SenEx Minutes October 19, 2021

University Senate Executive Committee – SenEx

October 19, 2021

Approved: November 2, 2021

Present: Hossein Saiedian, Remy Lequesne, Nate Brunsell, Patricia Gaston, Corey Maley, Jessica Chilcoat, Tim Spencer, Teri Chambers, Camden Baxter, Ethan Roark, Nick Syrett, Mary Morrison, Kyle Velte, Ani Kokobobo


Also Present: Kathy Reed, Tessa Maclean, Susan Klusmeier, Vice Provost, Academic Success, Alyssa Wingo, UDK.


Approval of minutes from September 28, 2021
Motion to approve seconded, no discussion, approved unanimously.  

Standing Reports

  1. Student Senate Vice President Ethan Roark
  2. Staff Senate President Tim Spencer- report at the end of minutes
  3. Faculty Senate President – report at the end of minutes
  4. University Senate President Hossein Saiedian
    1. 10/15, SenEx to meet with the KBOR. 
    2. The Vice Provost for DEBI will be attending on December 7, 2021
    3. Recap of rules of debate – see the end of minutes


Recommended edit to the USRR-Medical Withdrawal (see the end of minutes)


Klusmeier thanked SenEx and reported that in April of 2020, a group of representatives from each of the schools and the College, along with some other university members, came together to respond to some of the severe mental distress that students were facing. 

The process was started as a temporary procedure during the pandemic. 

115 Medical & Compassionate Withdrawal petitions were received between 7/1/2020 and 6/30/2021.

  • 12 were not medical in nature—petitions were sent to the student's School
  • 1 student withdrew their request
  • 24 were closed/denied due to lack of documentation and communication from the student
  • 78 were approved


a.) There was already a process in place for compassionate withdrawals. This looks like the centralization of the process. It is moving away from the school-level control. 


b.) Do you have an exception from the current policy to be acting outside of the current university policies? For example, why wasn't governance brought in earlier in the process? If this is a positive change? I would think my colleagues would be amenable to it.


Klusmeier: The goal isn't to necessarily centralize the process.  The units still have an active vote and voice in what's going on and what is being reviewed and approved or not approved as part of the petitions. What we're asking is to add language about medical and compassionate withdrawals. We don't have any language that exists that speaks to medical and compassionate withdrawals.  One of the challenges is because each of the schools and the College are able to manage their own processes, and we want them to be able to do that. But documentation that the students ask to provide looks a little bit different. It is also possible that we have students that are going through multiple processes, so if they are a double major, they may be working with numerous units to get to the same conclusion.

In terms of governance not being included. That was not the intention. I think what we did was try to put something in place for students during the pandemic.  Then we continued the same process.   I don't know that we intentionally didn't include governance, but yes, we did not circle back in the manner we should have.


Question: This is related to the committee's formation. I notice that it says you'll have four representatives from these four offices, one person from each office?  How does that work?  Secondarily, my question would be, did you consider having a student on the committee, a peer review. So students understand the stresses that other students are facing. 


Reply: The representatives listed: the registrar's office, financial aid, student affairs; part of that was recognizing where most of the traffic comes through or originates for students requesting medical or compassionate Withdrawal and reaching out. Or maybe we have a family or guardian that is reaching out through these offices.

Student affairs are often the most common because they will be the first unit that typically gets the reports of students in this type of distress. The representatives in practice have been one person consistently from each of the units that have been helpful and just making sure that we have consistent review and feedback coming through from those individuals. In terms of student representation, we have not had a conversation about student representation.  I would say we're open to continuing to think through what is the best makeup people reviewing the requests. 


Question:  At what point would a student start the process to obtain this assistance? 


Reply: Many students are asking for this retroactively.  If a student became ill during the semester, for example, did not finish their classes, could not work with instructors, or was just too far behind, they cannot make up the work. 


Parts of A & B, of this article, may not say medical and compassionate, but they function as medical and compassionate and other withdrawal mechanisms. A is for withdrawing from the entire semester, and B is for selective relief from individual courses. The new part C that I see is that it's centralized. That's the only change from A or B.   You said it's not centralized. At the same time, it doesn't involve multiple units.  To what extent is this a centralization of the of the process?


Reply: I don't see it as a centralized process because the students are able to get to this Withdrawal in several ways.

  • They could be working with an advisor,
  • They could be working with student affairs
  • They could have submitted a petition through their academic unit, and in the initial review, the unit decided it was a compassionate and medicate withdrawal case.  So the student was given a link to the form.


The intention is to be able to see what kind of medical and compassionate withdrawals are coming in is the burden for students and families and make sure we are helping the student with the process.   

We can also see how the petitions are related to the student's mental health, accidents, or personal situations that are happening.  This information was not collected consistently and wasn't something we were able to report about.

We are limiting the number of times a student is giving their information. I'm hopeful that we can reach a point where we have some language in the policy related to medical and compassionate withdrawal scenarios.   


Hossein thanked Vice Provost Susan Klusmeier.


A discussion took place about the process.  The consensus was that it was unclear why the additional step was being added and handled outside of the School or the CLAS.    

A motion was made to have Syrett, Baxter, and Lequesne review the language and report back to SenEx. 

Passed by acclimation.   


Discussion of membership to the University Senate Retirees Rights and Benefits Committee (attached)


Motion to move the amendment to Syrett, seconded by Brunsell, passed unanimously.


Unfinished Business




New Business


The Student Senate approved an amendment to the SSRR, Article II Section 10.2.8, adding the statement that the GSBVP will be an ex-officio non-voting member on SenEx.  

 10.2.8 University Senate Executive Committee (non-voting)


This is an amendment to the University Senate Code, and will require approval from SenEx, University Senate, Provost and Chancellor. 


Question regarding training on Sexual Assault:
Kokobobo discussed the possibility of training and trying to partner with the Office of Faculty Development and the University Senate. 



How would this differ from the mandatory reporting training we have to do each year.


That is a good question.  The current process is somewhat vague.  Specifically at KU, how you go about reporting, what forms are filled out. 


Question: The current mandatory training is good.  It would be good to know what type of information students are given. 



This sounds like we need a campaign that lets people know what is going on.  Some basic information on who to contact, etc.  Something simple, five things you need to know. 



As a freshman, we had training. It was very bystander intervention oriented. It was not resource-heavy in terms of trying to get students involved.  Once students start to hear resources, you do lose the audience.    Patricia's point of maybe starting a campaign might be a good idea if we want to get it in all university buildings in that sense.


A campaign of the importance of sexual assault prevention has been part of the suggestions from students and colleagues who work in these areas.  Suggestions like the KU website.  In a search on rape, you get to research on it rather than resources.


Kokobobo asked if there were any volunteers to review the possibility of supporting some type of training and will report back to SenEx.


Meeting adjourned.


Staff Senate President report for the October 19 SENEX meeting.


  • Campus leaders have been announced to lead teams in achieving KU objectives, as outlined in our new strategic plan, Jayhawks Rising

    • Staff Senate is beginning work to reach out to these leaders and encourage diverse staff involvement in their processes
  • Staff Senate has an Adhoc committee that is working with HR to reimagine our vision and establish 3-5 bold steps to support that vision
    • Once complete, Adhoc committee plans to assess and realign committee work and chair responsibilities to support said vision
  • Several unit heads on our campus are making blanket decisions to not allow staff in their units to work remotely in sum or in part
    • The Provost and HR are now aware, looking at addressing in the interim and at the six-month evaluation mark of the remote workforce policy (February)
  • With the assistance of UPS/USS Councils, we will be scheduling a meeting with our AVP of Public Affairs to discuss formal channels of communication
    • What we learn will be distributed to our faculty and staff colleagues, with the possibility for a revision proposal to the current communication policy
  • Governance leadership met with our CFO to discuss low morale, issues with recruiting and retaining value staff, pay inequities and possible market studies
    • Our CFO is currently constructing a financial path forward, as supported through Jayhawks Rising initiatives, and supports staying competitive with private and public markets
  • Staff Senate is currently having monthly discussions on our leadership book The Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility: Thriving Organizations – Great Results by Marilyn Gist
    • Plan is to have a leadership retreat during our January meeting to support the book's teachings, with the possibility of a leadership book every academic year
  • Governance leadership continues to meet on a monthly basis with our campus' Emergency Management coordinator to discuss national, regional and local covid issues and concerns
    • Recently discussed the Pfizer progress for 5-11 vaccinations, booster shots, declines in positively rates, with continued hospitalizations of unvaccinated individuals
  • University Senate has voted to approve the following changes, creating greater balance of staff involvement in our governance organization:
    • Adding the ability for a staff member to be vice present of University Senate, in academic odd years, and a student in academic even years.
    • Changing the Chairs of ACEC, International Affairs, Libraries and Retirees to be chaired by a faculty member or staff member.
    • Chair appointments of University Senate committees are done by the University Senate Executive Committee.

Tim Spencer, MPA
Grant Manager | Award Management Services
The University of Kansas Office of Research
President | University of Kansas Staff Senate
M-F, 8-5 | 785-864-1586 |


Faculty Senate President's Report to SenEx 2021.10.19

The following is a partial list of ongoing issues, with brief status updates on each

  1. Program discontinuance:

    1. AP&P program discontinuance hearings concluded on 2021.10.14. SenEx will receive their recommendations and forward to the University Senate for a vote in early December.
    2. Several of the proposed discontinuances appeared uncontroversial at the hearings.
    3. Several of the proposed discontinuances were forcefully challenged by faculty/staff/students/alumni.
    4. AP&P has asked anyone with ties to the committee and affected units to recuse themselves (i.e. not attend) the deliberations related to their units.
    5. AP&P plans to not accept new information after the hearings (the policy on program discontinuance is silent on whether new information can be exchanged after the hearings). If new information is received, it will be shared with all interested parties to allow for review and comment.
  2. Financial situation
    1. Governance leaders met with CFO DeWitt on 2021.10.12 to discuss the need to invest in KU's human capital – faculty, staff, and students.

      1. I left the meeting with the belief that CFO DeWitt has a good understanding of the low faculty/staff salaries and the impacts of low salaries on morale, retention, and recruitment. He also seemed to understand the seriousness of staffing shortages across campus and the impacts those shortages have on KU's ability to grow.
      2. The CFO's strategy for approaching KBOR and legislators is to be clear about our funding needs and to do the work needed to provide substantive justification and documentation of those needs.
      3. The CFO's office also clearly prioritizes long-term planning/forecasting of budgets
    2. CFO DeWitt will be a guest at the 2021.11.04 University Senate meeting.
  3. KBOR redefinition of a baccalaureate degree (so-called "credit cap" issue)
    1. Governance leaders met with VP Roberts on 2021.10.05 to discuss KU's plan. VP Roberts expressed openness to allowing KU-Lawrence units to accept up to 75 credits, but also acknowledged this will not be possible or appropriate in many programs. VP Roberts expressed an appreciation for the need to communicate with advisors at community colleges to ensure students are informed that not all degree programs will accept 75 credits.
    2. If/when KBOR passes this amendment, we will bring a proposal to modify FSRR 2.5.4 to SenEx for consideration
    3. Background:
      1. KBOR will vote this fall on a policy change that would allow Kansas universities to elect to accept as many as 75 credits from community colleges.
      2. Currently, the KU Edwards campus accepts up to 75 credits from JCCC. Otherwise, the number of credits a student may transfer to KU from a community college is capped at 64 by FSRR 2.5.4.
      3. Some related policies:
        1. A KU Baccalaureate degree requires 30 credits from KU (
        2. A KU Baccalaureate degree requires 45 credits of "upper-level" courses:
        3. All community college credits transfer to KU as "lower-level" courses (per KBOR and HLC policy)
        4. KBOR General education policy
          1. Nick Syrett represents Governance on KU's university-level working group. Syrett's impression is that the working group is composed of appropriate campus stakeholders and that they are working to implement this thoughtfully. Next steps are not, however, clear.
          2. Background:
            1. KBOR aims to approve a plan for General Education credits that would allow courses meeting certain requirements to transfer freely among Kansas institutions.
            2. KU is represented by Provost Bichelmeyer on the statewide KBOR General Education Working Group.
        5. Academic workload:
          1. The current academic workload policy draft will be discussed at the 2021.10.21 Faculty Senate meeting.
          2. Feedback from faculty and administrators is being collected and the draft will be revised. I will ask that the Faculty Senate vote on the final draft in the coming months.
          3. Background:
            1. KBOR is expected to require that KU adopt an instructional workload policy for T/TT faculty
            2. KU aims to preempt KBOR's charge and has drafted an instructional workload policy in terms of university-wide averages for organized sections and SCH per T/TT faculty member.
            3. Kyle and I have worked with VP Brown and the chairs of FRPR and SPPT on the draft.
        6. Ad-hoc committee: FRB procedures for hearing a challenge to dismissal of tenured faculty
          1. Ad-hoc committee has met to discuss KU General Counsel's markup of the current policy. The revised policy draft contains numerous editorial changes that are (in my opinion) largely an improvement as well as several substantive procedural changes.
          2. The ad-hoc committee will provide recommendations to FacEx addressing the merits of each of the substantive changes and proposed revisions to the latest policy draft. The Ad- hoc committee and FacEx aim to work with General Counsel to find consensus before bringing a draft to the Faculty Senate.
        7. Ad-hoc committee: University Senate procedures for program discontinuance
          1. Ad-hoc committee has met and is watching the ongoing program discontinuance proceedings. Several members of the ad-hoc and AP&P have noted areas for improvement of the current procedures. The Provost's Office has also shared a markup of the policy with governance.
          2. The ad-hoc committee will report to the University Senate on whether the procedures were adhered to, observed issues with the process, and, possibly, recommended revisions to the procedures.
        8. Other policy changes in the pipeline
          1. Absent policy: A proposal to revise USRR 2.1.1 has been reviewed by AP&P and is being considered by FacEx/FRPR.
          2. Medical withdrawal policy: A proposal to revise USRR 2.3.3 has been received by governance and is being reviewed.
          3. Hearings on Dismissal of Tenured Faculty: A proposal to add a Section 7.5 to the FSRR document that states T/TT faculty may only be removed for cause (this language already exists in the Faculty Handbook) was approved by the Faculty Senate on 2020.04.23. The Provost rejected the amendment but would approve it if governance agrees to a proposed edit. FacEx will consider next steps.
          4. Proposed new Faculty Right Concerning Curriculum: A proposal to add a 17th right to Article III of the Faculty Code was approved by the Faculty Senate on 2020.02.20. The Provost's Office rejected the amendment, and some effort will be required to satisfy the Provost's stated concerns. FRPR is considering next steps.
          5. Proposed amendment to constrain the length of interim/acting appointments for administrators: A proposal to amend FSRR 7.3 Article III to limit the length of interim appointments was approved by the Faculty Senate on 2020.02.06. The Provost's Office rejected the amendment. I believe it's impossible to move forward with this amendment based on the rationale for rejection, but it will be discussed with FacEx.
        9. KBOR expectations for program review
          1. There are at least three types of review that a program can undergo: regular program review on a standard 8-year cycle, review for accreditation (if applicable), and other KBOR-imposed reviews like an under-enrollment inquiry.
          2. Governance leaders met with VP Roberts on 2021.10.05 and discussed program reviews. We learned there is no indication that KBOR will initiate an under-enrollment inquiry or other impromptu review this year. There are discussions between KBOR and Regents' institutions regarding interim reviews so KBOR and University leaders have a better measure of program performance throughout the 8-year cycle.
          3. KU is considering how to implement interim reviews so they are useful, can spread the work of the 8-year review over several years, and do not create much extra work at the unit level. This work is ongoing.
        10. Extra tenure year for faculty incoming in Fall 2020?
          1. Provost Bichelmeyer and VP Brown support allowing an automatic one-year extension of the tenure clock for faculty who started in Fall 2020 that is in addition to the two optional one-year extensions available to tenure-track faculty. This change requires KBOR approval.
          2. This issue will be brought to KBOR this fall.
        11. Faculty Rights Board
          1. There is no update on the FRB issue discussed at the 2021.09.23 Faculty Senate meeting. I plan to meet with Provost Bichelmeyer to discuss the issue.
        12. DEIB VP Search
          1. We have been told a search will be announced later this semester.
        13. CLAS Dean Search
          1. We have been told a search will be announced soon.
        14. Sexual assault prevention
          1. No update on KU's plans.




Recommended edits related to the Retroactive Withdrawal Recommendations from the 2020-2021 pilot for Medical and Compassionate Withdrawal led by the Office of University Registrar and all KU Academic Units.


University Senate Rules and Regulations (USRR)

Article II. Academic Work and Its Evaluation

Section II Change of Grade


2.3.3 In the most extreme and unusual circumstances a student may petition to either:

a. withdraw from all the courses in which the student was enrolled. In this case a properly constituted committee from the school or College in which the student was enrolled may assign the letter W in all courses of that semester. The faculty members (s) in charge of the course(s) need not be consulted.


b. if the student is asking for selective relief in a course in which the student was enrolled, a properly constituted committee from the school or College in which the course was taken may assign, after consultation/concurrence with the faculty member in charge of the course, the letter I, incomplete, or W, Withdrawal. If the incomplete is assigned, it is to be in accordance with University Senate Rule 2.2.3. The work necessary to complete the course and remove the incomplete is to be determined by the faculty member in charge of the course. If the faculty member in charge of the course is unavailable or otherwise unable to provide a regime of work to complete the course, the department will take responsibility to determine the required work.

Each course is to be considered separately but the same committee may consider more than one course at the discretion of the dean of the school responsible for the course.

c. if the student is asking for medical or compassionate withdrawal (link) consideration, a committee comprised of representatives from the school or College in which the student is enrolled, the Office of the University Registrar Financial Aid, and Student Affairs may assign the letter W in all courses indicated in the petition.  Students with sufficient and compelling documentation will submit these medical or compassionate petitions directly to the Office of the University Registrar for review by the committee indicated above. In severe circumstances, the school or College has the authority to submit a petition on behalf of a student when circumstances are egregious and expedited petition approval is in the best interest of the student and University.

2.3.4 To insure uniform implementation of these procedures a) each school and the College will develop a written policy for the guidance of the committee and b) each school or College will adopt a uniform policy as to whether concurrence or only consultation is required. The policies are to be made available to faculty and student.


Notes related to the proposed edits:


  1. Development of specific procedures will be developed and implemented by the Office of the University Registrar in Enrollment Management and Student Support and Case Management in Student Affairs.


  1. This new addition aligns with the changes in USRR from a few years ago related to final exams under Article 1, section 3: 1.3.8 and 1.3.9 and section 4: 1.4.4 and 1.4.5


  1. The newly designed retro-active withdrawal form will address the criteria and guidelines for each School appropriately, while providing students ONE PLACE for all withdrawals to be submitted and escalated automatically.  This ensures secure document storage for confidential or personal/private documents involved in these processes.


  1. As noted in the proposed language above in 2.3.4, we recommend that the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) manage the collection of documentation from students and manage the formal review process. Additionally, we are recommending that a group of faculty and staff convene (virtually through workflow) to review these withdrawal requests once period 3 ends. The suggested committee pool of representatives would include:
  • VP of Academic Success or designee
  • Office of the University Registrar or designee
  • Financial Aid & Scholarships AVP or designee
  • Student Affairs designee
  • School/College faculty or advisor (Associate Dean or designate)
  • UAEC Chair or designee
  • Kansas Athletics Director of Academic Support or designee as needed
  • International Affairs AVP or designee as needed


  • Submit a stand-alone policy definition for Medical and Compassionate Withdrawal

Medical and Compassionate Withdrawal is defined for the purpose of identifying students eligible for this withdrawal type.  A student or family member/guardian (in extreme cases where the student is unable) may request and be considered for a medical withdrawal when extraordinary circumstances, such as a serious illness or injury prevent the student from continuing classes. The medical withdrawal policy covers both physical health and mental health. Examples can include sudden debilitating illness, hospitalization, mental health crisis, sudden exacerbation of a chronic health condition (Arthritis, Crohn's Disease, Cancer).

A student or family member/guardian (in extreme cases where the student is unable) may request and be considered for a compassionate withdrawal when extraordinary personal reasons, not related to the student's personal physical or mental health, prevent the student from continuing in classes. Examples can include: care of a seriously ill child, spouse or close family member, a death in the student's immediate family.


The University Senate Retirees Rights and Benefits Committee. 


This year for the first time, when the Endacott Society appointed their Vice-President as the member of the committee representing the Endacott Society, the person was not a retiree from KU.  The committee is charged with promoting communication with KU Retirees, seeking information about their needs, concerns, and updating the Retirees Handbook. 


The question is should there be a line added to the University Senate Code regarding membership for the Retirees Committee


The Committee on Retirees Rights and Benefits shall be composed of one active faculty member, who shall serve as chair; one retired faculty member; one active and one retired unclassified professional staff member; and one active and one retired university support staff member. All of the aforementioned shall serve three-year staggered terms. The committee shall also include the President of the Endacott Society or designee who has retired from the University of Kansas, and an ex-officio, non-voting member from the office of the Provost.