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Washington State University
Faculty Senate Senate Blog

Student vaccination requirement

Is WSU considering requiring students to prove they have been vaccinated before allowing them back on campus? I believe Rutgers is requiring it and there are several other schools that are considering it. Is WSU? I’m not going to feel safe if students are going to misbehave and not follow rules, like wearing a mask etc.

Questions surrounding return to face-to-face Instruction in the fall

Anonymous constituent concern from 4/7/2021. These questions relate to all campuses.

  1. Who are the members of the WSU Testing, Attestation, and Contact Tracing (TACT) Committee, their departmental/campus affiliations, and how can members of the university community contact them with concerns or questions?
  2. We have learned that a 3-foot distancing requirement is to be implemented in classrooms in fall. Where is the data that supports this move? While the CDC has approved 3-foot distancing for K-12 students, their adult teachers are still supposed to remain 6 feet away from them, and from other adults (“CDC continues to recommend at least 6 feet of distance: Between adults in the school building and between adults and students.” – https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0319-new-evidence-classroom-physical-distance.html). Please provide the research or rationale for changing the distancing requirement to 3 feet.
  3. When will we find out whether vaccination will be required for the on-campus WSU community? We have learned that the expectation is that students will come to campus for classes coded as in-person, and that they may not attend remotely except with formal accommodation. If this is the case, and we are to use 3-foot distancing instead of the 6-foot CDC recommendation, it seems like requiring proof of vaccination is the bare minimum WSU can do to protect its staff, faculty, and students.

Responses to Faculty Senate Follow up Questions on Athletics

1. Can we get a definition of terms: deficit, debt, accumulated deficit, capital debt – and then allocated #’s to each of those terms?

Deficit refers to the annual operating deficit due to expenditures exceeding revenues. While Athletics has been operating in a deficit for many years, they are on a program to eliminate their annual operating deficit by FY2022. They were making annual improvements until the most recent fiscal year, FY2021. The approved FY2021 budget was for a $5M deficit, however the pandemic significantly impacted their revenues due to no ticket sales and a decline in media revenues since so many televised events were cancelled during the competition seasons. Even with a $7.9M reduction in expenditures, including layoffs, furloughs and reductions from reduced travel and competition expenses.

Debt and capital debt are probably one and the same here, although debt can also refer to the accumulated deficit. For this discussion debt is a formal legal obligation to borrow money for a specific purpose and to agree to repay this obligation, usually with interest. Capital debt for Athletics was incurred by selling bonds to the public and institutional investors to build specific athletics facilities with a legal obligation for WSU to repay this debt. While WSU requires Athletics to make the annual debt service payment, all capital debt is a legal obligation of WSU.

Accumulated deficit is the total operating budget deficit accumulated over multiple fiscal years and is net of any positive year-end balances, so the opposite of an accumulated surplus (or carryforward). The official measurement is at fiscal year-end, or June 30. Accumulated deficit can also be an internal debt when there is an agreement that it will be repaid.

2. Regarding our athletic program: What is the accumulated debt and what is the annual operating deficit?

The accumulated operating deficit was $87M on June 30, 2020 and is officially measured at fiscal year-end. The accumulated deficit for fiscal year end June 30, 2021 is currently estimated to be approximately $128.6M by adding the project FY2021 deficit of $31.6M to the $87M cumulative deficit as of June 30, 2020. The actual amount will be determined after the FY2021 books are officially closed.

3. Wasn’t the ‘anticipation’ of the last media contract what fueled the deficit spending that resulted in the debt they have now?  Is the same thinking is occurring now?

What we have come to understand is that the anticipation was that the revenues from the Pac-12 network were projected to be much greater than actual results. The rest of the media contract is consistent with what was expected. From what I have been told, the expectation was that these larger revenues would be used to cover the debt service for the expansion of Martin Stadium and other athletics projects. Since these greater revenues were not realized AND there was not a significant fundraising campaign prior to building these facilities, this resulted in the need to cover the debt service from the Athletics annual operating budget. Since the annual operating budget deficit has averaged close to $9 to $10M in the past 8 years, that might be the reason for connecting the deficit in the operating budget to the added debt service payment. WSU recently refinanced the Athletics debt and will likely use the savings to cover COVID related revenue losses. The challenge is understanding what might happen next season if the pandemic impacts the ability to have large crowd events (ticket sales) or televise athletic events. These items have a significant impact on athletics revenues.

4. Has the Pac 12 media contract ever yielded expected revenue for WSU?

My understanding is that it has yielded the expected revenue except for the Pac-12 network itself. The network has underperformed expectations and did not result in the increased revenues to cover the new debt. The Pac-12 distribution annual distribution has been approximately $34M per year prior to FY2021, and currently provides approx. 45 percent of their annual operating revenues. Contractual media revenues are scheduled to increase starting in FY2023.

5. Could you speak to additional expenses regarding new facility requests by athletics? Does the administration want to build even newer facilities for athletics?

Athletics is currently fundraising for an indoor practice facility and will be required to raise enough in cash and confirmed pledges before the facility will be presented to the Regents for approval.

6. How much of the federal aid money will end up going to athletic funding through “loss of revenue” during 2020 and 2021?

None of the federal aid (CARES) went to Athletics for FY2020, most of that aid went to housing/dining and other auxiliaries that lost revenue last spring. In addition, the funding was used to purchase chrome books, hotspots and other items so that faculty could teach, and students could access online courses. It was also used for COVID testing and contact tracing expenses.

The federal funding that we received from the CRRSA (Dec 2020) is being used to cover expenses related to COVID and remote learning. We have not yet planned how much may be utilized to cover any of the auxiliary revenue losses, though it appears that these are considered eligible expenses (except for capital). Current losses from housing/dining, student auxiliaries, parking and athletics is well above the aid that we will likely receive. Our priorities are to fund testing and vaccination activities, teaching and learning and whatever is needed to work toward a more normal fall 2021 return to campus. At least half of the latest round of funding (we have not received yet but expected to be approx. $61M) is required to go to student aid. WSU does not plan to use any of the federal emergency aid to cover the athletics deficit.

7. Are big-time collegiate athletics sustainable, in general—that is, do they recoup more than they spend?

That is a good question and likely depends on how one defines sustainability. Very few intercollegiate athletics programs are entirely self-supporting, and many institutions do subsidize their intercollegiate athletics program budgets. Also, many institutions charge student fees directly to support athletics. Other institutions might pay facility costs or fund individual activities like gender equity programs, academic support programs, etc. While this is a question that is getting more attention as colleges and universities struggle with their budgets, many believe that the alumni and donor support and the marketing value of college athletics supports the college experience that many students seek and brings publicity that the University might not otherwise receive. Admittedly, not all the attention is positive, but college athletics remains popular across the country.

For informational purposes, I have attached to graphics to show the entire WSU outstanding debt portfolio by purpose. The second graphic is a breakdown of the annual debt service payment by purpose. Athletics is depicted in yellow and shows how the annual payment adjusts each year. The WSU operating budget pays debt service for academics and research and general university. The others are paid from revenues of those auxiliaries.

 

 

 

On the question of OneWSU effects on promotion and tenure

On April 6th, 2021, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee met with Provost Chilton and her team to discuss faculty concerns. Faculty have expressed continuing concern about earlier suggestions that the OneWSU initiative would lead to changes in the promotion and tenure processes at WSU. Provost Chilton said during this meeting that it was very clear from faculty feedback that changes to the process would not be in the best interest of the institution so this is no longer part of the discussion. As a clarification of this updated perspective, we asked Provost Chilton to answer the following two questions:

1. Given the proposed changes in governance under the OneWSU initiative, is WSU considering any delegation of authority to grant P&T to the campus level (e.g., through the VCAAs)?

Answer: Simply put, no. Complete authority for P&T will remain with the System Provost.

2. If individual campuses are encouraged to focus on local needs, there may be pressure to alter teaching load to accommodate those needs, deviating from normal department expectations. This could also happen depending on the revised budget model. Is there any way to backstop this process so mission creep doesn’t derail faculty career goals and make it more difficult to meet department expectations?

Answer: Clarified principles, as recently adopted by the Faculty Senate for the Faculty Manual, are fully endorsed by the System Provost whereby faculty will be evaluated by their job description. There is no intention to change the current process for designating faculty workloads.

3. How will campus leaders contribute to the T&P process?

Answer: We seek to maintain our standards of excellence as an R1 university across the entire ONEWSU system. We encourage department chairs to have open conversations about tenure expectations with their faculty in collaboration with campus academic leaders. These efforts should explicitly acknowledge the differential access to graduate students and facilities in some cases, and include appropriate mentoring. Complete authority for P&T will remain with the System Provost, who will ensure the maintenance of the standards of excellence for WSU.

Concerns of Faculty Regarding Fall 2021 Instructional Modes and Transparency of Decision-making

Shared on behalf of constituent faculty members:

We understand that there is still much uncertainty about the Fall 2021 semester and that plans are in flux. However, the current planning strategy is causing frustration and concern among some faculty, especially because the communication to faculty from the Provost’s Office has been sparse and vague.

The following are concerns some faculty have expressed regarding the instructional modes and transparency of decision-making. As members of a research-intensive university, we are asking for evidence in support of student preferences, pedagogical reasons for the instructional modes, and other decisions being made for the Fall 2021 semester. Additionally, we request more transparency and faculty input in the decision-making process.

Note: For the sake of clarity, we use in-person, some online, hybrid, and web-based instructional models according to the Registrar’s definitions: https://registrar.schedule.wsu.edu/students/instruction-mode/

1. Student Preference:
Given WSU’s announcement of an in-person experience in the fall, it appears that students’ and stakeholders’ preferences for in-person classes are known. It is unclear, however, whether there is evidence to support the assumption that students prefer courses to be in-person, some online, hybrid, or web-based. Does WSU have data to support the preference for one format over the others?

2. Pedagogical Concerns:
The hybrid and some online models may not be pedagogically superior to fully remote instruction especially as faculty move to implement them for the first time.

First, there is an inherent difficulty in managing both in-person and remote course delivery simultaneously. Many of the approaches instructors use to facilitate interactive, student-centered learning, such as small-group discussions or clicker questions, may be particularly difficult to implement in a hybrid or some online format where remote students may be excluded. Additionally, as has been experienced with AMS courses, if the instructor’s attention is focused on in-person students, remote students may feel they are getting a second-rate learning experience.

Second, there is a concern about how students will manage a schedule that includes both in-person and synchronous remote classes. What do students do, on a given day, when they have a schedule that includes different modes of course delivery? Issues related to this include whether there is available physical space on campus for students who attend in-person classes to also attend remote classes, access to laptops or on-campus computers to attend remote classes, and—if the physical space or technology resources do not exist—the burden placed on students to find a hotspot off campus.

Finally, we are concerned about the effect of offering a mix of course delivery methods on equity gaps such as differential access to technology and the internet as well as balancing work and school responsibilities. Having more formats may lead to more work and confusion for the students we know are already struggling.

3. Attendance for In-person Classes:
Another concern is that, despite the loosening of room capacity restrictions expected as vaccine rates increase, the course enrollment (especially for large classes over 100) will exceed room capacity and attendance will need to be monitored. What responsibility will the instructor have in ensuring that in-person attendance does not exceed room capacities? Will instructors be asked to police mask requirements if masks are mandated for in-person classes? How will students be compelled to attend the in-person session(s)?

Anecdotally, colleagues at other institutions that have been using a “some online” model of instruction have experienced very low rates of in-person attendance and higher remote attendance. This worries some faculty who must risk exposure to leave home and be in the classroom regardless of in-person attendance.

4. Faculty Workload:
There is a substantial concern that there will be an increase in workload with a change to hybrid or some online instructional formats. Already, faculty have been asked to redesign their courses over the past year and without compensation. Ongoing redesign expectations disproportionately impact lecturers and career-track faculty with higher instructional loads. If faculty are asked to use the hybrid or some online models, they will need to invest time and effort in adapting the design of their courses and course components to accommodate both in-person and remote environments. This work will likely need to be done when faculty are off contract. Additionally, this increased workload will disproportionately impact instructors of large classes and departments that teach high enrollment classes. Finally, with WSU moving to Canvas next fall, there will be the additional workload associated with learning a new learning management system (LMS) and building a course in the new LMS.

5. Transparency of Decision-making and Faculty Input:
So far, there has been little communication to faculty, staff, and students about fall plans. It is important for the administration to keep us informed even if plans have not yet been finalized. Currently, the faculty are relying on second- or third-hand information about fall plans which adds inaccuracies and confusion to an already uncertain future. Additionally, with improved communication, students and staff, especially professional advisors who are actively advising students, can be better informed to make academic and personal decisions. Finally, it is unclear whether faculty are involved in the decision-making process.

Recommendations:
We request that faculty are provided with research indicating the effectiveness of instructional modality as well as student and stakeholder preferences. Faculty should be provided with more freedom over choosing the class format that facilitates their instructional goals and that does not lead to additional uncompensated work. Additionally, the Provost’s Office should communicate more with faculty and include faculty input into the decisions that have a direct effect on them.

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Proposed Unit Name Changes

Notices of Intent for Name Changes

Two NOIs for name changes have been brought forward from the Provost’s Office, along with the attached documents:

  1. To change Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health to Paul G. Allen School for Global Health
    1. Allen School Name NOI
    2. Allen School Agreement
    3. Allen School Amendment
  2. To change Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Sciences to Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Department of Translational Medicine and Physiology
    1. ESFCOM Department Name Change NOI

We are currently soliciting comments concerning these name changes. These will be forwarded to the Provost’s Office on Monday, March 22.

 

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Proposed Faculty Manual Changes: Teaching Portfolio and Guiding Principles

The Faculty Affairs Committee in partnership with an ad hoc task force charged with aligning values and practices proposes two changes to the faculty manual. These changes are presented below and detailed in the linked document. Task force members include Laura Griner Hill, Stephen Hines, Louise Parker, Melanie-Angela Neuilly, Katie Cooper, Amanda Boyd, Matt Hudelson, and Sergey Lapin.

Please review and use the comment box below. If you wish your comments to be anonymous, please email FAC Chair Steve Hines.

Proposed Changes

  1. Move the Teaching Portfolio instructions from the Faculty Manual to the Provost’s Guidelines for Promotion & Tenure.

Goal: As part of an initiative to simplify and clarify the Faculty Manual regarding Promotion & Tenure, move the very detailed Teaching Portfolio section to the Provost’s annually published Guidelines for Promotion & Tenure.

    1. An important sub-goal is to become more nimble – i.e., placing the Teaching Portfolio instructions outside the Faculty Manual facilitates revisiting and revising these instructions as needed without having to follow the formal Faculty Senate process of amending the Faculty Manual.
    2. In addition, this move sets the stage to develop portfolios for faculty who contribute in significant ways to other missions of the university – e.g., (a) Outreach & Engagement, including clinical service and extension; (b) Scholarship & Creative Activities, including research; and (c) Service – both Academic Service, Governance, and Leadership (internally facing service) and Professional Service (externally facing service). Because each of these missions is valued, faculty who contribute to each should be provided a means by which to showcase their accomplishments in each. We expect the guidelines for each potential portfolio will similarly become part of the Provost’s Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure as they are developed. Again, having these documents outside the Faculty Manual simplifies the Faculty Manual and facilitates change going forward as lessons are learned.
    3. Supporting Memo
  1. Insert a new section into the Review of Faculty section of the WSU faculty manual that provides overall and procedural GUIDING PRINCIPLES for review of faculty.

These principles will apply to promotion and/or tenure review as well as to annual review.

Goal: This proposal represents the early steps in what we hope will be a sustained, multi-year effort to clarify and simplify the Faculty Manual relative to faculty review processes, notably for promotion and tenure.

Background: The Faculty Manual has been added to for years, with little apparent attention to overall clarity and usability. The section on Faculty Review, notably regarding promotion & tenure, is now “a bit of a mess.” Although it will require a sustained effort and widespread feedback from faculty across the WSU system, we believe an essential starting point is defining overall guiding principles for review, as well as a list of guiding procedural principles. As the larger revision process moves forward, these principles may be revisited and revised. However, we believe they represent an essential baseline starting point that will make things better in the short term and in the long term, foster development of a more effective document that addresses long standing issues of equity and fairness. These issues include but are not limited to mission equity.

Supporting Memo

Board of Regents Meeting March 11th and 12th, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

The Board of Regents page has been updated with links to the agenda and YouTube videos for next week’s meeting

https://facsen.wsu.edu/board-of-regents/

I have also included other relevant links on the page above that pertain to athletics funding and the Faculty Senate ad hoc committee’s statement to the Board. Please use the comment box below or email me at gcrouch@wsu.edu to bring up any points you would like conveyed to the Board.

Greg

WSU Budget Crisis Management Proposal

The Faculty Affairs Committee has created a proposal to create a process for addressing university budget crises through faculty furloughs and/or salary reductions.

Please Note:

  • This is NOT a proposal to impose faculty salary reductions or furloughs.
  • This is a proposal to develop a PROCESS by which, in certain defined circumstances (i.e. budgetary crises) and with specific expectations, the WSU administration might propose faculty salary reductions and/or furloughs for a defined period of no more than 1 (one) year. No salary reductions or furloughs would be enacted through the proposed process without Faculty Senate approval.

The Faculty Senate Steering Committee requested Faculty Affairs Committee develop this proposal as a proactive measure to address a budget crisis should such steps become necessary. We are now seeking comments. Faculty Affairs Committee Members, in conjunction with Senate Steering, will be scheduling Zoom Town Hall meetings to gather input.

Faculty Affairs Committee – Budget Crisis Management Draft Proposal

Comments

Please provide comments by February 18th by the end of the day. Please be constructive.

Anonymous comments may be added to the form below. We ask your name in order to verify your membership within the WSU system. Your name will be removed before posting, If you feel uncomfortable using the form, you may reach out directly to Steve Hines or Greg Crouch via email or phone.

You may also comment below if you wish your name to be public.

Faculty Senate ad hoc committee response to athletic funding

Update 2/24/2021: Letter to the Board of Regents and President Schulz’s reply are linked below

Background

On December 15, 2020, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee formed an ad hoc committee to formalize a statement to the Board of Regents concerning the proposal that 2-3 million dollars be diverted from unallocated university funds in order to support athletics. This ad hoc committee has produced a statement that is now open for signing.

Ad Hoc Committee membership

  • Von Walden, Professor, Pullman (Chair)
  • John Barber, Vancouver
  • Caitlin Bletscher, Vancouver
  • Matt Carol, Pullman
  • Glen Duncan, Spokane
  • Kelly Farnsworth, Pullman
  • Heiko Jansen, Pullman
  • Doreen Main, Pullman
  • Luke Premo, Pullman

Statement to the WSU’s Board of Regents & President Schulz’s Reply

We are collecting signatures that will be appended to this memo and presented to the Board of Regents. If you agree with this statement and would like to add your name, please use the form below.

Signature page closed 2/22/2021, See memo above

 

January 22 2021 Board of Regents Retreat

Update January 27, 2021

Given that the framework for ONEWSU will be explained in a series of whitepapers and coordinated with the WSU System Council, I have moved this discussion to a page linked in the menu. Comments posted here have been moved as well. As we learn more about ONE WSU, we will share in this new location.

——————————

Dear Faculty,

I have posted the Notice for the January 22, 2021 Board of Regents retreat on the Faculty Senate site. The retreat will be in executive session from 8:00 am to 8:30 am on January 22, 2021. Following this, the meeting will be streamed on YouTube. Please note that the white paper will be the focus of the retreat. Please use the comments below to provide feedback that I may convey to the Board of Regents

Greg Crouch

Faculty Representative to the WSU Board of Regents.

President’s Response to Athletics Spending

Dear Colleagues,

On November 10, 2020, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee published a blog post outlining a proposal by the university to the Board of Regents to help fund athletics as part of a fiscal recovery plan. President Schulz has read your responses to this proposal and will address them in the senate tomorrow, December 10th. Along with President Schulz, VP Stacy Pearson will also present the athletics recovery plan.

The president has provided several documents that should be read in advance of this presentation. Links to these documents are provided below:

Comments are enabled on this post.

New Grading Policy – No Record COVID

No Record COVID (NRC)

At the request of Provost Chilton, on November 19, 2020 WSU Faculty Senate passed a new temporary grading policy called No Record Covid (NRC) that may be applied retroactively fall 2020 and spring 2021, after grades post. With this new temporary policy, students may elect to covert letter grades of C-, D+, D, F, and W to NRC.

Goal

We recognize that remote learning can be challenging for students as you try to balance other roles and responsibilities. In addition, we recognize that not all students have reliable access to the internet, stable housing, family support, and other key resources right now.
We hope this policy alleviates some of the anxiety students may be feeling about their academic performance during this challenging semester. The NRC grade allows courses to be excluded from calculations of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for federal and state financial aid purposes per section 3509 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Scope and workflow

  • Faculty assign letter grades as usual.
  • Students may elect to change C-, D+, D, F, and W to NRC grades to NRC (No Record, COVID) once final grades are posted.
  • Students may elect to change W grades already awarded Fall 2020 or spring 2021 to NRC.
  • An NRC grade would function like extending the withdrawal deadline, but unlike such an extension, would not leave a potentially prejudicial transcript notation (W), replacing it instead with the neutral NRC.
  • NRC provides no credit.
  • NRC will not count toward the W limit.
  • NRC will not count toward the number of allowed repeat attempts.
  • Students may elect the NRC grade for all undergraduate and graduate courses unless an exception has been approved by the Provost’s Office.
  • Students taking courses in the professional health science careers of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine are excluded from choosing the NRC grade option; students in the online MBA program are also excluded.

Complete information on the NRC grade is linked below. Students wishing to request a grade change may do so between 12/23/2020 and 1/6/21 at the site linked below. The WSU Registrar will make grade changes based on student requests. :

If students have questions, please encourage them to speak with their advisor.

Athletics Budget Discussion Board of Regents

Dear Colleagues,

As many of you know, the athletics budget will be presented as a future action item at the upcoming Board of Regents meeting on November 12 and 13. As a future action item, it will not be put to vote but will be discussed. Linked below is the memo and related materials. In summary, this discussion will be predicated on the validity of the following assumptions:

Assumptions

The following assumptions regarding the WSU Regents, President and leadership commitment to intercollegiate athletics support the financial options recommended below. Changes to these assumptions will change the recommended financial options.

  • WSU’s affiliation with a top-level intercollegiate athletics conference and program is a key and strategic means of increasing institutional visibility on a national scale, to the benefit of all WSU students, faculty, staff and communities.
  • WSU intercollegiate athletics is an essential element of the residential campus experience for the Pullman Campus, and understands that university support of intercollegiate athletics is an investment in the student experience that is essential to attracting and retaining students.
  • The operation of intercollegiate athletics without membership in the Pac-12 is financially unfeasible.

We are gathering feedback in advance of this meeting. Thus far faculty have asked:

  1. Is there evidence to support these assumptions?
  2. Is the operation of intercollegiate athletics without membership in the Pac-12 financially unfeasible?
  3. Have other schools similar to WSU gone this route? If so, what were the outcomes?
  4. Would being the first school to depart the Pac-12 and moving to another conference demonstrate our commitment to academic excellence and our Land Grant mission? Would this offer a highly visible pathway to gain prestige and interest in WSU that is at least equivalent to the assumed advantages of remaining engaged as a Pac-12 member?

Relevant links are below.  Please use the comment feature to add to this discussion.

-WSU Senate Executive Committee

Proposed changes to duration of immigration visas

Since the 1980’s, the U.S. has implemented a temporary admission policy for foreign students (F visa), exchange visitors (J visa) and media representatives (I visa). This has been a “duration of status” policy, allowing flexibility in the duration of stay according to the terms and conditions of the temporary visas rather than according to fixed periods of time. As an example, if a student needs five years to complete a degree, this can be accommodated.

On September 25th, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies published a proposed rule entitled, “Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media.” The new rule sets a four-year limitation for these visas and a two-year limit for students who originate from what appears to be an arbitrary list of 59 countries (the majority from Africa).

Among other things, if adopted the new rule would severely limit the ability of higher education to attract foreign students (not to mention impact J-1 holding physicians who are needed during the pandemic). The rationale for the rule includes the possibility that it will result in reduced fraud, abuse, and national security risks, but the document fails to meet the standards of justification required for implementation and puts numerous interests at risk not to mention significant financial losses from the loss of foreign students and scholars.

The comment period for responding to this proposed rule has expired, but I wanted to share this information with faculty senators because it will have a severe impact on higher education if it is implemented. I also want faculty senators to be aware that WSU has worked closely with UW and others to respond to this proposal, including engagement with our congressional delegation that has worked closely with representatives from other states to issue strongly worded, bipartisan objections to the proposal.

I will update this post as we learn more.

Doug Call
Chair Elect

Threshold for overtime pay is going up

Colleagues – I want to alert you to new over-time eligible salary thresholds that have been adopted by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. You will see from the attached chart that the threshold for employees, including postdoctoral fellows, to be overtime-eligible will climb from $35,100 at present to $49,831 on January 1st. This will be followed by significant jumps every two years for a final threshold of $78,624 on January 1st, 2028. The threshold is important because if an eligible employee is paid less than the stated threshold, he/she is eligible to claim overtime pay.

A couple of points:

  • WSU, UW, and the other four-year higher ed institutions mounted an active and coordinated effort to at least include an exemption for research. Lisa Gehring (HRS) informed me that the effort included testifying multiple times, sending joint letters, and working with legislative representatives. It is unclear why a research exemption was not allowed.
  • This new policy is likely to have a significant impact on research activities, starting with budgets for extramural funding that have been largely capped for many years while other expenses continue to rise.
  • This rule does not apply to graduate students, whether TA or RA.
  • Assistant Vice President for Human Resource Service, Lisa Gehring, has agreed to present information about this rule change at the November 19th Faculty Senate meeting.

Doug Call
Chair-Elect

Request from Provost Chilton – Spring 2021 Academic Calendar Revision

UPDATE: Provost Chilton has provided the following revised memo to address faculty concerns. Given the significance and timing of this recommendation, we will conduct a vote using Zoom chat on Thursday, October 8, 2020. For those senators calling in, we will use a roll vote after we tally the chat responses.

On September 24, Faculty Senate Executive Committee received the following memo from Provost Chilton requesting an amendment to the spring 2021 academic calendar to help meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been introduced as a discussion item to Faculty Senate with the intention to vote on it as an action item on October 8. Given the impact of this request, we are collecting comments to pass to the provost prior to the October 8 meeting.
Senate Exec.

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Request from James Krueger

Professor James M. Krueger submitted the following document to Faculty Senate Executive Committee for discussion and comment.

UPDATE November 10, 2020: This document and all faculty comments were presented to President Schulz on October 27, 2020. We requested President Schulz provide an official response, which we received today and is linked below.

President Schulz Response to James Krueger Proposal


Whereas chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a common condition caused by playing football and is associated with life-long brain damage and cognitive disabilities.

Whereas as an institution of higher education our highest goal is to enhance the cognitive abilities of our students.

Whereas joint injury is caused by playing football and often creates a life-long disability.

Whereas football is a form of entertainment, not an academic pursuit, and its entertainment value is not part of the WSU mission.

Whereas the WSU Athletic Program is greatly in debt, approaching $100,000,000, and this debt continues to increase.

Whereas in 2021 there will be no WSU football season due to SARS-CoV-2 and the PAC 12 cancellation of intercollegiate games.

Whereas the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has substantially harmed WSU financial prospects, and this will likely continue into 2022.

Whereas athletic donations barely cover the cost of football scholarships.

Whereas diversion of funds to the athletic program diminishes the WSU academic program and thereby falls under the purview of the WSU Faculty Senate.

We hereby submit that WSU:

  1. Put all employees associated with the intercollegiate football program on indefinite furlough.
  2. Start the process of removing WSU intercollegiate football from the WSU athletic program.
  3. Continue to pay scholarships to the football players promised such until they graduate, but not initiate any new football scholarships.
  4. Request the WSU Faculty Senate develop position statements related to the incompatibilities of football with any institution of higher education.

It is anticipated that the financial savings to WSU will be substantial and thereby enhance our academic programs.
It is anticipated that WSU will be recognized as a national leader in higher education by eliminating harm done to our students for the sake of entertainment.

James M. Krueger, PhD, MDHC, Regents Professor

Vote tally: 16
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