Town Hall 071620

Annotations of Town Hall 7/16/20

Present: David DeCenzo (President), Travis Overton (Vice President for Executive Initiatives/Chief of Staff), Carlos Johnson (VP of Legal Services/University Council), Dan Ennis (VP of Academic Affairs/Provost), David Frost (Chief Financial Officer), Carissa Madieros (Director of Emergency Management)


Disclaimer: The below annotations and timestamps are for reference only, compiled by volunteer staff. The below are for reference only.


Opening Remarks (2:17 – 10:00)

  • 2:58 | Phase 2 is complete. Thirty-six employees were terminated. Considerably more employees opted for the early retirement program, and so Coastal will meet the cost-savings goal set by the Board of Trustees.
  • 5:51 | Phase 3 will be determined by enrollment numbers. Keeping our fingers crossed that our enrollment will not be as down as we anticipated.
  • 8:24 | Coastal Comeback Plan:

 Town Hall 071620 Coastal Comeback Plan

  • 8:44 | It is highly recommended that if you’re able to work from home, please do. August 1 will have more individuals on campus to implement the Comeback Plan and getting ready for our students to move in.
  • 10:43 | Overton acknowledges employees terminated, and thanks them for their service to Coastal Carolina University.
  • 11:22 | Announcement of Provost Ennis’ townhall. What does our enrollment look like for the Fall?
    • Ennis: As of this week, freshman deposits are down 11%, which is disasterous compared to growth, but we were looking at 19% back in April. There’s still quite a bit of activity/volatility. Transfer students are down 9.9%.
      On the retention side, continuing student retention is up about 8% for Freshman-Sophmore class.
      We are still planning on a downturn, and a net decrease.
  • 14:13 | How does the university intend to respond to litigations and exceptions for students, staff, and faculty to wear masks? What actions can be taken if a student enters a lecture hall without a face covering? What is the state of face shields and face masks? (Please read the Coastal Comeback Plan.)
    • Medeiros: There will not be any type of mask police on campus. We’re looking at compliance by holding each other accountable. See it as an opportunity to start a conversation, starting with do you need a mask?
      Additional guidance is forthcoming. We have indicated some do’s and don’t’s of enforcement that are in the documentation forthcoming. Start the conversation with students who aren’t wearing a mask if they don’t have a mask, and tailoring the conversation with students vs. employees. And specific guidance for how our faculty to engage in an instructional space.
    • Ennis: This is a campus-wide effort. Rely on unspoken peer pressure. We want to find some positive, non-coersive ways to get masks into the hands of students before they get to class. Goal is not to have entire instruction interrupted because someone doesn’t wear a mask. Hope to have a peer team of individuals who are trained to actively offer folks masks who aren’t wearing one, and also position them at residence halls. By the time they get to the classroom, they have been offered, potentially multiple times, a mask without any threat.
    • Johnson: Encourage us to take ownership of the process.There are some individual rights we have to consider, but a public health situation gives us some flexibility as to what we can require and expect employees and students to follow.Enforcement will be different from students and employees. For those that have health issues that would be aggrevated by wearing a mask, we will ask for some type of face covering that they can wear.
    • 26:04 | Johnson: Question from Steve if we can ask a student to leave a class. A request would be appropriate in that regard. But we would like to avoid situations of direct conflict.
    • Medieros: Dr. Paquette asks for guidance in not inciting a situation. Guidance will come.
  • 26:56 | Is it true that we not longer have public safety officers on staff?
    • DeCenzo: No. Public Safety was not included in the RIF.
  • 27:31 | Public schools will not open until September 8. [Does that effect universities?]
    • DeCenzo: The Comission on Higher Education is meeting with the governor’s office today, and we plan to move students in August 12. Classes will begin online and hybrid on August 19. There are factors that could affect that.
    • DeCenzo: If a student’s family wishes them to remain online, we will accommodate, just as we will accommodate for faculty who are not going to be offering their classes on campus. I ask for everyone to have flexibility.
  • 30:29 | Does DHEC have a recommendation not to test anyone?
    • DeCenzo: There’s going to be a self-check required of every individual. We’re working with the CHE to identify triggers that would lead us to make a significant change. One of those triggers is the ability of our hospitals to handle an influx of patients. If the hospitals are full, then they will need to make changes for those that are going to ultimately use their services.
  • 33:35 | Overton: Can we just be civil as everyone is trying to figure this out? Comment on Menti that students are irresponsible.
  • 35:29 | Are face shields and masks interchangeable?
    • Medieros: No, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t tools. There will be certain situations where one is appropriate. Provost’s Office is working to provide them to faculty, but they will only be used in circumstances where other public health measures have to be put in place.
  • 38:14 | Is there a status update for those who have filed for ADA accommodation?
    • Overton: Lori Cox working on those. If you haven’t heard, e-mail HR.
  • 39:02 | Will there be a statement to place in syllabi for mask compliance?
    • Will be answered by Ennis and Brian Bunton (Faculty Senate Chair)
  • 39:23 | USC is testing every individual. Why isn’t Coastal?
    • DeCenzo: Long discussion. There are other kinds of testing that are being done across different campuses. USC doesn’t currently have a test that is FDA approved.
  • 42:53 | How many people were part of the voluntary retirement and the like.
    • DeCenzo: Data forthcoming.
    • Overton: Some documents are still in process and being finalized.
  • 46:00 | Overton goes over the town halls and resources of communication.
  • 47:21 | There is inconsistent information; some things are stated as definite, then change. Why should we have town hall meetings?
    • DeCenzo: DHEC’s recommendations changed regarding testing. Things change rapidly. If we’re being inconsistent, it’s because recommendations change.
  • 49:00 | Can DeCenzo and Ennis clarify the comments with students requesting online courses?
    • Ennis: All instruction this semester must be online and multi-modal, as students could be quarantined at various points in the semester.
    • I’ve met with Deans about the flexibility of faculty delivery of instruction. If faculty have an official accommodation or unofficial understanding of difficulty teaching in a face-to-face environment, we will have to figure out ways to accommodate that. I will present a plan in advance of my town hall next week.
  • 55:09 | DeCenzo apologizes for being read as uncivil or hostile. The reality is that this has been an emotional drain on everyone.
  • 57:13 | What is the status of Faculty RIF?
    • Overton: Once the faculty senate makes a recommendation, then it moves up the chain to the provost, the President, the Board of Trustees.
  • 58:06 | Are you going to acknowledge the termination of individuals in non-slotted positions?
    • Overton: There have been a number of changes across campus. That includes individuals in temporary or non-slotted positions that were let go in Phase I and Phase II.
  • 59:25 | Overton addresses the frustration at communication of information, states everyone is trying their best.
  • 60:51 | When will departments know about their budget for fiscal year 2021?
    • Frost: Currently finalizing the budget. We’re going to rollover last year’s budget and make some adjustments at the high level. We anticipate those being posted on WebAdvisor this month.
  • 61:33 | Is the three-day mandatory leave over Christmas still happening?
    • DeCenzo: No, it wasn’t approved by State HR.
  • 62:10 | What is the status of the presidential search?
    • Overton: The Board intends to wrap up the process in the near future. DeCenzo stil plans to retire June 3, 2021.
  • 64:00 | Overton contextualizes DeCenzo’s comments.
  • 65:16 | Can you clarify any cuts to football or athletics?
    • DeCenzo: There are no set answers. Football in the Fall is 50/50. The NCAA is not being clear. The conferences are realizing to play football or sports will require significant changes. Sunbelt presidents had a conference call, they’ll make a final decision about Fall sports within the next couple of weeks.
  • 67:52 | How does the furlough affect those who are required to take annual leave by December 31, 2020?
    • Johnson: You will still be required to take your furlough days. There won’t be any conflict there.
  • 67:31 | Were there any determinations made in regad to international students not being able to stay in the United States without in-person courses?
    • Ennis: That order has been adjusted by the federal government.
  • 70:11 | Will facultt, staff, and students be notified if people do test positive?
    • Medieros: HR has a process for supervisors, faculty system is in process. DHEC is overwhelmed with contact tracing.
  • 71:41 | Will the campus community know how many positive cases we have on campus?
    • Johnson: Those who we believe to be in close contact with any individual who tests positive will be notified. I don’t anticipate a larger communication.
  • 73:25 | Is there any plan of another early retirement plan or any other plan to be offered to individuals on campus?
    • Johnson: I don’t anticipate one in the near future.
  • 74:07 | What is the update on the COVID research testing that our colleagues were involved in?
    • Ennis: I don’t have a more recent update from Dean Roberts, but will try to get it at the town hall.
  • 74:35 | Will positive results be associated with a person’s name?
    • Overton: No. We will provide a general number of positive tests.
    • Medieros: It’s something we’re looking into. CDC defines close contact as within 6 feed and the timeframe. It doesn’t look like a class will be considered close contact. But it’s being explored through the advisory group.
  • 75:19 | Is attendance at an in-person class considered close contact?

Questions (10:26 - )