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Board of Trustees suspends faculty committee responsible for evaluating administrators

Following a meeting between the Faculty Alliance of Miami (FAM) and Miami University administration, it was announced that the All-University Faculty Committee for the Evaluation of Administrators (AUFCEA) has been suspended by the Board of Trustees.

The board voted unanimously to suspend the committee at its Sept. 29 meeting, but FAM negotiators didn’t learn of the formal vote until its Oct. 18 bargaining session. The move was first announced by Provost Elizabeth Mullenix on Aug. 16 in an email to AUFCEA members. This email cited the suspension due to “pending discussion at the bargaining table.”

Based on the timeline posted on FAM’s website, when the issue was brought up at the bargaining table, it was shut down by administration.

“The Board of Trustees, by law, has all the power,” said Cathy Wagner, chair of the organizing committee for FAM. “However, they delegate to the [University] Senate for a number of things … When they made this decision they said, ‘No, we are un-delegating.’” 

The core document, designated by the state of Ohio to regulate the Miami University Senate Delegation, is the Enabling Act.

Article 5 states, “An All-University Faculty Committee for Evaluation of Administrators shall review the provost, all academic deans, the associate provost for research and dean of the graduate school, the dean and university librarian, and the university director of liberal education in years three and five of their five-year administrative appointments.”

“This [decision] was extremely confusing,” Wagner said. “The emails clearly stated that they wanted to discuss this at the table. Then, when we tried to discuss it at the table, they said we can’t talk about it and can pursue other avenues if we want to restart the committee.”

The university clarified its position in a statement, addressing concerns from FAM that this decision is not status quo.

“Because status quo applies only to bargaining unit members’ terms and conditions of employment, any changes … would not affect the university's right to evaluate bargaining faculty ... or its obligation to maintain the status quo,” the statement reads.

It also noted that continuing the activities of the AUFCEA could potentially “result in unlawful direct dealing.”

In an email to The Miami Student, associate director of media relations Alecia Lipton said, “The Board exercised its authority in ratifying the Provost’s decision … the university will continue to evaluate it’s faculty as it has done in the past.”

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