BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR FRANCIS MARION UNIVERSITY
Francis Marion University
The Cottage, Hendrick Room
Thursday, June 4, 2020 – 3:00 pm –3:35 pm

Presiding:
Mr. Robert E. Lee, Chair

Present:
Mr. Jody Bryson
Mr. William W. Coleman, Jr.
Mr. H. Paul Dove, Jr (by teleconference)
Dr. H. Randall Dozier
Mr. Benjamin I. Duncan, II (by teleconference)
Mr. L. Franklin Elmore (by teleconference)
Mr. William Edward Gunn (by teleconference)
Mr. Kenneth W. Jackson
Mr. Stephen N. Jones (by teleconference)
Ms. Karen A. Leatherman
Mr. George C. McIntyre
Mr. Mark S. Moore (by teleconference)
Dr. J. Kevin O’Kelly

Others Present:
Mr. Darryl Bridges, Vice President for Finance and Facilities
Dr. Fred Carter, President
Mrs. Kim Davis, Executive Assistant to the President
Mr. Jonathan Edwards, General Counsel
Mr. Larry Falck, Director of Multimedia Services
Mr. Glen Gourley, Chair of the Faculty and Professor of Theatre Arts and Speech – Directing
Mr. Murray Hartzler, Director of Athletics
Dr. Christopher Kennedy, Vice President for Student Life
Dr. Peter King, Provost
Mr. Matthew McColl, Director of Media Relations
Mr. Tucker Mitchell, Vice President of Communications
Mr. Tymoshio Robinson, SGA President for 2020-2021
Mrs. Lauren Stanton, Executive Director of the Francis Marion University Foundation

Mr. Lee called the meeting to order at 3:00 pm, and then he asked Mrs. Davis to call the roll.  Mr. Lee then stated for the record that media notification was made in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, and that a quorum was present

Mr. Lee brought the minutes of the March 5, 2020 meeting before the board for approval. Dr. Dozier made a motion that the minutes be approved, and Mr. Coleman seconded the motion.  The minutes received unanimous approval by the board.

Executive Affairs Committee:
Mr. Lee extended appreciation to all of the committees for scheduling meetings by Zoom or phone on days prior to the board meeting.  He also stated that the Executive Affairs Committee met and no action was taken.

Academic Affairs and Accreditation Committee:

Dr. Dozier gave the following report from the committee meeting:

  • Spring 2020 brought many challenges with the pandemic. Appreciation was extended to the faculty for the excellent job that they did in converting classes into remote formats to complete the semester successfully.
  • Many professional development events have been cancelled through the spring and summer.
  • Faculty Senate elections have been delayed until Fall 2020.
  • All new student and transfer student orientations offered this summer are being done virtually. New students are being registered through video meetings with counselors in the Center for Academic Success and Advisement.
  • Applications for new freshmen and transfer students have increase by 7% from this time last year.
  • There were 343 students (296 undergraduate and 47 graduate) that graduated in May 2020, which included the first class of Speech Language Pathology graduates. A special ceremony that will include May and August graduates will be held on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 pm at Memorial Stadium in Florence.
  • The library has remained open during the pandemic to provide students with necessary computer resources and internet access during the remainder of the spring semester and the summer terms.
  • The School of Business received full accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in February.
  • The Department of Nursing had an onsite accreditation visit by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in October 2019. The Board of Commissioners will issue a determination on granting initial accreditation within the next two weeks.
  • The Physician Assistant program has a virtual accreditation site visit scheduled for June 29 and 30.
  • Five FMU students who were studying abroad in France and Ireland had to return home because of the pandemic but completed their courses successfully online. Also, FMU was hosting fourteen exchange students that had to leave to return to Europe.
  • The university has cancelled all international travel for the spring, summer, and fall semesters because of travel suspensions mandated by the U.S. State Department.

Dr. Dozier concluded his report.

Development and Alumni Committee: 

Mr. Moore shared the following report with the board:

Foundation:

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 50th Anniversary Gala has been rescheduled for Thursday, October 1 at 7:00 at the Performing Arts Center.
  • The Foundation Golf Tournament which was scheduled for May 21 was cancelled due to the pandemic.
  • The Education Foundation received the following new gifts:
    • The William H. Johnson Scholarship
    • The Rosamond Rollins Coleman and William W. Coleman, Jr. Baseball Scholarship
    • Duke  Energy award of $50,000
    • The First Generation Fund will be making its first award this fall.
  • The Education Foundation received an unmodified opinion on its annual audit.
  • The FMU Coronavirus Employee Assistance Emergency Grant Fund has assisted 180 employees who have endured financial hardships due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Alumni:

  • The following alumni events were held:
    • The Annual Alumni Awards Reception and Ceremony was held on Thursday, March 5 at 6:00 at the PAC.
    • The Psychology Department held their Annual Alumni Awards Reception on Monday, March 9 at 6:00 at The Cottage.

Regional and Community Programs:

  • The University Place Gallery conducted online presentations and discussions about exhibits during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Both the Non-Profit Leadership Institute and the Local Government Leadership Institute have successfully completed their sessions for the year.
  • The Richardson Center for the Child will reopen on June 15 and will adhere to all Center for Disease Control, Department of Health and Environmental Control, and Department of Social Services protocol and procedures pertaining to COVID-19.

Mr. Moore concluded his report

Finance and Facilities Committee:

Mr. Gunn shared the following information from the committee meeting:

Finance:

  • The committee met by Zoom meeting on May 27, and there was good attendance.
  • Resolution 04-20 for Tuition Freeze and University Budget Approval was presented to the board, which comes from the committee with unanimous approval.  Mr. Gunn made a motion that the resolution be approved, and Mr. Coleman seconded the motion.  The resolution received unanimous approval by the board.
  • The Budget Summary Report was reviewed by the committee.  It was noted that revenues continue to exceed budget projections, and general fund expenditures are down compared to this time last year.

Facilities:

  • The work on the Honors Center and Leatherman Medical Education Complex is progressing as scheduled.  The Honors Center should be completed during the fall term and the Medical Education Complex by late summer.
  • The Freshwater Ecology Center design team has been chosen, and discussions regarding the design have begun.

Mr. Gunn concluded his report.

Student Life and Athletics Committee:

Ms. Leatherman gave the following committee report:

Student Government Association:

  • New SGA Officers have been elected. The president for 2020-2021, Mr. Ty Robinson, was introduced to the board.  Ty brings with him a wealth of experience including the following:
  • Political Science Major
  • 2019-2020 SGA Vice President
  • Lead Resident Assistant for the ABC Residential Community
  • He has worked in the CASA Office
  • President of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
  • Vice-Chair of the FMU Student Legislature
  • Orientation Leader
  • Patriot Mentor
  • FMU Diplomat

Student Life:

  • The Student Life Awards were done virtually this spring due to COVID-19.
  • The ROTC Commissioning Ceremony was filmed and put online.
  • The SGA food pantry and Dress for Success clothing closet are fully stocked and ready for the fall semester.

Athletics:

  • Spring sports were put on hold due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • The average GPA for student athletes is 3.116.  Ten of the twelve teams had an average GPA above a 3.0.
  • 170 student athletes were named to the FMU Swamp Fox Athletic Academic Honor Roll, which requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  40 of these athletes have a perfect 4.0 for the spring semester.
  • The Athletic Department is working with the NCAA President’s Council on a plan to safely begin practices and competition for the fall semester.  Items that are being considered with regard to protocol for COVID-19 are:
    • Monitoring the health of the student athletes
    • Spacing at practices to observe social distancing
    • Safety measures during team travel
    • Cleanliness and social distancing measures in locker rooms, training rooms, and weight rooms
    • Cleanliness and social distancing measures for athletes and fans at games.
  • The university will be joining Conference Carolinas beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association is allowing seniors that were not able to complete the season due to COVID-19 to have another year of eligibility as well as keep any scholarships that they had.  At this point, 60% of those athletes have accepted the offer.

Ms. Leatherman concluded her report.

President’s Report:

Dr. Carter made the following comments during his report:

  • Appreciation was extended to the trustees, faculty, staff, and SGA President, Ty Robinson, for all of their assistance as the university continues to progress through the COVID-19 situation.
  • Gratitude was expressed to the trustees for approving the resolution to freeze tuition and approve the university budget for 2020-21.
  • The Campus Re-Opening Plan for Fall 2020 was presented to the trustees.
  • The last day of classes for Fall 2020 has been changed to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which is November 25.  The faculty will be encouraged to either give their exams in person on the last day that their class meets prior to November 25 or online during the exam period.
  • Plans for the Fall 2020 Commencement will be made once we get a little further into the semester.  A special commencement ceremony for the Spring 2020 graduates is planned for Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 at Memorial Stadium.
  • Provost King and Associate Provost Steadman have been working with the Deans and Chairs on the curriculum for Fall 2020 which will be blended in format.  The majority of the courses will be in person.  Also, approximately 20-25% of the courses will be taught online so that faculty can more easily revert back to a virtual platform if the COVID-19 situation worsens and we are required to do so.  In addition, there will be some hybrid classes where the professor will hold some in-person class meetings and some online class meetings.  Since there will be less classroom space due to social distancing efforts, having this blend of classes will allow us to achieve this greater social distancing.  Also, some new spaces such as the UC Gym and the Hendrick and Palmetto Rooms in the Ervin Dining Hall may be used for classes.
  • The Cottage will be closed for meals during the fall semester.  Campus meetings that have normally been held in smaller campus venues will be held in the Hendrick Room at The Cottage to allow for proper social distancing.  Also, Dining Services will serve more take-out meals during the fall semester and will not serve buffet meals.
  • The housing capacity for the residence halls will be reduced for the fall semester.  The layout of the rooms will also be changed to adhere to protocol for social distancing,
  • When classes resume in the fall, extensive cleaning and sanitizing will be done in classrooms between classes, and more extensive cleaning will be done on the weekends.  The fact that the number of student activities for the fall has been reduced will provide the Custodial department an opportunity to perform this additional cleaning.
  • There will be personal protective equipment requirements for the fall.  Students will be asked to wear a mask in smaller areas where proper social distancing cannot be achieved.  Also, protective barriers are being installed in offices, such as the Cahier’s Office and Registrar’s Office, that have a higher number of people coming in to transact business.
  • The university is entering an expanded medical contract with Hope Health which will substantially extend the level of health care that our students, faculty, and staff can receive.  We have also entered a contractual agreement to have two additional mental health counselors during the fall semester to provide counseling to those who are experiencing undue stress or apprehension as a result of the pandemic.
  • Mr. Hartzler has done a wonderful job of putting into place new practice and training protocols for student athletes, and the university will be very rigid about adherence to these protocols.  Future decisions about athletics with regard to COVID-19 will be based largely on decisions that are made by the NCAA and our conference.
  • George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis is an American tragedy.  It is a barbaric act that should anger all of us and remind us that we must do better, not only for ourselves but our sons and daughters.  FMU is a very diverse and harmonious place racially, but we can make it even better.  We can continually remind the communities and the people around us that diversity in thought, opinion, culture, and belief is the absolute best antidote against racial hatred.  After discussions with Mayor Wukela and other community leaders, the university will host a forum in the near future to focus on these and a few additional topics.  More details regarding the forum will be shared once plans are finalized.

Dr. Carter concluded his report.

Unfinished Business:

None

New Business:

None

Executive Session:

None

Mr. Lee adjourned the meeting at 3:35 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
Floyd L. Keels
Secretary