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Ohio University President Duane Nellis speaks at OU's Faculty Senate meeting Feb. 5. (FILE) 

Faculty Senate proposes to change Reading Day to Fall Break

Members of the Ohio University Faculty Senate will address eight resolutions at their March meeting, with topics ranging from Reading Day to faculty sexual misconduct.

There will be an unusually large number of resolutions at Faculty Senate’s Monday meeting at 7 p.m. in Walter 235. One Professional Relations Committee resolution proposes the creation of a University Professional Ethics Committee, while another aims to clarify the process for reviewing findings on faculty sexual misconduct. 

“We care very deeply about having a campus-wide culture,” Sarah Wyatt, chair of the Professional Relations committee, said. “And for these kinds of cases to go to individual professional ethics committees in different schools doesn’t necessarily provide that campus-wide culture.” 

The committee began working with the OU Office of the Provost and the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance in September to craft explicit sanctions and processes for sexual misconduct outlined in the Faculty Handbook. 

“(The resolution) kind of clearly lays out what the process is for faculty cases,” Wyatt said. “I’ve been working with Sara Trower, the director of ECRC, and the provost office, making sure that this is a collaborative effort and that all parties that will be affected by this are involved in this process.”

A first reading from the Educational Policy and Student Affairs Committee could change Reading Day to Fall Break. 

Reading Day was created by Faculty Senate during a multiyear effort to switch from quarters to semesters. 

“The idea is that it will always be on a Friday from now on, but it’s already — for the next three or four years — (going) to be on a Friday anyway,” Faculty Senate Chair Joe McLaughlin said. 

The resolution was introduced by Chris Schwirian, a professor of biological sciences and Group II Educational Policy and Student Affairs committee member. Schwirian said Reading Day disrupts lectures and lab scheduling. 

“I just look at Reading Day as one of these kinks in which we underwent this massive cultural transformation and four or five years later we realize we need to make a kind of adjustment,” McLaughlin said. “It’s not a big deal.”

OU President Duane Nellis and interim Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs will open the meeting with updates on the provost search, the timeline for the "Freedom of Expression" policy advisory group, and discussions happening in both Washington, D.C., and Columbus. 

“Presidents spend a lot of time engaged with issues with legislature and the government,” McLaughlin said. “On one hand, that’s kind of removed from our day-to-day operations here, but there are certainly conversations going on there that are going to affect us.”

As part of his announcements, McLaughlin will update faculty senators on a resolution recently passed by Student Senate. That resolution asks Faculty Senate to look at how professors ethically deal with textbook publishers.

“I don’t know whether that the Student Senate has a sense that there are a lot of professors out there who are making students buy their own books or going on Caribbean golf vacations with textbooks publishers,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t think there’s a lot of that going on, so I’m a little bit curious to what’s motivating this.”


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