Meeting of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Friday, April 3, 2020
Teleconference originating in Thompson Conference Room, Tillman Building
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC


Members present: Glenn McCall, Gary Williams, Kathy Bigham, Ashlye Wilkerson , Robby Sisco, Isaiah Venning, Jane LaRoche, Tim Hopkins, Randy Imler, Ed Driggers, Sandra Stroman, Julie Fowler, Tim Sease, Janet Smalley, George Hynd (ex-officio)

Members absent: Donna Glenn Holley

Representative present: Adolphus Belk, Jr., Imani Belton

Others present: Adrienne McCormick, Justin Oates, Kimberly Faust, Lisa Cowart, Caroline Overcash, Eduardo Prieto


The Board of Trustees met on Friday, April 3, 2020 via teleconference on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.


Call to Order

Chair McCall called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. in the Thompson Conference Room. He welcomed all present. Ashlye Wilkerson delivered an invocation.


Recap of University Actions related to COVID-19

President Hynd provided an update on activities and actions related to COVID-19.

All Spring 2020 academic classes have been moved to remote delivery.

Summer Sessions of Maymester, June and June/July classes have will be delivered as online classes. The third Summer Session of July/August classes are planned for on-campus.

Per Board agreement, tuition for summer sessions has been reduced 12% for all classes except for those specialty classes with program discounts such as the Bachelor of Professional Studies program. Regular undergraduate summer classes have been priced at 20% below fall/spring tuition rates. This new 12% reduction will be added to the regular summer discount for a total of approximately a 30% summer discount for undergraduate classes as compared to fall/spring rates.

Dacus Library building is closed but has a great online presence with eBooks, databases and other resources which can be accessed remotely and reference librarians are making themselves available via email, chats and virtual Book-a-Librarian appointments.

Spring 2020 Commencement has been postponed.

All students were requested to leave residence halls. Those with extenuating circumstances have been permitted to remain in their rooms. There are 95 students now with more leaving every day. Dining Services is providing takeout meals to the remaining students.

Student services such as health and counseling, career services, and accessibility services are being provided via telephone or virtually.

Students have been given a limited number of laptops to assist in remote learning. Information Technology staff have worked to get laptops / PC’s into dozens of students and 50+ faculty staff to support online instruction and working from home.

Current estimates are approximately $5.5 million in costs related to COVID-19.

Close to finalizing a contract to support the cleaning required during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will be enacting a budget freeze across campus to control spending.

Fee Adjustments will be prorated and based on specific residence halls and meal plan package. Range is from $518 to $1339 for housing and $612 to $762 for meal plans. Estimated averages are between $1200 to $2100 per student. Plus about $20 for each parking fee. About 2116 students will be receiving housing/meal plan fee adjustment—totaling $4.5 M

At this point, only essential personnel such as police, Information Technology, Facilities Management, residence life staff are working on campus. The remainder of staff, when possible, are working from home.

As of March 26th, only two leave eligible employees were in a leave without pay status. All of the leave eligible employees are using their accrued leave if they are not working. There are 69 non-leave eligible (temps) not working and not receiving pay. As of March 31, we had approximately 50 employees who had filed for unemployment.

New federal emergency leave guidelines that took effect April 1 allow up to 10 days of paid leave for any of our employees (including temps and students). We will be rolling that information out to employees in the upcoming days.

All NCAA athletic events have been cancelled. All campus events have been cancelled including campus visits and all external/rental events have been cancelled.

Gary Williams moved with a second from Tim Hopkins to move into executive session pursuant to South Carolina Ann. §30-4-70(a)(1) for the purpose a discussion of proposed contractual arrangements. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Adolphus Belk, Jr., Imani Belton, Adrienne McCormick, Justin Oates, Kimberly Faust, Lisa Cowart, Caroline Overcash, and Eduardo Prieto were invited to remain for the executive session.


Consideration of a Resolution to Adopt a Partial Reduction in Auxiliary Fees for Spring 2020

Randy Imler made a motion to approve the Resolution to Adopt a Partial Reduction in Auxiliary Fees for Spring 2020. Robby Sisco seconded the motion. The resolution will authorize President Hynd to develop and implement a partial reduction for the auxiliary fees of residential housing, meal plans including Café Cash, and parking fees on a prorated basis as of March 23, 2020 and a plan for the resulting refund/credit to students. This action is as a result of Winthrop’s closing of residence halls to all students but those with severely extenuating circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

It is important to note that any monies due as a result of fee adjustments will first be applied to any unpaid bills in the students' accounts. If they are paid in full, then they will receive a cash refund. If they still owe Winthrop any monies, the amount due to us will be subtracted before any cash refunds. This is important to note because many of our students are on a monthly payment plan and have outstanding bills on their accounts


Consideration of a Resolution to Adjust Admissions Criteria for Summer Session 2020 and the 2020-21 Academic Year.

President Hynd discussed the option of adjusting the admissions criteria by making the SAT/ACT tests optional for the upcoming summer and academic year. He stated there is a growing body of literature showing standardized tests is poor predictors of success in college. Many experts are recommending against using test scores but instead look at high school GPA, engagement, and letters of recommendation. We already have a holistic approach in our admissions office. While this option has been previously considered by the Board, there is some urgency now because in the present circumstances many of the upcoming test dates have been canceled. We do not want to penalize those who applied without scores if we try this option for one year, we can track the progress of the students.

As of today we have over 300 students who have been denied admission because of test scores. Suspension of the test requirement would apply to all applicants. Instead of test scores we will look at their AP classes, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Students who do not submit a test score will not be considered for institutional financial aid.

Trustees had a number of questions that required additional information from the admissions division. For that reason the meeting was recessed at 2:35 p.m. with plans to resume on Monday, April 6, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.

The meeting resumed at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Earlier in the day of Monday, April 6, 2020, the Access and Enrollment Committee met to review the Resolution to Adjust Admissions Criteria for Summer Session 2020 and the 2020-21 Academic Year. The Committee voted in favor of moving the resolution to the full Board for a vote. As this action is from a committee, no second is needed.

The vote was 11 in favor of the vote, three abstentions, and one absence. Therefore, the resolution passed thereby the Winthrop Board of Trustees directs the suspension of the university’s requirement that applicants for Summer Session 2020 and Academic Year 2020-21 must provide standardized test results to be considered for admission.


Authorizing a Hiring Freeze

Kathy Bigham made a motion to authorize President Hynd to implement a temporary hiring freeze as well as a budget freeze during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Robby Sisco seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.



Janet Smalley moved to adjourn the meeting. Isaiah Venning seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

Chair McCall adjourned the meeting at 1:15 p.m.


Minutes submitted by Kimberly A. Faust, Secretary to the Board