Screenshot of Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday Sept.29
Teresa Schuster / Asst. News Director
FIU’s Faculty Senate announced that the 2021 spring break will be canceled and waived the GRE requirement for incoming graduate students, both due to COVID-19.
In less than 24 hours after PantherNOW broke the news of Faculty Senate approving to cancel Spring Break, the university issued the following statement on Sept.30 at 7:37 p.m.
“We will not have spring break,” said Provost Kenneth Furton at the meeting, adding that the spring 2021 academic calendar needs to be updated to notify students and faculty.
Furton said faculty could notify their students starting now, responding to senators who asked how it would affect students who had already bought plane tickets for spring break.
FIU is currently evaluating potential learning modalities for the spring semester, said Furton.
This fall around 50 percent of courses are being taught through synchronous remote learning. Furton said FIU expects to have a smaller number in spring but to add more hyFlex courses.
HyFlex courses would be taught using a combination of online and in-person learning.
“A lot of students want remote learning, but a significant amount want in person courses,” said Furton. “Even if they’re 9 feet away from faculty, [students] appreciate having that option.”
They also elected a new vice-chair and discussed learning modalities for spring and FIU’s new Title IX regulations.
After Furton’s report, senators discussed the nomination of a new steering committee vice-chair.
They disputed the constitution’s language surrounding the vice-chair position. The current vice-chair, Marta Pelaez, was elected while a full senator but has since become an alternate member of the senate.
Senators voted on her replacement once but had to vote again after realizing participants who were not senators had been allowed to vote.
“This is simply a mess,” said senator Douglas Robertson.
The vote was remade and confirmed the new Steering Committee vice-chair Deanne Butchey to replace Pelaez.
Faculty Senate also approved a motion to waive the GRE Exam requirement temporarily, for graduate school next spring semester, due to COVID-19.
They next heard an overview of the changes to FIU’s Title IX regulations, which address sexual assault and gender discrimination. Changes include a higher standard of proof and live hearings for cases.
Union representative Martha Meyer reminded senators that faculty have the opportunity to pause their tenure clocks due to COVID-19.
Faculty senate chair Joerg Reinhold adjourned the meeting at 3:08 p.m.
I honestly don’t understand based on what this decision is being made. Cancelling spring break is not going to stop us, the students from going out any other day or traveling if wanted. I already booked a flight to europe after spending almost one year in lockdown because of coronvirus and now you are telling me that i can’t even have a proper break next year. It’s really unfair and disappointing. Don’t know what else to expect from the great faculty of FIU. I don’t think the students opinion were taken in consideration since this was never informed directly to us.