University Senate - August 17, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Call to Order and Announcements

The University Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m., via WebEx, on Monday, August 17, 2020. Attendance was not taken.

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

    1. The WebEx meeting protocols and norms were explained to new senators and guests.

    2. The new senators were introduced: Kevin Ballard (KNH), Steve Bailey (JCS), Kevin Bush (FSW) Durell Callier (EDL), Brooke Flinders (NSG), Anna Ghazaryan (MTH), Dan Gladish (BSC), Carter Hamilton (MME), Martin Johnson (HCA), Janice Kinghorn (ECO), Kevin Messner (LIB), Sam Morris (SLM), Bill Moser (ACC), Rosemary Pennington (MJF), Matthew Stephan (CSE), Todd Stuart (CCA), and Cathy Wagner (ENG.)

    3. A reflection of the Senate Retreat was provided. Much of the work in the retreat was to continue the anti-racism efforts started by the previous Senate and the Diversity, Inclusion and Equality (D,E&I) Task Force initiatives. Breakout sessions engaged in discussion about previous recommendations and Senate’s role. The five moderators of the breakout sessions (James Bielo, Dana Cox, Jen Green, Jeff Wanko, and Liz Wardle) met regarding the results and concluded there are four areas of focus: developing strategies for recruiting and retaining faculty and staff of color; strengthening existing or development of new structures for incident reporting; supporting and broadening strategies for educating all community members on anti-racism; and, addressing problems of bias against people of color. If you are interested in helping moderate a discussion on any of these issues, please speak with Senator Bielo or Executive Committee. There are several guiding principles. The first is to add value to existing committees and task forces that are working across campus and to avoid redundancy. Next, we need to be honest about the problems that we face. The third is to turn discussions into actionable items. Lastly, the group would need to look at successful models as a starting point. On August 31, 2020, Anthony James, Co-Chair, D, E & I Task Force is going to come to Senate to talk about the recommendations.

Approval of University Senate Minutes

  1. A motion was received, seconded, and carried to approve the July 27, 2020 and the August 3, 2020, minutes of University Senate.

Consent Calendar

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

    1. Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee – Summer Report

    2. Policies for Fall 2020 (Credit/No Credit, Incomplete Grades, Reporting Course Evaluation, Expansion of the Tenure (Promotion) Clock, and External Evaluations)

It should be noted that there was an error in the deadline date for Credit/No Credit. It should be Monday, November 30, 2020, instead of Monday, December 1, 2020.


  1. Campus Update - Jason Osborne, Provost
    1. Welcome to the first day of classes. Last Friday, a set of guidelines were sent out regarding FERPA, confidentiality, and privacy regarding the recording of classes. The question has been raised as to whether an instructor can use a recording of one section across multiple sections of the same course to reduce the load on faculty (e.g. an introductory course). If there are different faculty teaching sections of the same course, this may be confusing to the student if they are not seeing the faculty member they are expecting. This is surmountable with education. The other issue would be coordination to ensure that multiple sections are teaching the same content. The larger issue that needs to be considered when recording lectures is student confidentiality. Solutions would be to get consent of all students in that section or to record just the instructor.

    2. The D, E & I fund is 1.275 M. There will be a meeting with the Academic Affairs D, E & I Task Force this week, and there soon will be a call for requests for proposals within the framework of Boldly Creative. There will be less of a burden on the proposers.

    3. Some faculty have not received contracts but should by this Thursday.

    4. There have been 200 undergraduate students (Oxford) who have either deferred admission or taken a gap semester. About 85% of students who we have heard from (approximately 11,000-12,000 students) have indicated that they want to return to campus as long as it’s safe. There are several Universities across the country with multiple COVID-19 cases (e.g. UNC-Chapel Hill and Oklahoma.)

    5. There were concerns reported by Oxford residents over the weekend. Miami continues to coordinate efforts with the City of Oxford.

    6. Miami, in coordination with Tri-Health, will be buying machines for testing, which will have capacity for 500-600 tests per day. These will target students, faculty and staff who are presenting with symptoms or if they’re part of the contact tracing and will be located in Student Health Services as well as Employee Health. Additionally, the NBA has also come out with a highly accurate and fast saliva test that has received emergency approval from the federal government.

    7. There have been recent meetings with Deans and senior staff regarding the budget, and there is an upcoming meeting with the Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee this week. The budget in Academic Affairs is in better shape than a year ago. The budgets in other areas are more of a challenge, especially if we cannot get the students back this fall.

  2. Senate Working Sessions – James Bielo – Chair, Senate Executive Committee

    1. The idea of having working sessions on Senate’s off weeks was introduced at the Senate retreat by Senator Poetter. The sessions are designed to give senators and non-senators an opportunity to discuss specific agenda items as well as big picture topics. One of the goals is to sharpen deliberation and to improve the efficiency of discussions and votes on the Senate floor.

    2. Senator Poetter thanked senators for the warm welcome to the idea at the Senate Retreat, where it was agreed that this would be a pilot project. The first session will be on August 24, 2020 and will be moderated by Senator Poetter. There will be speakers from the D, E, & I Task Force.

    3. A suggestion was made about having the subcommittees working on specific topics alert Senate when they’re having discussions. Is this something that we can pursue? Yes, this structure can work in tandem with committees.

    4. Will there be meetings without set topics to discuss? There was concern about best use of time. Senator Poetter indicated that there would always be a topic for the session with time for open discussion.

    5. A concern was brought forward that faculty are taking on more and more service and this could lead to burnout of our most valued colleagues. It was reiterated that these sessions are voluntary. There will not be formal minutes taken, but notes will be shared. The spirit of this is that shared governance is on the rise.

    6. It is recommended that a group get together to create objectives to be able to measure results. The thought is that after a pilot is complete, there could be a process in place.

    7. A senator commented that one benefit of these sessions it to cultivate additional people to step up to do some of the work that is needed. This offers us a way to be at the table, but not everyone has to always be at the table. Another benefit is that problem solving is better when we know each other.

    8. The sessions will be on Mondays, on opposite weeks of Senate, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. The first session will be August 24, 2020, and more details will be forthcoming.

Old Business

  1. SR 20-25 - Sense of the Senate – Approaching Fall 2020 with Flexibility, Preparedness and Support

    1. Senator Bielo introduced SR 20-25, which had been tabled at the last meeting, to new senators. It was a resolution that was proposed over the summer and discussed over several meetings, producing rich dialog. Given the nature of the resolution, the time for the resolution has essentially passed, and it is Executive Committee’s thought that it could be untabled and then postponed indefinitely.

    2. A senator indicated that item 3 of resolution should be kept since it is still relevant to the fall. It recognizes faculty for their increased workloads in 2020-21. All other items can be removed. [We recognize that faculty are experiencing increased workloads in 2020–2021 and support the option offered to TCPL and pre-tenure faculty to “stop the clock.” In addition, we recognize that faculty who meet standard expectations for service and/or research this year may, in combination with their teaching, be doing work beyond the norm. We encourage chairs and deans to consider and describe individual circumstances and context in this year’s annual evaluation letters.]

    3. A faculty member indicated that the ‘stop the clock’ option has already been approved. The Provost confirmed that this was correct and that everything could be removed with the exception of the text recognizing faculty’s increased workloads. The motion was amended and carried to remove all of the text except that which recognizes faculty.

    4. It was asked if the title of the resolution needed to be adjusted. It was suggested that the wording of the resolution be adjusted to be in the present tense and reflective of the title. This would then be sent out to faculty.

    5. It was suggested that a friendly amendment be made to add ‘staff’ to item 3.

    6. A senator was concerned regarding the phrase ‘standard expectations regarding service loads’. What are the standards? Are they being reconsidered? What if the bigger load is our new normal? This resolution is recognizing that everyone is doing a lot of work beyond the norm and this needs to be considered in the annual evaluation letters. This is not a policy statement; this is a Sense of the Senate.

    7. A senator commented that this is part of the reason why it is being suggested to remove this resolution from consideration. When this was brought forward during the last Senate (2019-2020), it was relevant. So much has changed since then and what is being stated in number 3 has already been recognized by the Provost and the Deans.

    8. At this point, the motion was made to postpone this Sense of the Senate indefinitely. The motion carried by electronic vote: 39 aye; 1 nay; 4 abstentions.

  2. Furlough Policy – Discussion

    1. Provost Osborne reminded senators what the issue and discussion points were as introduced by Robin Parker, General Counsel, who consulted with Senate on August 3, 2020 regarding revising the Furlough Policy. This is a consultation, and Senate does not have control over the policy. At this time, we are not talking about furloughs for faculty. This is a consultation about one issue – the 20 day limit and 5 consecutive day maximum. The reason that this is important is that we are facing a very uncertain fall. Senators were reminded that any furlough plan for either faculty or staff would have to come back through Senate as a separate action. A furlough temporarily reduces an employee’s salary while allowing them to retain benefits and the employment relationship. A less desirable option is a layoff where the employee is terminated. Furloughs are designed to address significant budget deficits (e.g. if students cannot come back in the fall, staff in Housing, Dining and Guest Services would be affected.) A question had been asked as to whether we could talk about the scale and then scale the days rather than taking away the limit. No, that would be too restrictive. The current furlough policy is out of alignment with our peer institutions. General Counsel is requesting to lift the 20 day limit as well as the 5-day, 40-hour limit. No other changes are being sought. Senate can make any other suggestions, but General Counsel is not obligated to take those to the Board of Trustees. If Senate does not endorse the change, Ms. Parker will take this to the Board.

    2. The goal is to provide a Sense of the Senate recommendation to remove the first two sentences in the Implementation Clause of the Furlough policy (Employees may not be furloughed for more than twenty (20) working days in any fiscal year.  Furloughed employees may be required to take up to five (5) consecutive working days or forty (40) consecutive working hours off without pay. The goal is to provide flexibility during these uncertain times.

    3. Parker indicated that since addressing Senate on August 3, 2020, the situation has changed. With the cancellation of fall sports, Dr. Creamer has started a consultation with the Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee regarding a furlough for the Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) staff. At this point, the conversation has begun to furlough for 20 days and more may be added should the Board decide to revise the policy. It is unclear as to whether it is for all staff or a graduated portion. The plan will come to Senate on August 31, 2020.

    4. Senators engaged in the following questions and discussion:

      1. Are classified staff included in this policy? AFSCME workers are not included. In their collective bargaining agreement, they can have up to 90 furlough days. Over the summer, some AFSCME employees took a voluntary layoff in which they were eligible for the federal government payment of $600.00 more/week. PFD employees are not affected by the furlough policy. The other group of classified staff (SATSS), which are the administrative and technical support staff, are included in the furlough policy.

      2. Should there be two furlough policies – one to address hourly staff and one to address faculty since the conditions are different for each group? No, the current furlough policy allows for differential planning by employee classification: ‘Furloughs may be implemented on a differential, intermittent, or staggered basis based on pay/salary level, employee classification or nature of appointment. For example, furloughs may take into account the essential operating and safety needs of the University, the availability of designated federal funding, or income generated by the division, department, unit, or program.’ The senator remarked that removing the time limits make sense for groups of people who would be impacted by students not being on campus, but it doesn’t make much sense for faculty. Correct, faculty won’t be furloughed at this time because this would impact teaching.

      3. A senator remarked that Miami is the best in the state financially, except for perhaps OSU. Other schools have furlough limits and have been cancelling planned furloughs, so we should be given a clearer justification for loosening our policy now. It was noted that many AFSCME employees who took the furlough (temporary layoff) over the summer have yet to receive their unemployment, and this has been a hardship. We need to make sure that the furloughs are truly necessary. The main problem with the policy is that it doesn’t require a specific definition of a significant budget deficit, and it doesn’t require sufficient transparency so that Senate can weigh in. If the administration ‘opens the books’, and shows the deficit, Senate will likely support a furlough. If not, mistrust will build.

      4. There was a comment that there needs to be separation regarding the policy and the implementation of the policy. Any furlough plan will need to come to Senate.

      5. A senator from FSB presented a letter written by 37 FSB faculty (Attachment A-I). There was concern that eliminating the [limiting] language is troubling for such a change. Permanent removals of the caps has the potential to undermine the tenure system. The recommendation of the FSB faculty is that the Senate delay a vote, and in the absence of a delay, they vote to eliminate the cap for one year, after which the policy would revert back to the current limits.

      6. A senator agreed that having a one-year limit to the changes would be better than permanently lifting the cap. If faculty are furloughed, to what extent can faculty supplement their loss of income? Can this be done through grants?

      7. A comment was made that this seems to be an ‘elimination of a roof’ for how many days one can be furloughed with nothing replacing it. Can someone be furloughed for 365 days or the entire spring semester?

      8. Parker indicated that the policy would allow maximum flexibility in planning (e.g. using winter term, off-days, etc. as furlough days.) Ms. Parker reiterated that there is no consideration of faculty furloughs at this time. ICA staff are the only group under consideration. Any furlough plan that comes to Senate does so after consultation with Fiscal Priorities and Budget Planning Committee, the Chair of CPAC, and the Chair of UPAC. The budget deficit will be disclosed. Furloughs have to be shaped to the actual working circumstances. This is something that cannot be done in the abstract. The Senate is being asked to lift the restrictions, but can also propose guiding principles that will be taken to the Board of Trustees. Miami needs to be in the best position to plan for whatever occurs this fall and spring. Ms. Parker stated that we currently are operating under artificial constraints.

      9. A senator indicated that their constituents are nervous regarding the limits being unrestricted. Are there other options other than furlough? Can the endowment or scholarships that are not need-based be used? Ms. Parker stated that the most viable alternative to a furlough is a layoff, since 85% of all of our money spent at the institution are for personnel. The other 15% is for fixed costs. A layoff policy for unclassified staff will be brought to Senate in the next few weeks, because if the problem gets too big for a furlough, we will have to look at unclassified staff layoffs. There is already a layoff policy for classified staff. An endowment is usually for restricted purposes.

      10. The question was asked when people could apply for unemployment. Ms. Parker indicated that there is an option called ‘partial unemployment’ where if you receive 20% or less of your pay, you may still receive full unemployment benefits. If earnings are over 20%, the benefits are reduced dollar for dollar. If your earnings are equal to or over your benefit, you are not eligible for that week. Benefits are typically 50% of your average weekly wage up to a limit. There is a separate program called Shared Work Ohio that have different rules, but it is a very complicated program. Miami is a reimbursable employer of unemployment. Miami pays dollar for dollar. The question would asked whether Miami would still have a savings. Yes, Miami still would have a savings even if the employee had an unemployment claim.

      11. A question was asked if Senate could consider any plan brought to Senate outside of the current policy. Ms. Parker indicated that she needs to have a proposal ready for the Board for the September 25, 2020 meeting. There was a discussion regarding lifting the limits for the fiscal year and that there cannot be a plan brought to Senate that violates the existing policy.

      12. A question was asked to clarify whether a furlough plan for ICA is coming to Senate at the next meeting. Yes, this is currently the plan, and at this point will have to be in keeping with the existing policy (20 days maximum with no more than 5 consecutive days.) If the Board was unwilling to change to policy to lift the 20 day maximum, there may not be a choice but to do layoffs. The Provost indicated that there may be a consequence if action is not taken.

      13. A faculty member made a comment that there is concern about not getting enough information regarding the budget. This information will come with the plan for the furlough. The plan is being conflated with the policy.

      14. At the end of the meeting, there was a motion to table the discussion until the August 31, 2020, meeting. The motion carried: 34 aye; 15 nay; 1 abstention.

The Provost thanked everyone for the engaging discussion. At Senate Executive Committee, there has been discussion about adding a staff member. The staff was asked to consult and selected Bre Robinson as their representative. She will be temporarily serving until the ByLaws are changed to permanently add the position.


  1. The Regular Session of University Senate was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

Attachment A-I

Dear Senate Executive Committee Chair Bielo, Senate Executive Committee Chair-Elect Green, Provost Osborne, Special Assistant to the Provost Cox, and other members of the University Senate,

The faculty understand that the unique challenges of the COVID-19 crisis call for unique responses by the university. We are eager to partner with the administration in an evidence-based decision-making process that includes opinions from faculty, staff and students so we can all ensure Miami’s long-term financial and reputational well-being. Such a partnership and the trust and confidence it creates require that the administration engage in meaningful dialogue to address current challenges and capture future opportunities.

To that end, we want to express our conviction that the proposal to remove any limiting language in Miami’s furlough policy is troubling on several fronts. 

  • First, opportunities for broad faculty input on this proposal have been limited. This change would have profound effects on individual faculty and staff, overall morale and culture, and the University’s long-term ability to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty and staff. However, the President, Provost, and General Counsel have not been available for public discussion beyond what has recently taken place in the limited forum of University Senate. 

  • Second, without guidance on how the policy without caps would be administered, there is significant risk that some faculty or staff would be asked to carry an unduly heavy portion of any cost-saving efforts.

  • Third, permanent removal of caps on furloughs has the potential to undermine the tenure system by allowing the administration to relieve tenured faculty of their duties for an unlimited duration. Additionally, extended furloughs could cause irreparable harm to untenured, tenure-track faculty. While certainly not without drawbacks, the tenure system ensures academic freedom and allows Miami to attract and retain talented teacher-scholars. 

  • Fourth, the proposed changes are a drastic and permanent remedy to what is hopefully a temporary problem. Further, faculty have not been given any detailed financial projections to support the depth of spending cuts that may be necessary in the short and long terms, or financial analyses of options available to make those cuts (be that furloughs or otherwise).

We respectfully recommend a delay in the University Senate vote on this proposal until adequate information has been shared and faculty have had sufficient opportunity to respond. In the absence of a delay, we request that the Senate vote to increase the cap on the allowable number of furlough days but to place a one-year fuse into that change, after which time the policy would revert to its existing terms. 

We look forward to more transparency and more dialogue on decisions affecting the long-term health of Miami University.

With love and honor,


Brian Ballou, EY Professor of Accountancy

Terri Barr, Professor of Marketing

Thomas Boulton, Lindmor Professor of Finance

John Bowblis, Professor of Economics

William Brink, Associate Professor of Accountancy

Kelly Brunarski, Professor of Finance

Michael Conger, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship

James Coyle, Associate Professor of Marketing

Devon DelVecchio, Raymond E. Glos Professor of Marketing

Tim Eaton, EY Teaching Scholar & Professor of Accountancy

Lisa Ellram, University Distinguished Professor & James Evan Rees Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management

Anne Farrell, PricewaterhouseCoopers Professor of Accountancy

Greg Fisher, Associate Professor of Marketing

Megan Gerhardt, Professor & Robert D. Johnson Director, The Isaac & Oxley Center for Business Leadership, Director of Leadership Development

Jonathan Grenier, Professor of Accountancy & Director, Miami PRIME

Joel Harper, Professor of Finance & Department Chair

Dan Heitger, Deloitte Professor of Accountancy & Director, The Isaac & Oxley Center for Business Leadership

Tyler Henry, Associate Professor of Finance

Xiaowen Huang, Bill Moeckel Business Professor & Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management

Yao (Henry) Jin, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management

Allison Jones-Farmer, Van Andel Professor of Business Analytics

Sooun Lee, Professor of Information Systems & Analytics & Director, Higgin Kim Asian Business Program

Michael McCarthy, Professor of Marketing & Department Chair

Fadel Megahed, Associate Professor of Information Systems & Analytics

Jeff Merhout, Associate Professor of Information Systems & Analytics

William Moser, Associate Professor of Accountancy

Terry Nixon, Professor of Finance

Sanjay Puligadda, Associate Professor of Marketing

Andrew Reffett, Professor of Accountancy & Department Chair

Joseph Rode, George and Mildred Panuska Professor in Business & Professor of Management

David Shrider, Associate Professor of Finance & Director of Global Business Initiatives

Brett Smith, Cintas Chair in Entrepreneurship

Eric Stenstrom, Associate Professor of Marketing

Leslie Stoel, Professor of Marketing

Chris Sutter, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship

Melissa Thomasson, Julian Lange Professor of Economics & Department Chair

Peng Weng, Associate Professor of Management