By Wesley Walter
The University of Montevallo Faculty Senate held its first meeting of the 2022-2023 school year on Aug. 25.
Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Benton Tyler opened the meeting by speaking on a NCAA violation that occurred during the fall 2021 semester.
The incident involved a volunteer-assistant men’s basketball coach taking an online exam for a player on the team. The coach reportedly connected an HDMI cable to the student’s computer to take the exam from a different room while the student’s face was still shown being monitored on his webcam.
An anonymous report to the student’s professor led to a NCAA investigation which found the student and coach both guilty of academic dishonesty. The NCAA released the findings of its investigation on June 24 following the completion of their investigation.
This infraction resulted in the NCAA fining the university $5,000 and putting the men’s basketball team on probation for one year. The coach involved in the incident was fired.
Tyler spoke on the university’s dedication to self-reporting NCAA violations saying, “We will investigate any allegation early. We do take this seriously both from a staff side and from a student side.”
Environmental science professor Dr. Susan Caplow gave updates on the proposed housing development expected to be constructed on land directly north of Ebenezer Swamp. This development has received criticism for the potential pollution it would cause the swamp’s watershed and for exacerbating flooding in the area.
Caplow said that Alabaster city officials will have the most control over the project going forward and have largely shown support for the development. Caplow asked any concerned Alabaster residents on the senate to contact their city council members about the development’s potentially damaging effects.
Caplow expressed hope the currently proposed plan will be altered or canceled entirely saying, “There’s a good chance it will at least be modified. I don’t think the plan they’ve proposed is likely to be approved just as is. It’s less likely it is going to be canceled entirely, which is of course my dream.”
During her President’s Report, Faculty Senate President Dr. Claire Edwards briefly discussed renovations being made to Myrick Hall to provide a space for UM’s new nursing program. These proposed renovations include rooms dedicated to simulations and hands-on nursing training.
The renovations are expected to begin in January of next year and the nursing program itself is set to begin during the fall of 2023 semester.
Elections were held for several Faculty Senate Officer positions. Dr. Catherine Walsh was elected President-Elect of the senate, Dr. Andrea Eckelman was elected Secretary and Dr. Alisha Wheeler was elected Alternative Secretary.
New appointments were also made to Faculty Senate Standing committees. Dr. Meredith Tetloff joined the Executive Governance Committee, Professor Tanner Young joined the Finance Benefits Resources Committee, Dr. Alisha Wheeler joined the Handbook Committee and Anna Mary Williford joined the Academic Policy Committee.
Several senate members were also appointed to serve as Faculty Senate Liaisons. Dr. Kyle Moore was elected the Senate Liaison to UCSC, Walsh was elected the Senate Liaison to the city of Montevallo and Eckelman was elected Senate Liaison to the Falcon Success Center.