Ohio University Faculty Senate swung back into gear by introducing two resolutions about personal freedoms on campus and one policy revision to the language of grade appeals. 

Faculty Senate held its first meeting of the academic year in Walter Hall 235.

Executive Vice President and Provost David Descutner opened the meeting with a conversation about enrollment, the budget process and a university policy. The President’s Office asked Senate to review a “Freedom of Expression” policy, which bans protests inside university buildings. 

“Any type of spontaneous assembly of a couple of faculty or students who think that they need to talk about something urgently ... could result in police actions,” Faculty Senator Bernhard Debatin said. “I would say first of all, it is probably unconstitutional because the constitution doesn’t speak (about) peaceably assembling after having permission from somebody, but just to assemble peacefully.”

Senators saw the policy as “sweeping” because the policy limits speech and assembly inside of university buildings. 

Although the policy was approved by the Office of the President Aug. 17, Descutner said that they are beginning the “comment period” and see that as a chance for all of the Senate executives to “sit down and talk.”

“Even a week of feedback will be monumentally better than how this was,” Faculty Senate Chair Joe McLaughlin said. 

At Monday night’s meeting, McLaughlin requested that the president extend the deadline of finalizing the policy and open a public forum to discuss it. 

After a lengthy discussion about the “Freedom of Expression” policy, Executive Dean for Higher Education Bill Willan followed the Office of the President with a presentation that detailed enrollment and finances on regional campuses. 

Enrollment of regional campuses is “countercyclical” with the national economy and the Athens campus enrollment. When the economy is bad, more people enroll in regional campuses in order to save money and keep their “options open.” 

Willan specifically delved into the greatest challenge of regional budgets, College Credit Plus. 

College Credit Plus is a program for high school students that offers free college courses. Because the program is funded by the state and public institutions, College Credit Plus enrollment influences how much money schools, such as OU, have to spend on high school programs.

“College Credit Plus, what it’s doing now, is bringing us less tuition,” Willan said. “(Bringing high school students to campus) exposes them to our faculty (and) we think they’re better off having that experience in the classroom and that increases our earnings from it.”

This semester, the Budget Planning Council is reviewing information about budget models in order to have a new model in place by spring so there is “guidance of resource allocations next year,” Associate Provost for Academic Budget and Planning John Day said.

Budget models are not the only thing transforming the university. The “Resolution to Change Grade Appeals Language in the Faculty Handbook” defines how long a student has to appeal final grades.

Katie Hartman became the chair of Educational Policy and Student Affairs Committee this year, and she introduced a resolution Monday that will change “grade appeals language” in the Faculty Handbook. That policy will regulate the amount of time instructors have to respond to final grade appeals.



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