May 20 Faculty Senate Meeting
The Senate heard a detailed presentation of the financial situation faced by the university from the Provost, crystalized around three contingencies, corresponding to: 1) students are mainly on campus, with social distancing and other precautions in place; 2) mixed - during part of the year students will be mainly on campus, and part of the year mainly online; and 3) students are mainly online. In each case, given reduced numbers of students, reduced other revenue, increased costs, and other plausible assumptions, the three contingencies would be expected to leave the university with deficits of roughly $85 million, $200 million and $300 million, respectively.
Discussions with the administration about how to address these deficits have been underway for several weeks now. Multiple Senate committees as well as the full Senate have been involved. Some decisions had already been made - elimination of faculty and staff merit increases for the coming year, leadership salary reductions, and a selective hiring freeze all come to mind. Many other decisions await more detailed information.
Dean Lynn Goldman of the Milken Institute School of Public Health touched on some of the preparations and considerations underway to facilitate the safe return of students, faculty, and staff to campus in the fall. Among the preparations are configuring the dorms for social distancing, having sufficient testing and contact tracing capabilities, and reserving housing for quarantine purposes. More information will be available as more concrete preparations for the fall term begin.
In response to the extraordinary situation the university faces, and the need to support shared governance at the university, three resolutions were passed, as follows:
Resolution 21/3 allows the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to set additional Regular Meetings of the Senate. Faculty Senators already know to expect additional meetings this summer; the schedule for that is forthcoming.
Resolution 21/4 argues for certain principles that ought to guide decisions around budget austerity, and the process for addressing them.
Resolution 21/5 urges the administration to immediately approve the hiring of Libraries and Academic Innovation positions needed to help instructors to prepare syllabi and course plans for Fall 2020.
The full minutes for this meeting have been posted. A schedule of summer Senate meetings will also be posted once it has been finalized.
About the Faculty Senate
The GW Faculty Senate is the faculty governance body of the George Washington University. Senators are elected to two-year terms by their home schools, and the Senate annually elects an Executive Committee that sets agendas, reviews proposed resolutions, and guides the work of the Senate. The Senate is in session from September through May, although the Executive Committee works year-round on faculty and administrative matters.
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