K. Dolan reported on a UW System call between governance representatives and Interim UW System President Tommy Thompson last week; the main topic of discussion was recent media reports on fall strategies to deal with re-opening, testing and other policies. Wisconsin has joined the suit filed by 17 states vs the Trump administration’s ICE directive on international students, which has since been rescinded. Thompson has asked the state for $10 million for PPE for the UW System. The new CARES Act that is currently in progress may include $12 billion for higher education; $50-60 million could be available for the UW System for COVID- related expenses. The cut to the UW System from the state will be about 10%.
K. Dolan reported on the Deans’ meeting on July 10, which focused on how to keep international students connected to f2f classes and options available to departments to make this possible. L&S Dean Scott Gronert’s update on campus mapping indicated that about 65% of courses will be online and 35% will be f2f or hybrid for fall.
K. Dolan reported on the Crisis Management Team meeting on July 13, where the discussion of the implementation of the UW System-wide mask policy emphasized education and supplies; enforcement will be handled by the Dean of Student’s office rather than the UWM Police. Policies for quarantine and isolation as well as classes in which a student tests positive are being developed. Building re-opening plans are ongoing and schedules are being developed. Signage templates are being created that can be customized and printed by individual units to ensure consistency across campus. Classroom modifications are in progress and should be completed by the third week of August. Tom Luljak reported that since March the highest rate of students opening emails is still only 60% so additional strategies for ensuring that students receive critical information are being explored. The next Town Hall Meeting has been scheduled for July 29.
K. Dolan reported that all 17 committee vacancies for fall 2020 have been filled using the lists developed last year.
There were no Members’ Reports.
Chancellor Mone attended and discussed five items: 1) the state joining the lawsuit to oppose the ICE policy on international students, which would require hybrid courses to be at least 20% f2f ; 2) a campus-wide message on racial justice at UWM that will be posted on July 16 describing the action plan to be launched in August, which will include mini-grants, mandatory training for faculty and staff starting this fall, including campus police, and initiatives regarding staffing and hiring to increase campus diversity; 3) the current budget shortfall, which is more challenging than previous ones because the campus has no option but to respond reactively. The Think Tank 2030 recommendations will provide guidance on priorities regarding structural changes to reduce bureaucracy and establish a core set of classes for all undergraduates. When asked about the possibility of receiving borrowing/bonding authority from the state, Chancellor Mone reported that Interim UW System President Tommy Thompson had indicated that the current political climate is not conducive to such a measure and that borrowing could make us more vulnerable in the future; 4) UWM has submitted a petition to Milwaukee Mayor Barrett requesting an exemption from the current policy regarding f2f instruction to ensure that campus will be allowed to open for f2f instruction in the fall; 5) Chancellor Mone officially acknowledged K. Dolan’s leadership and contributions this past semester under very trying circumstances, which the UC unanimously approved.
UWM Police Chief LeMire attended the meeting by invitation to discuss the recent protests and UWM’s policies on policing issues. He discussed coordination with local law enforcement and provided clarification on the function of the two jail cells on campus, stressing that they had not been used for protesters and that their maximum duration of use is about 1.5 hours during processing. Coordination with local law enforcement as well as other units on campus is part of the system of information sharing instituted after the Virginia Tech shooting. The SMART (Suburban Mutual Aid Response Team) cooperative agreement makes it possible for all participating groups to have access to adequate resources as needed. A UWM use of force policy statement is pending, as is the organization of a UWM advisory council that could include students. When asked about racial and gender profiling on campus, Chief LeMire reported that records are being kept and shared with administration when requested; they are mainly used internally as part of sensitivity and diversity training and maintaining a culture of self-awareness. The Chief stressed that providing a safe environment on campus for students, faculty and staff is directly linked to the existence of a UWM-specific police department; abolishing the campus police would not necessarily lead to a reduction in police activity but would change its nature and could impact the safety of students and faculty in unanticipated ways. The number of police officers on campus was reduced after 2010 due to Act 10.
Provost Britz and Academic Staff Council Outgoing and Incoming Chairs Leigh Wallace and Kyla Esquerra will attend the July 28th meeting.