not uniquely held nor expressed within the Miami University and demand that he express a public apology;

    Whereas we recognize that there are many other forms of racism working within the Miami Community to alienate and exclude people of color;

    Whereas we understand that the first amendment applies to all and that all who protest against white supremacy, police brutality, and systemic racism should be allowed to do so at Miami University without fear of retaliation or reprisal;

    Whereas we understand that often people of color often bear the brunt of these actions;

    Whereas we want to emphasize the role of healthy dialogue that spans the Miami Community;

    Whereas we recognize the need to acknowledge the ways in which faculty and students of color are often held to different standards of practice at Miami University and in Higher Education more broadly than their white counterparts; 

    We, the members of the Miami University Senate do agree to work to dismantle the systems of oppression that are operating at our University. We will work in the immediate future to prioritize resolutions that take specific and measurable action including, but not limited to the following:

    1. Protect existing programs that are vulnerable but that teach the core values of how to be better, more critically engaged, human beings.  

    2. We commit ourselves to anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-ableist, decolonial and LGBTQ education and to learning more about, challenging, and transforming systems of oppression that imbue our world by interrogating them in our courses across campus and in the co-curricular university experience;

    3. Extend anti-discrimination education to all members of the Miami Community and hold people publicly accountable for perpetuating hate and discrimination on campus;

    4. Make the work of faculty, students, and staff of color more visible to white colleagues;

    5. Increase the number of students, staff and faculty of color campus-wide and make sure that we identify and create programs that support their work and health;

    6. Identify and rectify all forms of bias in our methods of evaluating professional activity and progress.

    7. Actively cultivate spaces for our students to be engaged alongside staff and faculty in open forums. To make anti-racism a core value of Miami, it must be something we talk about regularly and work aggressively and purposefully to combat.

    8. Ensure that love and honor embraces all of our students, faculty, staff and community members.

    9. Honor our commitment to our diversity and inclusion statement, “We also actively work to address and eliminate acts of harassment, hate, and violence that negatively impact the ability of our community members to engage in their intentional work together. We oppose activities that threaten our educational mission and the rights, dignity, or humanity of the students, faculty, and staff who are fulfilling that mission and working in good faith to engage respectfully across difference. In these ways, we work to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff experience and recognize Miami as a community environment where a diversity of thoughtful ideas and lived experiences are welcome, valued, and contribute to collaborative and respectful knowledge-making.”

    SR 20-27 was approved: 45-aye; 3-abstentions

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the May 4, 2020, minutes of University Senate.

Consent Calendar

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

    1. Curriculum

    2. Graduate Council Meeting Minutes – April 2020

    3. Center for Teaching Excellence – Annual Report

    4. KNH Department Name Change

    5. Committee on Faculty Re/search – Annual Report

    6. BA/MA – Combined Program Credit Requirements

Provost Update

  1. Return to Campus Committee Update – James Bielo, Co-Chair

    1. The Provost Return to Campus Committee, comprised of senators and Associate Deans, is meeting every other week and is gathering concerns and questions from constituents.

    2. Four working groups have been formed: experiential learning; strategies for successful teaching; practices for a safe return; and global initiatives. There also are a number of liaise positions for members.

  2. Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee Update – Dana Cox and Gwen Fears, Co-Chairs

    1. The Safe Return to Campus Committee is currently meeting twice a week and is comprised of a broad constituency, including a COVID survivor. The committee is charged with creating broad recommendations. The goal is to listen to a variety of perspectives in an advisory capacity.

    2. The group has spent a lot of time gathering information. A website has been created as well as a formstack to gather thoughts and perspectives as plans are made to return in the fall.

  3. Provost Update – Jason Osborne

    1. Provost Osborne remarked that President Crawford will be pleased with the resolution passed earlier.

    2. There is work being done with Liberal Education to make aspects of the Global Miami Plan more effective and less diffuse to drive students toward topics we want them exposed to.

    3. Miami is working on being more intentional with professional advising. We need to strategize the needs, including students changing majors and first generation students.

Special Report

  1. Graduate Student Stipend – Rose Marie Ward, Interim Dean, Graduate School

    1. There is rebooting in the graduate school, and the summer stipend is currently under review. The stipend originated based on the idea that the state would have money based on how much work a student would do. It has been at $1,800 for awhile.

    2. Summer stipends are being processed now and next summer is being evaluated, but commitments will be honored. The summer stipend is important due to the health insurance payment ($1,400) that is due in the fall. The Graduate School has worked with Associate V.P. Steve Large to get the health insurance amount reduce by $100.

    3. There are also diversity initiatives (diversity enhancement programs) that cover half of tuition. Additionally, there is a cross-cultural mentoring program that pairs students. Ollo

New Business

  1. SR 20-24 – Digital Commerce Major (B.S. Commerce) – Ted Light – Chair, Commerce

    1. Professor Light briefly discussed the success of the B.S. Commerce degree and existing major (Small Business Management). The Sales Management major was the second major within the degree to be approved. Digital Commerce is the third. It is part of a Boldly Creative proposal.

    2. The Digital Commerce major is different than existing majors in the Entrepreneurship and Emerging Technology and Design area. Professor Light worked with Professor Glenn Platt on its development. It is a fast growing occupational field and there are opportunities for professional revenue. Three new courses have been proposed for inclusion in the major.

    3. A question was asked whether the focus of the major was on e-commerce or digital branding. Professor Light answered that it is truly a digital commerce focus and most students will end up working for small businesses.

    4. SR 20-24 was presented and approved by electronic vote: 41-aye; 6 abstentions


SR 20-24

June 8, 2020

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that University Senate endorse the proposed degree, Bachelor of Science in Commerce, with a major in Digital Commerce, College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science.

AND FURTHERMORE, that the endorsement by University Senate of the proposed degree and major will be forwarded to the Miami University Board of Trustees for consideration.

  1. SR 20-25 – Sense of the Senate – Flexible and Prepared – Fall 2020

    1. Senator Cox presented the proposed sense of the senate resolution and indicated that some friendly amendments have been sent to her, including one to enter a line regarding the CDC. She emphasized that the resolution is to encourage faculty to continue to be flexible and proactive.

    2. A question was asked regarding what a ‘high-flex’ model would look like. There was concern about having to develop two courses (an online version and a face-to-face version) when faculty are not on contract. Senator Cox indicated that the intention behind the resolution is that we have to be ready.  The Town Hall meeting on June 15 will highlight lessons learned from the transition this spring. The resolution is meant to be generic as plans may change between now and fall.

    3. There was concern about creating a resolution telling faculty that they have to do something.

    4. Provost Osborne commented that this resolution is not prescribing a specific pedagogy. A hyper-flex model does not indicate that two courses have to be created.

    5. It was asked whether there could be a statement of support from Administration. Senator Cox indicated that this resolution, considered with the SR 20-26 (not discussed today), is important in doing this.

    6. Due to time constraints, discussion was ended, and the resolution will be discussed at the June 22, Senate meeting.


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