tv Washington Journal Sidney Mc Phee CSPAN July 17, 2020 12:51pm-1:34pm EDT
eastern on c-span's u.n. day -- q&a. >> next week, the house and senate return to legislative business before the august recess. on monday and tuesday, house takes up the fiscal year defense authorization act. the bill establishes policies for defense department programs. wednesday the house will consider a bill to remove the tony, the author of the dred scott ruling, from the supreme court chamber and to discuss the issues of confederate statues on display in the u.s. capitol. the senate also reconvenes to the office ofon senate and budget, and for the remainder of the week, the senate continues work on the 2021 defense authorization act. watch live coverage of the house
on c-span, live coverage on c-span2. watch anytime on c-span.org or listen on the go with the free radio app. >> we return now to the topic of school and university opening. our guest is the president of middle tennessee state university. have seen yout when you participated in a panel discussion at the white house last week to talk about reopening's and how it might happen. the presidentell and vice president at that panel discussion? >> morning and thank you for having me on your show. ourt university was being very measured and had taken great preparation to safely open our university for our students this fall. there were a number of
challenges that we had to address in order to make sure the campus was safe and that we were ready for the onset of 22,000 students and 3000 faculty and staff at one of the top universities in tennessee. middleou announce that tennessee state universityunivet to announce that you would open in the fall. how do you plan to do that, and what changes does that mean for how your students will experience school? yes, we were the first university in the state to announce in april that we were going to offer in-person, on-campus courses, and bring our students back. at that time, the curve was flattening, and it looked as though the -- it was going to go down, and we certainly knew that in any day based on this virus,
that could change, but we made a decision decisively. we actually did a survey of our students and our parents, and the vast majority -- 90% -- indicated that they would like to see the campus open up for in-person. now, we have taken a number of steps. i have always said that the safety and the security, and the health of our students and employees is our number one priority. we would not do anything at this university that would compromise the safety and the health of our students or employees. things that other schools have not done. we have gone to single rooms. we have cut our residents all populations down to have -- residence hall populations down to half.
focused on three things. first, we wanted to make sure that we had enough testing. we wanted to make sure that indeed in the mitigation process we had enough rooms if there were issues for quarantine and isolation. then we put in a very comprehensive contact-tracing protocol in place. not: for folks who are familiar with middle tennessee state, how big is it, how many students live on campus versus off-campus, and how do you navigate this back in the spring when shutdown started? middle tennessee state university is about 37 miles east of nashville in a suburb. it is one of the top universities in the region. we are a princeton-reviewed top-300 plus for 2020. we have 2300 -- 23,000 students,
3000 employees, five campuses, one of the best aviation programs in the country. we own about 37 planes. our recording industry program is number one in the world, and it is a great public university. we prepare our students and our employees to make sure that they know and have some degree of -- mtsuce that mts you will offer a quality education, no matter where it is -- online or on campus -- and we are one of the few universities that, in march, we made a very decisive decision in february to bring all of our students who are studying abroad back to the campus, and we began to make plans to address this virus. really, the end of january, first part of february. so, we are in a position now,
because we kept about 500 students on campus during the the experience of a few students that were infected and had to go through the process. we developed a sound protocol process in dealing with the crisis. 44%st say that only actually -- 44% of our courses are offered online through the fall. we have 40% that will be on-campus, and then the remaining percentage are internships, dissertations, etc. we have worked very hard to deal density issue and i think we will be prepared for the eventualities.
host: what was life like for the 500 students that stayed on campus in the spring? do they eat in dining halls? what were they allowed to do and where were they not allowed to go? guest: we had a comprehensive program at our residence hall. we closed down our cafeteria. we provided food. in the residence hall. we give them some flexibility in terms of how they could get around campus, but we set some restrictions on who could get in the door through card access. i walked the campus a couple of times each week. obviously, it was a campus that when you don't have 22,000 students, you'll may have 500, it does look and feel of it air y, but we encountered no
problems at all. it was a tough decision for us because we have the majority of a ct,udents, very high very high gpa, but we are a first-generation college campus, john,ny of our students, did not have anywhere to go. unlike other institutions that found students to find other places to live during that period, we decided we would keep our residence hall open and take care of those students and that worked out quite good, actually. host: if you want to ask a university president about school reopens in the fall, now is a good time to call. phone lines split up by college students and parents we want to focus on the faculty and staff here at middle
tennessee state. headline, there is a colleges turn to layoffs. have you had to do any layoffs and what is your budget look like in the coming school year? guest: obviously, it is going to be a challenge, but we are very fortunate at this time at our university that we do not have orresort to layoffs furloughs of our factory -- faculty or staff. i have been president here for 20 years and i have gone through a lot of challenges -- the 2 088-09 -- the 2008-2009 recession -- we did not lay off folks than. we are looking at enrollment. i am pleased to say enrollment is up by 2% right now for the false investor. so, we are in a position to
manage whatever deficit we are going to encounter as a result without, atemic this point, laying off any faculty or staff at the university. host: did the university get any cares act money, and how did you use it? guest: yes, we got about $19 million, primarily because we have a lot -- large percentage of our students pel eligible and low-income. half of that money went directly to the students. we tried to get those funds out as quickly as possible. the other remaining part of the cares act we used to help us instructional and educational programs dealing with the technology. for example, we actually purchased, using cares money and the university funds, a $7
million new technology that taped faculty to be electronically, to have that tape archive, and that any student at any time can have access. for example, if a student gets ill during the fall and they cannot come to class, they will have the opportunity to access those educational support instructional programs and keep up with what is going on. if they have to take care of a sick family member, etc. -- we support ford some faculty and staff. so, i think we made good use of and we payers dollars, focus on making sure we maintain the quality of the programs and
our offerings at the university. with a few chat callers -- gabriel is up first out of greensboro, maryland. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i listen to the radio. i never get to see you guys on tv. two points real quick, and it is not directly with college, but it is about schools. i think two things should happen -- i kind of want his opinion -- as far as kindergarten through 12th grade, and even colleges, but two things is -- if we want the kids to go back to school, we need to double the pain -- whatever a teacher is making for kindergarten through 12, we need to double their salary. the second point is kids do not need to go to school for as long as they do. the day needs to be cut in half. that is all i have to say. thank you, god bless.
do,: gabriel, before you are you with us? caller: yes. host: would you be willing to pay more in taxes to double teachers pay caller: -- pay? caller: sure, i definitely would, to answer your question, yes, but we spend so much money on worse, on killing people over the years -- i feel like there spentmuch tax money being -- we need to pay teachers double, and schools will open because teachers are so important. they are so, so important. that is all i have to say. ?uest: may i make a comment he is absolutely right. my father was a high school principal. years come over just celebrated our 40th anniversary on the 12th of this month, she spent 39, 40 years as ofeacher, and regardless whether or not we are dealing
with the pandemic or other kinds of crisis, gabriel is absolutely right. it is for our society -- what we pay our teachers is really shameful, frankly, and we talk about how important education is -- we hear i am the education governor, president, mayor, and then you look at where the resources are going, and it certainly is not matching up. i would say not just the pandemic issue, i think teachers need to be paid much more than they are, and i would give credit to our governor, bill lee -- and the budget this year -- even though he had to cut the budget, there is a significant allocation to increase teachers pay. the governors, the last eight or 10 years in tennessee have focused on that, but we still need to do more.
host: have you been able to give pay increases to the professors there at middle tennessee state, or have there been any calls for pay cuts amidst the energy situation we are in now? guest: first, we are not planning at this point to do any reduction in salaries or pay cuts. we were scheduled before the pandemic to give a raise to our employees, and obviously, as a result of the economic situation of the states, we are state public supported institutions through appropriations from the state. economically, the state is not in a position -- at this point we set aside the 2.5%, 3% we were scheduled to give. greensboroam, carolina. how are you? guest: good. -- caller: good. how are you question mark host: doing well.
i want to ask the guest, where does he go to school, did they receive funds from national black colleges, and how is he treated when he went to washington? bachelors degree is from prairie view university, i got my masters at the mercy of my,, and my doctorate at -- our university is an historically white institution. you.e not nhs -- and hbc about 20% are either african-americans for individuals of color. it is historically, comprehensive research-based university that is over 110 years old.
in washington i had a very productive set of discussions with experts on the roundtable that was sponsored by the vice president and the president, and we came away with a few points that i have been talking with my leadership team about with regards to how we can better be prepared for the fall semester as we open up. host: and what were some of those points? guest: well, the first point was that we developed what i call some criteria and indicators that will tell us when we need to visit or transition from on-campus depending on the nature and the activity of the virus. i have always felt that as far as decisions regarding university and this virus, the virus makes the decision for us. we are in contact with public health officials.
we have done table talk -- tabletop exercise. we have provided a number of rooms off-line in case we need those. we have contact with a local hospital. these were discussions that we were able to fine tune. host: john is next out of oklahoma on that line for parents. good morning. caller: good morning. host: glad. you are on with president mtsu. -- president mcphee. i want to talk about slavery for a moment. it was one of the worst things we have had in the net states, and the black folks living here would not be here if it had not been for slavery.
so, as bad as it was -- host: we are talking about school reopens right now, but if you would like to talk about this issue of racial justice and protests from george floyd's death, can you talk about that issue and what it was like for your campus in june? guest: it is an area that has been a concern for our university for a number of years. are we doing enough? absolutely not. can we ensure we do more? absolutely yes. in fact, i am really pleased that you brought this up, john, because i actually have a virtual zoom meeting scheduled for monday where i have invited faculty, staff, community members, to begin a conversation
with regards to this issue of social dust -- social justice and equality, and our -- how our university can be more actively engaged in young with the issue not just on campus, but in the committee. it is my goal in my vision that the monday -- the mondays in session will be a listening session. there are no speeches on my part. i will listen to hear people's feelings, experiences, suggestions, and from that we will then put together a reasonable, doable set of initiatives that hopefully begin thereress -- obviously are years and centuries of this problem being part of our society, and i am under no illusion that we can deal with this in any short period of time .r within a year or two we are going to try to develop a measured approach to address the issue on our campus or in our community. host: katrina is next out of
hyattsville, maryland. good morning. good morning. i have been listening to the show this morning and i am an early-childhood educator, and we have not closed. all the staff members wear a mask, but the students don't mostly due to their age. wondering why is it that students are having such a difficult time trying to figure out how to reopen when our center has been open this entire time, and if everybody is just following the rules of wearing a mask and everything, why is it so difficult for kids to go back to school? yes, katrina, depending on the region and the activity level -- the surge of the virus -- there are certain challenges that schools in those areas might have. it makes it very difficult.
never, like you, we really shut down the university. as i said, we had about 500 students on our campus during the peak in march and april, and we were able to take care of those students. making sure that you communicate to the community and the faculty and staff, the expectations for example, we are requiring students to wear a if they don't, they will have to resort to the online version of our programs, or they will have to find another institution. we will be very strict. we also have programs in place working with the historically black african-american sorority -- in putting together an educational program that will
on howudents information to put together. you have to take care of yourself, wash your hands, and if you don't do that, then of course what is going to happen is the university will have to resort and pivot to the online. most of our students want to be on campus, and the message we are giving them, if you want to be on campus, what the university to continue to be open, you need to do these things, wash her hands, do all -- we have great
things under control. host: i wonder if this survey fits with what you are saying on campus at middle tennessee state . respondents say they would attend in-person classes if available. 79% said they would not attend parties. 95% say they would currently wear masks when they cannot socially distance. caller: those are excellent results -- guest: those excellent results and consistent with what we are getting from our students and our parents. i am pleased to hear that 90% said they would not be attending any mass gatherings. host: 79%. guest: i hoping it is 96%. 100% atbe pushing for
our university, but that 76% is very high. that is one of the concerns we have on our campus. risksure we understand the at largegatherings parties, fraternity parties -- we will get that message out clearly to them that it will not interest and will not help the university. host: brad is a student out of georgia. caller: i am in savannah now. host: ok. good morning, mr. president. my fear is, as a graduate student, i am looking at this and i am wondering -- there was a 20-year break between my undergraduate and my pursuit of this particular academic journey. we are not learning the right lessons from this and this has
pulled back the curtain at those ugly scabs that have been there for a long time. same. is not the now it is good enough. i do not hear anybody addressing that. i could build a hydraulic slab in my garage if i wanted to, but then again i have been charged for lab fees forever. how do you reconcile this? there is a safety thing here, but there is a bigger issue. if you could speak to that, i would really appreciate it. thank you for that question. i will tell you as part of the demographics of our university, we have a very large percentage of our students that are adult students that have responsibilities with their families that are not the typical 17 21.
-- to 21. on the issue of the fees, we have been conscious of that. of education for college universities have skyrocketed over the years. one of the decisions we made, this year, we decided and i recommend it to our board of trustees to not increase tuition and fees, and we're in the process right now of looking at those fees that we are typically charging where students don't have access, or because they are not on the campus, they are not , and weose facilities are in discussion about making some adjustments in that area as well. you make a very good point, and i will tell you that it is something that has been on our agenda and on our radar at mtsu. pittsburgh,ut of pennsylvania. what you teach, troy?
caller: computer science. host: what is your question for president mcphee question mark -- mcphee? my question is if the numbers are down before we went into corona with only 32% of people online learning being successfully completing degrees, how are we going to keep going online, especially at my school where i have nontraditional students that need that hands-on, on-ground educational background for their success? and, also, at the community college level nationally, the graduation rate is only 21.5%. we are going to lose a lot of people being successful in their careers and going on in education because of this situation.
guest: you are on point with all of the comments that you have made, and we have heard from some of our students -- i told you we did a survey of our students during the transition fully online this past spring, and students have different learning styles. we recognize that. we also recognize that online teaching and learning is not for everybody. so, one of the reasons why we have developed this hybrid approach at our university is to give students options to go online and/or come to class in person. it is one of the reasons why, when it is safe and as soon as it is safe, we should have students return to campus so that they can have that interaction with faculty and staff in with their peers. we are very much sensitive to that issue, but the alternative
is if it is not safe to be on the campus, and we bring students on the campus, and we put them in their families at risk, the other option or alternative is that we shut everything down and that the students have no experience -- they cannot finish their degree programs. so, we try to do the best we can to help those students forward that not only students, but some of our online are not in the area. ofare working with them course. ofbeats the alternative shutting the university down and totally stopping the university -- the learning process. host: you want social distancing among your students. you hope that the numbers of those not attending parties would be well up into the high
90's, but how do you enforce social distancing with your students if they are not? guest: guest: very challenging. as we discussed a mitigation program at the university, i use as an example our smoking policy on the campus. we have no smoking -- a no-smoking policy on our campus. we have four campuses at this university. our main campus is over 500 acres. acres and have0 monitoring every minute of the day? absolutely not, but what we can do, john, is we can get the message out. message, andthat very diplomatically, when we see situations where that is -- there is not that social distancing, with great respect we ought to address it with our students. tell you campus can they can manage and make every student comply in the social
distance criterion for reducing this virus, that would be very difficult to do. we are not going to stop. a are going to make that priority for our university, and, again, we will tell students if you want to continue -- you money university to continue to be open, you must do these things -- you must social distance. you must, indeed, wear a mask, and you must wash your hands and take your basic health -- take care of basic health matters. a student was repeatedly not wearing a mask, not social distancing, would you kick them off of campus? guest: yes. host: chris is next. port jefferson in louisiana. go ahead. percent,his is porcher
long island. the port jefferson long island. i want to make a comment about teachers getting extra money getting paid -- i agree with that 100% of their so many of the people connected with the school. it is not just teachers. you have people that claim, when it snows, the ice, the cook, the girls in the kitchen -- i used to deliver to the kitchens -- these girls work so hard to get kids good food, one, healthy, clean. everyone counts. everyone that is connected to the school. it all matters paid they should all get something, not just one branch of the school. peoplem one of the because i see what they do -- they work so hard. without them, there is no safety if the hall monitor lets anyone in, anyone out, or the cook does not care about keeping things clean -- it starts at the very
bottom and everyone in the school works very very hard. i've seen that with my own eyes. they are passionate about their work. they want to make sure kids get good food, that the plates are cleaned, stabilizing. -- sterilized that i cannot believe the way they work. my other comment is about opening up schools. they should open up schools but a couple of things should be done -- we have seven days in a week. let's say you have a student of 30 people in a classroom -- three days 15. seven days a week, keep it going andou can social distance the kids that are not here today, they will be home -- the other half comes on tuesday. then monday comes back on wednesday, wednesday comes back on thursday -- you could break it down a couple of times. at times like this, these are
the things we can do to keep children safe. president mcphee? guest: i cannot agree more with the speaker, the caller -- you are absolutely right. it is an area where even before the pandemic for our university we have paid some attention to with regards to those noninstructional staff that make this university what it is today. .e have a beautiful campus obviously, for faculty to be in a position to deliver a quality education, we need the rooms to be clean. we need, you know, the lights to be on. we need everything that runs this university -- it includes a team. i fully agree with you, it is not just the instructional staff . i also agree with you with regards to looking at being very
creative in how you structure the time that students on campus and the types of instruction. we actually -- we actually have that as part of our scenario -- we are ending our semester early pay the last day before thanksgiving, we are -- once the student leaves for thanksgiving, they will not return. their finals will be given online. that areome courses put in a position where students don't have to come to classes every day. so, -- i agree with you on all the comments you've made. host: time for one more call. david has been waiting out of springfield vermont. good morning kid you are on with president mcphee. caller: good morning, how are you all doing this money? host: doing well. caller: i want to leave this out there -- there are plenty of safefor -- to keep schools
for children who have honorable conditions were teachers. we have the sanitizing lights that saks fifth avenue put into their store that the airlines used to sanitize airplanes after each flight. they could be put into the schools and replacing florescent lights that sanitize the air. you have the medicinal aerosol that can be put into the ventilation system that kills the virus and goes into the lungs and creates hydrogen peroxide in the immune system that kills. you have hydroxychloroquine, zinc can be used as a prophylactic by the kids. no matter how many do want to dispel the 65-year-old drug that has gone through clinical trials and is saving lives right now are either ignorant or they are
uninformed about the safety of the drug that can be used as a prophylactic and for mild to moderate symptoms. they need to get those mild to moderate symptoms so they can get over them that much faster so they are no longer contagious to those that are most vulnerable to infection of covid-19. in vermont.s david president mcphee, i will give you the final minute or two here. guest: yes pit one area that i would like to let our audience know is the distortion amount of the impact of the virus on african americans and people of color. we are very much aware of that. we are very much aware of the issue of lack of technology in that studentseas are unable to afford. this year we have given out 459 673ops to our students,
hotspots -- we have a partnership with t-mobile. we have given 101 laptops to our faculty and 235 internet hotspots, and as i mentioned to , while we areect targeting all students, we are particularly focusing on african americans and people of color since this virus has such a , significantly more than others in our population. so, we are managing this -- we are looking at the activity thiss, and if we see that control,getting out of the university will take quick action to protect the health and the safety of our students. host: sidney mcphee is the president of middle tennessee
state university. if you want to check them out online, mtsu >> eliot engel has lost his reelection bid. announcer: c-span has unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events. you can watch all of our public affairs programming on television, online, or listen on our free radio app and be part of the national conversation through c-span's daily washington journal program or through our social media feeds. c-span, created by america's cable television companies, as a public service, and brought to you today by your television provider. congressman, eliot engel, has lost his reelection bid. democrats the second to lose this year's primary. he was defeated in the 16th
congressional district contest by a middle school principal from yonder's. he will face the conservative party candidate in november. next week, the house and senate returned to legislative business before the august recess. on monday and tuesday, the house takes up the fiscal year 2021 national defense authorization act. the bill establishes policies for defense department programs. are expected early on monday. wednesday, the house considers a to address the issue of confederate statues on display in the u.s. capitol. the senate also convenes on monday to resume debate on the nomination of russell vought.
for the remainder of the week, the senate continues work on the annual 740.5 alien dollar 2029 -- billion-dollar 2021 national defense authorization act. watch anytime on c-span.org or listen on the go with the free c-span radio app. dr. anthony fauci spoke about the ongoing pandemic. he was asked about the use of masks and the reopening of schools and businesses. this event held by video conference was hosted by the u.s. chamber of commerce. >> good morning, everyone. my hope is a happy friday in your home. welcome to a very special edition of the u.s. chamber foundation path forward series. we are thrilled to welcome dr. anthony fauci. since he was appointed in 1984 as director of infectiou