University Senate - May 4, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via WebEx, on Monday, May 4, 2020. Attendance was not taken.

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

    1. Senator Cox announced that Friday, May 8, 2020, will be a Town Hall meeting featuring V.P. for Student Life, Jayne Brownell. The session will be via Webex from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the April 27, 2020, minutes of University Senate.

Consent Calendar

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

    1. Curriculum

    2. Post-candidacy Doctoral Student and All-But-Thesis Students – Policy Removal

    3. Combined Program Policy – Revisions

    4. University Committee on Internationalization Minutes – March 2020

    5. University Committee on Internationalization Minutes – Feb 2020

Provost Update

  1. Campus Update – Jason Osborne, Provost 
    1. Provost Osborne indicated that there are currently 3,763 fall confirmations and 17,000 applications still in play. Miami still will expect to be down in net revenue next year.

    2. Miami’s alumni group has been engaged with current students, providing internship and mentoring opportunities through The Center for Career Exploration and Success.

    3. The May Board of Trustees meeting has been cancelled. The next meeting is June 18 2020 via Webex.

    4. Over $450,000 has been raised for the student emergency fund.

    5. Miami received notice that almost 25 M in research awards has been raised. This will reach or surpass the all-time high. 

New Business

  1. SR 20-19 – Proclamation – Rodney Coates and Gaile Pohlhaus
    1. The resolution was contextualized. This was proposed with input by senators to give a sense of how things are. Some senators were moved by the voluntary salary reduction taken by Miami leadership. The resolution is an expression of appreciation and to formally acknowledge that while we are all struggling, there is good work happening.

    2. Several senators suggested a friendly amendment to acknowledge and recognize contingent faculty. The following statement was added: ‘contingent faculty have played a vital role in mentoring, teaching, and educating our students.’

    3. A friendly amendment was made to change ‘WHEREAS our shared governance includes the contributions and advice of faculty, staff, and students through standing committees of University Senate’ to ‘WHEREAS we are committed to enhancing shared governance that includes and expands the contributions and advice of faculty, staff, and students throughout the University.’

    4. Senators voted to approve SR 20-19 with 4 abstentions.


SR 20-19

May 4, 2020

Proclamation of Senate

WHEREAS, our communities across America are experiencing a pandemic that has significantly altered the way we interact, who we are, and what we are as a people; and 

WHEREAS, Miami University has been impacted by this pandemic; and 

WHEREAS, the proper functioning of Miami during this time of crisis has posed many challenges as we seek to maintain our mission, serve our students; and 

WHEREAS, effective leadership during this crisis has been essential in communicating expectations, enhancing morale, and fostering a positive atmosphere in the midst of this national disaster; and

WHEREAS, we are committed to enhancing shared governance that includes and expands the contributions and advice of faculty, staff, and students throughout the University; and

WHEREAS, our University has worked cooperatively across every division, department, and unit to effectively deal with this challenge; and

WHEREAS several senior administrators have volunteered to take a 10% reduction in salary and the President a 25% reduction in salary so as to lessen the economic impact on other members of our community; and

WHEREAS, contingent faculty have played a vital role in mentoring, teaching, and educating our students; and

WHEREAS, the entire University Community has worked tirelessly to put the students’ needs above self, committed to providing the best education, services and experience under these trying times; and 

WHEREAS, Miami University overcame difficult challenges, persevered under extreme circumstances, and as a community has demonstrated our core values as expressed by “Love and Honor”. 

NOW THEREFORE, We, the Members of the University Senate do hereby acknowledge with gratitude the sacrifice, dedication, and engagement of all our colleagues and do hereby proclaim we are honored to work at such a University at such a time as this. 

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our hands and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the Miami University this 4th day of May, 2020. 

New Business

  1. Arrest Reporting Policy Update – James Bielo – Committee Chair (Attachment A-I)

    1. Senator Bielo spoke briefly about the Ad-Hoc Committee’s charge and composition. The Committee was formed in fall 2019 after members of Faculty Assembly returned the Arrest Reporting policy to Senate for review. Executive Committee then formed the ad-hoc committee, which was comprised of 12 members with broad campus representation.

    2. The Committee met several times before COVID-19 interrupted the semester. Focus groups could not be held, but it was felt that between responses received from an open-ended questionnaire as well as robust committee conversations, there was information to make a recommendation to Senate.

    3. The Committee’s recommendation is to not approve the Arrest Reporting policy as it is currently written. The reasons for this recommendation are explained in the Committee’s Report (attached).

    4. A question was asked as to whether it was clear as to why the policy was initially proposed. Senator Bielo indicated that the intent was to protect the university community, but that it went against the stated purpose.

    5. Senator Bielo summarized that the Committee found that the policy lacked clarity, was overreaching, and put the vulnerable at risk.

    6. A question was asked if Senate needs to vote to rescind the Arrest Reporting policy. After consultation with Rob Withers, it was determined that there is currently no Senate approval for this policy at this time because it was already rescinded by Faculty Assembly.

    7. A poll was done to determine if Senate approved of the recommendation of the ad hoc committee. Senate approved: 45 aye; 7 abstentions. It was the explicit intention of the Senate to express that we do not support this policy.

Special Business

  1. Elections for the 2020-21 Executive Committee

    1. Senator Cox explained that the elections for Executive Committee Chair-Elect and At-Large are open to members of 2020-21 University Senate. This includes several new members who have joined the Webex call for today’s meeting. Senators were reminded that the new term for Chair-Elect is three years:  one year as Chair-Elect; one year as Chair; and, one year as Past-Chair.

    2. For the Chair-Elect position, there was one nomination – Jen Green, Psychology. Three nominations were made from the floor. Tom Poetter and Liz Wardle respectfully declined, and Scott Kenworthy, Comparative Religion accepted.

    3. All eligible members voted electronically. Jen Green was named Chair-Elect.

    4. For the At-Large position, there were two nominations: Chip Hahn, Speech Pathology & Audiology; and, Tracy Haynes, Biology. Three nominations were made from the floor. Scott Kenworthy, Religion; and, Liz Wardle, English accepted nominations. Cathy Wagner did not accept the nomination..

    5. All eligible members voted electronically. Liz Wardle was named At-Large.

Executive Session

  1. SR 20-23 – Senate Committee Vacancies
    1. SR 20-23 was shown to senators. Committee vacancies were explained and displayed.

    2. The resolution was passed with 1 abstention.

SR 20-23

May 4, 2020

Appointments to Standing and Advisory Committee of University Senate

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that University Senate confirm the 2020-2021 appointments to open seats of the standing and advisory committees of University Senate; and

BE IT FURTHERMORE RESOLVED that Senate authorizes Senate Executive Committee to confirm remaining 2020-2021 appointments to the standing and advisory committees of University Senate.


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

Attachment I

The Ad-Hoc Committee to reconsider the proposed “Notification of Police Reports, Arrests, Criminal Charges and Indictments” policy recommends to the University Senate that senators vote against the prior approval from April 22, 2019. Based on feedback from a broad representation of stakeholders, the committee reports the following as reasons why the policy should not have Senate’s approval:

  • The policy’s ostensible purpose is redundant with existing Miami University policies and is, therefore, unnecessary.

  • The policy overreaches in its “failure to report” section, articulating no justification for punishment or how decisions about punishment would be made.

  • The policy overreaches in broadening reporting to include “alleged” criminal conduct, rather than focusing on criminal convictions. This enables false reporting, places already vulnerable employees (e.g., contingent faculty) at higher risk of punishment, and does not recognize the undue burden minority communities face in the U.S. criminal justice system. The latter is especially problematic because it is contrary to Miami’s stated values of diversity and inclusion.

  • The policy’s process is unclear and not equitable. No mechanism for reporting is identified, and no single office (including the Office of the General Counsel) should be entrusted with this decision-making.

  • The three-day window is arbitrary and too conservative, especially when considering the policy’s inclusion of “victims” as a group required to report.

  • “Informed of the alleged criminal conduct by some other official means” overreaches because it places an undue burden on employees outside their relationship to the university.

  • The policy fosters a culture of surveillance, rather than a culture of care, which in turn endangers the stated goal of “maintaining a safe and secure living, learning and working environment for its faculty, staff and students.”

The committee recommends that any revised policy be shaped in direct response to these concerns and that any revised policy include an explicit statement about the policy’s need, purpose, and relationship to policies at peer institutions.

On behalf of the Ad-Hoc Committee,

James S. Bielo (Chair)