[00:00:03] >>Thank you all for joining us today. This town hall is the first in a series held by university leaders to answer your questions during this unprecedented time. I’m Emily Spain. I’ll be serving as a moderator today. I’m also a proud Mizzou alum and the evening anchor at KOMU-8. And here’s how the town hall will work today. We’ve had more than 200 questions already come in and be submitted, and we’ll keep taking additional questions during today’s live town event. To submit your questions, be sure to visit president.missouri.edu. Again, that’s president.missouri.edu and click on virtual town halls. We will have a team collecting those and we’ll bring you those live as we get to them. I will read the questions and ask each of our panelists today for their answers. And after the town hall, we’ll provide follow-up information to answer additional questions that we didn’t have time for during this town hall together. We’re also recording the session and it will be placed online for people to view later. Before we start, we’re going to have President and Interim Chancellor Mun Choi give a few words.
[00:01:11] >>Emily, thank you very much for your hard work. We really appreciate it. And let me begin by thanking our faculty, students and staff. Their dedication and resilience during the past few weeks has been truly inspiring. Like many of you, we’ve had the most intense and fast moving four weeks in living memory. But during all of the activities, we were most concerned about your well-being. So we acted quickly to protect our stakeholders. During this period, it’s very important to follow health guidelines to protect yourself and your family. But beyond the pandemic itself, you may be asking about the future. I want to be very direct. We have a challenging road ahead. Already the unemployment rate in the US is at 13 percent. There are estimates that it can go to 20 percent. From our colleagues in the state, we know that the tax rolls will be down significantly this year. We already received a cut of 37 million dollars from the state. We also provided twenty five million in refunds to our students. So at this time, we need to be very, very aggressive to protect what is most important for our university. And as we do that, we have already made some significant cuts. For example, we have a hiring freeze. There will be significant restrictions on purchases. And as many of you know, there will be no raises this year. And I have to thank the administrators and senior leaders who volunteered for a voluntary 10 percent cut in salary for three months. The next logical question that you may have is what does next year hold for all of us? What will be the cut from the state? How many students will return in the fall and how will our investments do in the future? There are many questions that we can’t answer at this point, but there are some indications that we can expect up to 180 million dollar shortfall just for the UM System. So we do need to plan and develop and address the deficits for this year and next year. During the next few weeks and few months, we will be making some very difficult decisions together. But these decisions will include cuts to all expenses, consolidation of units, elimination of programs and layoffs and furloughs. But as we develop our financial plans, we will need to sustain our mission for student success, research, engagement and inclusion. I understand and appreciate the concerns about the future that you have and the great uncertainty of it all. But throughout the process ahead, I can promise you we will be direct, transparent and accountable. So I look forward to your input today as we help to guide the future together for this great university. Thank you. And let me now turn it over to Provost Ramchand.
[00:04:42] >>Thank you, President and Interim Chancellor Choi. And thanks to all of you who are participating on this webinar. When I think about the last two, three months, I think it all started sometime in late January. We started by suspending a few study abroad
programs. Then in early February, we halted local travel to a few cities within the United States. And in early March. I think it was March 11th, we suspended all in-person classes and within a matter of days, literally days, we transitioned about 7,400 courses to full online modality. Think about it. Seven thousand courses in a matter of days were moved to remote instruction format. And we did this because you made it happen. Every one of you- staff, faculty, our department chairs, our associate deans, our deans, our vice chancellors, members of faculty council under Clark Peters leadership. Every one of you did what was uncomfortable, what was difficult, but it was the right thing to do. Changes to grading policy. Changes to the way in which we think about promotion and tenure extensions. Changes to commencement. Changes to summer programing. You made it happen. You showed us that, as an institution, we can be agile in our decision making and we can be right by our stakeholders. And everyone of you staff-so many of you made calls to students as they made those tough decisions. Should I stay on campus? Should I move back home? You fielded calls from concerned parents who saw things that made them anxious. You did all that and more, even as you transitioned in your personal lives. As you dealt with kids at home, spouses at home, working on three laptops with limited bandwidth. You did all that and more, and we salute you for that. I want to especially recognize our colleagues on faculty council for the recent resolution that they have passed that tells us that no matter how difficult the times are, our commitment to respect for all is going to be firm and non-negotiable. Respect especially in these times for those communities that are being unduly blamed for this pandemic. Our congratulations and our gratitude to faculty council for approving that resolution. As the president and chancellor mentioned, the next few days, months, perhaps the year, there is going to be uncertainty. A lot of uncertainty. What we are certain about, though, is that our commitment to our values, our commitment to research excellence, to student success, to our respect for our land grant mission and non-negotiable, totally non-negotiable, our commitment to inclusive excellence. We are certain about these values. Thank you all once again for being here. And we look forward to answering your questions.
[00:07:49] >>Provost Ramchand, thank you so much. I’m now going to introduce our next two speakers. Clark Peters with the Faculty Council. He’s the chair. And Hannah Clampitt, the staff council chair. Clark.
[00:08:02] Thanks, Emily. Thanks President and Provost Ramchand, my fellow panelists and all my family colleagues who are participating in this event. I received a ton of questions that we will get to a bit. Somewhere sent directly to the president and the provost. And some came to us. We passed along for the discussion and getting some answers there. Meanwhile, I’d like to thank my faculty colleagues for all the insights, everybody’s participation and dedication to principles of shared governance in this really difficult time. As we just heard, all of you have done so much in the past few weeks. We’ve moved our classes to remote instruction. We’ve dealt with children climbing on our shoulders as we try and continue our work. We’ve implemented S/U grading at lightning speed. We’ve helped communicate messages regarding promotion and tenure and work with the Office of E-learning to further support students and instructors. We want to recognize just how disruptive to your teaching and scholarship this whole thing has been. But I think what we will remember most from this time is the tremendous resilience and adaptability we’ve all shown in the face of it. So when the president’s office reached out to see what was going on in response to COVID-19 and asked faculty members to express what they were doing, he received over 200 submissions that I’m not at all surprised by that. These projects spanned the disciplines that reflect the diversity on our campus. Research on how the virus spreads. Vaccine development. Work to fill medical equipment shortages. Identifying K-12 learning metrics on adolescent behavior that we need to pay
mind to. The impact of the virus on Missouri’s small businesses and efforts to move essential services to telehealth platforms. All critical work. People really stepped up. Well, you need to continue this, of course. Continue to work together and with campus leadership. And it’s going to be some difficult times ahead, and for us individually, for our colleagues and for our staff colleagues as well. But we’ve all seen what robust engagement in building a shared sense of purpose can deliver. And we need that community more than ever. And we need to be far sighted and creative in our decision making. We must understand some of the steps that we hope to take, our plans, our aspirations may not really be possible with this new reality. But we will have to all chip in and be part of this support for each other, our staff and for the university. With that, I it off to my staff colleague Hannah Clampitt.
[00:11:30] >>Thanks, Clark. I also want to echo thanks to the president and provost and all the panelists. And thank you to everyone joining us today and for the questions that you’ve submitted. On behalf of everyone I want to acknowledge and thank staff for the amazing work you did to be part of turning Mizzou into a virtual university in a very short period of time. I would acknowledge those people who are cleaning campus and who are keeping people safe, who are caring for our students still in our halls, and providing support to our students who are at home, especially in terms of mental health and well-being. I want to acknowledge the staff who just did a tremendous job supporting remote teaching and learning and all of us who are just finding creative ways to do our jobs virtually and dealing with the obstacles of working from home. I want to acknowledge those people who can’t work from home and really pay attention to the feelings of concern and uncertainty that those individuals are having about the timeline that they will be able to return to work. And that uncertainty is heavy and it is stressful. And there’s a lot of concern about budget reductions and job security. I want to assure people that the leadership is looking to mitigate that impact as much as possible and to support as many people as possible, including temporarily reassigning job duties and responsibilities. I want you to know that staff council is being included in conversations about the future. We’re meeting regularly with and having close communication with the president, provost, chancellors cabinet and the vice chancellors of human resources and operations. One of our roles is to serve as a communicator with our staff. And so if you have questions or concerns, if you have ideas or creative solutions, please feel free to reach out to staff council. We can connect you with people to answer those questions and get clarity around maybe some confusion. So you can e-mail us at email@example.com or you can e-mail me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. And again, I just want to thank all my colleagues and for the exceptional work that is being done in this time.
[00:13:43] >> Hannah, Clark, thank you both. I’m going to now introduce our panelists who will answer most of your questions today. We have with us today NaTashua Davis, the Interim Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity; Rhonda Gibler, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Chief Financial Officer; Patty Haberberger, the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources; Mike Koehler, MU Health Care’s Chief Administrative Officer; and Gary Ward, the Vice Chancellor for Operations. Our first question is for Rhonda from a staff member. Rhonda, how has the corona virus shutdown affected finances for the University of Missouri? Are there plans for layoffs or furloughs? And how will those decisions be made and how will they be communicated?
[00:14:31] >>So, clearly, as Dr. Choi already expressed, there are lots of reasons to be concerned and there’s lots of pressure on our financial situation. I would tell you that in my many years at the university, it’s unlike anything I’ve experienced. But there are threads of things that remind us of other situations. So first, I would tell you that we have the skill set
and the wherewithal to make [ unintelligible] forward. We’ve demonstrated that through other kinds of hardship in the past and I’m heartened by the hard work of leadership, faculty, staff and students of this institution that we will find a productive path forward. That said, we are absolutely in a situation where we’re going to have to make some very difficult decisions. And as unfortunately is the case, when we have a financial downturn and we spend the majority of our money on the amazing people of the institution, there are likely to be impacts that change our ability to fund every position we’ve had over the last number of years. So I expect that there are likely to be layoffs. There are likely to be other tools that we put into the process, like furloughs and things of that nature. In terms of how these decisions will be made, I think that we’ll be working carefully with leadership and taking information from folks about how do we uphold those to our core missions. How do we make sure we can ensure excellence and support our students for success? Maybe gathering input from folks about what sorts of adjustments can we make that have the least negative impact on our ability to deliver over the long run. And as we have those conversations, I expect us to carry out any personnel actions that are necessary with the utmost respect for the individuals who are impacted by that. So what that means to me is that you shouldn’t expect a large announcement of, you know, this many people on this day for whatever. I would expect that those conversations are respectful of the individuals involved and each area where we have take actions as they need to in a very thoughtful and reflective way with the individuals who are impacted. Thank you, Emily.
[00:16:42] >> OK. Thanks, Rhonda. We’re going to take our first question from just a recent submission that we just received, and this is going to Patty. And Patty, again, is the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. Patty, would MU ever consider a staff buyout for folks who are close to retirement?
[00:17:00] >>Sorry. Forgot to unmute myself. I think that that possibility has been discussed among the system leadership. But at this point in time, I don’t know that that’s an option that we’re going to be going with. I think there’s some concern that that that may put a strain on our pension. So I don’t know that that’s an option at this time.
[00:17:25] >>OK, Patty, thank you. Our second question also goes to Patty, and this one is from staff. Can you briefly describe the criteria that will be used to decide when employees will return to working on campus instead of remotely working from home?
[00:17:40] >>Sure. First, I want to say how proud we are of the work that’s being done by our employees right now. With very little notice, we drastically changed how we’re doing our work, how we’re serving our students and others. And we have done so with a great amount of ingenuity and grit. In short, we will look to our public health experts to let us know when it is safe to return to campus. We will likely return in stages and not all at the same time. Just this week, our emergency preparedness team is meeting to talk about these very questions. Who are we going to bring back first? What steps will we take to bring them back? What new policies will we implement to ensure that everyone is safe? Some ideas could include like hand sanitizer stations at every entrance and exit, continuing to keep social distance measures at work, such as limiting large meetings and possibly staggering shifts, and of course, ongoing cleaning and sanitizing of the campus. So these are just a few ideas at this point. We will, of course, work with our leaders, staff and faculty councils and public health officials as we make these decisions.
[00:18:52] >>Thank you, Patty. And I want to quickly remind those listening that if you have a question, we are watching those come in live here and you can submit that by visiting president.missouri.edu and clicking on the link under virtual town hall. So just a reminder for you about that. Our next question is for NaTashua. It comes from a person who writes, I’m very concerned that certain groups, particularly Asian Americans, are being targeted with racism and xenophobia. What are we doing to support marginalized and targeted populations even when they are not physically present on campus?
[00:19:31] >>I think the Provost just started off in it with such conviction in that the dedication that we have towards inclusion on our campus. And so Mizzou is continuing to be committed to building a sustained, diverse and inclusive environment, be it in person or virtually right now. And so the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity works to embody that through this crisis. And so our office is open and we’re adjusting and adapting our methods to make sure that we’re ensuring that we continue to support a safe and welcoming community. But with all that said, we encourage anyone in our campus community who has witnessed or experienced any type of discrimination to report it to our Office for Civil Rights and Title IX. They’re operating remotely and in full swing. And so they’re there to actually be able to take in information and provide services and be a resource to our university constituents. Additionally, I want to also mention, too, that, you know, with this these are reports that they have while being maintained in the sense of privacy and confidentiality, the office is able to really track recorded discrimination on campus. And so this alerts us of any patterns that we’re seeing that we may need to address on the macro level. And so patterns that we’re seeing that our campus may need to respond to to help to mitigate these behaviors and keep our campus safe and as inclusive as possible. In consideration of just support, though, I do want to say from that IDE frame, I really have to acknowledge our social justice centers and our access for leadership development units. These units have done just a tremendous job in being able to create virtual spaces for our students to not only keep them connected, but to keep them engaged on campus. In campus and with each other. And that’s so critical right now as a lot of students are experiencing levels of isolation, all that to bring them back and to draw them back into campus is extraordinary experience and really adds to their experience as Mizzou students. We also are really working on the academic support side to make sure that we’re partnering with people like the Center for Teaching and Learning to really help to ensure inclusivity on our online courses. And we’re also looking to really incorporate within our professional development areas national issues that are happening. And so we can begin to address those and address topics like xenophobia as it relates to COVID-19. And so those are some of the things that we’re doing within our division. But I also have to stress that within our campus, there’s so much good work that’s going on to support our students. We have the privilege of partnering and collaborating with so many partners across campus, including the International Center, CASE, Bridge, Trio SSS programs, engineering office of diversity and outreach. And these spaces have done such a tremendous job in supporting and advocating and caring, truly caring for our students and their evolving needs, which is so important right now. And so though we’re in this very rapidly changing environment please know that our commitment to supporting the well- being of our students is absolutely unwavering.
[00:22:52] >>OK, NaTashua, thank you. This next question comes from a faculty member and it’s for Gary. Gary, what’s been done to sanitize the campus and how can we be assured that it will be safe to return?
[00:23:04] >>Thank you, Emily. So when we first heard about this virus in late January, we started upping our sanitizing efforts on campus. And as time went on and we started getting more, more information from the CDC on how to clean the campus, we were performing that. And we pretty much got through the campus after we did our stay at home order. We have ceased those efforts for now. We’re going to start again Monday on a deep
cleaning effort for the entire campus. What that will mean is we will clean all the public spaces, of course all the restrooms, all the offices, all the classrooms, all the auditoriums. And as we finish each room, we will post a notice on that room that this room has been disinfected, to CDC standards. Now, we won’t stop there. We will continue to clean every single week and sanitize every single week. And is like Patty mentioned, we will also have sanitizers at the building entrances for hands. But be assured that every single space on the campus will be sanitized.
[00:24:10] >>Right, thanks, Gary. The next question is for Mike and it’s another faculty question. What do models suggest concerning how long we will have to practice due diligence with respect to preventing additional waves of this disease?
[00:24:26] >>Thanks, Emily. Well, first, let me start with a thank you. I want to thank this university system and campus and our community for all that has happened to get behind MU Health Care right now and the health care organization here. We are well prepared to take care of this community through this crisis. And that’s only because of the support we’ve had from so many of you. You know to your question, really, we’re all in this together for as long as this lasts. Our models right now are predicting a peak in early May for Columbia. We’re running about 10 days behind St. Louis and Kansas City. And through that period and then for for some weeks beyond that, we need to continue to do all we can and keep practicing those preventative behaviors like social distancing and hand-washing and the sanitizing the Gary was just talking about. If we if we keep doing these things well, we will help flatten the curve. And that is really a big help to our medical community to be able to keep up with the needed care. So we need to keep doing all we can and hang in there.
[00:25:32] >>Thanks, Mike. This next question comes from a staff member and it goes to you, President Choi. Can more financial information be provided about the Precision Health Initiative? How much funding commitment is due from MU, UM etc.? If it is a significant sum, is it a needed luxury at this time when we are staring at furloughs and layoffs? Or can it be slowed or deferred in some manner so that not all financial commitments hit at the same time? President.
[00:26:03] >>Emily, that’s a great question. Let me answer it this way. This university is recognized as a AAU institution. And we are a member of that organization with about 60 other universities. And AAU criteria for membership has a strong metric for research, especially research and creative works that bring recognition to our university. And that commitment to research has been strong since the founding of the university. And so it’s very important for us to continue with that type of investment. That is why we are continuing with the Tier 1 and Tier 2 funding obligations that we had and also moving forward with the Tier 3 funding for social sciences. And it is our plan to continue that until next year. And so for us, that commitment to have a research building that will enable our faculty members to truly compete with their peers around the country is critically important. So it’s a project that would define the university for many, many years. And that’s why the commitment is there, not only from my office at the system, but at the campus and supported by the Board of Curators. In terms of the funding that’s available, currently, we have about 120 million allocated from various sources. We are actively seeking additional support from donors, corporations, but also state government. It is our hope that the state government provides a 10 million dollar core adjustment for next gen and for us to continue to get additional funding from the federal government through the V.A. for the partnership that we envision. So this is a very important project. This building will represent
the first research building at Mizzou in 17 years. And so it’s very important for us to continue with that commitment for this research building.
[00:28:09] >>So, President Choi, while we’re on this topic, a follow up question for you here. If we are borrowing millions of dollars for next gen, why can’t we borrow a small amount of money to keep from doing layoffs or furloughs?
[00:28:23] >>Well, the problems that we see based on the reductions in state support, also softness in the enrollment in the fall and how the market is doing in terms of our investment outcomes, we expect a significant downturn for the university and that does require structural changes. And having temporary solutions like salary cuts will help with the immediate problem of addressing the budget. But we do have to have structural changes in the way we operate and also have the staffing levels that’s appropriate to the budget that we have.
[00:29:00] >>OK, thank you. We had another question just come in. This one’s for the provost. From a faculty member. They asked: a lot of peer schools have now extended the tenure clock for one year for all non-tenured tenure track faculties. Would MU follow the same plan or the possibility of a tenure extension is still considered to be case by case?
[00:29:27] >>Thank you for that question. And yes, we have gone with what our CRRs recommend we do. And so it is up to the faculty member to ask for this extension. And extensions will be granted, recognizing that we are certainly in times like we’ve never seen before. Rather than do a blanket policy that says everyone needs to go through this, the option now is given to the faculty member. The choice is with the faculty member as opposed to having the choice be retained in Jesse Hall. We didn’t want us to have the choice. We wanted you to have the choice. Hence this decision. If you need more clarification, by all means, email me.
[00:30:10] >>OK, thank you, Provost. Another live question. This one comes from a staff member and is for President Choi. How will we assure that we don’t make decisions for our research intensive residential university in the short term that impact our longer term health and institutional stature?
[00:30:30] >>So if I understand the question correctly, it is really related to are we going to continue to support the mission, and research is a very important mission for this university. And that’s what distinguishes it from other teaching universities around the country. And we have a number, great number of faculty members who are recognized nationally for their contributions, not only those contributions that show up in research grants or publications, but the impact that they’re making to society, whether it’s related to genetics or medieval history. And so that commitment, that commitment has to be maintained. And so while NexGen does represent the most important investment in research, it’s not the only program that we will continue to make investments in to strength that Mizzou’s position as a research university.
[00:31:31] >>OK, thanks, President Choi. Another live question just came in, and this one is for Patty. Will employees be allowed to use our accrued sick leave to remain being paid until we are allowed to return to work on campus if we have exhausted vacation and personal days?
[00:31:55] >>We have implemented a new H.R. policy called HR-700 that outlines under what circumstances employees can take me leave. And so it really does depend on the situation and the need for the leave. It will depend on whether the staff member needs leave because they’re ill, because they’re quarantined. Is it because of the stay at home order or is it because they are caring for someone who is sick? Or if the need for leave is to be home for the day care being closed or the school being closed. So it’s hard to answer the question blanketly because it really does depend on the particular situation. So I’m happy to answer that question. That individual could e-mail me and I’m happy to answer the question.
[00:32:47] >>Thanks, Patty. Back now to Provost Ramchand. Please answer this question from a faculty member. What assurances can you give that faculty and staff will be consulted on budget decisions? And what assurances can you give that you will favor the highest paid employees receiving significantly higher percentage pay cuts compared to those on the lower ends of the salary scale?
[00:33:13] >>Thank you again for that question. As far as process goes, we have made this highly collaborative right from the get go. So in the middle of February, we stood up a team of people across campus, a person from every college, people from the Office of Research, from all other units on campus, to talk about these changes as we made the changes. Folks from Faculty Council were on there. Staff were on there. The idea was to make all our changes happen in a very collaborative fashion. And that process will continue. The format of that, the specifics of is it budget related, Is it faculty related, Is it promotion related will change over time. But our goal certainly is to get the best input. Is to get input from as big a group as we can, to use all that input. And while our decisions will not will not satisfy everyone, you can be rest assured that they will respect the values that this institution stands for. As far as guaranteeing that the cuts will be X percent for this group versus any other group, I would be foolish to get into any such things because I don’t know what those realities will look like. But again, like I said, we will respect the process that says we have amazing talent on this campus. There are people with expertise on these different subjects and we will get that expertise to bear on the decisions we make.
[00:34:44] >>Provost, thank you. Another question that just came in from a staff member and this goes to President Choi and reads: President, you mentioned a soft enrollment for the fall. How have we or how will we change our recruitment efforts to offset a potential shortfall in tuition this fall?
[00:35:02] >>That’s right. And that’s a very important matter for us, because out of the three components that support the university, and it comes to state support, enrollment and investment income, we have the most control over enrollment. And Kim Humphrey and her team have been doing an outstanding job of engaging those students who’ve already accepted to come to the university to ensure that they are still going to come to the university. But in addition to that, those students who’ve been admitted but have not yet accepted, have been receiving frequent communications, asking them to consider Mizzou. In addition, they’re reaching back to students who declined our admission from a few years ago to see if they would be willing to come to the university given, perhaps, the financial situation that they face and that Mizzou represents a high quality, affordable education. But this is a role for every one of us at the university to be proactive in encouraging students who are scheduled to return to return and to encourage those students who’ve accepted to actually arrive on the campus. We do expect to be open fully during the fall. We’re going to have a lot of precautions in place so that we have a safe learning environment. But that message will be shared with the students very shortly.
[00:36:36] >>OK, President Choi, thank you. This next question goes to Patty from a staff member. Due to the financial constraints facing the university, are you considering making changes to employee retirement contributions? And what about employee health insurance?
[00:36:53] >>Thank you, Emily. At this time, there are no specific changes to share as it relates to retirement contributions or employee health insurance. The university is constantly evaluating our benefit offerings and what we spend on those benefits. And we have a robust team that’s called the Total Rewards Advisory Committee that includes faculty, staff and retirees from all four campuses and the hospital who routinely meet and help determine how the university can manage costs and ensure that the benefits offered are sustainable.
[00:37:29] Thanks, Patty. And kind of as a follow up, we just got this question in while I was asking you that last one. Will there be any cuts to employee benefits like tuition assistance?
[00:37:39] >>Just like with retirement and employee health insurance, there’s not been any discussions of reducing those benefits at this time.
[00:37:48] >>OK, we’re just over the halfway mark here at this town hall, so I’ll remind you, if you’re just now joining us, we are looking at the questions coming in live and you can submit those by going to president.missouri.edu. And you’ll see the link to submit questions just under the virtual town hall. So be sure to submit them. We’re keeping an eye on them. This next question goes to Mike with MU Health Care. This is also from a staff member. Mike, what can we do to support our health care workers during this difficult time?
[00:38:19] >>Oh, thanks, Emily, and thanks for asking that question. You know, I mentioned earlier we’ve just been overwhelmed with the show of support that we’ve gotten from across the UM system and the Columbia campus and across our community. And we’re thankful for all that support of any kind. MU Health Care has a web page available you can go to at muhealth.org/coronavirus/give. And on that web page, you can send a thank you to our team. You can also learn about other ways that you can help including giving to our COVID-19 relief fund. So there is a lot more information on that site.
[00:38:57] >>Do you mind saying that site just one more time? [00:38:59] >>Sure. muhealth.org/coronavirus/give
[00:39:08] >>Awesome. Thanks, Mike. Another question for Patty that just came in. Considering the number of faculty and staff now working from home is any consideration being given to allowing this practice into the future, especially as the campus has previously discussed strategic space reductions?
[00:39:26] >>Thank you, Emily. That’s an excellent question. And I think that, you know, they always say you never waste a crisis. So I think that this gives us an opportunity to look at our teleworking policy and arrangements and to determine whether that’s an arrangement that can continue or if that’s something that we want to utilize to help us with our space utilization initiatives. So we we’ve been talking about that. I don’t think any decisions have been made just yet. But as we talk about bringing people back to campus, that’ll be taken into consideration.
[00:40:08] >>Thanks, Patty. Gary, this next question is from both faculty and staff members. Is there a short term plan to allow faculty and staff to return to their offices to gather essential materials, perhaps sometime in May or June? When do we expect we’ll also be able to gather at a facilities again like Mizzou Arena and the student center?
[00:40:30] >>So the short answer is yes, we are working on a plan to allow people to come back and get materials out of their offices or out of their space. We do not have that figured out yet. We’re starting those conversations this week. I know that the provost has been working with the deans and asking for their recommendations on how to do that systematically. And I’m starting to see some of those plans come in, in fact, just this morning. Because what we want to do is be very, very careful that all the success we’ve had on not spreading COVID-19, that we continue to have safe practices, social distancing and those types of things. So we’ve got to be very careful that we don’t have a flood of people come back all at the same time. So we’re going to be working on that over the next couple of weeks. As for the large events, we’re going to be relying on the CDC and their recommendations, and it’s just too early to tell right now what that’s going to look like in the next weeks or months.
[00:41:30] >>OK. Thanks, Gary. This next question goes to Rhonda. What kind of cut is likely for the university? What shortfalls are we facing in funding?
[00:41:42] >>So there’s a few knowns and a whole lot more unknowns. So the known things that are in front of us is that the state has already announced a withholding in the current year, as Dr. Choi referenced earlier. We do know that we have been very responsive to the needs of our families and students in terms of providing refunds when they needed to leave campus. And so, there’s already been a few things that we know have cost resources to the institution. The unknowns are how does that carry forward in the future. So, moving through this crisis, the first thing we have to do is, you know, really prepare for things to potentially be on a worse end of the scenario, but then absolutely be hopeful that perhaps the outcomes are much better than that. So what you see us already doing is our way of preparing for what could be on the worse end of that scenario. We’re asking people to just halt spending on anything you just don’t have to have an essential purpose. We’re also asking people to pause hiring. We’re under a hiring freeze. Those kinds of actions are what you do when you’re trying to assure that you can gain more understanding of what the actual situation is going to be. And then we can plot longer term courses to make sure that we sustain the university and deal with the issue that we will have in front of us. What people I think are seeing and wondering a bit about, I do get some number of direct email questions as well all the stimulus money. So I hear the federal government is doing things. I hear the state is doing things. And we are following that very closely to make sure that our university benefits in every way that we can from the resources that are made available. And those good efforts of our legislators to solve all these issues for us. We know that we’re going to have to own a good bit of the financial issue and we’re preparing ourselves to do that.
[00:43:45] >>OK, Rhonda, thank you. Another question that just came in. This one will be for Patty. Patty, many have asked how they can contribute their vacation time and other resources to help fellow employees who are more impacted by this. Can you give us any insight into how we can do this?
[00:44:04] >>So we don’t currently have… the only program we currently have is our shared leave program where people can donate vacation and people can utilize or apply
for that. But we don’t have a program right now where folks can do that. That does have tax implications if you’re donating specifically. So it is something that we could talk about and discuss, but it’s not something that we have in place currently.
[00:44:34] >>OK, thanks, Patty. I believe we have a couple more questions coming in. There is one right now and it’s for President Choi. President, are there any plans to consolidate duplicated programs across campuses or to offer more degree programs online?
[00:44:49] >>Yes and yes. We are going to be looking at consolidation opportunities from system and campuses and within the campuses. And this is a time where we really do need to evaluate every option that’s available to see if we are, first of all, have duplicate programs or if there are synergies and efficiencies that we can gain from that type of consolidation. And the events of the past few weeks have demonstrated that our faculty members can deliver courses remotely. And many students find that e-learning and remote learning maybe a little bit more difficult to get used to. But many students are already used to it because they have taken hybrid courses in the past. And so for us to increase more e-learning, remote learning, hybrid learning opportunities to meet the flexible schedule of students, I think is a very, very important way for us to move forward, to not only meet the needs of the student, but also additional revenues for the university.
[00:46:02] >>Another question for you that just came in: what is the timeline for making decisions regarding staffing reductions, furloughs and other financial cuts that will affect the university?
[00:46:12] >>So we are going to have to begin making those decisions in the coming weeks. And we will be making those decisions spread out for probably next few months. And then when July and August rolls around, that’s when we can reevaluate based on how much input we’re getting from, let’s say, the stimulus funds. We’ll have a much better understanding what our enrollment is going to be. And enrollment, if I didn’t mention it before, is currently an unknown because we’re facing a situation like no one is faced, at least in our lifetimes. And so to understand the firmness of our enrollment at this point is an educated guess. But there is a survey that was conducted by Simpson Scarbro that indicates that students, high school students who indicated that they would attend a four year university as of March of this year, March 1st, 11 percent of those students are now saying that they will not be able to financially afford a four year education. So we need to be mindful of that. But all of that input to see what our state budget is going to look like. Also to know what the further withholds are going to be, our enrollment picture and the stimulus funding will help us recalibrate our plans. But the plans that include layoffs, furloughs, consolidations, those decisions will be made in the next few weeks.
[00:47:44] >>A couple questions on a similar topic here, and this is for NaTashua. NaTashua, about underrepresented students and resources, how are we making sure we support all of our students and their unique needs at this time?
[00:48:01] >>I think that’s a great question, Emily. As I mentioned, you know, some of the units that we’re working with that is their overall arching goals is to make sure that our students are safe, but also really understanding that this is a very unique time for them as well as all of us. And being able to really understand what it is that they need at this point in time is really important as well, too. So our outreach is going to continue to be something that we are going to do within our division across campus as well, too. I also think our faculty and staff, many of them are so invested in our students and making sure
that they’re getting what they need and their understanding what it is that our students are needing and being able to respond to that with not only just responding to it with the outreach, but also being a resource for them as well to. That’s kind of the space that we’re in now, making sure that our students have the resources that are available to them to actually kind of weather this storm, but also to be able to really think about where they’re at and be able to then contribute to them coming back to the institutions as well, too. So that’s kind of the space that we’re in. We’re going to continue to go on those routes in terms of that outreach initiatives.
[00:49:14] Ok, thanks NaTashua. Mike, the next question came in for you. Since MU Health Care has significantly reduced the number of patients being seen right now, will MU Health Care and their employees be considered for furlough and layoffs?
[00:49:27] >>Thanks, Emily. We’re following the same path that campus and the system are following. We’re looking at our volumes and we’re trying to be thoughtful and planful about when we’re going to start seeing our patient volumes increase on elective procedures and clinic visits and so on, so forth. So we’ll watch that over the coming weeks and the coming months and continue to adjust our workforce as needed. We currently are flexing up and flexing down to meet our volumes, and we’ll continue to do that.
[00:50:00] >>President Choi, the next one that just came in is for you. Will the 138 million dollar appropriation to the University of Missouri system by the state legislature in the emergency budget bill that just passed last week, will that help our situation at all?
[00:50:15] >>Yes, we do believe that will help. We’re not sure when that money will arrive. And there are certain conditions for the use of those funds. And my understanding is that it is made available to states through the CARES Act to states that have not cut higher education. And we’re in the position where we received a withhold this year. But I believe that the governor can request an exception. So it may take a couple of months before you actually see any part of those funds coming in. But, yes, that would help. But it’s important to recognize that the 138 million is a one shot fund. And some of the problems that we’ll be facing with further cuts or any type of enrollment decline will represent a structural deficit for several years at least.
[00:51:06] >>OK, President Choi, thank you. Another question for you that just came in from a staff member. I appreciate administration taking a 10 percent pay cut temporarily. Can any staff member volunteer to take a temporary pay cut and would it make a difference?
[00:51:23] >>Everything that our that our faculty and staff contribute will make a difference. There will be an announcement about this shortly about the plans of how faculty and staff can contribute to this to this program. And I do appreciate everyone’s sacrifice during this period. So thank you.
[00:51:48] OK, thanks, President Choi. And just a reminder that if you are only able to catch a portion of this town hall, the full recording will be available online after we wrap up this afternoon. I’m waiting to see if any more questions come up. And so I’ll give the panelists a moment here as I wait to see if there’s any more questions. See if there was anything that you guys wanted to add to any of the questions that I’ve asked here in the past 30 minutes or so.
[00:52:17] >>Well, we discussed quite a bit about our appreciation for the staff and faculty, and I just can’t emphasize how strongly we all feel and to talk about a community that really came together when we needed them. It’s this community. Our faculty members and staff have given of themselves so much during this period. And, you know, normally on anormal, week I would get about four or five complaints from faculty. But that is really dried up. And we have faculty members asking how can they support the university and the student. So it’s been very, very gratifying and I really, really appreciate it.
[00:53:07] >>Thanks, President Choi. The next question is for Christian Basi. Are there guidelines or recommendations for how faculty and staff should communicate the issue of budget cuts, furloughs, layoffs with external constituent groups?
[00:53:23] >>I think during this time that we definitely want to make sure that we are as open and transparent as possible, that we are looking to make sure that everyone can be prepared as possible for any however they may be affected. So my advice to them would be to, you know, plan for the worst and prepare and hope for the best. And so when you’re communicating, be open, be transparent about possibilities that may come. And we will hope that this will only last a very short time.
[00:53:59] >>OK, thanks, Christian. Did you want to say something, President Choi?
[00:54:03] >>Yes. There was a question that came up from one of the panelists, if I can answer it. And the question was on raises for faculty promotions and we will honor those. And so faculty members who were being promoted will get those increases as well as faculty members who have been promised the lift payments. And that was a decision that was made recommended by a group of faculty members to the provost and the chancellor. So we will go through with those payments as well.
[00:54:37] >>If I could clarify, we we used some of these abbreviations. So there’s RIF and there’s GCI. So what Dr. Choi is referring to is we had committed to a number of faculty that the grant and contract incentives payments would continue and that there were raises associated with the ending of that program. And I believe just to put a fine point on it, Dr. Choi. I think that’s what you’re referring to.
[00:55:02] >>Yes, you’re right.
[00:55:04] >>OK. Thanks, everyone. We are about out of time here, so we’re going to wrap up our first town hall today. Again, you can find the full recording online and we can still continue to accept your questions. And I appreciate you all asking me to be involved today as the moderator. It was nice to be here and hear all of your responses today. And we’ll turn it over to President Choi for closure.
[00:55:26] >>Thank you. Emily. Thank you very much for moderating. And I want to thank the panelists for sharing their perspectives and easing some of the concerns that our faculty and staff members have. And I know that this is a very difficult period for all of us to go through. But I appreciate the dedication to the institution. And what I mean by the dedication to the people that we serve and the resilience that all of us, all of us, are displaying during this very trying period. And so it is my great hope that will come out of this stronger. But we are going to come out of this different and we’re not really sure how different. But we know it’s going to be different. And we are thinking about you and your welfare. And that’s been our guiding principle from day one. And so I want to end the town
hall, the virtual town hall with an uplifting video that was developed by members of our team. So let me now turn it away to the video czar.
[00:56:28] [ MUSIC ]
[00:56:44] >>As tigers, we are all part of something greater than ourselves.
[00:56:47] >>It’s what makes his community so amazing, but especially right now.
[00:56:51] >>And though things are different for the moment, though, we’re apart, we’re never divided.
[00:56:55] >>Because some things will always unite us, like 180 years of tradition. [00:57:00] >>And our core values of respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence. [00:57:05] >>We’re finding new ways to collaborate with each other.
[00:57:07] >>We’re bringing our classrooms to your living room.
[00:57:10] >>And extending the support of our community to you wherever you are. [00:57:14] >>Together we can achieve anything, anywhere.
[00:57:31] >>And in the weeks ahead, we’ll continue to accomplish incredible things. [00:57:35] >>Because wherever our people are
[00:57:37] >>that’s where Mizzou is.
[00:57:38] >>We’re a family and we are strong. [00:57:40] >>We are united.
[00:57:42] >>We are the University of Missouri. [00:57:45] >>M-I-Z.