October 13, 2020

3:00 PM – ZOOM

Roll Call and Quorum Check – (Barb Dahlbach)

Approval/Corrections to the Minutes for August 11th(Barb Dahlbach)

President’s Report – (Rona Donahoe)

  • UA Premier Awards
    • Morris Mayer Award (Senior; Teaching Faculty) – New website: https://mayeraward.sa.ua.edu/
    • Judy Bonner Presidential Medallion (Member of UA Community)
    • Ramsey Award (Junior)
    • Bloom Award (Junior)
    • Catherine Randall Award (Senior)
    • Algernon Sydney Sullivan (2 Seniors; 1 Non-student)
  • Sentinel Testing
  • Spring 2021 Re-entry Testing
  • Spring 2021 Faculty Accommodations
  • Faculty Handbook Changes – Dean & dept. chair searches (Appendix A, Sections B & E)

Vice President’s Report – (Chapman Greer) – No Report

Secretary’s Report – (Barb Dahlbach) – No Report


Senate Committee Reports:


  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (Mirit Eyal-Cohen & Ignacio Rodeno)
    • Jane Elliot Lecture Update
    • Outreach to UA DEI stakeholders
    • Minority Post-doc Faculty Scholars Program
    • Inclusive campus display


  • Academic Affairs – (John Vincent & Andre Denham)
    • Fall 2020 Pass/Fail grading
    • Extension of ‘W’ drop date


  • Research & Service – (Ajay Agrawal & Kelly Shannon-Henderson)
  • Draft policy on Centers and Institutes
  • ROH issues
  • IT & Strategic Communications – (Matthew Hudnall & Patrick Kung)
    • Student Email Migration
    • Sentinel Testing Program Data Security (attachment)


  • Faculty & Senate Governance – (Ibrahim Çemen & Jeri Zemke)
    • Results of Faculty Ombudsperson election


  • Financial Affairs – (Rainer Schad & Mary Stone)
    • HSA account investments
    • ROH tax
  • Community & Legislative Affairs (Joy Burnham & Steven Yates)
    • United Way
    • Census deadline: October 31st
    • Framework Tuscaloosa
  • Student Life – (Jennifer Dempsey & Ruth Ann Hall)
    • Student leader ZOOM meeting notes


  • Faculty Life – (Susan Appel & Christopher Lynn) No Report


Reports from Other Committees


Old Business


New Business



  • Faculty Senate meeting: October 20th
    • Christine Taylor
    • GET Update – Andre Denham, Chapman Greer, Eric Peterson
  • Next meeting: November 13th (ZOOM)


IT & Strategic Communications – Sentinel Testing Questions

Questions asked by IT/Strat Comm Co-chairs:

Please see below bullet points to address your questions.  Thank you for your patience.

  1. Going through the registration process with Verily, there is a fair amount of personal identifying and medical information that is being collected, including addresses, pre-existing health conditions. On the page where medical and personal information is requested, there is a red statement at the top saying that “Note that none of this information will be shared with your school.”

The Verily app is an FDA-approved device.  Because changes to the questions or layout of the app must be approved by the FDA, and because the app is used by a host of states outside of Alabama, it was designed broadly and tailored to the CDC and FDA.  A number of questions on the app were derived from state reporting guidelines generally summarized on the CDC’s How to Report COVID-19 Laboratory Data webpage.  If an individual tests positive, the results and other information required by ADPH and collected in the Verily registration will be reported to ADPH as required by state law. 

  1. Although one could respond to several questions with a “Decline to answer”, there was no obvious indication of whether such information would be going out of Verily except in the privacy policy.  It was reported that it is only later (next day in another email) that a HIPAA disclosure consent was asked for in order to release the information to the employer.  First, this is in direct contradiction with the red statement.  Secondly, if someone didn’t “decline to answer” to a few questions at first, they would be stuck and could not change their answers to “decline to answer”.  It is strange that any HIPAA disclosure requirement is not more forthcoming, especially before starting the questionnaire.  Or is there a way to amend the answers?

You are correct that the registration process includes a “Decline to answer” option that the user may choose.  The user may go back and edit their information, including changing their response to “Decline to answer,” by visiting their “Profile” on the Verily site.

We are unable to answer the question about a HIPAA consent being sent the next day.  We will need to see a copy of the email sent to be able to track down the response.  However, state law authorizes the PWN Health physicians to notify the school when a student or employee has tested positive without a HIPAA consent, so it may be that this form is referenced due to its necessity in states outside of Alabama. 

  1. According to Verily’s privacy policy, this information will be shared with Verily, PWN Health and the employer.  So, it is not clear how this squares with the red statement in 2.

The responses to questions on the Verily sentinel testing app are reviewed by physicians (PWN Health) to determine if the individual is appropriate for sentinel testing.  For instance, if the individual responds that they are symptomatic, they would not be appropriate for sentinel testing.  Likewise, if the individual responds to the optional questions regarding certain medical information, they may not be appropriate for sentinel testing.  It is the PWN Health physicians that are reviewing these responses and actually ordering the test.  The responses are not shared with either UA, UAB or the System Office.

  1. It is not clear who the employer is.  Is it UA, UAB through GuideSafe, or the UA System?  If at UA, who would be the recipients?
  2. Finally, and more fundamentally, there are concerns that a condition of one’s employment at UA is to provide such information to two external entities (Verily i.e. Alphabet, and PWN Health).

Participation in sentinel testing is voluntary for UA faculty.  As such, participation is not a condition of one’s employment at UA. 


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Contact: Sarah Miesse, semiesse@culverhouse.ua.edu