Present: H. Alley, L. Alpert, E. Bailey, J. Bennett, L. Bowditch, V. Cartwright, F. Cogan, J. Earl, C. Ellis, M. Epstein, L. Fuller, F. Gearhart, D. Herrick, M. Holland, R. Horner, P. Keyes, D. Leubke, M. Linman, G. Luks, G. McLauchlan, C. Mc Nelly (nvp), S. Midkiff, A. Morrogh, R. Ponto, M. Ravassipour, M. Russo, E. Singer (nvp), L. Skalnes, D. Soper, B. Strawn, C. Sundt, N. Tublitz, J. Wagenknecht, M. Wilson, M. Woollacott, R. Zimmerman
Excused: K. Aoki, L. Freinkel, M. Partch, J. Wasko
Absent: A. Berenstein, B. Blonigen, C. Bybee, A. Elliott, R. Graff, W.A. Marcus, K. Merrell, M. Myagkov, M. Shirzadegan, C. Smith (nvp), F. Tepfer,
Senate President McLauchlan called the meeting to order at 3:10 p.m. in 123 Pacific.
Minutes from the January 15, 2003 Senate meeting were approved as distributed.
Remarks from Senior Vice President & Provost John Moseley. Provost Moseley reported that the state's budget woes continue. The most recent projected shortfall is another 5%, which means $100 million added to shortages originally estimated, and translates to $2 million in additional cuts for the UO. If the May forecasted revenues are down another $200 million as predicted, the UO's $6 million shortage could be increased by an additional $4 million. If additional shortages occur, the tuition surcharge will have to be increased an additional $3 to raise $5 million in order to avoid eliminating classes. The Spring Term charge will be $13 rather than $10. The provost also noted the governor's recent edict regarding rolling back the recent 3% salary increase. It is likely that it will not affect faculty, but may affect officers of administration (the governor's management category). In addition, there are three OUS campuses with union contracts that influence the criteria for the rollbacks.
Tuition receipts, including the surcharge, have netted more income than originally predicted, and the university has made a few other savings. Consequently, with the additional surcharge and with a 1% budgeting cut from all university departments, the year's budget will balance. However, if shortages for the UO increase to $3 million, next year will begin with no reserves. In the February, the deans will discuss whether or not the UO should act preemptively regarding a salary freeze for next year, which is very rigid at this time regardless of the source of funds. The provost indicated he was asked to present best and worse case tuition proposals. The best case would mean a tuition increase of 8 or 9% that would reduce the governor's budget projections by the 4% currently needed. The worse case scenario was a 12% tuition increase that still would leave a $6 to $8 million shortfall. According to projections, it is unlikely the UO will have a tuition increase less than 12% in the next biennium. Even at this level, the UO proposals for tuition hikes reflect some of the lowest increases of the OUS institutions. Increased tuition cost will limit student access, but financial aid will help.
Provost Moseley reaffirmed that the UO is obligated to provide quality education, and said that the key to future UO success is to become less dependent on the state. He emphasized that the university cannot educate more students than its funding will allow. The New Partnership with Oregon document which is now in the legislature as the Higher Education Efficiency Act was written to aid in explaining this dilemma to legislators. The bill will enable the university to operate more efficiently by (a) indexing students to a reasonable number according to the Resource Allocation Model (RAM), (b) accepting more nonresident students, and (c) working to enroll a reasonably sized freshman class (smoothly over a number of years). The Higher Education Efficiency Act is doing well and, if passed, will assist the UO with regard to efficiency and income. One example of such income assistance would be to allow the UO to keep interest earned on the tens of millions of dollars flowing through the university.
The provost opened the floor for questions. Senator Michael Linman, ASUO, asked if the 12% tuition increase would be across the board regarding in-state, out-of-state, and international students. Provost Moseley replied that out-of-state and international students currently pay their full tuition, thus Oregon resident students will pay the increase.
Senator Linda Fuller, sociology, asked if the Dean's Council discussed the wisdom of across-the-board budget cuts versus targeted cuts for specific units. The provost said the general information would be discussed although the council's ability to make changes will be limited. He noted that it is late in the biennium for making such cuts, so rationalization will continue. Senator Chris Ellis, economics, asked if there is any sense of a time frame for acting on the Higher Education Efficiency Act. Provost Moseley responded that issues with revenue implications go through the Ways and Means Committee, usually in late March, and could possibly be voted on prior to the budget. Senator Jack Bennett, academic advising, asked if a letter would be sent to Officers of Administration regarding the salary rollback. Provost Moseley said it is too soon to know what the content of such a letter would be.
Senator Nathan Tublitz, biology, asked what the approximate percentage of state contribution to the UO budget has been over the last 10 years. The provost responded that prior to Measure 5 (a measure that capped property taxes), the state contribution was approximately 32%; it is currently about 16% to 17%. State funds for instruction amount to a little less than $70 million. Tuition and other funds provide a little over $100 million. Any cut is diluted by this relative funding ratio.
Changing the topic, Senator Maury Holland, law, asked about the bad publicity the UO was victim to last week regarding poor behavior at an off campus party that a prospective football recruit attended. He asked if the UO plans to respond to the allegations. The provost replied that NCAA recruiting rules prevents coaches and athletes from commenting on potential recruits. Whether further comment will come forth is unknown at this time. The provost opined further that there is no way the athletics department or a particular coach can be responsible for an individual's behavior. However, the provost said he has participated in many recruiting events and has been very impressed with the general atmosphere at the events; the focus has always been on getting an education.
Senator Stephanie Midkiff asked how the plan for discounted tuitions for other than prime time classes is working. Provost Moseley reported that afternoon classes are now full and more popular. Students like the afternoon class tuition discounting as a strategy for dealing with increasing tuition and providing greater choice and options. In a similar vein, Senate Vice President Lowell Bowditch, classics, asked if financial aid would be increased. Provost Moseley said financial aid packages are based on need, and the UO will continue to meet the standard practice of offering all resident students a financial aid package, including loans, to be able to attend. He noted that the average student graduates with $16,000 in loans, but the difference in average salary between an AA degree and a BA degree is $16,000. Senator Dave Soper asked how the UO's out-of-state tuition compares with other schools in the region. The provost indicated that the UO is a bargain, comparatively speaking. UO tuition rates are below those CO, CA and WA and above AZ, ID and UT. Senator Robert Ponto, music, ended the discussion by stating his appreciation for the arduous work the provost has done, and continues to do, in addressing the budget situation.
Survey of Public Attitudes about the UO. Associate Dean Friestad reported on a recent telephone survey to determine public attitudes about the university. Data were collected in January 2002 from a random sampling of 300 donors, 300 alumni, and 500 registered voters. The three most frequent positive compliments about the UO regarded the quality and breadth of education, athletics (less than 50% related to football), and campus appearance. More than 50% of those polled had nothing negative to say about the university; for donors and alumni, negative comments focused on the weather, parking, and under-funding issues. The survey asked a number questions, including, how important is it for the UO to have faculty who care about teaching, do you agree or disagree that UO faculty care about teaching, are we meeting expectations, and so forth. Salient findings were that only 3% of those surveyed disagreed that the UO has a faculty that cares about teaching. Faculty who care about teaching was very important among those surveyed. Also of importance was for the UO to teach student to solve problems and think analytically. Those surveyed felt it was important for the UO to provide a broad education that includes the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. Another issue that surfaced was keeping tuition low enough to allow most parents in Oregon to send their children to college. Survey respondents did not necessarily think a UO education is too expensive, but they generally did not know the cost of tuition. Sixty-five percent of those polled believe that a resident undergraduate student would pay over $5,000 for one year's tuition and fees. Only 20% of polled registered voters accurately knew tuition costs. Once informed, the voter respondents felt that a UO education is a good value but more than the average family can afford.
Dean Friestad remarked that to counter misperceptions it is important to get the correct information to the public. She also noted that registered voters have broader expectations than donors and alumni. Of the registered voters polled, 18% had postgraduate degrees, 22% undergraduate degrees, and 60% did not have a college degree. Key findings were that (a) there are many soft perceptions of the UO not backed up with facts, (b) the public is vulnerable to negative information, (c) there are large gaps in performance of the UO versus public perception, (d) the UO faculty cares about teaching, (e) there is a knowledge gap on a number of issues raise and questions asked, and (f) three quarters of those polled did not know that the UO brings more money into the state than it gets in its budget from the state. The dean closed her remarks by indicating that the poll was for internal use only and results are housed in Vice President for Advancement Allan Price's office.
Senator Ellis warned of being careful in how perceptions are cleared up, for example, in the voters' perception of the funds the university attracts. He suggested that if voters think we bring in too much money, they might not understand our budget shortages and campaign needs. Provost Moseley agreed that it is essential for voters to be made aware of the benefit the state receives from the UO and the amount of money that is spent and stays instate.
When asked if the UO being affordable to students and continuing a $600 million Comprehensive Campaign is reasonable in light of the state's budget and financial problems, Dean Friestad said these are essential issues and are expected by the UO donors. Concern was raised that advertising the UO as a moneymaker may hinder the efforts of the Comprehensive Campaign. Senator Linman felt it was troublesome that donors are not too worried about the affordability of the UO, to which Dean Friestad replied that we must educate donors about the importance of providing financial aid (in part through their donations) for students.
Report from Interinstitutional Faculty Senate (IFS). IFS representative Peter Gilkey, mathematics, provided a handout (see http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen023/IFS78Feb03.html) summarizing the February IFS meeting. During that meeting, the state senate president Peter Courtney (D) painted a continuing grim picture of the financial crisis in the state, which will undoubtedly affect planning for the 2003-05 biennium. Mr. Gilkey indicated that the IFS would meet with most of the legislative leadership this April in Salem and then a meeting jointly sponsored by the IFS, AOF, and AAUP will be held with the legislative leadership on May 3, 2003 (a Saturday morning meeting) in Corvallis to which UO senate members are encouraged to attend.
Senator Julie Novkov, political science asked if the UO has a voice in discussions regarding the PERS situation. President McLauchlan answered that former University Senator Margaret Hallock is on leave from the university to be a senior advisor for Governor Kulongoski, and can represent the interest and needs of the UO quite strongly. The three faculty organizations previously mentioned have different roles and are at every open meeting regarding the PERS situation, so the university has representation.
Interim Report from President's Task Force on Athletics. Athletics Task Force members Margie Paris, Suzanne Clark, and Jenny Kenyon (student member) provided highlights from the first of three task force interim reports (see http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen023/RptAthCom15Feb03.pdf for full text). This first report addressed three issues: (1) Do we fulfill our educational mission with respect to UO student athletes, (2) Do student athletes receive inappropriate preferential benefits, and (3) Are student athletes exploited. After extensive discussion with coaches, student athletes, and the Student Athletic Advisory Council, Ms. Paris reported that the task force is confident the UO does fulfill its educational obligations and mission with respect to student athletes. When asked how football and basketball programs fared in the report, Ms. Paris said there were no identifiable problems with these ėmoney' sports. Most data cannot be disclosed for individual sports or student groups because of privacy laws, however it was noted that the UO has an 83% graduation rate for athletes compared with a 59% graduation rate for the entire university.
Looking at the issue of whether student athletes receive preferential benefits, the task force considered the levels of financial and academic support, registration, and enrollment benefits. They concluded that there are preferential benefits, particularly in the area of advising, but not inappropriate benefits. For example, two-thirds of the student advising services are paid for by the athletic department but are rendered through the university's academic support services, not the athletic department itself. Ms. Paris said there is integrity in these services and that they are available to all students, not just student athletes. Similarly with regard to class admissions and registration, the athletic department uses some preferences available to them and is more aggressive in their use than other departments. With sport training schedules limiting the athlete's availability for classes, preferential treatment is necessary to meet the academic goals for the athletes and to comply with the NCAA time-to-degree requirements. Ms. Kenyon stated that the majority of athletes take academics seriously, and any preferential benefits are to assist them with academic performance, not sports.
The last issue addressed in the report concerned whether or not student athletes are exploited by the university and used to increase revenue. The task force reported that academic standards and graduation rates reflect that UO athletes are not exploited. The task force was generally pleased with the ethos of the athletics department, noting their emphasis on academics, which is not the case at many other Division I institutions. The athletic department is under extraordinary pressure regarding these issues and the task force felt it was important that faculty have weighed in on the issues. Ms. Paris announced that a forum would be held to further discuss the findings of the task force on March 5, 2003, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Senator Eugene Luks, computer and information science, asked if preferential treatment for athletes in registration affects the non-athletes registration. Ms. Paris replied that the task force did not know, but said other students have voiced concerns regarding this issue. The registration preference is only used during the sport season of a particular athlete and statistically speaking the percentages should not be enough to make a difference for the non-athlete students. It was suggested that Registrar Herb Cherek might be a resource for this question.
Senator Malcolm Wilson, classics, asked if there were any major dissentions among committee members to which Ms. Paris replied that surprisingly, there were not. She remarked that the next two reports address the major issues of revenues, admissions, the high cost of athletics, and athletics' role in the Comprehensive Campaign, which are likely to be more conflicting and contentious issues.
With time running late, President McLauchlan noted he had received notice of motion regarding establishing a quorum for the University Assembly. Also, it was noted that over 500 signatures have been gathered on a petition calling for a meeting of the University Assembly, with legislative authority, to consider a resolution against war with Iraq. After petition signature verification by the secretary, President Frohnmayer will announce a meeting time for the assembly in the near future.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:06 p.m.
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