Faculty Senate talks new technology

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Madelyn Kidd, Managing Editor

The Faculty Senate announced new computers and laptops along with bids to replace Booth Library’s North steps at their meeting Tuesday. With multiple outdated and failing computers, the University purchased 400 computers and 185 laptops.

The 400 computers are for across campus, some in labs and the library. The Vice President of Academic Affairs Jay Gatrell said, “At this point, the computer’s are aging, that’s what these 400 [computers] are for.” 

Using federal COVID-19 campus resource money, Eastern is purchasing 185 laptops, of which 175 will be primarily used for faculty and staff with old or broken computers. “If you have a machine that’s more than four-years-old, five years in some units, I feel pretty confident you’re going to get access to a new computer,” Gatrell said. The reason the university purchased laptops instead of desktops, is because with the COVID-19 funding they can only purchase items that could still be used if everything shuts down again.

In the meeting, Faculty Senate Chair Todd Bruns said, “There are bids to repair the Booth Library North steps. So that progress is finally beginning, which is great because those things are wearing out rapidly.”

The Faculty Senate also made a list of goals for the academic year including rebuilding faculty resources and environment, a plan to get more involved with each department and creating resources to help students and faculty’s mental health. When discussing students’ mental health, Faculty Senate member Alicia Neal said, “It’s bad. I think it’s really bad. I know that Anne [Flaherty, vice president of student affairs] has some ideas about ways to help by having group therapy for students who might just need a little bit of support… As the students who need a little bit of support, they get some coping skills and then can flourish after that, but I have a lot of students that are constantly just feeling really really overwhelmed.”

Also in the meeting was an update on vaccination rates on campus. 62 percent of students are fully vaccinated and three percent have received the first dose. Gatrell said, “I’m confident there are a large number of students out there who are not reading their email… It is really critical that students pay attention to their email, read it daily, upload the vaccination cards and most importantly, if they aren’t vaccinated for whatever reason, and I understand it’s a complex subject, we have to test. It’s critical that we test.”

All unvaccinated students must get tested weekly and maintain social distancing. Failing to comply will result in the following disciplinary action: week one the student will receive a written warning, week two students will get a $150 fine and disciplinary probation, week three will result in another $150 fine and a registration hold and week four will cause an interim suspension until testing compliance and removal from housing. 

Gatrell said, “So we’ve been testing, it started last week, and there’s per the materials that was published on the COVID site. Progressive discipline started this week, so I want to make sure everybody is safe. I want to make sure we don’t have to send out lots and lots of emails, so I encourage all students to verify your vaccination as soon as you can.”

Seventy-six percent of employees are fully vaccinated and one percent have received the first dose. All unvaccinated employees must get tested weekly and maintain social distancing. Disciplinary actions against non-complying employees include the first week getting a verbal reprimand, second week getting a written reprimand, third week being suspended for one day, fourth week getting suspended for two days and fifth week the supervisor recommends discharge of the employee to the director of human relations.

The next Faculty Senate meeting will be held Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. located in Booth Library in room 4440.

 

Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]