President Earl commented on the Worker's Rights Consortium (WRC) issue saying that after nine months of research and discussion the review was called off by the Oregon University System (OUS) due to reasoning that to support such an organization the university would be taking a political position which a state agency is prohibited from doing. President Earl expressed his disagreement with this action and compared it to OUS' failure to support efforts to rid South Africa from apartheid 10 years ago. He pointed out that South Africa now celebrates the sanctions that freed them, and he expressed regret that the university was not a part of that movement.
President Earl also took notice of corporate exploitation of small countries and compared this modern day colonization to European colonialism. He made clear his disapproval with these actions and expressed concern that our students may not recognize these actions are taking place. The president went on to comment about athletics becoming a problem so large it is hard to define. Concern was expressed regarding the $80 million that funds the Autzen stadium plan. Comparisons were made regarding what alternatives such funding may have been used for if it was available to academic fields. He questioned the university's values in the funding of athletics and the relative lack of funding for faculty and academics.
Concluding, President Earl thanked and expressed his appreciation for those in the senate who gave him the opportunity to represent the faculty point of view. (See full text Addendum A.)
President Frohnmayer's remarks. University President Dave Frohnmayer extended a thank you to the senate president for his perceptions and the depth of the remarks made in his address. The president expressed his appreciation for President Earl's tolerance of viewpoints and the hard work he has provided for the past year, and presented him with a token of the administration's appreciation. Senate Vice President Nathan Tubliz also presented President Earl with a token of appreciation from the senate.
Confirmation of the incoming senate president. Senate President Earl asked for a voice vote to confirm Vice President Nathan Tubliz as the new Senate President for 2001-2002. With his confirmation, Senate President Tublitz proceeded to chair the remainder of the meeting.
The White Paper's goal was to achieve 95% parody with comparison schools. Faculty salary improvements averaged 6.7% resulting in total compensation increase of 2.5% in comparison with the other institutions. With collaborative effort from the administration, the committee's first year goal has been achieved. The salary compression issue also improved in the first year of implementation. This issue is still being defined and will remain a high priority in future years.
Accurate salary and compensation amounts from comparison institutions are not currently available. The SBC will work with the senate's Ad Hoc Committee on Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty to obtain comparisons. Progress was made in implementing the basic principles establishing the 80% floor and making merit pay more transparent. Based on access, the administration and academic units are adhering to the guidelines set forth.
The upcoming years projections, assuming the state budget doesn't change, shows an average salary improvement of 5% for all instructional and administrative faculty beginning Jan 1, 2002.
When questions were invited, Senator David Conley, education, asked where the increase places the university relative to the 95% goal. Professor Frank responded last year the university was at 86% and is currently at 87% parity. The comparator schools are close to these numbers. Senator Marie Vitulli, mathematics, asked if these numbers included the most recent salary comparisons and if so, does this still reflect a gain. Professor Frank responded that from AAU and other sources accessed, this still reflects a gain. Provost Moseley added that the report was delayed due to inability to obtain final numbers from the comparative institutions reflecting the past years raises. The report will be distributed to every faculty member. Comments and questions are encouraged.
With no other questions or comments regarding the SBC report President Tubliz thanked the committee for their ongoing work and their report.
Senate Nominations Committee. The Senate Nominating Committee, chaired by Senator Barbara Altmann, romance languages reported the slate of nominees for the Senate Vice President position for 2001-2002. Senators Greg McLauchlan, sociology, and Maurice Holland, law were nominated. Each candidate spoke briefly regarding his candidacy for the position after which a written ballot was taken among members of the 2001-2002 senate. Senator McLauchlan was elected as the new vice president (17 votes for McLaughlan; 8 votes for Holland).
Overview of senate operations. President Tublitz reminded the new senators that the University Senate meets the second Wednesday of each month except for December, when it meets on the first Wednesday. On arrival at senate meetings, senators are expected to sign in the on the roll sheet and pick up their name badges. The senate's bylaws require that attendance at meetings be kept. If it is necessary to be absent from a senate meeting due to university business, please notify the secretary of the senate, Gwen Steigelman (firstname.lastname@example.org; 6-3028) so that you may be recorded as an excused absence. Absences for reason other than university business are recorded as unexcused; senators in excess of 2 unexcused absences per term must relinquish their seat on the senate. T
he Senate Executive Committee meets two weeks prior to each senate meeting and sets the agenda from issues that are brought to their attention by senators, faculty, administrators, students, or other members of the campus community. Issues for discussion should be brought to the attention of Secretary Steigelman and President Tubliz. The senate web page ( http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/senate.html) provides a wealth of senate information. Agendas, minutes, motions, resolutions, committee reports, and links to other information are posted at this site. In addition, a listserv for members of the senate is also available for communication.
Members are encouraged to use either of these resources. Senate meetings include a discussion period, and next year also will have a provost and president's question and response period. If the questions put forth are not readily addressable, questioners should advise the president or provost of the questions before the meeting so they may have time to make an informed response at the meeting.
Agenda items for the coming year. The senate's Ad Hoc Committee on Non-Tenure Tract Instructional Faculty has been continued in order to complete the work begun this past year. Also, an Ad Hoc Committee on Campus Dormitories has been set up to address the issue of the poor physical condition of campus dormitories. This issue affects the budget of the university on a large scale and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Former senate president Jim Earl has agreed to continue to champion the athletics issue. During the spring, he has had discussions regarding athletics on Division I campuses and has initiated the same forum at all PAC-10 university senates. Currently, seven of the PAC-10 senates have approved a proposed joint resolution on athletics (see http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen001/US0001-7.html), one has not approved the resolution, and two will discuss the resolution at a future time.
President Tublitz affirmed that shared government on campus will continue to be a priority, and that how we chose to approach and deal with shared governance will affect every aspect of campus life. He noted that President Frohnmayer has agreed to initiate a discussion on this topic and we will expect feedback over the next year.
Gwen Steigelman Secretary
"The inhabitants seemed odd at first, though I suppose I must have seemed just as odd to them; when I came to understand their customs, though, they seemed like quite regular chaps; in the end I came to admire them, sometimes even to wish I could remain among them. And now, now the streets of my native land seem a little stranger to me, narrower and more parochial than before."Or maybe I'm more like Mr. Tito, the space tourist, reporting on his week in orbit:
"It was worth the money, I adapted quickly to weightlessness, I lost some weight; I fall over a lot now that I'm back."In any case, this professor can hardly wait to get back to the monasteries of the tenth century, where he belongs.
Before I say anything else, I want to thank Gwen Steigelman for all her help this year.. I couldn't have predicted the issues that came to occupy my days and nights as Senate president. They seem unlikely even in retrospect. In my last few minutes on the job, I'd like to sum them up; so this will be a five-minute state of the union message--delivered, however, from the upper gallery, where the faculty sits. I can now claim to have, I think, a fairly informed "faculty point of view."
For better or worse, it's that "faculty point of view" that I tried to bring to Johnson Hall this year. The faculty are only one part of the University, I know, but we're a privileged part, with our utopian vision of university life (which is, I realize, unrealistic) . The ideal university we inhabit is a Platonic one: a community of scholars, enjoying academic freedom, devoted to personal mentoring and disinterested research, working to keep the world intelligent, creative, free, and ethical. Professors walk in the sandals of Socrates: we're expected to be gadflies, critics of the social norm. It's a respectable role. Realists refer to this academic ideal as the ivory tower. And when realists call a question "academic," they mean it doesn't really matter what the answer is.
The real university, of course, is Aristotelian, not Platonic: it's a business. It's fueled by money and, I'm happy to report, it's managed by a crack team of excellent administrative professionals, for whom I've come to have tremendous respect. Dave, John, Lorraine, Dan, Bill, and now Alan Price. We should all be very grateful to them, because believe me, you wouldn't want a bunch of experts in tenth-century monasticism running this institution.
However, the growing divide between faculty idealism and administrative realism is becoming a more serious culture clash every year. It dominates university life now, and it dominated all of this year's issues in the Senate. From the faculty's point of view this culture clash goes by the nickname corporatization. I know this word elicits groans from everyone, but it's unavoidable. The faculty use this word to refer to the unembarrassed reconception of the ivory tower as a business?you know, like for example, the unremarked substitution of the term CEO for University President. It may be that the university has no choice but to evolve in this direction; on the other hand, the faculty have no choice but to speak up for the utopian vision they're dedicated to. Maybe the endless debate between the real and the ideal is the essence of academic discourse.
If my following brief remarks sometimes sound a little harsh, forgive me. It's just the grinding friction of my faculty idealism against the hard realities of institutional management.
The WRC was the first issue on our agenda this year. After nine months of research and discussion, the committee investigating the university's possible complicity in the exploitation of third world workers was called off by the State Board of Higher Ed. The Board's motion begins with this breathtaking clause: "Consistent with OUS's commitment to the free flow of commerce and efficient business practices. . . ." Trying to improve labor conditions in the new global economy amounts to taking a political position, it turns out, which state agencies are not allowed to do.
In the last two decades, perhaps you've noticed, politics has been sharply redefined as mostly economics. You might have seen an essay on this subject in the Times two weeks ago. Young people won't know, unless we teach them, that until the Reagan years both parties assumed that one very important function of government was to protect the public from corporate interests. Now we're so far from that, that global free market capitalism, in which of course American corporations hold 90% of the cards, has by some sleight of hand been redefined as global democratization. And opposing this globalization is "political," while supporting "the free flow of commerce and efficient business practices" is not. But it is.
I don't know what the committee would have concluded about the WRC; but I have nothing but scorn for the wording of the Board's intervention. Not that it matters: I'm sure they can endure the scorn of a utopian idealist, a gadfly medievalist.
But look: ten years ago the university was told it couldn't disinvest in South Africa because of apartheid. I was in South Africa last summer; I discovered that South Africans now celebrate the world-wide economic sanctions that succeeded in bringing down apartheid. But moral considerations that interfere with "the free flow of commerce and efficient business practices" are too "political" for a university. Well, maybe for a realistic university, but not for an idealistic one. In the South African case, thank goodness, idealism won out without us.
The most difficult problems to grapple with are the ones that are so big we can't even see them. For example, for four centuries Europeans colonized the rest of the world, ruthlessly appropriating, exploiting and destroying other civilizations. The East Indian Company was nothing if not an "efficient business practice." Today all our students learn that colonialism was an immoral horror. And yet, at the time, there were very few European voices raised against it. Colonialism seemed totally obvious at the time to almost everyone, although now it is universally seen as an unspeakable crime against humanity. I predict that in one century, or two, if not before, students everywhere will look back in horror at corporate America's ruthless exploitation of poor countries, now being carried out under the banner of "globalization," or "free trade," or "economic development"?all of them euphemisms for the supreme importance of "the free flow of commerce and efficient business practices."
I'm amazed that the president of a university senate would find himself commenting on an issue that big. But it actually happened this year, and I lost some sleep over it, can you believe that?
Two other issues dominated my time on watch: the first is the growth of a temporary professoriat at the university?our nearly 700 non-tenure-track faculty?another example of economic realism; and the second was athletics.
Athletics is another nice example of a problem so big we can't see it. By "big" here, I mean the problem's woven so deeply into our culture and institutions that we can no longer imagine untangling it. It seems necessary. Intercollegiate athletics is now shrouded in a bizarre self-congratulatory and self-fulfilling rhetoric, pronounced in such confident tones that it passes for logic. The most offensive argument, and I've heard it dozens of times this year, is that athletics is necessary for bringing minority students to campus?it's a diversity thing. Spike Lee spoke in Mac Court a few months ago, warning students not to swallow this line. Recruiting minority students for their entertainment value, he argued, is just another form of racism; the game has become another form of minstrel show.
The best example of something so big you can't see it is the stadium expansion. From my utopian, idealized, academic, faculty point of view, I've got to admit--forgive me--that I consider the stadium plan a misjudgment on a titanic scale, a gargantuan waste of money. I realize the $80 million isn't fungible?that we can't divert it to academics?but I invite you to consider how much money we're actually talking about to build those skyboxes. $80 million would fund the Honors College, the "crown jewel" of our academic programs, for 140 years. (Actually, as an endowment it would fund it in perpetuity.) Or how about this: you know the new Chinese garden in Portland that won rave reviews in Time and Newsweek when it opened last year? People come from all over the world to visit this brilliant civic treasure. You could build a hundred of them for $80 million--and they'd be used more than six days a year. Or, keep this in mind: when the Bush administration offered $80 million for AIDS in Africa, critics thought it too little, but. . . . Or, one more: $80 million is two-thirds of the entire NEH budget for next year. What are our values? What do you expect the faculty to say? And would you want a faculty that wasn't critical, that didn't hold ideals a little higher than skyboxes?
For all its otherworldly impracticality, faculty idealism is the yardstick against which we have to measure the reality of the university; it's the polestar that keeps the actual university pointed in the right direction. The faculty may not understand our budgetary balancing act, or the politics, or the management practices that keep the institution afloat, or the bang for our athletic buck; but those who do understand those things should consult the faculty constantly, as a matter of course, to take their bearings. I say this, of course, from the faculty point of view.
My final word: thank you for tricking me into being Senate president this year. It turned out to be not only instructive, but fun. No one should turn down the opportunity to do this job because they think it's burdensome or unrewarding. Don't think of Nathan as the poor sap who got stuck with the job next year. He's the lucky one who gets to represent the faculty point of view for a year.
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