Excused: R. Horner
Absent: M. Bayless, J. Hosagrahar, S. Jones, L. Kintz, J. Raiskin, J. Wasko, P. Wright
President Tublitz then turned his remarks toward welcoming the new and returning members of the senate and thanking them for their decision to devote a portion of their time to campus government. He noted that since its reorganization in 1995, the senate has been the primary government body of the university. Though officially charged with matters of curriculum and student conduct affairs, it has come to serve an influential role governing the decisions made by the university. The president briefly reminded the senators of the senate's committee structure and commented on the importance of senate and standing committees which are influential campus wide and have played large roles in improving faculty salaries, for example. Further, he remarked that the interaction between the senate and the administration has been the driving force in shared campus governance. President Tublitz concluded his welcome by saying that in adhering to principles of broad consultation and respectful communication, the senate has been instrumental in achieving common goals of academic excellence. (Full text of President Tublitz remarks are appended to these minutes.)
On a sad note, President Tublitz also mentioned the passing of Wayne Westling, law school, in late summer. Mr. Westling was a past senate president and served on many university committees, most notably the Senate Budget Committee, which was responsible for the White Paper on faculty salaries. He was well respected and admired for his scholarship, teaching skills, and service to the university. President Tublitz expressed the sentiments of many in the room in saying that Wayne Westling will be greatly missed.
Changes in PEBB benefits plans. Ms. Mylea Wray, representative from PEBB and Dr. John Santa, health care consultant representing PEBB, spoke briefly regarding 2001-2002 PEBB benefits. The benefit costs to PEBB have increased substantially over the last four years with costs increasing from $140 million then to $300 million this year. The health care issue is not solely a PEBB or Oregon issue, but rather a national issue due to increased utilization of insurance, skyrocketing prescription drug costs, and the current managed-care structure. This PEBB benefit package offered was designed with the goal of developing a high quality benefits package that would remain affordable for the majority of employees. Because continuing the current coverage would have resulted in an unaffordable 45% increase in costs for the first year, PEBB opted to make a single PPO medical plan available, one that includes travel benefits and prescription drug benefits. The benefits package represents PEBB's best attempt at quality insurance coverage for state employees.
During a question and answer session, Senator David Strom, physics, asked if PEBB has a model that accurately predicts usage of insurance, and whether such a model has been used in the past. Ms. Wray clarified that due to the rapidly changing market and unique benefit years, it has been very difficult to accurately present a model of that nature, although models currently in use are continuing to show a double digit increase in rates for the next several years. Mr. Gilkey commented on the apparent move from a defined contribution system to a defined benefit system. Ms. Wray responded that two years ago we benefited from the market, but this year it was not responsive due to the turmoil within. She added that PEBB was disappointed with what they received from the request for proposals sent out; the poor response prompted the move from contribution to benefit system.
Senator Marie Vitulli, mathematics, commented that when SEBB and PUBB (benefits boards) were combined to form PEBB, concerns were raised that have now proven accurate. These concerns included loss of the cafeteria style plan, loss of cash back, nothing additional for disability, and so on. The presence of a pool from SEBB assisted in negotiating more acceptable contracts. Senator Vitulli suggested exploring individual options again. Dr. Santa responded that it is a different and more competitive health insurance market at this time. There is no question that younger employees may be better off exploring the individual option; however, it may not be a better option for all employees. The question remains, what happens next to the group and how long will that remain a better option? Ms. Wray reiterated that the PEBB plan is still a "cafeteria plan." The cash back option is gone because millions of insurance dollars were lost last year. Cash back takes dollars out of the plan because the insurance rate was less than the contribution. With the 5% rate increase last year, and 20% rate increase this year, rates have been suppressed and the cash back dollars are applied to the rate increase. These dollars are needed to maintain the level of benefit. Dr. Santa noted that PEBB chose the benefit plan that would give a choice of physicians, hospital, and the least expense response to the plans proposed. In conclusion, the PEBB representatives stated that with the market outlook now, decisions would be faced of cost vs. choice and cost vs. benefits regarding health care. PEBB will be making attempts to create competition and see what emerges.
Ad Hoc Committee in Response to September 11th Events. This ad hoc committee is charged with coordinating and facilitating the university's response to the aftermath of the September 11th attacks in the form of campus and community events to help the university campus and greater Eugene-Springfield communities during this period of national/international crisis. The committee is not sponsoring a particular group or ideology, but instead supports discussion and informed opinions regarding the terrorists' attack. Senate President Tublitz advised interested persons to contact co-chairs Mr. Shaul Cohen, geography, or Mr. David Frank, honors college, for information.
Comment from faculty member Mr. Tom Givon regarding the September 11th events. Mr. Tom Givon, linguistics, asked for an opportunity address the senators to voice his concern about reactions to the September 11th attack coming from campus colleagues. He described several reactions around campus as detached from reality. Mr. Givon stated that comments suggesting that the United States should simply "turn the other cheek", put response options to a never- ending public debate, maintain civil liberties at all costs, or say that yes, it was a tragedy, but that we deserved it, is to ignore the "fundamentalists' mind". Mr Givon stated that fundamentalists' "truths" are a few immutable principles cast in the cement of Scripture - and to question, or doubt, or change one's mind are unforgivable sins. He went on to say that the attack by the fundamentalists terrorists was pointed at all of us as Americans, not so much for what we do, but for what we stand. He concluded with the notion that although he does not always like what our government does, in such a time of national crisis, it deserves our support. (Full text of Mr. Givon's remarks can be found at http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen012/givon18oct01.html.) Faculty Leadership Caucus. President Tublitz reported that a Faculty Leadership Caucus was held September 20th to foster a sense of cohesiveness across the major faculty committees and to develop a set of focused achievable goals for the upcoming year. Topics covered included faculty input regarding the strategic directions plan, fairness and equity on campus, faculty involvement in resource allocation, and the meaning of the term "public" for public institutions today. A summary of these topics follows.
The 2001-2002 salary increase proposed by the SBC is a 4% salary increase on January 1, 2002. This is less than the anticipated 5% increase due to the governor's recent announcement of an immediate 2% cutback in state general funds. Even so, because of the increase in benefits that will be allocated to cover the increased costs of insurance and other benefits, the average faculty members total compensation will rise about 2%. Recommendations were made for instructors and officers of administration to receive a 5% increase on January 1, 2002.
Salary compression issues. Assistant professors compensation levels are close to the 95% parity goal, but both associate and full professors are still behind relative to peer institutions. Because the issue of compression is getting worse instead of better, recommendations were made with attention to the average percentage increase for different ranks, that is, 5% for full professors, 4% for associate professors, and 3% for assistant professors, to continue for several years.
Each department has systematic rules regarding how salary increases are distributed. The intention is for the recommendations and principles of the White Paper to be followed. Through anecdote evidence it seems not all faculty know of these rules, and what to do if there is a problem. There will be more attention to bringing these distribution guidelines to the attention of individual faculty members, deans, and department heads. Mr. Kellman provided a handout to show the current compression salary data (see http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen012/SBC9Oct01.pdf).
In response to a question from Senator Maury Holland, law, Mr. Kellman noted that the figures shown represent total compensation, that is, salary plus benefits. Senator David Conley, education, asked if consideration was made regarding keeping salary increases at 5%. Mr. Kellman responded that the 5% increase took into account the positive enrollment projections, and the 4% proposed is still aggressive, given the current state budget shortfall situation. In response to a question from Senator Margaret Hallock, law, Mr. Kellman clarified that the budget committee only makes recommendations; Provost Moseley follows-up with guidance given regarding the recommendation coming from the deans and department heads. Finally, Senator Julie Novkov, political science, asked if the median salary increase was close to 6.7% average salary increase of last year. Mr. Kellman advised that he did not have median figures, but opined that they would be very close to the average increase.
Senate Budget Committee: Autzen Stadium Expansion Report. Mr. Kellman reported that the SBC was given financial information regarding plans for the Autzen Expansion project, and stated that the committee agreed with the conservative estimates of the athletics department regarding how long the project will take and how it will be paid off. There is a bond debt involved in the financing, which the SBC agrees is appropriate. The debt will be paid from athletic revenues and not from academic resources. The expansion will help athletics to become and maintain its financial independence from general education support funds. Mr. Kellman noted that President Frohnmayer will establish a panel to study the role of athletics within the university, based on the idea that there should be a productive, good, and mutually beneficial relationship between athletics and the UO as a whole. The planned stadium expansion is a step in the right direction.
To a question from Senator Conley, Athletic Director Bill Moos responded that the expansion would allow seating allotment reconfiguration for all fans, including students. Specifically, the student section will be expanded if necessary, and if it coincides with the current contract with students. Senate Dave Soper, physics, stated that he thought the expansion plans look to be high risk. If the revenues for football go down, who will pay off these bonds? Mr. Moos responded that they have worked hard to build the funding model for the project, which has been reviewed by outside CPAs, and he believes the plan is sound, even in worse case scenarios. Mr. Tom Larson, athletics, concurred saying that with conservative estimates of additional income, these bonds can still be paid for with no increase in price in the next 30 years.
Senator Soper began the questions asking if, in light of the recent news of Mr. Phil Knight's donation for the stadium expansion, is the time frame for phasing out the athletic department's subsidy going to be reduced?
Provost Moseley responded that the athletic department provided a prepayment this year and have already committed to total payments of $400,000 next year. He thought it unwise to try and orchestrate a faster payoff.
Senate President Tublitz then asked for an update on the state's financial situation and the potential effect this has on the university's finances, specifically related to the planned salary increases.
Provost Moseley related that the governor's immediate decision is a 2% general fund budget reduction, and an OUS document was received asking each university to outline, in 2% increments, how it would deal with a cut of up to 10%. The provost lamented that the balanced budget for the next biennium, which had included a salary increase of 5% for faculty and all unclassified staff, the PEBB benefits coverage, and a contract with classifed staff, did not last even a month. Work has now begun again to re-do the budget. The immediate response to the chancellor's office is due in a week and will be done by the administration.
The provost went on to say that at lower levels, 2%, given our excellent enrollment, the decision that we will make regarding faculty salary increases will follow the recommendation for a 4% salary increase and still leave money for a similar size salary increases for the next year. Above the 4% budget cut level, however, we may have to look at program cuts. We will not know how high the percentage of cuts will go until sometime in January. The provost did not think it was a useful exercise to plan in detail for cuts above the 4% level. Based on reasonable assumptions, he does not believe the net cut will exceed that. If cuts have to be made beyond the 4% level, the provost will be drawing on all levels of input to help make decisions.
Vice President Greg McLauchlan, sociology, asked how salary implementation will happen in departments, that is, what instructions will be given to deans and department heads.
Provost Moseley responded that representatives from the Senate Budget Committee met with the deans and went over the recommendation. The deans were reminded of the importance of following the White Paper's principles, and they were in full support. The provost believes there was a high level of compliance last year, given that it was the first year of implementation; he continued that is a question of having the principles built into the psyche of how we do things. Even with the 4% increase this year, he believes we will make significant increases toward our 95% parity goal.
Motion US01/02-1 -- Amend OAR 571-021-0064, the Show-Cause Proceedings section of the Student Conduct In order to enforce the timely completion of disciplinary sanctions issued under the Student Conduct Code, this rule requires the following procedures:
In a response to a question from Senator Vitulli it was clarified that if a student is graduating and has sanctions against him or her, he or she will be unable to receive transcripts until this process is complete. With no other comments from the floor, the motion was passed by unanimous voice vote.
Resolution US0102-2 Statement of support for classified employees. Senator Julie Novkov, political science, introduced a resolution in support of the university's classified staff noting that contract negotiations have been completed successfully with OUS. There was consensus among senators in appreciating and valuing the work classified staff do for the university. Text of the resolution follows:
Resolution US0102-2 Statement of support for classified employees The University Senate of the University of Oregon expresses its gratitude to and appreciation for classified employees for their ongoing hard work on the behalf of the university community. We hereby express our support for paying these workers a living wage and continuing to provide them with reasonable health insurance.
It was pointed out that the wording was changed from specifically SEIU members to classified employees, as there are many people who may be represented by SEIU, but are notmembers. The resolution was brought to a vote and passed unanimously by voice vote.
Senator Morgan indicated that she is very involved with the September 11th Ad Hoc Committee that is coordinating and facilitating campus responses to the events of September 11th. She stated that it is important that there is a diversity of views on the issues, and that no one group is responsible for that diversity. She also made it clear that the ad hoc committee is set up to allow anyone, including Mr. Givon, to hold events to express other viewpoints. Senator Morgen referred specifically to the large attendance at the recent "teach-in" held on campus, saying that it is problematic to think that during any event or controversial issue, one may be required to respond to all sides. She felt that the "teach-in" event was responded to positively in the press, and that the university gained from the event.
President Tublitz thanked Senator Morgen for her comments and hearing no others, adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m. Gwen Steigelman Secretary
I also wish to mention the death of Wayne Westling, Professor of Law, who passed away this summer. Wayne was a member of the Senate for many years including a year as Senate President. As SBC chair, he was the major crafter of the SBC White Paper on faculty salaries. He was an inspiration to all on campus because simply put, he loved this University and put his heart and soul into it. He will be greatly missed.
I'd like to begin my informal remarks by welcoming new and returning senators, including the student and instructional faculty senators and those representing the officers of administration. Each of you have made a conscious decision to devote a small part of your precious time to campus governance and for that I thank you. But why be a senator in the first place? To answer this question I have to tell you about my family.
My kids are always telling me to grow up. Cut your hair, shave your beard, they say, this isn't the 60s anymore, it's the Oh-Ohs. So I have finally taken their advice - sort of. I didn't shave, didn't cut my hair, but I did do my first focus group survey last week. I spoke to 10 faculty, including 1 librarian and 2 Officers of Administration and 2 students -- a graduate student and an undergrad-- and asked them where decisions are made on campus. Here are the results (FIG): 4 said "dept heads/institute directors", 3 answered "Deans" and 4 replied "Central administration or Johnson Hall". Only 1 answered the question correctly - she astutely said "all three, dept heads, deans and central administration". Decision making is devolved on this campus, with each level of the administrative hierarchy making important decisions affecting faculty, staff and students.
Where does the Senate fit into this scheme? When I asked that question of the 12 focus group members - none of whom are Senators- 10 replied "I don't know". Two started to laugh.
So where does the Senate fit into the campus decision making process?
The Senate, the primary governance body on campus since its reconstitution in 1995, is officially charged with jurisdiction over 2 aspects of campus life: curriculum and student affairs. These are large, important issues which the Senate takes seriously. For example, we have an important student affairs motion coming to the floor later in today's meeting and we decide on curriculum changes each quarter.
But the Senate has much more influence than just curriculum and student affairs - the Senate, through its 27 University Senate committees governs many of the choices made by the University. Take the Campus Planning Committee which makes important decisions regarding campus development and campus appearance, or the FAC which advises the President and higher administration on numerous issues of crucial importance to the campus community to name but two. Many important decisions -decisions affecting campus life, students, faculty, staff, the curriculum, and campus atmosphere -- are made in these committees.
The 5 internal committees of the Senate - Rules, Budget, Nominating, Executive, and Committee on Committees -- are also influential in campus-wide decisions. Look no further than the Senate Budget committee, authors of the plan to improve faculty salaries which has become the #1 priority of the administration and an update of which will be presented today.
Last year someone told me that the Senate was a powerless body filled with useless faculty generating empty decisions that are ignored by the administration. You may be right, I replied, but you can't be involved in a decision if you aren't at the table. And the Senate has been at the table of all major discussions on campus in recent years, from athletics to the WRC to post-tenure review to the RRP. I remember having a discussion with President Frohnmayer about the Senate's resolution about the RRP, a resolution requesting that there be no development north of the railroad tracks along the riverbank. Our President was concerned that this resolution would tie his hands and that of future Presidents. He was concerned precisely because the administration took seriously Senate resolutions. Although he told me that he couldn't promise to uphold the resolution, he would consider it carefully. In fact the Administration has not gone against any Senate resolution or motion since the reformulation of the Senate in 1995. And the RRP north of the RR tracks is still undeveloped.
Is the Senate a powerless body? At this University, power comes not from a legislative mandate - although that helps - it comes from respect. And I believe the University Senate, over the past 5 years has generated its own respect. The past 5 Senate Presidents whom I have had the pleasure to serve -Carl Bybee, Ann Tedards, Jeff Hurwit, Peter Gilkey, and Jim Earl - have worked enormously hard and have earned the respect of the Administration. So have the Senators, like yourselves, who have partaken in Senate decisions. Importantly, the Administration has also worked hard to earn the respect of the Senate as they too have come to the not insignificant realization that working together is better than bickering with faculty and other campus groups. That, in essence, is the principle of shared governance - that major decisions are reached after broad discussion and consensus. Shared governance at the University of Oregon has evolved to include all constituent groups within the University community. The underlying assumption of true, shared governance is that all voices within the community are significant and each must play a role in campus-wide decisions.
To me the two principles that are the foundation of successful shared governance are (1) the principle of broad consultation, and (2) the principle of respectful communication. Without either, shared governance fails and chaotic in-fighting ensues.
Why follow these principles of broad consultation and respectful communication? Because in the 15 yrs I have been here we have and continue to be faced with a nearly endless series of challenges, some public relations, some academic, and nearly all financial. Sadly, the magnitude and frequency of these challenges seem to be increasing.
We are like a family - we don't always agree, but we have to work together to achieve common goals. What are our common goals? That's simple: academic excellence. Academic excellence: two words that embody our aspirations. No matter what unit we are from, what status we hold, what resources we control, how ambitious we are, we all share the goal of making our University of Oregon the highest quality University possible. To achieve this goal in the current climate of fiscal uncertainty, we need to adhere to the ideal of shared governance and to dedicate ourselves to making all campus decisions through broad consultation and respectful communication.
I end this talk the same way it started, by welcoming the new and returning Senators. It is an honor and a privilege to be your President. But the President of the University Senate is only a facilitator. I was given a gavel and Robert's rules of Order when I assumed this position in May. But perhaps the item that seems most appropriate is the baton - a sturdy U of O baton representing shared campus governance. I hold it for you as a placeholder because the baton is really in your hands. You have the power and respect to control the destiny of this University. Take the baton. Use that power. I know you will use it wisely.
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