Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes - October 20, 2020

Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, October 20, 2020; 4:00pm-6:00pm
Zoom Virtual Meeting


Joel Hockensmith (chair), Rasheed Balogun, Ellen Bassett, Alan Beckenstein, Melody Bianchetto, Ari Blatt, Aaron Bloomfield, Maite Brandt-Pearce, Ben Castleman, Donna Chen, John Comazzi, J.J. Davis, Linda Duska, Maxim Engers, James Fitz-Gerald, Gavin Garner, Peter Gray, Vanessa Gregg, Douglas Grissom, Peter Hallowell, Mark Haskins, Walter Heinecke, Natasha Heller, Janet Herman, Nicole Jenkins, Tish Jennings, Meg Keeley, Ann Kellams, Michael Kennedy, Jason Kerrigan, Bradley Kesser, Daniel Kinney, Susan Kirk, Adria LaViolette, Kathryn Laughon, Matthew Lazzara, Kevin Lehmann, Allen Lynch, Stephen Macko, Elizabeth Magill, Carol Manning, Kirk Martini, Kim Mata, Kathryn Neeley, Peter Norton, Rob Patterson, Andrew Pennock, Greg Roberts, James Ryan, James Savage, Jeri Seidman, Maria Sequeira-Lopez, Jaclyn Shepard, Philip Smith, Mircea Stan, Trinh Thuan, Miao-fen Tseng, Sarah Ware, Brian Wright

A.D. Carson, Michael Citro, Maggie Harden, Genia Kumm (providing closed captioning)

Administrative support: Ashley Ayers

Meeting agenda:

  1. Convene and Call to Order - Chair Joel Hockensmith

  2. 4:00-4:45 pm – Executive Leaders make comments and take queries

    1. President Jim Ryan

    2. Provost Liz Magill

  3. Legacy Admissions

    1. Brief background of topic – Chair Hockensmith

    2. “Legacy” educational brief – Dean of Admission, Greg Roberts

    3. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Motion – Chair Tish Jennings

  4. Bylaws Amendment from FS EXCO

    1. Summary – Chair Hockensmith

    2. Ad hoc Committee on Bylaws – Senator Sarah Ware

  5. Brief introduction to “General Consent” – Chair Hockensmith

    1. ACC Action* – Chair Aaron Bloomfield

    2. Approve minutes

      1. FS 09/18/2020*

      2. FS 05/01/2020*

    3. Senate Task Force of Scholarly Publication and Author’s Rights*

  6. DEI Referral of Working Document to FS* – Chair Tish Jennings

  7. Faculty Senate of Virginia – Chair Hockensmith

  8. Other business

  9. 6:00 pm – Adjourn

“*” denotes items to be approved by “General Consent”. Dissent of a single Faculty Senate member sends the item to an “on line” vote by the full FS.

Meeting notes:

Meeting called to order by Chair Hockensmith at 4:02pm.

Updates from President Jim Ryan:

  • COVID numbers are in a good place currently, and are trending down.

  • Hospitalization numbers remain low.

  • Plenty of available space for isolation and quarantine. 56 active cases. (Referenced the numbers in the UVA COVID tracker).

  • Eased up on size of gatherings: limit is currently 10.

  • Testing is expanding: saliva-based testing. Can test all students.

  • Off-Grounds student testing by self-administered test kits.

  • Testing of asymptomatic and symptomatic faculty and staff

  • Community testing.

  • Currently a national/international resurgence of the virus. Unpredictable virus, so we have to try to stay one step ahead of it.

  • All managers need to let their staff have adequate time to vote, at least a few hours.

  • Three additional holiday days in December. Two weeks off around Christmas and New Years. Recognizes the challenging semester.

  • Essay in UVA Today revisiting the ideals of “great and good” – landmarks and signs on Lawn doors. To put initiatives and controversies in context. Lawn room door signs have ignited anger among alumni: withholding donations; suggesting his resignation. The Lawn signs have garnered more attention off Grounds, instead of among faculty and staff on Grounds.

Updates from Provost Liz Magill:

  • A new grading policy that allows students to choose credit, general credit, no credit.

  • Three dean searches ongoing currently. SOM is underway. Architecture and Engineering – finalizing committees for those searches.

  • Margo Rogers – leading VP for Student Affairs search.

  • Archie Holmes position.

  • J-term and spring semester planning: J-term term one class, student can opt into. Online. Cross-disciplinary offerings. Pre-arrival and post-arrival testing for students coming back for spring semester.

  • Spring term schedule will look a lot like fall, but virus might change those plans. Pushing the term back to the beginning of February to avoid flu season. One day later than otherwise gone. No spring break – wellness days off, instead.

  • Resources for hybrid teaching. Improvements and updates to sound capabilities.

  • Increase number of in-person experiences – not just classes, but in-person office hours, sports activities, office hours, etc. Concern about student well-being with their level of isolation. Creative thinking to encourage contact with each other and their faculty.

Questions for President and/or Provost:

  • Jeri Seidman: thank you for your lawn sign response, President Ryan. Importance of student free speech above the aesthetics of the Lawn. Protected speech.

  • Andy Pennock: have decisions been made around graduation.

  • Pres. Ryan: no decisions made yet but are planning for contingencies. Working on the planning.

  • Liz Magill: major events would want to know the decisions by mid-March.

  • Kathryn Laughan: same question about graduation. Thanks for handling the Lawn sign issues. Shortening the semester is a good idea.

  • Kirk Martini: likes wellness days instead of spring break. Community building events that are not classes would be good. Having students here is community-building. Virtual office hours – he’s finding them successful for contacting students. Supports getting them out and building community.

  • Jim Savage: wonderful story about Provost Magill working with RGB. Is there an update on the state budget?

  • Jim Ryan: we are not going to see the reductions we feared, this year. But they might come next year. We won’t see new funding, but won’t have the cuts we feared. Nervousness around what the year after next looks like. Might get additional Cares Act funding from the state. There may be an application process for schools to submit evidence of COVID-related costs, to receive additional funding.

  • Joel Hockensmith: could you share an update on asymptomatic testing? Faculty have said that they’re being advised not to do asymptomatic testing.

  • Liz Magill: Let’s Get Checked is the vendor. Results are fast. They have not come close to the demand they expected to have. Wage employees are eligible for these tests. We are meeting the demand from UVA Health, as well.

  • Joel Hockensmith: the faculty have lost track of the links on the web. Joel sent them the link

  • Jim Ryan: communication around faculty and staff who were at home should wait until others who come into Grounds often get a test first.

  • Liz Magill: sometimes those who feel like they were close contacts are not as close as they think and they can’t get a test. They are testing FM and staff working on Grounds.

  • Peter Norton: grading methods. Faculty: a lot of our students work on team projects. Some of the criteria are weaker for team projects.

  • Liz Magill: the decision coming mid-semester not ideal. We would do it in advance, mechanisms devised ahead of start.

  • Rob Patterson: UVA Wise. How are they doing with their budget and well-being, in general?

  • Jim Ryan: they are doing well. Big driver is enrollment. Retention challenges, strong this semester. They’ve incurred costs related to COVID and will be eligible for Cares Act funding. We have been in close contact with them since the summer and they are in good shape. COVID numbers are low. Enrollment is good.

  • Tish Jennings: any strategy around faculty vaccines? Getting everyone vaccinated. Strategies around who is most at risk; who gets prioritized in getting the vaccine first.

  • Liz Magill: good question.

  • Jim Ryan: need to add this topic to the agenda. It’s becoming possible to look beyond the next 12-24 hours. We should be thinking about what we need to do be ready when a vaccine arrives.

  • Joel Hockensmith: students have asked for time to lobby on behalf of students who are in other time zones and are required to take exams in this time zones. What advice to faculty giving students exams in other places?

  • Liz Magill: Maite may be aware/this is an issue to make her aware of.  

  • Joel Hockensmith: the students thought it was too late to go to the administration, the request just came in late last night. They wanted to deal with this through the Faculty Senate. Student Government emailed Joel.

  • Liz Magill: what is the scope of this issue? She is surprised to learn that faculty are having students in China have an exam in 3am. What are the facts of the case(s)?

Review of guidelines. Motions brought forward/discussed in meeting are voted on online, following the meeting. Dealing with any amendments, first. (Review of timeline.)

Legacy Admissions:

  • Motion from Diversity/Equity/Inclusion committee in EXCO. Motion to refer the matter back to the committee. EXCO voted online. Tish Jennings is committee chair. Committee is bringing topic back to Fac Senate. Greg Roberts and Liz Magill. Joel sent Roberts a question set. And he provided a fact sheet. Posted to FS website. Admissions liaison program – use to prep. Bias in terms of legacy admissions.

  • Liz Magill: Admissions reports to the Provost. We have new VP for Enrollment, Steve Farmer and his start date is Jan 1. This is a new UVA position. Admissions, Registrar, Student Financial Services. These items will be on Steve’s agenda.

  • Greg Roberts: we try to be transparent with the policy related to admissions. Provided listen and learn lunches and these topics were covered. Alumni Program is a program run by Alumni Hall. Admissions wouldn’t know if a student participated in the activity. Impossible to be biased for or against that student. Student Body should reflect the values of UVA. The admissions process is described and sent out to potential students. November through June- 30 readers read the applications. No formula, no equation, an honest thorough conversation. High school performance is high. Test optional approach this year, because of access to testing during the pandemic. Strides in increasing diversity – not where they want to be but working hard on diversity issues. Not true that students whose parents went to UVA are considered separately. They look at a variety of items, all facets are part of the discussion to get a picture of who the student is, as a scholar and human being.

  • Tish Jennings: when on the website it says legacy status, it sounds like a special category. Your description sounds like a whole range of factors are considered and that legacy is only one of them.

  • Greg Roberts: sometimes when a student is on the fence, legacy status might push the student up. Likewise, first –generation status might influence the decision

  • Liz Magill: children of faculty and staff are in similar category. This issue is on Steve Farmer’s list. Admissions policy is on his list. As the legacy status group becomes more diverse, irony of eliminating it – comment from alumni who are women or people of color who fit that legacy category.

  • Joel Hockensmith: a faculty senator may put a proposal forward.

  • Tish Jennings: putting the proposal forward. This came out of their committee meeting and came with a consensus that legacy policy didn’t align with the racial equity task force and could be seen as a way to bias privileged people. Chronicle of Higher Education article pointed to UVA. There was also an article from a student that came out in February. Wants to propose the resolution (she read the resolution).

  • Joel Hockensmith: This motion does not need a second because it came from the committee. Open now for discussion/debate.

  • Kevin Lehmann: have you done any analysis of comparing the accepting rate if the legacy status was considered? Is there evidence of higher rate of legacy students being admitted?

  • Greg Roberts: no, have not done that analysis. Students of college-educated parents often have more opportunities. There’s a lot going on that is sensitive and complicated. Our job is to enroll the class you want us to.

  • Ben Castleman: strikes me that if the goal is to resolve and support an admissions process that is more equitable, it would be in our favor to work with Greg and Steve Farmer on a more comprehensive resolution that addresses multiple facets of the admissions process, instead of just one part of it.

  • Alan Beckenstein: my comments aligned with Ben. Legal issues associated with election results. I like the logic of bringing up legacy status but it should be a part of a larger conversation. Should be an important part of a larger resolution.

  • James Savage: (audio issues) Head count of number of students allowed at UVA under rules.

  • Greg Roberts: not rules, one part of an application that has multiple parts. First year applicants – 44% rate of offer. Based on their system, 44% offer rate; faculty rate is 55% but that group is smaller. Legacy status student make up to 9-11%.

  • Rob Patterson: the 30 application readers, how are they trained in some of the dimensions you addressed? Some may be newer to reading applications. How do they internalize the missions?

  • Greg Roberts: 18-20 people on staff. 18 full time admissions deans. Also, seasonal readers are hired (15-20 of them). Everyone goes through an annual training – manual ranges from practical to philosophical issues. This year is particularly challenging – junior year grades and test scores – interruptions to normal data. Implicit Bias training – all readers to one every year. Hit at different angles. Several weeks of training prior to reading season, prior to start work.

  • Ellen Bassett: we talked about this last year and she was motivated to eliminate legacy status. But then she set though conversations – important to UVA in terms of alumni base. Alumni help us achieve our mission. Would there be any fallout from the alumni base? It’s important to the University.

  • Liz Magill: Jim and I have talked about doing a full survey of alumni. Would be interesting to know. Not donors, but alumni who loved the school and like the intergenerational component of the school. They feel (those who speak) pretty strongly. They love UVA and want to think their connection to it might make a tiny difference. They would want those factors not to be taken out of consideration.

  • Tish Jennings: question for Greg: in terms of those who review the letters and applications, what is the diversity of that group? Do you search for people of different backgrounds to review the applications?

  • Greg Roberts: yes, our office is diverse. There is a unit called “outreach” that recruits underrepresented students. We look for diversity. Part time readers are where they lack diversity. Reading applications is a large time commitment for not very much compensation. The permanent staff is quite diverse and reflects the student body.

  • Sarah Ware: in support of a comprehensive approach. “End legacy admissions” language makes it sound like there is a special pipeline or track for legacy students. Wording might give wrong impression for what UVA is doing.

  • Greg Roberts: alumni confused, his office changed description to better capture what they do. Alumni are greatest allies and biggest critics because they love UVA. As Steve arrives, we should think about communicating to the public about who we are and what we do. Think forwardly about how we engage the community.

  • Peter Gray: phrasing is a concern. (Agrees with Sarah). Support for the intention; room to refine the language to be more specific. Change in verbiage would be helpful.

  • Andy Pennock: effects of legacy admissions on who is admitted. But how does it affect who applies? Will we see a different applicant pool?

  • Greg Roberts: hard to tell but probably won’t affect the applicant pool, given size of population. We all want to provide access and contribute to social mobility around the state and country. There is a pipeline initiative for attracting middle school students. Many initiatives together helps us elevate the level of diversity. One by itself doesn’t have as much impact.

  • Tish Jennings: the committee wants to withdraw the resolution to consider and contribute in a larger way.

  • Joel Hockensmith: once introduced, the motion belongs to the Faculty Senate and can’t be withdrawn by the person who brought it forward. Someone else needs to bring forward that motion. A member of the faculty senate put forward the motion and Aaron Bloomfield seconded motion.

  • General Consent: approved this way if no one objects. (A slide shown to describe rules).

  • Walt Heinecke: of all of the legacies that attend, do you have a breakdown by race?

  • Greg Roberts: that data is available (doesn’t have it available now). Demographic data does exist.

  • Joel Hockensmith: no hands up. Does anyone object to sending this back to committee? No hands raised. Declared that the secondary motion has been approved, document goes back to committee for further conversation. Committee may allow Faculty Senate members to sit in on those committee meetings to assist with language.

  • Greg Roberts: the diversity of the class is the highest priority of our office. If Faculty Senators have any ideas/suggestions for improving diversity, please tell us.

BOV Representative Amendment

  • Joel Hockensmith: There were negative votes and people who didn’t vote. Had a good number of votes. Vote failed and Joel referred the issue back to the committee.

  • Bylaws Committee was set up without a sunset date – a live committee and will continue to exist until no longer needed.

  • Motion from September 22: took list of objections and rewrote the motion.

  • Peter Norton and another group re-wrote a section.

  • Only one could be considered.

  • Ad hoc committee on Bylaws. Sarah Ware make comments and read it in for consideration for the committee.

  • Sarah Ware: one name put forward. Not specific on the voting process but name should have majority, made the language general enough (Sarah read the statement).

  • No second needed for this motion.

  • 16 eligible voters, 13 voted to move to FS, one abstained, one voted against (Chair did not vote).

  • Walt Heinecke: nominations come from the floor? Or FS at large? No mention of nominating committee.

  • Joel: The nominating committee has a charge in the bylaws that they need to put folks forward. Secondary amendment opens it up for votes from the floor. Virtual voting makes this feasible.

  • Peter Norton: 4 EXCO members had a draft ready, once motion was voted down. Bylaw amendment and this one is very close. AAUP chapter advice – we should as the statute allows and permit any current faculty member to run. That person would be nominated by a current Faculty Senate member. We’ve already done this before. Wants to see the bylaw adopted with an amendment. Would permit us and future FS to elect a current faculty member. He made a motion to implement a secondary amendment.

    “I move we strike this line:
    - “All current faculty senators are eligible for nomination.”
    And replace it with this:
    - “Any faculty member of the University of Virginia whose term of faculty appointment includes the following academic year shall be qualified to stand in the election for which the nomination is made. If the elected faculty representative is not a senator, the faculty representative shall, during the term as representative, be a member of the Senate ex officio, with voice and without vote.” “

  • Walter Heinecke seconded the motion.

  • Joel Hockensmith: discussion on the motion to amend?

  • Rob Patterson: it’s a great idea.

  • Sarah Ware: concern that the faculty member might be less familiar with FS issues, have less awareness of how to use their persuasive force during the meetings.

  • Walt Heinecke: moving closer to requiring faculty who work on UVA committees to report to and work with the FS. Written and verbal statements make -issues would be addressed here.

  • Ellen Bassett: have you mapped out adherence to state rules?

  • Peter Norton: yes, the rule is that Faculty Senate shall elect the faculty representative.

  • Joel Hockensmith: no more discussion on the secondary amendment. This will have to go to a vote tomorrow for 48 hours. If the secondary amendment passes, the wording will be added into the original motion, and then the amended motion would be available for 5-day vote for the amendment for the bylaw.

  • Ellen Bassett: would person have a voice on EXCO? Voting role or any role in EXCO?

  • Joel Hockensmith: complicating feature in the last version of the amendment. People objected to bringing in a new voter. I would not add it in here and let the FS deal with it when it arises. No voting privileges now and not an ex officio member. But they are required to come and report to FS. Gives a report but not participating in discussions of motions or voting.

  • Vote on secondary amendment tomorrow, then vote on full amendment following that.

Academic Affairs Committee:

  • Aaron Bloomfield: the committee passed two certificates. One did not receive any concerns so was approved. As for the other one, the Darden certificate: Darden has requested changes be made to the certificate. A name change, and then withdrawing it. Needs to formally amend it or move that it be sent back. Because Darden has requested it be withdrawn. Request made before FS voted.

  • Joel Hockensmith: General Consent: does anyone object to sending this back to the committee for further consideration? No objections. Document declared withdrawn back to the school.

Consensual Relationship policy:

  • Peter Norton: Provost Office, Maite wanted a bigger spectrum of comment from more faculty members, for this policy. UVA has not had a policy on consensual relationships in which faculty, staff, students are involved. Provost Office wants comments on the policy – Peter has requested comment from EXCO and now opening up all senators to comment. And Faculty Senators can share with their colleagues and ask them their opinions. Peter will collect faculty comments and send them to the Provost Office. Make comments within 30 days. He will collate all comments and send them to Provost Office with a copy to anyone who’s made comments.

  • Joel Hockensmith: this is an important opportunity to send in comments to Provost Office so they know faculty are interested in the policy.

Approve Meeting Minutes

  • Minutes from Faculty Senate meeting on September 18, 2020. Motion to approve: Rob Patterson moved, Peter Gray seconded. General Consent: approved. No objections and no amendments. 9/18 Minutes are approved.

  • Minutes from Faculty Senate meeting on May 1, 2020: any comments? Peter Gray motioned to approve, Rob Patterson seconded. Any amendments? Joel declared by General Consent that those meetings are approved.

Task Force on Scholarly Publication and Authors’ Rights

  • EXCO agreed to give that task force a longer life, reestablished.

  • Joel wants the FS to give General Consent to this TF.

  • No comments. Declared by General Consent to agree to what EXCO has decided.

  • Declared that the TF should get moving and Joel will move on it immediately.

Creating Institutional Conditions for Equitable and Inclusive Culture

  • Tish Jennings: the working document from faculty from other committees (non FS committees). Diversity and Equity. Send to DEI Committee. Tish: comment on document.

  • Tish Jennings: we liked the document but wanted to invite other committee members to take a look at it and then have another conversation about it after the other committees have reviewed it: invited other committees to review and get involved.

  • Joel Hockensmith: will send announcement about the document.

Faculty Senate of Virginia

  • Group of reps from all institutions in the state of Virginia: community colleges, universities, etc. Would anyone one like to participate in this senate?

  • 3 representatives from institutions over 1,000.

  • Advise Joel as to how the FS might move forward.

Meeting adjourned at 6:01pm.