Meeting Minutes: January 8, 2020

Printable minutes


Waded Cruzado, Daniel Adams, Kenning Arlitsch, Eric Austin, Sreekala Bajwa, Taylor Blossom, Matt Caires, Jason Clark, Leon Costello, Chris Dobbs, Ariel Donohue, Dan Edelman, Tracy Ellig, Chris Fastnow, Stephanie Gray, Jeannette Grey-Gilbert, Brett Gunnink, Alison Harmon, Maggie Hayes, Debby Haynes, Robert Hawks, Chris Kearns, Greg Kegel, Chere LeClair, Ilse-Mari Lee, Terry Leist, Bob Mokwa, Chris Murray, Kim Obbink, Craig Ogilvie, Kellie Peterson, Mark Ranalli, Nicol Rae, Sarah Shannon, Royce Smith, Emily Stark, Glen Steinhoff, Dan Stevenson, Cody Stone, Michael Trotter, Cathy Whitlock, Susan Wolff


I. Call to Order

Provost Bob Mokwa

Provost Bob Mokwa called the meeting to order at 8:31 AM.  Provost Mokwa welcomed the group and wished them a Happy New Year.


II. Approval of Minutes for December 4, 2019

Provost Mokwa called for approval of the minutes.  Chris Kearns offered a motion to approve them; Chris Dobbs seconded and minutes were approved unanimously.


III. University Wide Information/Announcements

Provost Mokwa shared an announcement about Spring Convocation, which will be taking place tomorrow, Thursday, January 9th.  At 2:00 PM, Cathy Whitlock will share a talk entitled, “Yellowstone On My Mind” in Reynolds Hall, followed by an Open House at the Library.  Please join!


IV. Public Comment

Provost Mokwa offered an opportunity for Public Comment.  There was no public comment offered.


V. Old Items

  1. Student Field Trips and Domestic Travel Policy

          Kellie Peterson, Legal Counsel

This policy was brought back to the Council from the December meeting.  Kellie shared feedback that was used in revising this policy, particularly in regard to travel.  The first reading was in November, in December it was tabled, and this approval today is following two cycles of comments.  Provost Mokwa asked the group for questions or comments.  Given none, he asked for a motion to approval.  Royce Smith moved to approve, Terry Leist seconded and the policy revisions were approved unanimously.

       B. Restricted Research Policy
           Kellie Peterson, Legal Counsel

This policy was brought back to the Council from the December meeting.  Kellie shared feedback that was used in revising this policy, particularly in regard to the concern that the policy was created to get around public records’ requests.  This is not the case, thus changes were made to the policy, to clarify the purpose of the policy.  Provost Mokwa asked the group for questions or comments.  Given none, he asked for a motion to approval.  Alison Harmon moved to approve, Chris Kearns seconded and the policy was approved unanimously.

       C. Stay at Work/Return to Work Policy

           Kellie Peterson, Legal Counsel

This policy contains revisions to a previously existing policy.  This policy has been posted for 30 days and no comments were received.  Terry Leist moved to approve, Susan Wolff seconded and the policy was approved unanimously.


VI. New Items

  1. Relationships with Students Policy

           Kellie Peterson, Legal Counsel

Kellie Peterson shared background information about this policy.  By referencing points throughout the policy, she fielded questions about specific sections, particularly in regard to the following sections:

  1. Covered Employees

The following restrictions are established for relationships with students according to an individual’s role within the university. The prohibition of relationships where there has been an academic or supervisory role in the past is intended to separate the experience of being a student, where there is a power differential with those providing academic or supervisory leadership, from the experience of generating a consensual relationship. The policy defines the time of required separation as:

a) twelve months where the academic or supervisory role was as instructor of record; and,

b) six months where the academic or supervisory role was as a tutor or other learning support role.


200.40. Other Employees

Employees covered by this section are those not addressed specifically in 200.10, 200.20, or 200.30 whose jobs confer broad influence or authority over undergraduate students, graduate students, or other learners, including counselors; advisors; coaches and trainers; postdocs; staff involved in discipline; supervisors of student employees; staff in residence life; staff providing services directly for students; staff with the ability to access or modify a student’s academic, financial, or other record; and staff working in deans’ offices or academic offices.

Employees in these roles are prohibited from engaging in a relationship with students who are currently, were in the immediately preceding twelve months, or may reasonably be expected to be (see Section 100) impacted by the employee’s conduct within the role and scope of their employment with the university.


300.00 Reporting Potential Violations

Any faculty member, staff member, or other individual who reasonably believes or has received a credible report that there has been a violation of this policy shall report the concern to the Director of the Office of Institutional Equity. Employees who are hired by the University to work under a license or statutory privilege under Montana law that provides for confidentiality are not required to report but may be required to provide de-identified statistics annually. Students are encouraged to make reports directly to the Office of Institutional Equity by calling 406-994-2042 or emailing [email protected]. Anonymous reports may be made through the university’s compliance hotline in accordance with the policy on Reporting Suspected Legal, Regulatory or Policy Violations. Please note that while every attempt will be made to follow-up on anonymous reports, anonymous reports may not contain sufficient information for action to be taken under this Policy.

All reports under this Policy shall be treated as confidential except to those individuals involved in an Inquiry as set forth below; in any subsequent investigation; and in the implementation of remedial measures. A person who knowingly and intentionally makes a false report is subject to university discipline in accordance with applicable procedures.


Alison Harmon thanked the committee who worked on this policy.  This policy will be posted for 30 days for comment. 


VII. Informational Items

  1. Know Your MSU: MSU TRIO Student Support Service                                                                                                       Julian Collins, Director

This was Julian Collins’ first presentation to University Council.  The goals of TRIO are to increase the retention and graduation rates of first generation, low income, and students with disabilities; create a community of student leaders who can advocate for their experiences and employ their agency; coordinate and collaborate with MSU programs to ensure scholars receive the best advice and assistance and inform the educational community of best practices and strategies.

Julian shared the alignment with MSU’s strategic plan, Choosing Promise

Funding support includes the U.S. Department of Education, Office of the President, Office of the Provost and the Division of Student Success.

Student eligibility includes first generation, low-income, disabilities and they must be full time undergraduate students.  TRIO is funded for 140+ students.

Provost Mokwa asked how we select these students.  Julian shared that his department recruits them based upon their FAFSA reporting.  In addition, students who are active on campus tend to spread the word about the program.

TRIO Resources include a retention specialist, peer mentoring program, Birtic Book Loan program, Smarty Cats Tutoring, financial advising, and the TRIO Newsletter and website.  The TRIO Offices are located at 312 Reid Hall. 

Ilse-Mari thanked Julian for the incredible work of TRIO.  Provost Mokwa also thanked him and said that we should expand the touch of TRIO. 


VIII. Public Comment

Provost Mokwa asked for the opportunity to share Public Comment.  There were no comments. 


IX. Updates

The group shared around-the-table updates. 

Susan Wolff introduced Scott Thompson, the Director of Communications at Great Falls College.  GFC has opening day for their students this Saturday.  She also provided a handout to the group about the College.

Greg Kegel shared an update and handout about MSU Northern.

Dan Edelman shared an update and handout about MSU Billings. 

Provost Mokwa shared that this is the Year of Undergraduate Research, including NCUR conference coming to campus in March.  MSU has had over 4,000 abstracts submitted for this conference.  January 13th is the first day of school and we are excited to welcome them back.  He thanked the group and concluded the meeting at 9:52 AM. 


NOTE:  The next University Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 5, 2020, from 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM.