Present: G. Baitinger, T. Bars, S. Chakraborty, K. Dellabough, L. Forrest, M. Henney, J. Hurwit, C. Jones, D. Kennett, P. Keyes, H. Khalsa, R. Kyr, K. Lenn, H. Lin, C. McNelly, L. Middlebrook, S. Midkiff, T. Minner, D. Olson, J. Piger, M. Price, N. Proudfoot, L. Reichardt, Z. Stark-Macmillan, T. K. Thompson, N. Tublitz, T. Toadvine, L. Van Dreel, S. Verscheure, P. Walker, P. Warner, M. Williams
Excused: J. Bonine, C. Bybee, N. C. Phillips
Absent: C. Bengtson, A. Berenstein, E, Chan, T. Dishion, C. Ellis, A. Emami, H. Gangadharbatla, N. Gower, A. Hilts, M.A. Hyatt, M. Jaeger, K. Jensen, A. Laskaya, P. Southwell, L. Sugiyama
CALL TO ORDER
University Senate President Nathan Tublitz called the regular meeting of the University Senate to order at 3:05 p.m. in the Harrington Room of the Jaqua Center.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Minutes of the February 10, 2010 senate meeting were approved as distributed.
STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY
Provost Jim Bean reported on the recent meeting of the State Board of Higher Education, saying that the next 18 months will be one of the best fiscal periods the university has had since Measure 5 (which capped property taxes, and thus began a long downward trend in reduced funding for higher education). Tax Measures 66 and 67 passed, which was good for the university. The university is not expecting any further rescissions and there is a good flow of students, many of whom are out of state and thus pay higher tuition. He noted that in the next couple of days his office will be sending some funds to the deans to replenish reserve funding that was tapped earlier. Part of the funds represent money held back to pay anticipated rescissions if Measure 66 and 67 did not pass.
The provost went on to say the more exciting information is that the new budget model is alive and well and was rolled out two weeks ago to the deans for the first phase of interaction and discussion. The UO has submitted proposals for tuition increases for next year, proposing tuition increases that will be lower than Oregon State and Portland State, and half of what Berkeley and Washington are doing next year. Tuition increases will be smaller than last year for non-resident students. The tuition inflow should allow two significant things: first, another substantial bite of the faculty hiring that has been promised in the Academic Plan. By the end of this academic year we should have just short of 30 additional tenure-line new hires and be able to do more next year. Second, the provost said that improvement in salaries is the other exciting news: the university's better financial situation will enable movement toward reaching salary parity that has been the goal for some years. Because of the political situation, salary improvements will be made over the next couple years, but Russ Tomlin and the deans will be looking at every individual and trying to come up with a rational measure of where their salaries would be if we had not been in this financial mess since 1991. The aim is to get to the AAU median across various disciplines and markets, and in our comparator schools.
However, the provost said that all the news is not good. The expectation is that next biennium the state will be $2.5 billion short of needed revenues, which translates into an expected funding loss for the UO of approximately $10 million each year of the next biennium (AY 2011-12 and 2012-13). The provost said that we have time to plan for the anticipated drop in funding and can put aside money for that decline yet still have student growth that year; student tuition revenue increases will help offset much of the expected state funding loss. Provost Bean concluded his comments saying that by planning ahead with the several year cycles and with the new budget model, the schools and colleges will be in a much more comfortable position than in recent years.
To a question from Senator Mike Price, mathematics, asking the provost to outline the new budget model, the provost explained that the old model was the traditional public school model, which basically said that your budget next year is your budget this year, plus anything that you can argue out of the provost, minus anything the state takes away. The old model was a system of low dynamics that did not respond well to movement of students around different disciplines or to the student growth that we are dealing with now. The new budget model is one that is being used in public institutions all around the country in response to the waning support of state government funding. The basic premises of the model is to have a good amount of the funding to flow very close to the place the decisions are made; tuition no longer flows to the provost, it flows to the deans. There are two different formulas used for graduate students and undergraduates. For graduate students, tuition money flows to the deans and the departments work out their relationships within the school or college. For undergraduates who may not know what school or college they will eventually be graduating from, 50% of their tuition is distributed by the way they take their credit hours, 30% of the other half goes to the department of their major, or if they are undeclared it goes to CAS, or if they are pre- business, pre-journalism, or pre-education, it goes to those institutions, and the other 20% is pooled and distributed per degrees granted from the previous year. All tuition money goes to some school or college.
All schools and colleges use services such as the library, general counsel, student affairs, academic affairs and others, so they pay a "tax" to the provost based on their expenditures of dollars two years in the past. Thus, at the beginning of the year the schools and colleges will know what their tax bill is going to be. That funding is distributed by the provost to the service areas. The main feature of this model is the only way for the provost to get more money is for the schools and colleges to be successful. The provost's funds are also used for reallocation and cross-subsidizing as necessary, and for strategic spending, such as for additional hiring, and so forth. He added that summer school will be transitioned into the model, but for now it is kept separate.
Motion from Committee on Courses to approve Winter 2010 Curriculum Report. Mr. Paul Engelking chair of the Committee on Courses, presented the Preliminary Winter Curriculum Report for approval. With no corrections or amendments arising from the floor, the senate voted unanimously to pass the Winter Curriculum report.
US09/10-13 regarding the replacement procedure upon resignation of a Senate President (see: http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen090/US090-13.html). Senator Huaxin Lin, mathematics, presented the following motion:
In the event that the office of the President becomes vacant, the Vice President will assume the office of the President and will retain the title of the President-Elect. In the event that the Vice President resigns, he/she may not serve as the President-Elect.
As background information, Senator Lin explained that the motion is necessary to amend the Senate By-Laws in light of Vice President Nathan Tublitz assuming the position of Senate President (after former Senate President Peter Gilkey resigned his position) and claiming the title of President-Elect, contrary to Senate By-Laws Article 4.3 which states that the Vice President also serves as the President-Elect. Senator Lin explained that the issue is whether, when a vice president gives up her/his vice presidency, she/he remains as president-elect for the next academic year.
Parliamentarian Paul Simonds, who was involved in the formulation of the by-laws, when he was asked by Senator Lin, believed that when the vice president resigns during/his/her term, he/she could remain president-elect for the next academic year; he also clarified that once the vice president is elected, he/she is president-elect. After some further discussion regarding whether the amendment was really needed, the parliamentarian opined that the proposed text would indeed clarify the original intent of the by-laws, that is, to have the vice president become president the next year regardless of whether he/she serves as president during the vice presidential year due to the absence of the president for whatever reason. He added that electing an interim vice president for the remainder of this academic year might also be useful. There was little further discussion; with the members appearing ready to vote on the motion, President Tublitz put Motion US09/10-13 to a voice vote and the motion passed unanimously.
Resolution US09/10-14 - regarding the Pacifica Forum. Mr. Bob Bussel, Labor Education and Research Center, and Dean Margie Paris, law, moved the following resolution:
The University Senate denounces in the strongest possible terms the hateful speech that is frequently expressed at the Pacifica Forum and deplores the pseudo-debates that Pacifica Forum portrays as serious intellectual inquiry, and the University Senate will publicize this stand widely throughout the University community.
Mr. Bussel introduced the resolution by noting that students have been quite vocal in expressing their opinion that some of the conversations at the Pacifica Forum meetings made them feel vulnerable; the proposed resolution seeks to act in solidarity with students who feel such vulnerability. He said that the resolution is an effort to affirm the values and core beliefs that the university holds dear - it does not seek to deny free speech or to have a "closed" campus. The ASUO already has passed a similar resolution and both the SEIU and Graduate students also are considering passing a similar resolution. (See http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen090/ParisBussel-08Mar10.html and http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen090/US090-14.html for more background information.)
Mr. Frank Stahl suggested amending the resolution to provide examples of the types of speech and actions that are objectionable in order to give the resolution better emphasis. Dean Paris did not believe the resolution itself needed additional text since background information about the resolution was provided. She emphasized that resolution does not suggest that the campus should not be open to proponents of speech that we do not agree with, or that the free speech rights of the Pacifica Forum specifically should be interfered with. She said it is important to underline the principle of free speech rights, that more speech is better than less speech. That means, she continued, that it is important that we all speak out when speakers engaged in hateful messaging such as the Pacifica Forum has done.
During the discussion, a number of faculty, staff and students spoke eloquently in strong support of the resolution, in some cases providing their own experiences as the subjects of hateful speech and actions (see addendum A to these minutes). Mr. Bussel thanked all the speakers for their support of the motion and noted that students come the to the university believing it is a place where they can feel welcome and safe; the speech that often transpires from the Pacifica Forum is antithetical to a welcoming, safe atmosphere.
As the discussion wound down, President Tublitz brought Resolution US09/10-14 to vote and the resolution passed unanimously.
Unionization of tenure-related faculty, non tenure-track faculty, officers of administration and research.
President Tublitz opened the floor for a discussion regarding the issue of unionization of tenure-related faculty, non-tenure related faculty, officers of administration, and officers of research. Senator Jeff Hurwit, art history, started the discussion in opposition to unionization saying that in his view possible unionization is perhaps the most important issue that the U of O faculty will face. He opined that if a bargaining union is organized as it is presently conceived (that is, with all unclassified employees lumped together as one employment group), the relationship between tenured faculty and the university will change and it would not be for the better. Lack of transparency in university administration and budget processes, the failure of the faculty governance system, and the under payment of faculty are cited as the principle reasons to unionize. However, in the new administrative era with President Richard Lariviere and Provost Jim Bean, positive changes are underway. The faculty by charter are the governors of this institution and one cannot be governors and unionized employees at the same time - it sets up and adversarial relationship with the administration. He emphasized his belief that the tenure-related faculty should not be lumped together with OAs, ORs or non-tenure track faculty because they have very different roles, responsibilities, and concerns. He added that he is primarily at the university for the students, and he said that unionization as one large employment group has the potential to change what faculty do and who they are. He urged other faculty members not to support unionization.
Several people then spoke in support of unionization. Mr. Randy Sullivan, chemistry, said that as a NTTIF, he was in a group too small to form its own union and that he felt one could not depend on a change in administration. Ms. Lydia Van Dreel, music, spoke in disagreement with the characterization of unions as adversarial with the administration. Similarly, Ms. Marie Vitulli, mathematics, supports unionization and gave the State University of New York at Buffalo as a good example of an AAU institution that is unionized. She said that one cannot count on one administration over the next, or from year to year; rather, a contract is needed with the Employee's Relation Board to see to the agreement.
Mr. Frank Stahl, emeritus biology, noted that faculty are building a good structural relationship with the administration (the new president) by preparing a governance constitution in which the desirable relationship between the president and faculty is expressed; there is good progress on this document soon to be ratified by the president. Senator Harinder Khalsa, romance languages, said that she did not understand what a union would bring to the university, and why we needed outsiders (a union) to engage in dialogue, wondering why we could not do that ourselves. In response, Mr. Gordon Sayre, English, said that a union would be "us", university employees; it is for us and it sees to our agenda to set goals. He said it would not necessarily include outsiders, although it may hire some outside staff.
Ms. Renee Irvin, PPPM, spoke in opposition to unionization. She had researched the union situation for faculty at PSU and found that the salary emphasis there is on equity, with very little merit pay available. Such a situation would reduce the UO's ability to attract and retain top faculty talent. She said that unionization provides no new resources to fund salaries, and if one crosses the picket lines when the union is on strike, one is subject to dismissal. Of the 62 AAU institutions, only four are unionized - none of the West Coast "flagship" institutions are unionized. Ms. Irvin said there was an amazing level of central control in a union, and she felt that faculty would have less voice and less ability to run their own departments.
Ms. Lynn Cole, development, wondered how PSU and SOU had done (salary-wise) during the past budgeting declines; she suggested that we are lacking information on such issues. President Tublitz then proposed that a debate or maybe two debates be set up campus wide to which both those who are for and those who are against unionization be invited. He asked that volunteers willing to speak either for or against the union issue contact him to get the debate ready for spring term. He hopes to have representatives from all the various employment groups speak. Ms. Linda King, director of human resources, added that they have posted a good deal of procedural and other union-related information on their website.
Mr. Marcus Widenor, Labor Research and Education Center, opined that collective bargaining gives faculty a lever; it is a large legal responsibility on both parties. He said he would like to have more people in the employment group than fewer because it provides greater bargaining leverage. Ms. Laura Willey, library system, supported unionization saying that the UO employees could make the contract our own, omitting or including items of interest through negotiations. Again in support of unionization, Ms. Vitulli suggested that everyone should look at contracts of institutions similar to the UO (such as the SUNY system); most of their contracts still have merit pay in them. Also, unionization is about more than just salaries - it includes negotiating grievance procedures and working conditions, among other things.
Senator Leah Middlebrook, comparative literature, asked how a "wall-to-wall" unionization would work across so many different faculty areas. In response Mr. Sayre commented that faculty can negotiate the things that are of common interest such as benefits, salaries, and retirements. Mr. Bob Bussel added that he has worked with unions for nearly 40 years, and he does not believe that the comments in opposition to unions have been realistic; rather, he said that in reality unions do not act in the ways that some have portrayed them. Similarly, Senator Carla McNelly, multicultural academic success and a classified staff representative, commented that some of the benefits that unclassified staff have mentioned they fear they would lose under unionization would not be there in the first place without the classified staff's union.
As the discussion began to wind down, President Tublitz thanked everyone who commented for expressing opinions and participating in the discussion.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE FLOOR
The secretary reminded everyone that solicitation for participation on appointed committees as well as standing for election to the senate and other elected committees was being conducted on-line for the first time. She encouraged those that had not responded yet to do so and to in turn encourage colleagues to sign up. A nominations web page will again list nominees for the various elected committees, councils, and the University Senate; the link is found on the senate's main web page (http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen090/nominate090.html). Nominations will be accepted through April 23rd with the election held April 29th through May 7th.
Lastly, President Tublitz gave notice of a motion to keep the revised agenda format for the remainder of the academic year.
With no other announcements or new business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:43 p.m.
Gwen Steigelman Secretary of the Faculty
Addendum A -- Statement from Theodora Ko Thompson in support of Resolution US09/10-14
I was in Germany in the 1980s, in a pub in a small town called Boppard-am-Rhein, having a conversation with Frank Müller, a young man of 21, a student beginning to explore his individuality and freedom away from home. Upon hearing the sound of planes overhead every 10-15 minutes, I took the opportunity to ask him - in smattering German, French and English, that was how we communicated - how he and his peers viewed the Holocaust. His face muscles tightened, he said: "It was a very dark period in history. I am ashamed of this past in our history. Never again!" I felt inspired by what Frank said - there was the promise of Germany's youth taking on responsibility for its ugly past.
From what I've read, what's been reported, it is sad that there are members of the Pacifica Forum who revere the Sieg Heil, and reject history's lessons. I value the principles of free speech, perhaps more so because I know what it means to have none. I am from Singapore, a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society where I was raised to appreciate the differences amongst us - a collective identity, if you will - of a people who value, respect and honor the differences that make each and every one of us unique.
There are over 1400 classified staff who provide vital services to the entire university community. I am proud that we senators represent staff of every race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender expression, physical ability and sexual orientation. There is rich history that unites us to celebrate and be proud of the diversity among us.
I am alarmed by the hateful and hurtful speech by members of Pacifica Forum denigrating members of our community - the pseudo debates that serve to flame emotions under the facade of intellectual inquiry afforded to us by the First Amendment. Their expressions of views are antithetical to the University's commitment to equal treatment, respect and diversity. For the Frank Müllers amongst us, and for the classified staff who we represent, I support this resolution.
Theodora Ko Thompson Senator for Classified Staff 2009-2011
|Last update 17 April 2010 by ms|