Meeting of the Truman State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
June 22, 2020, 11:00am-12:45pm, ZOOM
Present: Bill Alexander, Carlo Annelli, Jay Belanger, Marc Becker (notes), Laura Bigger, Kathryn Brammall, Anton Daughters, Stacy Davis, Lindsey Dunnagan, Jennifer Jesse, Christine Harker, Mark Hatala, Andy Kauffmann, Dan Mandell, Chad Mohler, Stephanie Russell
- Do we want to mount a formal response to the provost’s message?
(marcB: Created google doc for drafting letter at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rEmf9Kb1k0fWK0ziFlxO0ohQ0G3SgFjyjCMe66PbL58/edit?usp=sharing. Try to finish by the end of the week.)
Anton: Core issue is the stripping away faculty autonomy. Problem is mandate to do something that that may not be pedagogically sound and might even be unsafe. Would like to ask administration to relinquish some of that mandate. We could do this in a safer way.
Dan: Provost’s says that we will follow CDC guidelines, but there is no indication that we will actually do that (testing, infections, etc.). No hint of plan for how it will be followed. Putting cart before the horse.
Kathryn: Do universities have an option because the state of MO is not following CDC guidelines. The administration may not have an option. No info on safe interaction, but masks, barriers, testing, disinfection, etc. have budget implication. Chaotic situation where administration needs to say something to students, but do not know what to say.
Bill: Might be moot because we might be hitting peak that will shut down everything. But if we are going to meet we need certain things like masks and air filtration. It is a cost, but we need to protect each other. [2 issues: not sure I got this right.]
Stacy: and cleaning between classes.
Kathryn: No, it’s not going to happen. Chairs are talking about things that they need. Will we do testing? Probably not because of funding.
Chad: further support among faculty for these issues. Danger of particles staying in air for up to 3 hrs, so it is not enough for faculty to take individual precautions. Financial and physical limitations, but admin could require all faculty to do certain thing.
Christine: Zoom out: what are bigger considerations? Is admin putting a price on what faculty are worth? If we don’t have the budget, then they are telling us that faculty and student lives are not worth anything. We need to demand inclusion in conversation.
Mark: Need university mandate (for masks, etc.). Other issue is that this is 2 months away, and they will not know. Everything is up in the air.
Christine & Stacy: Need more flexibility. And choice for how instruction will be conducted.
Kathryn: admin goal of 60% in person (don’t know how arrived at that: optics?). Between faculty and chairs in terms of what is appropriate in what format. At risk people will get permission. Some department flexibility, but don’t know what chairs are like. Admin doesn’t want to go 100% online because then students won’t want to come to TSU because of residential experience. What makes TSU distinct if it goes online? Work around ways of meeting guidelines. HLC guidelines: less than 76% has to be in person. Zoom synchronous does not count as in person. Does not necessarily apply to individual faculty.
Chad: since students value social aspect, could still have students here but instruction online. Students haven’t thought through what a safe environment looks like. Students who do not want to come back, and ignoring those. Will end up teaching 2 classes for each one.
Laura: monetary bottom line, and will have to transform at last minute.
Kathryn: how to respond to 3 different scenarios. Idea is to start online and then shift to in person if conditions allow. Planning for a remote pedagogy cuz that is likely to happen.
Anton: 2 central points: faculty should have more autonomy and control over classes & safety concerns. Difficult for admin to police, if students and faculty do not want to go into unsafe environment.
Christine: Lost trust in admin having interest in what we have to say.
Kathryn: admin even more stressed out cuz dealing w/ state gov who just wants to reopen. End goal is not to screw faculty, but doing the best they can.
Christine: admin needs faculty buy in.
Anton: underhanded in terms of how mandate came down. Prioritizing monetary over safety and faculty concerns.
Chad: could be subject to sanction. Go with what is pedagogically sound or resistance?
Bill: We can’t save everyone, but just save ourselves because TSU falls apart if people are not in dorms. Demands would put us back into drive seat? Students expect to return to what it was like before, but it will not be like that.
Christine: obligations to broader community.
Laura: In addition to masks, cleaning, also need clear CDC-type guidelines for what TSU will do and what protocol will be followed rather than random.
MarkH: AAUP could be a clearing house for best practices. How can we structure classes to maximize effectiveness and minimize risk. Statement: not asking for anything, but dissatisfaction and concern. Understand monetary concerns but don’t outweigh safety concerns.
Christine: No human life is worth less than an institution.
Kathryn: Scott Alberts involved in some meetings. Problem is that faculty governance is on break. Lots of decisions communicated from deans to chairs, but depends on school. Can stress that communication can be better.
Dan: alarm over reopening, and also that there is no TSU plan.
Anton: need greater clarity.
MarkH: Seem to be willing to take financial hit because they are not firing temp faculty.
Anton: how do we get people to sign on?
Kathryn: google form [Bill will set up]
Dan: both: open letter with faculty signons.
Chad: 2 letters? General and specific. Everyone is concerned about safety measures.
Bill: also an advertisement as for what we are doing as a group.
Christine: vulnerability: let people sign w/o names.
Bill: keep signatures internal:
Christine: letter: preamble with longer list of demands
Anton: doesn’t need to be that long
Lindsey: risky to open, but we still have a job and grateful for that.
Andy: always needs more info.
- We also need to select AAUP leadership (please let us know if you are interested in a position; current officers are at https://aaup.truman.edu/officers/).
Comments from Chat:
11:23:46 From Stephanie Russell : Where do we send it?
11:25:19 From Harker C : Kathryn—looks like you are FREE!!!
11:46:36 From William Alexander : Demands as I’ve heard them:
11:47:10 From William Alexander : 1) supply all faculty with N95 or equivalent masks for faculty
11:47:30 From William Alexander : 2) install HEPA-grade or equivalent filters into HVAC systems on campus
11:47:32 From Stephanie Russell : University mandate for mask wearing so we do not have to enforce the mask mandate.
11:47:44 From Stephanie Russell : [individually]
11:48:04 From William Alexander : 3) establish cleaning crews for classrooms between classes
11:48:08 From Laura Bigger : 4) temperature checks outside buildings
11:48:19 From Daniel Mandell : FYI, a friend at Mizzou told me that every faculty member is being issued a face shield.
11:48:28 From William Alexander : 5) mandate student mask wearing requirements when in academic buildings
11:48:54 From William Alexander : 6) demand faculty representation for decisions regarding COVID-19 preparations
11:56:23 From Harker C : Absolutely, Bill: and all of that is clearly beyond teh budget…ERGO?
11:56:46 From Daniel Mandell : Shouldn’t we have some kind of clear commitment from the administration re: what will be their “trigger” line for closing the campus and going fully remote? Are we completely dependent on the governor’s decision?
11:56:50 From William Alexander : Now anyone who gets sick has a good case for negle
11:56:55 From William Alexander : neglect*
11:58:32 From Stephanie Russell : Does anyone know if the football team has returned for conditioning? There might be some money to allocate if they have to cancel a sport season :/ https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2020/06/21/coronavirus-college-sports-schools-reporting-positive-covid-tests-among-athletes/3231509001/
11:59:15 From William Alexander : There are COVID-19 infrastructure grants from the feds that all high ed institutions can tap.
12:04:57 From Harker C : And Bill: THAT is the sort of creative conversation that MUST the place!!!
12:12:10 From Kathryn Brammall : That’s a great idea. We should definitely be on record requesting a Truman Plan
12:31:41 From Marc Becker : google doc for drafting letter: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rEmf9Kb1k0fWK0ziFlxO0ohQ0G3SgFjyjCMe66PbL58/edit?usp=sharing
12:38:30 From Harker C : Great idea, Bill!
12:39:27 From Harker C : AGreed.
12:40:53 From Carlo : I’m good, thanks.
12:48:13 From Kathryn Brammall : Thanks everyone for a great conversation
12:48:18 From Harker C : Thank-you, Marc.
12:48:23 From sdavis : Thank you!!
12:48:27 From Stephanie Russell : Thank yoU@!
12:48:36 From Chad Mohler : Thanks, everyone.