Millions in refunds latest move by Miami in response to coronavirus shutdown

The coronavirus shutdown is hitting Butler County’s largest university in a big way.

Days ago officials at Miami University announced it will refund $27 million in student fees since the university ended in-person classes last month and closed down its student residence halls as part of the school’s coronavirus preventative measures.

Last month the university largely shut down, ordering the closure of classroom instruction – forcing thousands of students to learning via remote, online instructional sessions – and moving students out of residence halls.

And in late January, prior to and unrelated to the coronavirus outbreak, Miami officials announced cost-saving measures that would mean ending 40 positions at the school during the summer prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

The university enrolls more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students, employs more than 4,200 instructional and non-instructional workers.

The school, which is Butler County’s largest employer, regularly renews or discontinues contingent or supplemental teaching contracts – adjunct and other part-time instructors – months prior to an upcoming school year.

“Most universities employ contingent (visiting) faculty in a similar manner to what is done at Miami. Contingent or supplemental faculty have fixed term appointments for a maximum of one year,” said Carole Johnson, interim spokeswoman for Miami University.

Johnson did not respond Monday to requests seeking clarification on whether there were additional terminations of supplemental teachers for the fall semester of the 2020-2021 school year.

Johnson, however, said “all contingent or supplemental faculty receive a letter in February each year reminding them of this because we can never predict what our instructional needs will be in the future. This practice has been in place for many years, and Miami did not change the process this year.”

The number of instructors may change in the near future, said Johnson.

This fall, she said, “in addition to our over 900 continuing faculty members, we have already approved over 100 full-time visiting faculty members for next year and may hire more as confirmations for incoming first-year students are completed on June 1.”

The school’s main campus is in Oxford with regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown and a single-building learning center in West Chester Township.

Enrollment at the Oxford campus last fall was 17,327 undergraduates and 2,607 graduate students. Regional campuses in Hamilton, Middletown and the West Chester facility enroll 4,664 students combined.

About the Author