Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes - February 9, 2021


Joel Hockensmith (chair), Deemah Alharthi, Rasheed Balogun, Ellen Bassett, Alan Beckenstein, Aaron Bloomfield, Alison Booth, Maite Brandt-Pearce, Evan Brown, Caro Campos, Linda Duska, James Fitz-Gerald, Bob Hirosky, Tish Jennings, Susan Kirk, Kathryn Laughon, Kevin Lehmann, Crystal Luo, Carol Manning, Peter Norton, Cecelia Parks, Rob Patterson, Natalie Solaja


Donald Brown, Alena Herklotz, Ann Kellams, Brett Marshall, Christina Morell, Claudia Scholz

Administrative Support: Ashley Ayers, Adriana Torres (closed captioner)

Meeting agenda:

  1. Convene and Call to Order - Chair Hockensmith

  2. Approve minutes

  3. 3:05 pm - United Campus Workers of Virginia (UCWVA) union

    1. Crystal Jing Luo – PhD candidate in History/UCWVA Steering Cmte

    2. Questions from EXCO – (also available – Evan Brown & Cecelia Parks)

  4. 3:15 pm – undocUVA

    1. Caro Campos – President of undocUVA

    2. Questions from EXCO – (also available - Natalie Solaja & Deemah Alharthi)

  5. 3:30 pm – AAUP

    1. Alison Booth – Professor of English/AAUP Executive Cmte

    2. Questions from EXCO

  6. Disposition of open committee positions

  7. Student Safety – Patterson

  8. Committee Reports

    1. Nomination Committee – Cmte Chair Bassett

    2. Academic Affairs – Cmte Chair Bloomfield

      1. BA in Computer Science from the College

        1. While the CS department is in the Engineering school, this degree is for College students; the existing BS CS is the CS degree for Engineering students.  The BA CS passed the AAC unanimously. 

      2. Data Science PhD from the School of Data Science.  The DS PhD passed with one dissenting vote.

    3. DEI – Cmte Chair Jennings

    4. Faculty Grievance – Cmte Chair Al-Samman OR Manning

    5. FRRRW  – Cmte Chair Beckenstein OR Modesitt

    6. Finance  – Cmte Chair Hallowell

    7. Policy – Cmte Chair Norton

    8. RTS  – Cmte Chair Hirosky OR Lehmann

  9. Agenda for Feb 23rd Faculty Senate Meeting

  10. Other business

  11. 5 pm – Adjourn

Meeting Notes:

Quorum met; Joel Hockensmith called the meeting to order at 3:01pm.

Approval of January 15 EXCO meeting Minutes

Joel Hockensmith: Any changes? Minutes declared approved by General Consent.

United Campus Workers of Virginia (UCWVA) union (presented by Crystal Luo)

  • Joined by Cecilia Parks and Evan Brown: steering committee members.

  • State-wide wall-to-wall union. Faculty, staff, and student workers are all eligible to join.

  • Worker frustration with pandemic response.

  • Local branch of nation-wide organization.

  • What can a union get done, given VA’s union workers’ policy?  Examples: living wage campaign; graduate worker union to grant healthcare coverage.

  • Listening to workers’ needs, connect workers with each other (they helped distribute PPE to those who did not have those supplies).

  • Dues paying membership.

  • Faculty involvement has been critical. Can play key roles in effecting change.

  • Questions:

    • Susan Kirk: do you have any membership of medical residents at health system? Does union cover them as well?

    • Crystal: yes, we do have members who are residents. Also, from healthcare workers and students – recruitment going on.

    • Susan Kirk: clarifying question – residents are medical center employees.

    • Evan Brown: members can join as support members, if they do not meet the criterial for official membership.

    • Joel Hockensmith: should this group come before the full Faculty Senate? What questions should Crystal, Evan, and Cecelia think about?

    • Ellen Bassett: important to have this group because faculty engaged with AAUP. Focusing on the issues the group is currently working on.

    • Cecelia Parks: there is overlap in the issues. You can join both organizations. Important that this is a wall-to-wall union in a right to work state. It is bigger than one category of employee (faculty, staff, and students) – can have a bigger impact on the issues.

    • Crystal Luo: all committed to expanding worker governance. The two groups are not mutually exclusive. Legislative work – want to change state legislation to improve worker conditions here.

    • Kevin Lehmann: restrictions for right to work state. It is illegal to mandate joining a union but what are the other limitations?

    • Cecelia Parks: that’s all that right to work means; you cannot be required to join a union. State-level employees are not allowed to legally collectively bargain – that is a focus. Have experience dealing with groups who have experience. 

undocUVA (presented by Caro Campos)

  • Joined by Deeman Alharthi and Natalie Solaja.

  • Creating faculty support for undocumented students.

  • Acknowledgement of indigenous land and enslaved laborers.

  • Caro Campos shared the mission statement: to create a more inclusive environment and overall safe space for undocumented students through education and advocacy.

  • Problem they are addressing: how can faculty address the needs of all students, regardless of their status and create an inclusive class environment for undocu+ students (people of varying immigration statuses, including undocumented, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), TPS (Temporary Protected Status), liminal status/other)

  • Caro Campos showed a syllabus guide with language suggested to include on class syllabi and pointed out attendance procedures that affect undocu+ students.

  • Mental health impact, network of support, continued needs for these students.

  • Questions?

  • Joel Hockensmith: what is the number of undocumented students at UVA?

  • Before June 16, 2020: no students could apply unless they were in the DACA program. Once allowed, 25 students were enrolled, but the numbers are currently dwindling. As of December 2020, expensive, no financial aid support distributed. June 16 2021: number is expected to go up.

  • Ellen Bassett: a more broadly inclusive statement on syllabus (include first-generation and underrepresented groups).

  • Natalie Solaja: funding: no financial aid offered. Needs to specifically be addressed by syllabus guide.

  • Caro Campos: issues they’re facing are same as other groups, but need to be specific and call it out for this group to effect change.

  • Ellen Bassett: I have power over my syllabus. Are you speaking to the admissions officers?

  • Caro Campo: yes, admissions and student affairs office and also working with local government officials.

AAUP (presented by Alison Booth)

  • AAUP wants to work with EXCO and Faculty Senate. AAUP is not a union but is the closest thing to a national union.

  • Founded in 1915 (a national organization): shared governance and academic freedom are focus areas.

  • They do overlap with UCWVA and Faculty Senate– not just tenured faculty. All those engaged in teaching in research in higher ed.

  • Advocacy is the focus.

  • UVA chapter: had lapsed but now has around 70 members; working to increase the membership. Local dues, to increase the membership ($25/annually). It wants to work on faculty self-governance.

  • Allison shared some cases they have been working on. And they organize talks.

  • Tomorrow: national organization event: New Deal for Higher Ed.

  • Questions?

    • Peter Norton: second the assurance that membership is worth it. He has found it beneficial. Credible, assertive, voice for fairness in shared governance.

    • Susan Kirk: tension in ideas of faculty governance and AAUP: BOV makes the decision. Faculty Senate can put policies/procedures in place but we report to President and BOV. We have suggestions, and BOV makes the decision. Causes tension. Where do you see resolution of that tension?

    • Alison Booth: yes, tension. But Faculty Senate has made a difference. Faculty Senate is regarded. If you do not get faculty involved, then faculty governance will disappear. Faculty must stand up for it.

    • Rob Patterson: AFT (American Federation of Teachers) – is that an alliance or a one-off partnership.

    • Alison Booth: not an official alignment. It is officially a union. AAUP has helped Faculty Senate make a difference about individual faculty members at UVA.

    • Academic freedom side of things is important, too. It is going to get more important as we go along. A speaker is coming this spring (climate scientist). Academic freedom is crucial.

    • I hope you can bring us to the full Faculty Senate.

Standing Committees (presented by Joel Hockensmith)

  • Colonnade Club Board of Governors, Athletics Advisory Council, Organizational Excellence Leadership Council

  • All could benefit from someone who could serve for more than one year at a time.

  • Should get a list of committees from UVA (suggestion from January FS meeting)

  • List of web pages that have lists of committees at UVA: BOV Committees, University Committees, Student Council Standing Committees, Faculty Senate Committees, School Committees (some are out of date); there is a wealth of committees.

  • Faculty Senate does not have a plan for how to participate in committees; it has picked some cases and made plans to make contributions. There are organizational issues.

  • What are we asking for? A list of committees from which President/Provost make elections? Or a list of committees that have seats for Faculty Senators.

  • Tish Jennings: if there is a committee that involves faculty input, the administration already has that but are they ad hoc, thrown together. We could lobby for a more systematic approach to those committees. If there is a committee where we are not being represented, we should address that.

  • Joel Hockensmith: do we start by getting a list of committees? Or should the chair of each of those committees report once per year to the Faculty Senate, or do the faculty who are on the committees report on the committee work?

  • Tish Jennings: what exists at other universities that we could look at as a model? A university that might have a better governance system.

  • Rob Patterson: on the committees you mentioned – those were institutionalized for us along the way. We should pivot quickly to get those positions filled. Should position be rotating or is continuity better for best representation? Should EXCO or leadership team move to make that decision.

  • Susan Kirk: committees fall into two buckets: the committees doing the direct work of people at the faculty level – th Faculty Senate needs to be represented to create link to governance. Then, other committees where it is not directly about us but the expertise that faculty bring is important to the committee work. A bunch of people volunteered to serve on those three committees. If there’s no interest, do we think that the committee isn’t important for Faculty Senate representation?

  • Kevin Lehmann: committee work should not be restricted to Faculty Senate representation, even though should have faculty representation. How could the Faculty Senate assist? Some communication necessary so we know who is on the committees; if we have a question, we’d know which faulty to contact to ask.

  • Ellen Bassett: reluctant to say we will put Faculty Senators on all of these committees. I would like our own Faculty Senate committees to function well – that faculty should know about them and feel like they can talk to them with faculty issues.

  • Joel Hockensmith: the Athletics committee is ok for now since Susan Kirk is serving but we do need to do something about the Colonnade Club.

  • Tish Jennings: what does the committee service entail?

  • Ellen Bassett: Jeri Seidman could speak to that – she gave a report during the last full Faculty Senate meeting.

  • Joel Hockensmith: chair of nominating committee can put out a call, collect names, and pass them along. Colonnade Club can decide which they want. Joel will look at the list of volunteers from the last meeting’s minutes. Think about a path forward. Joel, Susan, and Ellen will discuss and Joel will bring ideas back to EXCO.

Student Safety (presented by Rob Patterson)

  • On Grounds recently, exited his building and was struck by what it’s like to be there after dark now vs. pre-COVID. Very few people around the community, particularly the Lawn. Students walking in isolation, alone. A few ambassadors were around. Students have mixed feelings about the ambassador group. Issues around student safety.

  • Had loss in McIntire community. Isolation is going on for our students. Important to communicate with your students and be observant of student behavior.

  • Joel Hockensmith: yes, isolation after dark. Feels cautious walking after dark.

  • Concern for safety of students walking alone.

  • Susan Kirk: timely – keep in mind that level of awareness for safety was high during Hannah Graham time. Reminder about safety protocols that used to be in place.

  • Ellen Bassett: should an action be taken by Faculty Senate? A soft tactic – talking to the administration (Joel, Ellen, Susan are talking to the Provost).

Committee Reports

Nomination Committee (presented by Ellen Bassett)

  • We need a fourth candidate for the EXCO At-large positions. Other than that, we are in good shape.

Academic Affairs Committee (presented by Aaron Bloomfield)

  • Two proposals

    • BA in computer science. Curriculum is not significantly changed from what it was originally. Resources already being used. Passed AAC unanimously.

    • Kevin Lehmann: BA vs BS. How do the requirements compare to the BS? Is there any discussion for having a BS option?

    • Aaron Bloomfield: in Engineering. College has a major, has a limit for number of courses required (10 courses). BS in Engineering has 16 courses. BA is trying to give more of a broadening aspect and anchors it in College.

    • Kevin Lehmann: should there be two tracks? One BA and one BS?

    • Aaron Bloomfield: whatever school you are in, that’s your only choice. BA already created. No discussion of also making a BS. Working on pushing the BA through for now. Maybe could work on the BS in the future.

    • Joel Hockensmith: do you want a motion? General Consent? Any objections? Passed by General Consent because no objections.

    • PhD in Data Science – first degree to be created in new school. This is a new field and there is not a lot to go by for comparing it to what is being offered by other schools. Passed AAC not unanimously, one vote was against and the rest of the votes in support.

    • Aaron Bloomfield: any objections? Passed by General Consent.

DEI Committee (presented by Tish Jennings)

  • Legacy admissions. Meeting with Dean Farmer. Dealing with issues relating to admissions fight over equity/inclusion.

  • We need more data. Do not know how legacy plays out.

  • Exploring if administration has any process to vet former Trump officials who might be wanting to come to UVA. Is that being considered?

  • Joel Hockensmith: I do not know if anything is being considered.

  • Susan Kirk: example: the faculty hire at Miller Center? Previously resolved/decided that the Miller Center could vet/hire whomever they wanted.

  • Rob Patterson: that group’s mission is to study the presidency. How can you leave the presidency out of the conversation?

  • Tish Jennings: concern is, do we want someone hired here who believes the election was fixed, or in conspiracy theories. Where is the line?

  • Alan Beckenstein: we evaluate faculty based on their merits on their individual positions. Dangerous to assume people stand for certain things, just based on their work in the administration.

  • Kevin Lehmann: cannot assume that everyone who worked for administration believes that the election was stolen. Public relations – would be bad because it would support claims of bias if we excluded people in that way.

  • Rob Patterson: UVA Today. Freedom of Expression Committee. Joel Gardner. Advocating that there is not a lot of freedom of expression or academic freedom for those on the conservative side. Maybe someone on that committee can attend and give us an update on the work they are doing?

  • Joel Hockensmith: two new committees: Susan Kirk appointed to one of them – administration is listening to our request for having faculty senators represented on committees. It is shared governance, although not what we typically think of as shared governance. Could we get reports from that committee?

  • COACHE: wanted to hear the report on that data earlier but are looking forward to receiving it soon.

  • Susan Kirk: her role as Faculty Senator and incoming Chair that got her elected. Happy to bring things back to Faculty Senate. This committee is not a long-term committee; expected to produce a product.

  • Rob Patterson: those on the docket today were representing a progressive point of view. It is healthy for us to be exposed to diverse ideological views. Advocating for access to different points of view; that’s education, that is healthy.

  • Ellen Bassett: we did not solicit those people who came to speak, today. They came to us. We are reacting to people who want to report to us.

  • Tish Jennings: the committee wants to be open to multiple perspectives. But what is not a perspective is a lie. Committee drawing the line between perspectives and lies.

Joel Hockensmith: do any other committees have anything to report?  No further committee reports.

Items for February 23 Faculty Senate meeting agenda

  • Invite Joel Gardner? What do you want on the Faculty Senate agenda?

  • Maite? Will you be ready for us on February 23? (COACH survey results)

  • Maite: tell me how much time I have – I will fill the time. Joel: at least 30 minutes. Maite: I will send the slides ahead of time so people can review the slides in advance of meeting.

  • Do we want the three entities that came and spoke to us today at EXCO?

  • Kevin Lehmann: AAUP is a good idea to invite. Long history to collaboration with the Faculty Senate and they are looking to recruit. The other two are not relevant to Faculty Senate as a whole.

  • Aaron Bloomfield: UCW – we’d need to have an actual item. What do they want? A motion of support? Recruitment? We need for them to have an action item.

  • Joel: those two groups wanted to let us know they exist. Let Faculty Senate know that we heard from them and say Faculty Senate group can reach out to them, if they want.

  • Tish Jennings: giving some information about the UCWVA; worth mentioning that they exist, and they reached out to us.

Joel: Hockensmith: are there any further questions or comments?
Ellen Bassett: agenda brainstorming items from last meeting?
Joel Hockensmith: bring in more faculty to observe Faculty Senate meetings.
Tish Jennings: what time is the next meeting?
Joel Hockensmith: Next Faculty Senate meeting time is 3-5pm.

Joel Hockensmith: meeting adjourned at 4:34pm

Chat log

  • 00:23:03 Robert Patterson: No, we have several GF in the Senate.

  • 00:28:58 Robert Patterson: Is AAUP an actual union? I thought AAUP was more of non-profit advocacy association. Do unions do well in right-to-work states? What's the true value of membership?

  • 00:30:24 Crystal Luo (she/her): Thank you again for your time!

  • 00:30:24 Cecelia Parks (she/her): Thanks, everyone!

  • 00:31:02 Evan Brown (they/them): Thank you!

  • 00:32:47 Aaron Bloomfield: Kevin: to further answer your question about restrictions with regard to unions, we -- as state employees - are not allowed to strike. Formally, if 3 or more state employees engage in a work stoppage activity, we are immediately fired and cannot be rehired for 12 months.  (Technically this is not part of the right-to-work but a separate law, I believe)

  • 00:40:20 Evan Brown (they/them): @Aaron Bloomfield This is correct (§ 40.1-55). I can only speak for myself, but a strike or work stoppage is a last resort and the ultimate expression of our leverage and power. There are many actions and steps that can and should happen before a strike is a discussed. Though I will also point out that illegal or legally grey actions do result in real change, as long as sufficient support and organization is in place (e.g. 2018 West Virginia teachers' strikes).

  • 00:41:13 Caro Campos (she/her): Thank you!

  • 00:41:16 Deemah Alharthi (she/her): Thank you!

  • 00:46:20 Ellen Bassett (she/her): AAUP did the collective bargaining for faculty when I worked at Portland State.

  • 00:51:00 Rasheed Balogun: Faculty senate used AAUP verbiage as starting point for our statement on academic freedom

  • 00:52:49 Rasheed Balogun: Faculty academic freedom is the freedom to teach; to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression and to disseminate the results; and to speak or write on any matter of public concern and on any matter related to professional duties and the functioning of governance of the University. Academic faculty have the free speech right to address in any forum any matter that is of social, political, economic, or other interest to the larger community, without restraint beyond that imposed by professional standards and ethics or by law.

  • 00:53:27 Peter Norton: Rasheed’s example is an excellent one.  This was very effective teamwork between the AAUP chapter and the Faculty Senate.

  • 00:55:00 Evan Brown (they/them): Thank you all again!

  • 01:16:44 Linda Duska: Apologies, am leaving early for competing meeting.

  • 01:29:38 Tish Jennings:

  • 01:33:54 Tish Jennings: Clarification, committee discussed vetting them, not censoring them

  • 01:34:11 Rob Patterson: Guilty. ;-)

  • 01:34:59 Susan Kirk (she/her): And some not so heavy hitters.  :)

  • 01:41:22 Rob Patterson: Thanks Ellen! I appreciate you making the distinction.

  • 01:45:06 Rob Patterson: Thanks to all, but I have a major event I'm hosting in the School. Thanks Joel. Good meeting.

  • 01:46:12 Tish Jennings: Do we have a time for the FS meeting?