Minutes of the University of Oregon Senate Meeting 11 January 2012
Prepared and submitted by Christopher S. Prosser, Senate Executive Coordinator
Present: Roger Adkins, Tracy Bars, John Bonine, Nancy Bray, Jane Brubaker Ben Eckstein, Robert Elliot, Jennifer Ellis, Ali Emami, Karen Estlund, John Foster, Deborah Healey, Anthony Hornof, Harinder Kaur Khalsa, Theodora Ko Thompson Peter Lambert, Kelley Leon Howarth, Ryan Kellems, Peter Keyes, Robert Kyr, Huaxin Lin, Andrew Lubash, Stephanie Matheson, Carla McNelly, Ian McNeely, Debra Merskin, Ronald Mitchell, Emma Newman, Marilyn Nippold, Amy Nuetzman, Steven Pologe, Roxann Prazniak, Sonja Runberg, Gordon Sayre, Donna Shaw, Christopher Sinclair, Randy Sullivan, Ying Tan, Nathan Tublitz, Glen Waddell, Peter Walker, Dean Walton
Absent: Pedro Garcia Caro, Mark Gillem, Roland Good, Sangita Gopal, Colin Ives, Jena Langham, Peng Lu, Jeffrey Measelle, Harlan Mechling, Vadim Vologodski,
1. CALL TO ORDER
Senate President Robert Kyr (Music and Dance) called the meeting of the University Senate for January 11, 2012 to order at 3:04PM in the Erb Memorial Union Ballroom. He offered a warm welcome to those in attendance and stated that he was personally grateful for such a large turnout to this very important Senate meeting.
1.1 Approval of the minutes of the Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 meetings
Senate President Kyr called for the approval of the November 30 and December 7 Senate meeting minutes. He asked the Senate body for suggested changes or revisions to the minutes. Seeing none, he called for a motion to approve the minutes. A motion was called and seconded. A voice vote was taken, and the minutes were approved unanimously.
1.2 Remarks by Robert Kyr, Senate President
Senate President Kyr stated that today was a special occasion because it was the first time that the university community has had the opportunity to engage with President Robert Berdahl (Interim President) in a public forum. He was personally thrilled that President Berdahl accepted the position. Senate President Kyr stated that this acceptance shows the President’s confidence in the university community and in the University of Oregon. He then personally thanked President Berdahl for his leadership and invited him to the podium to present his address.
2. STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY
2.1 Remarks by Robert Berdahl, Interim President
Below are Interim President Berdahl’s remarks to the Senate.
Robert M. Berdahl, Interim President UO Senate Meeting Remarks Jan. 11, 2012
Good afternoon. Although, as I am sure you know, I am not pleased with the circumstances that have led to my being here today in this role of interim president, I am very pleased with the opportunity to return to the UO and to participate, once again in its wonderful and important activities.
I want to apologize in advance to everyone I will not have a chance to meet during my interim presidency, to every department and office I'm not able to visit, and to all who invite me to functions that I'm not able to attend. An interim presidency is different, and my orientation across the campus and with stakeholders across the state can't be as thorough as it was for Richard and will be for the next president. There simply isn't enough time to get to know each of you the way I would like to.
I am honored that the faculty, represented by this senate, was in favor of my appointment as interim president. Absence, it is said, makes the heart grow fonder; in fact, I suspect, absence only causes the memory to grow fainter, so that somehow whatever memory remains of my earlier incarnation here is colored more favorably than it should be. People seem to have an exaggerated esteem for me, so that it is certain and inevitable that my reputation will be worse by September than it is now. On the other hand, presidential honeymoons usually last about 9 months, so if we can keep this marriage happily together until September, I may escape before you entirely regret your recommendation to the Oregon Board of Higher Education.
Last night, as I was settling in to write these brief remarks at McMorran House, I chanced to pick up a brochure on the history of the UO president’s residence and I was surprised to learn that of the twelve UO presidents who have lived in McMorran house during the last seventy years, I have followed the University closely as a faculty member or champion through nine. And I have known reasonably well or worked in some fashion with six of them.
I served as a dean when Paul Olum was president; I knew Myles Brand when we were both deans, he at Arizona, I here, and then when we were both provosts in the Big Ten; I have known Dave Frohnmayer for forty years, from the time we were both young faculty, and I worked closely with him and admired his leadership when I was president of the AAU, where he served with distinction on the AAU executive committee and hosted one of its best meetings here at UO. And I have known and worked with Richard Lariviere at Texas and here; I have already offered public testimony of my admiration for his leadership.
Those are all tall shoulders upon which to stand, and it is because we stand on their shoulders that we have been given a more far-reaching vision of where this University can go, of what it can achieve.
But, however much inspired leadership these presidents may have provided, however far they can see to a distant horizon, it is ultimately the faculty that will take us there. For it is, in the final analysis, the quality of the faculty that determines the quality of the University. It takes excellent staff to make it all work, but this University will ultimately be judged by the quality of its faculty, nothing more, nothing less.
Excellence begets excellence across the entire University community. That refers to our faculty, to our students, to classified staff, officers of administration and everyone else associated with the university. I remember a comment from 1986 Nobel Laureate Yuan T. Lee who earned his Ph.D. at Berkeley then later in his career returned to teach at Berkeley. Professor Lee said that he originally came to study at Berkeley because of the quality of the faculty then he returned to teach at Berkeley because of the quality of the Students. Excellence begets Excellence.
So, you may ask, where do I hope we can go over the next few months?
First, it is essential that we recruit and retain the very best faculty we possibly can. Because of good financial management and a successful model for growing revenue, despite poor state support, the UO is relatively unique in its capacity to add faculty to its ranks over the course of this academic year. CAS currently has about 35 searches underway, many of them new lines; the other schools and colleges are also adding faculty. Few public universities are able to do this in this fiscal environment.
We must take care that we are recruiting the very best. The mark of a first-class faculty, a self-confident faculty, I believe, is the willingness to recruit people who are better than those of us who are already here. The other mark of a first-class faculty is the willingness to halt a search and start over, rather than filling a position with a lesser choice simply to fill it. I am confident that the deans and the central administration are determined to help you achieve successful searches in every possible way. This is how our momentum can be sustained.
Second, we must recruit a strong, visionary, effective leader as the next president of the UO. The search process is getting underway, as Chancellor Pernsteiner and Board member Ford will be discussing with the campus today and in the days ahead. I clearly have an interest in this process being completed by the beginning of the summer and a new president in place for the next academic year. But I also believe that the campus has a great interest in securing a president who can be in place by September.
We have a lot of momentum. Although morale has been damaged by the Board’s decision to terminate President Lariviere, it is generally high because of the momentum, the hope and expectation of the future, which he generated.
One of my tasks as a presidential consultant this fall was to help in planning for the upcoming capital campaign. I met with all the deans and a number of faculty. Contrary to one of the truisms coined by Peter Flawn, one of my predecessors as President of UT Austin, who observed that “Faculty morale is always at an all-time low,” I found faculty morale to be very high. One associate dean in CAS commented, “I would rather be at the UO right now than at any other public university in America.”
The key to keeping that sense of optimism alive is to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, but also to recruit an outstanding president. I believe I can be of help in that process, in part because my previous positions have enabled me to know a large number of potential candidates. I hope to be able to play an active role in the search process.
Our third imperative, upon which the others depend, is to advance the project of gaining an independent board for the UO. I believe this is essential to sustaining the morale of this institution. It is essential if we are to successfully recruit faculty. It is essential if we are to be able to spend the university’s resources to best support our people and our mission.
And it is essential to the successful recruitment of a strong, independent leader for the UO. Given the abbreviated tenure of the last president, all presidential candidates – at least any whom we would be interested in recruiting – are bound to ask whether, given the current abysmal support for the university from the state, is it possible to succeed in advancing the University unless it is liberated from its current constraints.
My answer is simply, no. One need only to look to the success of OHSU to realize how an institution provided with greater freedom of action can prosper. OHSU has moved from a middling medical school to being a first-rate medical school and research center, now competing for talent with the very best medical centers in the nation.
I believe the UO can experience a similar leap forward; I believe there is the possibility of a major restructuring of our revenue stream that can happen if we are given the freedom to do so. I believe there is substantial support for this within the context of the governor’s plan for restructuring education in Oregon and that the moment is ripe for such a change.
I am aware that there is opposition to the UO’s efforts from some quarters and that some other institutions in the State System view this initiative negatively. I confess that I do not understand why. We do not propose to take any resources from other institutions in the system; we do not propose to withdraw from any of the collaborations with the other institutions. We are as committed to the public mission of the University as any institution in the state, and we will remain committed to that public mission, as are other public universities who have their own boards.
Higher education in Oregon was not weakened by granting OHSU independence; it was strengthened as OHSU grew better and attracted to Oregon outstanding faculty and students. Excellence begets excellence; mediocrity begets mediocrity. If the UO becomes a stronger University, how is another institution weakened? I know from personal experience that UC Berkeley is a better university because it compares itself to Stanford, because it competes as well as collaborates with Stanford as well as with UC San Francisco.
So I am determined to advance the project of an independent board for UO. And, since members of the Board of Higher Education have indicated publicly as well as privately that the Board’s differences with President Lariviere were not over policy, but over style, I intend to work with the Chancellor and the Board to achieve those policies that will yield an independent board for the UO.
Since this is a meeting of the University Senate, let me close with a few words about shared governance. At the University of Oregon, in a manner that is almost unique to this university, the statutory faculty has included, through the creation of a broad-based University wide Senate, many voices in fulfilling the faculty’s primary responsibility of addressing academic matters.
I am a firm believer in the principle of shared governance. In my various capacities as a faculty member, or university administrator, or president of the AAU, I have seen a wide range of experiences in shared governance. I have seen examples where the faculty role in shared governance was extremely weak, held so by administrative design. I have seen cases where the principle of shared governance was present by design, but where it functioned very poorly and ineffectively because the faculty senate was controlled by faculty who commanded little respect from either the administration or their faculty colleagues; as a consequence, the best faculty refused to be involved and the faculty senate became the playground of the malcontents who ground their own axes and operated, not as an advisor to the administration, but as its adversary. As a result, mutual trust disappeared and shared governance failed to function properly.
At Berkeley, I experienced shared governance in one of its best manifestations. Shared governance at Berkeley dates back to 1920, when the faculty gained a major voice in the academic matters of the campus, advising the president on all appointments and promotions of faculty and deans, on all curricular matters and changes of educational policy, and on budget issues. According to one historian of shared governance at Berkeley, the faculty there enjoyed more influence on the academic direction of the university than any other faculty in the nation.
I happen to believe that this level of shared governance has been largely responsible for the excellence of Berkeley. The very best faculty at Berkeley, including Nobel laureates, take responsibility for maintaining the quality of the faculty. While post-tenure review at some universities is seen as an invasion of the right of tenure, at Berkeley, it is taken for granted. A powerful committee of the faculty reviews every member of the faculty every three years and makes recommendations on all merit increases. Every appointment, every promotion is reviewed by this committee, providing advice to the chancellor. It is the faculty, working with the administration that largely accounts for the quality of Berkeley.
So I approach the newly drafted constitution for the faculty senate of the UO from this perspective on shared governance: it works best when the most respected members of the faculty are willing to assume responsibility for it; it works best when the faculty takes most seriously its job for sustaining the quality of the faculty and the academic program; and it works best when it considers the administration as an ally in the quest for quality, not as its adversary.
Further, it works best when we engage in participatory decision making but with clarity about who then makes the decision. If, together, we trust that each of us, faculty and administration, want to build the best university we can, we may occasionally disagree on the means, but not the ends, and we can work together in a non-adversarial fashion.
Thank you for this opportunity to talk with you.
He then called for questions from the Senate and members of the university community.
2.2 Questions and comments with response
The first question came from Professor Ron Lovinger (Landscape Architecture). He first thanked Interim President Berdahl for his comments, and stated that he also arrived at the university during the time of President Arthur Fleming. He was concerned with the landscape structure of campus and the continued disintegration of walkways, roads, plantings, etc… A serious issue for him was who will take care of the universities living landscape treasure. He hoped that over the next few months, the university would seriously consider the beautiful legacy that has been inherited by our community. Instead of thinking about objects and buildings, he would prefer to see a shift towards the consideration of relationships and how ideals manifest themselves through our roles as stewards of our campus landscape for future generations of students, faculty, and staff. Professor Lovinger then stated that he has been reluctant to make this point until now, but he believed that a shift in receptivity was taking place. According to Professor Lovinger, over the years, the landscape infrastructure at the university has disintegrated. He hoped that the Senate and administration would seriously consider his plea especially in the areas of the Willamette River, the Riverfront Research Park, and the entire ecosystem of the Willamette Valley.
Interim President Berdahl thanked Professor Lovinger for his words and stated that he has always believed that the University of Texas at Austin has the best university physical plan in the nation. While he was President of that institution, his administration hired a development team to prepare a master plan for the university. This plan was one of his proudest achievements as President of that institution. His successors have followed through with this plan, which was noticed by city officials and soon integrated into the surrounding areas of the university. This process was repeated on a smaller scale when he was Chancellor at the University of California Berkeley. Interim President Berdahl then stated that he appreciated Professor Lovingers suggestions and would pass his concerns along to his successor if he could not attend to them himself.
The next question came from Senator John Bonine (Law). He wanted to know what Interim President Berdahl could offer as a selling point from his experience in working with state officials towards the hiring of a new University President.
In response to Senator Bonine’s question, Interim President Berdahl replied that all public universities are undergoing tremendous stress and are entering into newly defined relationships with their respective states as the percentage of state funding declines. Universities are working to renegotiate their relationships with their respective states. Some have had independent boards for most of their history (University of Michigan) and have flourished more often than not. He also thought that the new partnership, as outlined by Richard Lariviere, was a compelling vision for flagship public universities across the nation. Flagship universities have suffered the most as a result of state decline due to their more expensive cost structures. The struggle resides in how to sustain the public mission of a public university with a different governance and revenue structure. He then stated that the state’s contribution towards the University of Oregon’s operating budget was the lowest in the country. To him it was obvious that the state should not be able to have complete control of the institution while only contributing seven percent of the budget. He felt that the redefinition of structure was an important issue so that a President could feel that he or she could take the university forward. He then discussed the AAU’s meeting at the University of Oregon during the Frohnmayer administration and called it one of the most successful meetings in the history of the organization. He believed it was so successful because AAU members who came from other universities on the East coast were unaware of the quality that existed at the UO, and were very impressed. He believes that will happen to potential candidates who do not know much about the university.
The next question came from Ben Eckstein (ASUO President). He asked Interim President Berdahl what he thought the role of students was in shared governance at the university. Due to the fact that students have had to make up for the lack of state investment, he also wanted to know the level of influence students would have at the university and what Interim President Berdahl would do during his time to reach out to students.
Interim President Berdahl replied that it was important to have an open dialogue regarding all issues that involve students. If the faculty declines, student’s degrees will not mean very much. The students have a vested interest in their degrees, but they must recognize that it takes resources to maintain talented faculty. He then stated that it was dreadful that students must bear the brunt of their educational costs. Despite this issue, students, faculty, and the administration must work together to maintain the quality of the university. Tuition and fees are an inevitable component of maintaining these resources. He hoped that the students understood this due to their vested interest in the quality of their degrees. During the last meeting of the legislature, it was decided that fees would not be raised more than five percent per year.
Interim President Berdahl then mentioned that when he was Chancellor of UC Berkeley, his administration went five year without raising tuition. According to Interim President Berdahl, this was a terrible mistake. It necessitated an enormous tuition increase at the end of the five year period, and was extremely unfair to the students who came after the five years with no increase. Operating without tuition increases for years at a time passes the burden of maintaining the university to the next generation of students.
The next comment was from Professor Bruce Blonigen (Economics). He mentioned two concerns. The first concern was regarding the Presidential search and the second concern was an operational concern. He stated that the governor’s issues with the state will not be resolved until 2013, and as such the next UO President will not know whom to report to and he asked for Interim President Berdahl’s thoughts on that issue. His second concern was regarding retention of faculty. According to Professor Blonigen, the UO lost many good people last year and there was currently a hiring market crisis for post docs coming out of PHD programs. He also mentioned that university salaries were below AAU comparator schools and that this was very important for maintaining quality at the UO. He then asked Interim President Berdahl to address Richard Lariviere’s dismissal for attempting to close the gap between the UO and their AAU comparator schools.
Interim President Berdahl replied that the UO could not afford to lose faculty in large numbers without it profoundly affecting morale and the momentum surrounding the university. Retaining and recruiting people are tantamount and Richard Lariviere paid a very high price for increasing salaries, but he did the right thing. He then stated that the issue of salary compression was not new. Interim President Berdahl arrived at the University of Oregon in 1967, which was one of the most expansive times in the history of the UO, and even then there was salary compression. He was paid a higher wage than assistant professors who had been hired two and three years prior to his arrival, and those who were hired after him had even higher salaries. He then stated that he would be discussing this issue with the Chancellor and state board. In regards to Professor Blonigen’s comment regarding the next President not knowing who his boss would be, Interim President Berdahl stated that he will have to work to come out of the legislature with a clear path that can assure a future candidate that the goals that have been defined within the university can be achieved. This will be a critical component of the UO’s ability to recruit.
The next question came from Professor Shawn Lockery (Biology). He stated that approximately two thirds of the UO new hires are in the sciences. The Vice President for Research stated that the budget for start-up funds currently stands at five hundred thousand dollars. To put that into perspective, the last assistant professor hired in this department required one million three hundred thousand dollars in start-up funds. He believed this to be a serious problem that required extreme measures for resolution, and asked Interim President Berdahl what type extreme measures he was willing to support.
Interim President Berdahl replied that he could not answer that question. He recognized the problem and stated that start-up costs in the sciences are the largest stumbling block to the recruitment of new faculty. One solution might be to spread out new hires, but he did not know the answer. He then stated that he was conscious to the fact that start-up funds were relatively depleted and the UO will have to find the means of sequestering more in the years ahead. It will be much more difficult to secure federal money going forward than it has been in the past which means the university will have to carry current faculty much longer with start-up funds than previously. Interim President Berdahl will be working with the Vice President for Research and the deans on this issue. The current budget model disperses funds to the different colleges placing the funding responsibility on the deans rather than with the central administration. To close, Interim President Berdahl thanked the Senate and university community members for their interaction and stated that he looked forward to working together with everyone during his time at the university.
Senate President Kyr thanked Interim President Berdahl for his remarks and his leadership.
3. OPEN DISCUSSION: PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH PROCESS
Senate President Kyr introduced George Pernsteiner (OUS Chancellor) and Allyn Ford (Chair, Presidential Search Committee) to the Senate body and informed everyone that there will be another campus forum conjoined with a Senate meeting on February 8. At that meeting, a discussion will be held on the qualities sought after in a new President.
3.1 Remarks by Chancellor George Pernsteiner
Chancellor Pernsteiner thanked the Senate and members of the university community for attending the forum and sharing their comments and suggestions as the search process moved forward. He stated that he was very excited to be working with Interim President Berdahl because of his ability to act as advisor to both the Chancellor and board members regarding the selection of a potential presidential candidate. Chancellor Pernsteiner asked Allyn Ford to present his remarks to the Senate.
3.2 Remarks by Allyn Ford; Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Allyn Ford stated that he wanted to be sure that the state board of higher education was in agreement with Interim President Berdahl’s statement that their objective was to expedite the search process. The state board appointed Mr. Ford as chair of the search committee. The search committee will be working very closely with the Chancellor and other members of the university. It is his hope to be able to recommend a presidential candidate for the board’s approval during the month of June. He then introduced himself to the Senate and university community members. He stated that he has been on the state board for three years and lived in Roseburg, OR. He is the owner of a wood products business and his connection to the University of Oregon was fairly strong. Mr. Ford then stated that the objective of the search committee was to move quickly. The task at hand was to put together a search committee comprised of approximately twenty members with two thirds of the members coming from the University of Oregon. The remaining thirty to forty percent of the committee will be comprised of donors, alumni, and friends of the institution. Each member of the search committee must be able to effectively communicate the needs of their specific constituency.
Mr. Ford remarked that the search committees will focus on finding a quality candidate. If the committee does not find the right person for the job, they will continue the search until they do. He then stated that both he and Chancellor Pernsteiner were here to listen and then turned the conversation over to Chancellor Pernsteiner.
Chancellor Pernsteiner thanked Mr. Ford for his leadership and willingness to serve in this important role as chair of the Presidential search committee. He reiterated Mr. Ford’s comment regarding the committees focus on quality. He was interested in designing a process that will result in the selection a top quality candidate hopefully before the end of the spring term. According to Chancellor Pernsteiner, the committee will not scrimp on quality to meet a timeline. For the past month, Chancellor Pernsteiner has been in consultation with students, the Senate Executive Committee, and others around campus in an effort to identify who might serve most effectively on the search committee. He then asked the Senate and community members to contemplate whether they would be interested in adding additional names to the list that was under consideration. All names are to be submitted to Sona Andrews (Vice Chancellor for Academic Strategies) via email to email@example.com. The names of potential search committee members will be accepted through the end of the day on Friday, January 13, 2012. He then stated that it was very important that each member of the search committee be well respected within their respective constituencies. When submitting a name for nomination, the Chancellor asked to note that person’s affiliation and to provide a brief statement of support. The Chancellor then stated that he has and will be contacting the people whose names are put forth for service to ascertain their willingness to serve.
The Chancellor reiterated that there will be twenty people on the search committee; twelve of the twenty will be comprised of faculty, staff, and student from the University of Oregon. The remaining committee members will come from the community and will include donors, alumni, and other supporter of the institution. Appropriate representation from all constituencies was very important to the success of the new President and this was why both he and Mr. Ford were reaching out and seeking suggestions as to who ought to be on the search committee. Chancellor Pernsteiner remarked that the work of the search committee would mainly be concentrated during the months of March, April, and May of this year. They are currently in the process of seeking a search consultant firm. According to the Chancellor, proposals were sent a month ago to dozens of search firms around the country for their consideration in advising the search committee. A review panel, of which Interim President Berdahl was a member, will review each proposal and submit their recommendation to Chancellor Pernsteiner regarding who the panel believes is the best search consultant firm. Once the search firm has been selected, the Presidential Search Committee will invite the principle search member to their first committee meeting, which will hopefully take place around the first of February. S/he will also be invited to the February 8 campus forum.
Chancellor Pernsteiner informed the Senate that a review committee, comprised exclusively of campus representatives, was in the process of being established. This committee would have a role in interviewing presidential candidates before the search committee presents their selection to the state board. He hopes that this will bring a wider understanding of each potential candidate to university community members. They are still in the process of determining how this review committee will be established, but discussions are underway.
After Chancellor Pernsteiner concluded his remarks, Senate President Kyr called for questions and comments from the Senate and university community members.
3.3 Questions and comments with response
The first comment came from Professor John Moseley (Physics Emeritus). He stated that over the past twenty two years of his career at the University of Oregon, there was a lingering sentiment that the success of the university came at the expense of other institutions in the Oregon University System (OUS). He has never observed that to be true. Professor Moseley then asked Chancellor Pernsteiner what he was going to say when this issue was raised again.
Chancellor Pernsteiner replied that the current resource allocation model was based on several factors. There are targeted programs that are specified by the legislature in their line item reports that are not denominated by students. There was also an amount denominated by fundable students based on the level of the student, their division, and discipline level. What has happened over the last several years was that the mix of students in the system has shifted. In the late 1980s, thirty percent of fundable students were at the University of Oregon. Today that figure was twenty percent or fewer, and as a result, other institutions have increased their resident students at a much faster rate. Total students include non-resident and non-fundable students. He also added that higher cost disciplines including engineering and medicine are concentrated at Oregon State University which makes their numbers look different in comparison to the UO. He then stated that the model was still functioning in the fashion by which it was designed in 1999 and takes into account the shift in students. Chancellor Pernsteiner did not believe that that was the correct way to fund students going forward.
Professor Moseley replied that Chancellor Pernsteiner had not answered his question, to which the Chancellor apologized. Professor Moseley then repeated his question which was; did Chancellor Pernsteiner believe that the success of the University of Oregon over the last thirty years has come at the expense of other institutions in the system and does he see the future success of the university coming at the expense of other institutions in OUS.
In response to Professor Moseley’s first question, Chancellor Pernsteiner replied absolutely not. According to the Chancellor, all of the OUS institutions, on virtually every measure, are more successful than they have ever been previously. He then stated that the success of the UO, which was undoubted, has not in any way harmed other institutions. The state of Oregon has set a very high goal for education detainment that every institution will have stretch to attain, and none of the OUS institutions need harm any of the others in order for each to be successful.
At this point, Senate President Kyr mentioned that many have heard, from various resources around the state, statement that were quite inflammatory regarding this topic. Others have been working for many years to inspire a sense of understanding among the institutions in the state that the UO was operating on good will and collaboration. Each institution should be recognized for what it was and should be supported in that manner. He then asked Chancellor Pernsteiner for his help in communicating this to the state board because the UO has been frequently villainized in the press and among their colleagues at other institutions who do not understand what Chancellor Pernsteiner had just expressed. He then called for the next question.
Senator Randy Sullivan (Chemistry) thanked Chancellor Pernsteiner and Allyn Ford for attending the Senate meeting and taking questions from the both the Senate and university community members. In regard to the search committee selection, he asked Chancellor Pernsteiner if he was giving greater weight to executive committees from the Senate, ASUO, and the classified staff union than from suggestions coming from others in the university community.
Chancellor Pernsteiner replied that he has agreed to consult with those groups once he has accumulated all suggested names for the search committee.
Senate President Kyr then stated that he, as Senate President, would be in close communication, providing updates, and participating in outreach. All of that has taken place through the Senate Executive Committee, the Senate, and the entire university community through emails from the Office of Communication asking for nominations to the search committee. He then reminded everyone that more names may be submitted to Sona Andrews as was previously mentioned by Chancellor Pernsteiner.
The next comment came from Senator John Bonine (Law). He disagreed with the Chancellor’s comment regarding whether or not the success of the University of Oregon would hurt other OUS institutions. Senator Bonine stated that there were those who believed that the university would hurt other institutions should it gain a greater measure of independence from the state. He believed that the precept stating nothing the university does shall harm other institutions focuses on the wrong issue. Senator Bonine stated that the right issue should be that the university shall persuade other institutions if things that are done for the benefit of the university will not be harmful because they will not be harmful. Structural change will not necessarily harm other institutions, but will enhance the universities independence.
Chancellor Pernsteiner replied that he would not prejudge what the right outcome should be. OUS was trying to do what was best for the state and the citizens of Oregon. The mechanisms employed and the resources garnered are yet to be determined. He then stated that there was no prima facie case to be made that says that any issue at the University of Oregon was automatically deleterious to any other institution.
Senator Bonine replied that the Chancellor’s previous statement could have been taken by some as a restriction to the changes that many feel are necessary and that he believes the Chancellor also feels are necessary.
The Chancellor replied that there was a process in place through the board’s governance committee that would bring closure to these issues. The governor has outlined this process to the governance committee in December and these issues will be addressed. According to the Chancellor, this process started in late 2009 which led to the adoption of Senate Bill 242 which changed the status of the University of Oregon. He then informed the Senate that nothing was off the table.
Senator Bonine replied that because the issue of the board’s internal governance committees had been raised, the November draft produced by that committee for the allocation of power between the state board and a university board was completely unacceptable. He then asked Chancellor Pernsteiner if there was something he could do or would be willing to do to involve stakeholders in the discussions of the internal governance committee so that it does not remain completely internal to the board. He was concerned that there would be little involvement from stakeholder groups outside of the internal governance committee.
Chancellor Pernsteiner replied that he would bring this concern before the governance committee. He then remarked that a way could be found to involve a broader set of people in these discussions. Currently, they will be involving the Presidents of the OUS institutions and are open to including other in the discussion.
Senator Bonine thanked Chancellor Pernsteiner for his consideration and remarked that this was consistent with the universities system of shared governance.
Senate President Kyr called for one final question before moving on to the rest of the items on the agenda.
The final comment came from Professor Brigid Flannery (Education). She asked that both the Chancellor and Mr. Ford keep in mind that the faculty was very diverse group and that there were both tenure and non-tenure related faculty. She also stated that the Senate was a very strong body, and that it had non-voting members that included research faculty. She believed that these research faculty members were a critical component of the university and should have a strong voice in the selection of the next President.
Senate President Kyr thanked Professor Flannery for her comment and mentioned that there was another forum taking place at 5PM in the Gerlinger Alumni Lounge. He invited everyone to this forum and stated that there would be more time for discussion with the Chancellor and Mr. Ford. Senate President Kyr thanked Chancellor Pernsteiner and Allyn Ford for their presentations and reminded those in attendance that at the February eighth Senate meeting, Interim President Berdahl would be addressing the university community followed by a discussion with Chancellor Pernsteiner and Allyn Ford.
4. OPEN DISCUSSION
4.1 Policy on Policies; Nathan Tublitz, Immediate Past President
Senator Nathan Tublitz (Biology) stated that in December, under Senate President Kyr’s tutelage, the Policy on Policies was signed and approved by President Richard Lariviere. Last year, an informal agreement was reached with the university administration that all university policies should come before the Senate for review. The Policy on Policies established the procedure by which all policies go through before being adopted at the university. The policy flowchart was displayed on the view screen and Senator Tublitz briefly outlined the various steps that a policy must go through before being approved. He then stated that before the Policy on Policies was adopted, the Senate was never officially kept in the loop. Now every policy goes to the Senate President who decides whether or not the policy has an academic impact. If it does, even indirectly, it goes to the Senate Executive Committee who decided whether or not the policy was important enough to bring before the full Senate for a vote of approval. All policies are formally adopted after they are signed by the President. He then stated that this was a major change and thanked the administration for working very closely with the Senate to bring about this important change to the policy approval process.
4.2 Policies under consideration: Legal Representation; Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech; Facilities Use; Retirement & Emeriti; Research Misconduct (Nathan Tublitz)
Senator Tublitz briefly informed the Senate that the following policies listed above will be coming before the Senate for approval. He then asked for questions from the Senate body. He closed his comments by thanking Senate President Kyr for his great work towards the approval of both the Policy on Policies and the UO Constitution. Senate President Kyr invited Ben Eckstein (AUSO President) to the Senate floor to present the ASUO Report.
5.1 ASUO Report; Ben Eckstein, ASUO President
Mr. Eckstein informed the Senate that the ASUO was embarking on their budget allocation season. The ASUO allocates approximately thirteen million dollars of student fees for various student related activities, services, and programs. He then stated that the ASUO was working very hard to renegotiate their agreement with the athletic department. Athletics encompasses sixteen percent of student fee expenditures. This expenditure has been growing over the years, and as a result, the cost of football and basketball student tickets has skyrocketed over the past ten years. The rates for these tickets were currently being renegotiated. He was optimistic that the ASUO would see a significant reduction in spending for athletics and a lower rate on student tickets. Another highly contentious issue that was and continues to be confronted by the ASUO was the restructuring of the Office of Multicultural Academic Success (OMAS). The office was being transformed into the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence (CMAE). According to Mr. Eckstein, the ASUO Executive engaged the support of a coalition of students that has acted quickly in order to protect services on campus for student of color and to ensure that students have a role in the development of OMAS and CMAE.
He then mentioned a change to the sexual assault reporting policy that was discussed during the last Senate meeting. Last year, the ASUO Student Senate passed a resolution that was co-sponsored by the ASUO Executive which strongly objected to the university’s plans to change their policies on sexual assault reporting. He then stated that this issue was part of a national debate over the balance between legal responsibilities of public institutions of higher education and the needs of survivors of sexual assault. He felt that students had not been included enough in these conversations, and the ASUO Executive have been working to ensure that policies are being created that respect the needs of survivors of sexual violence on campus. The office of the dean of students has agreed to assemble a group of students to review these policy changes.
Mr. Eckstein commented that the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC) has continued to work with the Athletics Department in an effort to become more transparent regarding its finances and its contributions to academics.
5.2 Update on EMU vote and future action (Ben Eckstein)
The ASUO assured students that no approval of new student fees for the purposed EMU and student recreation center (SRC) projects would take place without a student vote in support of those projects. The ASUO reached an impasse after months of negotiations with the division of student affairs on a proposed memorandum of understanding that described fundamental protections for student governance, space, and a voice in the building design process. As a result, the election was postponed until the most basic commitments were achieved regarding those issues and within a week, the division of student affairs had agreed to sign the memorandum, and the election was rescheduled. Fifty-seven percent of students opposed the fee for the EMU project, and fifty one percent of students opposed the fee for the student recreation center project. Four thousand seven hundred students voted, which according to Mr. Eckstein, was a phenomenal turnout for a special election. The memorandum of understanding still stands and the commitments stated in the document remain in place for students. Steering committees have been created and will be providing oversight on the design process for both the EMU and SRC projects. He then stated that students have spoken and they do not want to pay the fees as currently proposed. There will be another proposal to come before the students in the near future and it must be different. The ASUO will be working to reduce the cost of the project and to return control of the project to the students. He believes that the project should be the result of the vision and ideas of the students who use and pay for those buildings. The user group that is designing the student union only has four student members. Mr. Eckstein believed this to be an uncommonly low student ratio. He then informed the Senate that the user group has operated without student members and that this was unacceptable under any circumstances. The ASUO will not allow this to continue.
Senate President Kyr thanked Mr. Eckstein for his report and leadership.
6. ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Senate President Kyr informed the Senate that there would be a second Senate meeting in February. The meeting on February 8 will be filled with a report from Interim President Berdahl and another presentation from Chancellor Pernsteiner and Allyn Ford. The second Senate meeting will take place on February 22, 2012 and will deal with Senate business only. Before concluding the meeting, Senate President Kyr invited everyone in attendance to congregate in Gerlinger Alumni Lounge for further discussion with Chancellor Pernsteiner and Allyn Ford.
Seeing no further business, Senate President Kyr called for a motion to adjourn the meeting. A motion was called, seconded, and a voice vote was taken. The motion was passed unanimously, bringing the January 11, 2012 meeting of the University Senate to a close at 5:04PM.
Minutes of the University of Oregon Senate Meeting 09 November 2011
Prepared and submitted by Christopher S. Prosser, Senate Executive Coordinator
Present: Roger Adkins, John Bonine, Nancy Bray, Jane Brubaker, Ben Eckstein, Jennifer Ellis, Karen Estlund, Pedro Garcia-Caro, Roland Good, Deborah Healey, Colin Ives, Harinder Kaur Khalsa, Ryan Kellems, Peter Keyes, Robert Kyr, Theodora Ko Thompson, Jenna Langham, Kelley Leon Howarth, Huaxin Lin, Andrew Lubash, Carla McNelly, Ronald Mitchell, Steven Pologe, Roxann Prazniak, Sonja Runberg, Donna Shaw, Christopher Sinclair, Randy Sullivan, Nathan Tublitz, Glen Waddell, Dean Walton
Absent: Ali Emami, John Foster, Mark Gillem, Sangita Gopal, Anthony Hornof, Peng Lu, Stephanie Matheson, Ian McNeely, Jeff Measelle, Debra Merskin, Emma Newman, David Riley, Gordon Sayre, Vadim Vologodski, Peter Walker
Excused: Tracy Bars, Robert Elliot, Peter Lambert, Harlan Mechling, Marilyn Nippold, Amy Nuetzman, Ying Tan
1. CALL TO ORDER
Senate President Robert Kyr (Music and Dance) called the meeting of the University Senate for November 09, 2011 to order at 3:03PM in room 175 of the Knight School of Law.
1.1 Approval of the minutes of the October 12 meeting
Senate President Kyr called for the approval of the October 12 meeting minutes. He asked the Senate body for suggested changes or revisions to the minutes. Seeing none, he called for a motion to approve the minutes. A motion was called and seconded. A voice vote was taken and the minutes were approved unanimously. Before moving to the State of the University, Senate President Kyr reminded Senators to speak into the microphone and to state their name and affiliation when addressing the Senate body. He also notified Senators that there were refreshments in the back of the room for their enjoyment. Finally, he asked all Senators to sign in on the sheet provided. He then introduced President Lariviere and invited him to the floor to speak on the state of the university.
2. STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY
2.1 Remarks by President Lariviere
President Richard Lariviere thanked Senate President Kyr for the introduction and stated that, in general, the state of the university was quite good. The UO had another remarkable year of enrollments. According to the President, the incoming freshman class was the smartest and most diverse freshman class in the universities history. Their average grade point average was 3.6, twenty-three percent of students were students of color, and twenty-five percent of students were Pell-Grant eligible. According to President Lariviere, the UO also had a bumper year in terms of transfer students within Oregon. Most of the fourteen hundred students have come from community colleges as well as other Oregon University System (OUS) institutions. These numbers continue to place a considerable strain on the infrastructure of the university. The UO has added a considerable number of faculty in the last three years, a net addition of sixty to sixty-two faculty over that time period. He then stated that it is always very difficult to know exactly what the outcome will be for this year, but the college of arts and sciences has thirty-six new searches underway, twelve of which are for new appointments. Their intention is to sustain that rate of hiring for the next five years. The UO has to pay careful attention to their growth and expansion. When this situation exists, the temptation and danger of adding more students to solve financial problems year after year without adequate resources is a real possibility for the UO. The UO must add faculty, physical infrastructure/classroom space, and the materials to support those faculty. He then stated that adding infrastructure to increase productivity is the most difficult element of the equation.
President Lariviere informed the Senate that there were several administrative alignments under way. Jim Bean (Vice President and Provost) has recently stepped down from his position of Provost for health reasons for a twelve month period. Lorraine Davis (Acting Vice President and Provost) has valiantly stepped in to assist the university as acting Provost. In order to provide an institutional backup for the UO, the administration has asked Robert Berdahl (Special Assistant to the President), former president of the AAU, former chancellor at the University of California Berkeley, former president at the University of Texas at Austin, and a former dean of the college of arts and sciences to join the UO to help synthesize plans of development and offer his expertise on a variety of issues. He will remain with the UO through June 30, 2012 on a part-time basis. According to President Lariviere, there was a search for a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position that was rather ambitious and as a result, the administration elected to not hire any potential candidates from the search pool and instead decided to hire from within. Jamie Moffitt (Executive Senior Associate, Intercollegiate Athletics) has been chosen for the position which will begin January 1, 2012. Frances Dyke (Special Assistant to the Provost) will be available to Jamie for consultation as she adjusts to her new position.
According to President Lariviere, other changes taking place will result from the passage of Senate Bills (SB) 909 and 242. SB 909 created a new structure for education in Oregon called the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB). It also created a higher education coordinating commission and mandated the OIEB return to the Governor and Legislature by December 15, 2011 with plans regarding the fleshing out of these reforms. Implicit and explicit in SB 909 was the promise to do away with the State Board of Higher Education and the State Board of Education. These boards will be replaced by the OIEB. The implementation of this task is the current charge of the OEIB. He stated that the Governor’s commitment to reform is unshaken and wants to move forward with all deliberate speed. SB 242 affected a number of changes, the most significant being that the UO is no longer a state agency. We are now an instrumentality of the state. President Lariviere then jokingly stated that if anyone can explain what that means, he would be happy to hear it. He believes the changes brought about by SB 242 have been for the betterment of the UO. In the past, the Department of Justice (DOJ) was the legal counsel for the university, and the general counsels of universities essentially served at the pleasure of the DOJ and attorney general. At the end of the day, the decisions of the DOJ overrode the decisions of universities general counsels and often enough the interests of each institution they represented. That will change on January 1, 2012. The DOJ has asked to not represent the UO and for a mutual release of liability. He believes that this is probably a good thing, but the difficulty lies in knowing what OUS will want as a result of this change. Whereas the DOJ was responsible for legal matters at each OUS campus, now the Chancellors office wants to be held responsible for employing general counselors of OUS universities reporting directly to the Chancellor. President Lariviere stated that he does not want this to happen and does not believe it would be in the best interest of the university. Both Portland State University (PSU) and Oregon State University (OSU) have discussed their displeasure with this prospect. The other four regional OUS universities do not have general counsels. He then stated that the administration will keep the Senate apprised of this ongoing situation, and the Chancellors office should not be responsible for legal policy associated with the University of Oregon.
President Lariviere stated that the university has been speaking to consultants regarding the issuance of debt. As a separate entity, the university is interested in issuing its own debt. Currently, the university has to go through the state in order to accomplish this task, and it has an impact on the state’s overall debt capacity. As such, arguments arise on whether or not to issue debt for a new building on campus or to build a new road somewhere in Oregon. The President stated that that kind of conversation is not very productive. The UO has been talking to bond counselors, and investment bankers who have shown very encouraging information on issuing UO debt. If the UO could issue its own debt, the university would have an extremely high debt rating of AA. According to industry metrics, the UO has considerable debt capacity on campus. The UO is a long way from doing any of these things, but it is a timely conversation to be having as we acquire more independence in our ability to fund our own financial affairs in a way that we currently are unable to.
President Lariviere then stated that he was looking forward to another year of working with the Senate. Thanks to the work of Senator Nathan Tublitz (Biology) and our current Senate President Robert Kyr (Music and Dance) we have piloted a new relationship to the development of policies. In the time honored fashion of academic tradition, this collaboration has resulted in a flow chart with fifteen to twenty stopping points along the way, three different colors of bands, four different colors of circles, and arrows going every which way. He believes it will streamline the process and make everything more comprehensible to the UO community than it has in the past. That morning, President Lariviere met with the Senate Executive Committee to discuss the flowchart among other items in an attempt to come to grips with several impediments regarding expeditious policy making in the past. He believes that progress is being made, and went on to say that this is a process that is never perfect, but significant strides have been made in the last year on this matter. He then asked for questions from the Senate body.
The first question was from Professor Frank Stahl (Biology Emeritus). He stated that the last time he viewed the flowchart on the web, it did not mention the Senate and he wanted to know if that going to be rectified. President Lariviere deferred to Senator Nathan Tublitz (Biology) who answered Professor Stahl question. Senator Tublitz stated that Professor Stahl was talking about the policy on how policies are adopted. According to Senator Tublitz, the existing policy currently does not include the Senate. The proposed new policy does include the Senate, and last year parts of that proposed policy have begun to be implemented. What is on the web is the current policy and there is some hope that the new policy which includes the Senate will be approved and posted very soon. Professor Stahl thanked Senator Tublitz for his explanation.
The next comment came from Senator Randy Sullivan (Chemistry). In his comment, he referenced the President’s comment that all three general counsels and presidents of universities did not want general counsels to work under the Chancellor’s office. He wanted to know why President Lariviere thought this would be a bad thing, and then added as an aside; what institutional safeguards exist to ensure that the general counsel does not become the counsel of the administration. President Lariviere stated that he did not understand the last part of Senator Sullivan’s question, to which Senator Sullivan replied that in his opinion, the general counsel should represent the interests of the university at large. President Lariviere responded by stating that that was exactly what the obligations of the general counsels are. He went on to say that there were a number of issues that are problematic around the general counsels reporting directly to the Chancellor’s office. He stated that there was a phrase called legal sufficiency that he did not understand until this issue arose. If in the course of conducting research in Chemistry, a professor must enter into a contractual relationship with a vendor to provide reagents to your lab on a timely basis under specific requirements; that is a legal contract that can really only be signed with the authority of the general counsel’s office representing the legal interests of the university. Under a legal sufficiency review, the state and other instrumentalities of the state must provide this information. Legal sufficiency must exist between the university and the vendor providing their services. Legal sufficiency is determined by the general counsel after consultation with the DOJ. He then stated that there was a time when every contract of twenty thousand dollars or more had to go through the DOJ. That number has since been increased. The Chancellor’s office is proposing to take on that responsibility. The difference is that DOJ has forty or fifty attorneys to process these requests and there is one attorney in the Chancellors office. He then stated that this was only one way in which this could become an operational bottleneck, and the Chancellor’s response to their objections was to say that he has the authority to delegate this power to the presidents of each OUS campus. The Chancellor has promised to do so by January 1, 2012. Since that power can be delegated, it can also be removed. If the UO is engaged in work that the Chancellor does not approve of, he could remove that authority and fire the general counsel, thus disrupting the work of the university in a very short order. There is no anticipation that this will happen, but it is worthy of discussion.
Senator Sullivan then asked if that provision might not be an appropriate check on the President’s power, to which President Lariviere jokingly responded that there are plenty of checks on the President’s power, including the fact that they can fire anyone they want.
Senator Nathan Tublitz (Biology) commented on the President’s earlier statement regarding the growth of the university. He believes that everyone is concerned with this growth and stated that it was very reassuring to hear that there will not be more growth during the foreseeable future. He has heard similar concerns from faculty, staff, and students that the UO has grown too much too fast and there are not enough classrooms to accommodate the number of students. As a result, students are taking longer to graduate and cannot get the classes they need. He stated that he realizes that there is a lot of building going on around campus, but classrooms are not being built and new faculty are not being hired. Senator Tublitz wanted to make sure that President Lariviere was aware of this crisis because he believes that the current situation is untenable and unsustainable. He then asked President Lariviere to comment on what should be done about this situation. President Lariviere responded that the UO must add more faculty appointments, which he mentioned earlier. According to the President, the UO is on track with their five year plan to add one hundred new faculty appointments. He then stated that the UO needs to add more classroom space and the big question is how to fund this addition. The pattern that the UO has engaged in previously was to add more students to engage more revenue, but this is not sustainable. He then asked; where will the money come from and stated that he would be happy to entertain any suggestions.
Senator Tublitz replied that the UO has raised tuition and this has not been effective. He then stated that the UO has built many new buildings but most of them do not have classrooms and he wanted to know how the UO will be placed on the right path to overcome the current space predicament. President Lariviere stated that he absolutely agrees with the concerns stated by Senator Tublitz. According to the President, it is not adequate to simply state that there is a problem. The burden placed upon the leadership of the UO, including the Senate, is to come up with solutions. The President stated that he has not heard any solutions today. Senator Tublitz responded that he did not feel that this was the venue for such a discussion. He then gave an example of a discussion on what to do with McArthur Court. He wanted the administration to seriously consider turning McArthur Court into a space for classrooms. President Lariviere stated that that was not a solution because the UO has many footprint areas where they can build, but they do not have the funds to build. The real challenge is coming up with the money to build classrooms. President Lariviere then acknowledged that there were plenty of conversations around McArthur Court and developing it into a space for classrooms. The UO is not going to be able to build buildings in the way they previously have. As pathetic as the state’s investment has been in the construction of classroom space, the political handicappers have indicated that there will probably not be G-bonds moving forward. G-bonds only pay for fifty percent of the cost of a building. The question still remains; where do we find the money. He then stated that the administration invested five million dollars toward faculty salaries, and as far as he is concerned, the faculty are the most important component to the success of the university. Not everyone agreed with that investment decision, including people in the Chancellor’s office. President Lariviere then stated that he was well aware of the space issue at the university and coming up with the money to fund these projects is the challenge.
At this point, Senate President Kyr called for one final question before continuing on to the new business portion of the meeting. Seeing no further questions, Senate President Kyr thanked President Lariviere for his update on the state of the university.
3. NEW BUSINESS
3.1 Revision of the Constitution, Robert Kyr
Senate President Kyr gave a brief update on the revisions to the university Constitution. He stated that the internal governance committee is currently working on the revisions, which are going well. A more complete update will be forthcoming. He then moved on to the second point of new business.
3.2 Election of IFS Senator, Robert Kyr
Senate President Kyr informed the Senate that currently there was one open Senate seat on the Inter-Institutional Faculty Senate (IFS). Senator Nathan Tublitz has been nominated for this open position. Senate President Kyr asked the Senate body if anyone else would be interested in running for the open seat. He then stated that this is a two year commitment. Hearing no further nominees, Senate President Kyr called for an affirmation to appoint Senator Tublitz to the IFS. He then called for a motion. A motion was called and seconded. A voice vote was taken and Senator Tublitz was elected unanimously as the third IFS Senator for the University of Oregon.
Senate President Kyr then asked Senator Tublitz to speak briefly on the IFS. According to Senator Tublitz, the IFS in an institution comprised of representative from all OUS institutions. They meet every few months in conjunction with the state board, and in theory, are the voice connecting faculty, staff, and students from each institution with the board of higher education. He then stated that the IFS discuss a number of issues and sometimes they are effective. Senate President Kyr then thanked Senator Tublitz for his service.
3.3 Request Form on Committee Service, Robert Kyr
Senate President Kyr informed the Senate that the last item of new business, the request form on committee service, relates directly to our system of shared governance. According to Senate President Kyr, there has not been the kind of response needed in the area of service, especially from teaching faculty. Because of this, Senate President Kyr asked the Senate to step up. A service request form was then circulated around the room by the Senate Executive Coordinator. Senate President Kyr stated that if you are able to serve, please specify, in your order of interest, a committee that you would like to serve on. He also asked Senators to make a list of their colleagues who would be willing to serve on committees. He then thanked the Senators for their assistance and moved to begin the open discussion portion of the meeting.
4. OPEN DISCUSSION
4.1 United Academics Presentation and Open Discussion; Scott Pratt (Philosophy); Deborah Olson (Education); Julian Catchen (Neuroscience)
Senate President Kyr invited Professor Scott Pratt (Philosophy), Instructor Deborah Olson (Education), and Courtesy Post Doctoral Research Associate Julian Catchen (Neuroscience) to the Senate floor to discuss the unionization of the faculty under the United Academics Union. He also reminded the Senate that after the meeting, a reception was being held in room 110 of the Law School hosted the United Academics union representatives.
Professor Pratt began his discussion by thanking the Senate for the opportunity to address them regarding unionization. He stated that he has spent a number of years in various forms of university service including serving as a department head for seven years, three of which were as associate dean of the college of arts and sciences. His administrative responsibilities have given him the chance to seriously consider the role of the faculty in governing the institution and the ways in which the university has responded to this system. Professor Pratt then stated that the presenters will be giving three perspectives as to why they believe that unionization is an effective way to deal with the presence of faculty at the university and its role in faculty governance in regards to the institution as a whole. He then mentioned that there were informational flyers located at the back of the room.
Professor Pratt informed the Senate that he has spent a good deal of time thinking about a union at the university. He then came to the decision that he would support the union and listed two reasons for his decision. The first and most important reason was the potential relationship with shared governance. Professor Pratt serves on the Internal Governance Committee mentioned earlier that is charged with revising the Constitution. He believes that the document will be a good one, and that it will affirm the place of the University Senate by streamlining Faculty Assembly procedures in order to more closely align that body with faculty governance. He then stated that the new Constitution also outlines the limitations of faculty governance leaving both the Senate and Assembly in advisory roles with respect to most of the broader roles that affect how teaching, learning, and research are conducted at the university. He believes a faculty union is the best way to address this situation because it will ground faculty concerns regarding working conditions with the mission of the university in the wider context of labor laws. Based on information from the AAUP, a number of faculty union contracts have addressed governance issues by negotiating language that specifies that if the Senate makes a recommendation for the administration that is not accepted, the administration must explain their non-acceptance in a certain amount of time. The University Senate has already worked out, or is in the process of working out that scenario. He then stated that the problem is that the UO Constitution is an internal document and its enforcement is an internal affair. The union would provide a wider context of enforcement. A colleague of his was concerned that unions would not be able to address shared governance concerns because union contracts deal only with employment matters. This is correct in a sense; however employment matters do not stop a salaries, status, and benefits. They extend to teaching loads, access to research support, class size, classroom space, and even admission policies. Rather than having little to say regarding shared governance, the presence of a union and its ability to work with the University Senate, makes the union a key element in insuring the possibility of real shared governance. If done correctly, union and Senate leadership will coordinate their concerns and support each other in addressing the entire range of matters affecting our work at the university. Things have gone very well for the university over the last few years. Enrollments and the quality of enrolled students are up, and visibility is increasing. However, administrative expenses have increased much faster than instructional costs despite the increase in enrollments. This increase dramatically affects the work that teachers and scholars. Salary increases were provided, but they were selective, and it is unclear how that process was carried out. Transparency is a very important part of shared governance, and unions are very good at making transparency a priority.
Professor Pratt’s second reason for supporting the union was that the union can provide crucial information to support discussions of salaries while simultaneously supporting the work of the Senate on issues of academic requirements, program development, and student life. He then stated that some tenured faculty may be worried about the makeup of the bargaining unit. He has also shared these concerns. Will the unit include a group that is too diverse to adequately reflect the interests of the various constituencies? This question was address in two ways. The first is that diverse constituencies in a bargaining unit are a part of what makes a professors work possible. From this perspective, despite differences in circumstances, we share a broader organizing framework. It may be the case that at a different university, different bargaining units would make sense. Under the present context of labor relations, at the UO, a single unit brings the advantage of numbers and a wider commitment. His second point was that the union will not run itself. At the moment, some faculty members think that their time spent on committees and at Senate meetings is not time well spent. He then referenced Senate President Kyr’s appeal for service. These faculty members are actively passive; avoiding commitment while others deal with these pressing issues. Members of the Senate are an exception to this attitude, but he suspects that most Senators know colleagues who can sympathize with this attitude.
He went on to say that with a union, important things will be at stake. Tenure and non-tenure related faculty will have reason, perhaps even with institutional support, for finally taking up a role in shared governance. Strong participation means that all teaching and research constituencies will play a role in setting priorities and deciding how best to support the work that is done at the UO. According to Professor Pratt, the petition many professors have signed indicating their support of the union identifies what he understands as the focus of shared governance; the common ground between the administration, the University Senate, and the faculty. We are united to strengthen the quality of education and research at the University of Oregon, and together we will ensure that working conditions allow all members of the faculty to pursue excellence and innovation in their teaching, research, and service. This will serve the still larger goal of strengthening civil society through the vibrant system of public education in Oregon. He concluded by stating that he is supporting the union for the reasons listed above and thanked the Senate for listening to his presentation.
The second speaker was Julian Catchen (Courtesy Post Doctoral Research Associate, Institute for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology). Mr. Catchen presented three points in support of the union. He began by informing the Senate as to who the post docs were and what their role was at the university. There are two categories of post-docs. The first category is permanent employees. These post docs work in the labs and teach graduate students. The second category is comprised of short term employees who will hopefully find employment in a tenure-track position. Mr. Catchen then stated that as important as post-docs are to the teaching climate at the university, they are not represented in the Senate or in any other body that he was aware of. He then stated that he feels very lucky to be in his current position, but on a higher level, post-docs lack hooks into the institutional mechanisms that exist within the university. During his first year as a post-doc, he received compensation from a standard research grant. He was considered a fulltime employee with health and retirement benefits and applied for and received a federal fellowship. In his new position he was no longer considered a fulltime employee and lost his benefits. This is a continuing problem for post-docs who are looking for a tenure-track job and want to continue to progress until a position becomes available. Along with losing his benefits, he lost his affiliation with the university and was reclassified under a courtesy appointment. He was contributing substantial research to the university, who was using this research and research techniques, but due to his reclassification, could not use the universities name. As it currently exists, there is no way to change the system because post-docs are not well represented. This can be problematic when striving to produce the best researchers. He believes that the union will provide greater stability to post-docs.
In his second point, he referenced conversations with his post doctoral colleagues. During the past year, he has been working with the United Academics. His colleagues believe that the union will come in and do certain things. He stated that this is not an accurate perception. The union is not an external entity. He then referenced a blog on university politics that asked the question; why has the faculty not organically created their own governance structure in order to improve upon these issues. Mr. Catchen believes that the union is the answer to this question. The union will be comprised of the faculty members. It is a democratic organization that allows faculty to represent themselves, and provides an institution for those who are short time employees or have adjunct appointments.
The third reason Mr. Catchen believed a union was important was the establishment of a political affiliation. The university recently gave raises to a specific group of employees. What bothered him about these pay raises came from an article he read in the letters to the editor section of the Register Guard. According to the article, people were very concerned with whom the faculty members were that received pay increases, why they were paid so much money, and how their salaries could be cut. He did not understand the mentality that residents of Eugene and Springfield share regarding these faculty members. The union will help the faculty tie into other areas of the state including giving them the ability to effectively lobby with the state.
After Mr. Catchen concluded his remarks, Instructor Deborah Olson (Special Education) addressed the Senate body and presented her thoughts as to why the faculty should unionize. She stated that she was here to represent non-tenure track faculty members (NTTF). She then acknowledged the wonderful victory that occurred yesterday in Ohio for all public employees across the country. A law was passed last year that attacked public employees and their bargaining rights. This law specifically singled out faculty at universities as not being able to unionize because they were being considered managers and not instructors. She then sarcastically asked the Senate body if they felt like managers. A coalition of public unions fought back and won this overwhelming victory. Instructor Olson recognized that a great deal of diversity among NTTF exists across campus. Some are instructional faculty, some are research, some are part-time and some are fulltime. Some are on part-time contracts while others are nine month or one year contracts. She has personally been employed under a nine month or one year contract for the past twenty-three years, and jokingly commented that she would like a sabbatical. Instructor Olson stated that she does and has done research, teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes (including master’s and doctoral level courses), and has been elected as a representative from the College of Education to the University Senate. She stated that she did not run for re-election because she was discouraged at the powerlessness of the Senate body. She is the appointed NTTF representative on the internal governance committee who is charged with rewriting the UO Constitution, and has been either a member, chair, or co-chair of the institutional review board for the committee for the protection of human subjects for the past fifteen years. She then stated that NTTFs have a commitment to the UO and they have many things in common with their tenure-track and post doctoral colleagues. Instructor Olson then stated that one thing that all three constituent groups want is a promotional policy that would clearly articulate criteria for advancement and pay increases. Her college became tired of waiting for the university to develop its own NTTF policy and several years ago, decided to write its own. The College of Education had no leverage to fight for the things it wanted within their policy statement. She emphasized that the key words were no leverage. She believes that would change with a two thousand person union. NTTFs who teach require the same academic freedom as tenure-track professors. Currently, she does not believe that NTTFs share that equality. Transparency in all aspects of working terms and conditions is something that she believes everyone shares at the university. She then stated that the secrecy around the salary increase fiasco could have been avoided if clear contracts that specified when and where merit and equity based raises will occur had been articulated. This would have better protected the administration from the political backlash it experienced.
She went on to say that NTTFs need a voice in shared governance, and the handout that was previously mentioned by Professor Pratt specifically describes shared governance and how the union contract can work together with the Senate to enhance shared governance. She then encouraged the audience to pick up a copy of the handout. Instructor Olson stated that everyone wants transparency or a voice in their health benefits package. We owe a debt of gratitude to the classified union for the great benefits we have received in the past. Now we all have to fight together to try to figure out and understand what is happening with our benefits package. She then stated that there are no conflicts of interest between the two thousand person bargaining unit, but NTTFs also have specific and unique concerns and a collective bargaining unit will not look the same for everyone. It will undoubtedly reflect some of the diversity and variance that exists within each unique situation. She has seen other faculty contracts for NTTFs that give her hope. One example would be to have clear and objective job descriptions and evaluation policies for all UO employees. Another would be to provide greater job security by initiating longer contracts after so many years of consecutive service. Her final example was to provide sabbaticals for NTTFs. She recognized that there are challenges in fulfilling the academic and research mission at the university and referenced President Lariviere’s comments on paying for these realizations. She also recognized that the university has a commitment to the state of Oregon to education its children in spite of the declining support from the state.
Her next point focused on the growth of administrative positions at the UO. She stated that this growth has occurred in spite of the fact that the institutional health of the university remains strong and that the universities unrestricted net assets in 2010 were fifty million dollars. In spite of this number, UO students face yearly tuition increases while faculty salaries lag behind comparator institutions. All of this information can be found in the Bunsis Report located on their website at www.uauoregon.org. In closing, Instructor Olson stated that NTTFs, along with tenure-track faculty and post doctoral researchers want a stronger voice in setting priorities for this institution. She believes the faculty along with the united academic and a collective bargaining agreement, negotiated by the faculty, can move educators in the right direction. She then quoted Cary Nelson (President AAUP), “United we negotiate, divided we beg.” She thanked the Senate for listening to the presentations and called for questions from the Senate body.
Senate President Kyr invited the three speakers back up to the Senate floor to receive questions from the Senate body. The first question came from Senator Pedro Garcia-Caro (Romance Languages). He thanked the presenters for their words and stated that he believes everyone is very excited that there is a driving force uniting the ranks of employees at the university. He then asked three questions: 1) how do you envision the process of creating the union itself? 2) How will employees begin negotiations? 3) What institutional changes will have to be implemented once the union is in place?
Instructor Olson responded to the first question by stating that the process has been ongoing for a couple of years and there is an organizing committee comprised of tenure-track, NTTF, and post doctoral members that direct the campaign with the help of staff AFT and the AUP. They are currently in the process of assessing support and trying to reach out to the two thousand plus teaching body at the university. She then mentioned that they are developing a petition to gauge the level of support that exists on campus. The groups would like to have eight hundred signatures on the petition by the end of the fall term. If this task is accomplished, they will proceed to an election done by card drop. Voters will fill out a card with their information and whether or not they are in favor or against unionization. These cards will be sent to the Oregon Employees Relations Board (OERB) to certify the names. Instructor Olson then stated that she was not exactly sure of the entire process, but if the voters favor the union, it will be certified. The next step involves forming an organizing committee comprised of tenure-track, NTTF, and post doctoral members towards the formation of a union and a negotiating team. She then stated that the union representatives need to hear concerns from the various constituent groups.
Professor Pratt commented that after the union is approved, the faculty must take a greater participatory role in order to establish guidelines of negotiation. Elections will be held for union representatives from each constituent group, and according to Professor Pratt, each person must take the responsibility and speak up, look at the proposals being circulated, and voice concerns to your representatives.
Mr. Catchen summarized that the petition drive is currently taking place and asked all in attendance to please sign the petition if they have not done so already. Once the petition has its signatures, a card drop will occur. If you support the union, sign a card. If you do not support the union, do not sign a card. The cards go directly to the state, not to your employer. The state will then evaluate if the election was successful. If so, there will be a transition to a new platform and a negotiating committee will begin negotiating new contracts. At the present, the platform has remained vague in order to address everyone’s concerns and will become more specific if the election is successful.
The next two questions came from Professor Philip Romero (Finance). He stated that it was mentioned that the OERB will evaluate the cards in order to determine whether or not the union would be certified. He then stated that only “yes” votes will go on cards and thus there will be no record of “no” votes. He then asked; what threshold will the OERB use to determine the certification of the election. His second question was regarding union membership. He has previously observed that union managers enact policy whereby every employee, whether they are a member of the union or not, are charged dues. He wanted to know if that was also the case for the UO’s proposed union.
Mr. Catchen replied that the union will make a claim as to who the unit includes and the university contributes to that cause by supplying a list of employees. The card would be checked against that list. He then stated that it was possible that various parties would challenge the definition of who is a part of the union and who is not, but the “no” votes would be counted from the university supplied list. Professor Romero then stated that the union must essentially have a majority of the relevant population of employees. Mr. Catchen stated that he was correct. He then stated that in respect to dues, everyone would be required to pay a fair share of dues, but the makeup and assessment would be up to the union to decide.
The next comment came from Professor Frank Stahl (Biology Emeritus) who remarked on the statement made by Instructor Olson regarding the Senate being powerless. He stated that the Senate was created as the sole governing body of the university in 1995. The influence that was given to the Senate was minimal and it was by and large ignored by the administration. He went on to say that the university is now writing a new Constitution, one that gives the Senate appreciable more influence. He did not want to confuse the word influence with the word power. According to Professor Stahl, power comes from the threat of strike, and influence comes from having an effective communication with the President and other members of the administration at the university. The new Constitution is designed to maximize that influence within the laws that govern the university. He personally believes that influence is sometimes more valuable than power as expressed through the threat of strike. He then stated that he was speaking on behalf of the future of the Senate. Yes, it is powerless, but does not threaten strike, and the Senate is not non-influential. He believes the Senate can be very influential.
Professor Pratt responded and stated that he agreed with Professor Stahl’s comments regarding the Senate. The main point in revising the Constitution is to have an effective way of communicating on a wide range of issues. He then reminded those in attendance that the Senate represents all constituent groups at the university. With everything that is going on at the university, he believes that now is the time to begin to think about unionization. He then stated that cooperation between the union and the Senate could create a very effective form of shared governance.
Senate President Kyr then asked the question; how would the union help the university acquire more classrooms. Professor Pratt responded by stating that currently there are conversation going on regarding available borrowing options for the university and also how to use certain types of space. The first line of response is a discussion, but if the Senate is unable to effect change, the union will be able to add leverage regarding limits to class size, etc… He believes the union and Senate can work together for the betterment of each other’s respective goals. Senate President Kyr then replied that what was not clear to him was the practical aspect of unionization, and asked the question; why would the union have any particular authority. Professor Pratt responded that the union has the ability to negotiate working condition issues including employment matters regarding how many students instructors are allowed to teach. Senate President Kyr then asked what are these negotiations based on, to which Professor Pratt answered they are based on labor laws. He then stated that the union brings outside authority to the table, which does not exist in the Senate. The union also offers the option for appeal due to its association with labor laws. Mr. Catchen added that there are a number of faculty unions across the country, and the ability to look at contracts that have already been negotiated will provide proof regarding a basis for negotiation.
Senator Huaxin Lin (Mathematics) asked the presenters to clarify two points regarding the paying of dues and union membership. He was not sure if he is automatically in the union if it passes, and if he does not want to participate, will he still have to pay dues. Professor Pratt stated that once the union is established, the question regarding who pays dues and at what level becomes a matter of negotiation. Instructor Olson commented that other faculty unions have lower pay scales for faculty member who do not choose to join the union, and also mentioned that none of those decisions have been made yet. She believes that everyone will reap the benefits of better working conditions if the union succeeds. If you benefit from the union, you should give something back to the union.
The next comment came from Professor Michael Tedesco (Law). He stated that he was on a brief break from his labor law class and answered Senator Lin’s question regarding the payment of dues. Under Oregon State Law for public employees, people who choose full union member pay full union dues. The university or any public employer can bargain a fair share deduction that allows a level of payment to be made that covers collective bargaining, grievance processing, and contract administration for employees who choose not to join the union. He then asked; why is that fair. It is fair because if you are a non-member, you still enjoy the benefits of the labor contract. For example, you still get the same pay rate as a member, and your grievance is still taken to arbitration. Because of this, it was determined by the Oregon State Legislature through multiple past cases and on the national level by the National Labor Relations Board that people who choose not to be a union member can make that choice, but they may have to pay a percentage of the total so that their collective bargaining rights and their benefits that are enacted as a result of the labor agreement remains covered. The people who are doing the work on the union side are also working for the non-members.
Senator Nathan Tublitz (Biology) asked two questions for clarification purposes. In his first question, he wanted to know if an election will be held for the following three separate groups: officers of research (post docs); officers of administration, and NTTFs. Mr. Catchen replied that only one election was being held. He then added that officers of administration are not a proposed constituency of the union. The union will consist of officers of research and officers of instruction (tenure-related and NTTF). Senator Tublitz then stated that these three groups are essential to the university and all three have very different roles. As such, he was confused as to how one will effectively bargain for such diverse groups. Professor Pratt then asked for an example. Senator Tublitz offered the example of teaching. He stated that tenure-related faculty members have a set of duties which include teaching, administration, and research/scholarship. NTTFs have a different kind of contract. He did not understand how one could bargain for these two groups without jeopardizing the advantages of one or the other unless the union has the option of bargaining independently for each subset.
Professor Pratt stated that he understands the problem and offered two possible solutions. One solution was to raise the issue that the union has many different groups to represent and these groups intersect with each other. The fact that there are instructors in a department that makes it possible for the tenure-related faculty teaching load with be so much so that research can continue means that these constituencies are bound together through the work of that department. The level of consideration does not reside with the individual person, but rather with the department and the task. He stated that negotiating on behalf of both constituencies was beneficial. In his second reply, he mentioned that there was great diversity among tenure-track faculty. There are also many commonalities. Students take both philosophy and biology, and both of these subject must be taken care of so that students become well educated. He then stated that he would not ask for the same teaching load as a Biology professor, but he would ask for a teaching load that is manageable. He believes that faculty have common interests that organize their relationships, and in that context, they are well suited to figure out what all three constituencies need. Instructor Olson believes the union contracts will be the size of telephone books due to the many needs that must be addressed.
The next question came from an unidentified audience member. Her question was regarding the union’s role in striking. Mr. Catchen replied that there are legal restrictions to what a strike can and cannot do. He then stated a strike is the end result of a long process. Instead of jumping to the end to see what it would look like, he believes there are many more problems to focus on. As far as he has experienced, a strike is a very uncommon event. He then asked for a more specific question. She replied that once the union is formed, will the union set parameters for what a strike will look like, or are there laws in place to determine that. Mr. Catchen replied that there are labor laws regarding striking and the union must act as a single entity through its representational structure. A small group cannot hijack the union and declare a strike. It is a very long process. He then stated that the union would only strike as a last resort.
Senator Debra Merskin (Journalism and Communication) stated that she was co-president of the universities chapter of the AAUP. She stated she supports the union for all of the reasons that have been beautifully articulated today.
The next comment came from Senator Randy Sullivan (Chemistry). He asked could the union serve as a vehicle for reconciling various factions within it. Professor Pratt replied yes. He stated that the union could provide a platform to work through longstanding issues among various interest groups.
Senate President Kyr then asked which other schools in the OUS (Oregon University System) have unionized. He then asked for a description of each union and also wanted to know if they were successful at their respective institutions. Professor Pratt stated that this information could be found in the brochure. Mr. Catchen commented that Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University, Eastern Oregon University, and Portland State University are all organized. He then stated that he thinks their unions work well. The only two that have not unionized are Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. Mr. Catchen has interacted with the unions from Western, Southern, and Eastern and according to him, the unions are very effective at those respective schools. He stated that the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) Oregon is currently represented by a faculty member at Western (he thinks).
Senate President Kyr stated that there was time for one more question before the open discussion portion of the meeting must come to a close.
Instructor Olson briefly commented that additional information on other AAU universities that have faculty unions could be found in the informational pamphlet at the back of the room. She believes our best comparators are other AAU schools, not other schools in Oregon.
The final comment came from Professor Jack Maddex (History Emeritus). He stated that in regard to the situation that Mr. Catchen described as a post doctoral student in terms of losing his funding and benefits, Professor Maddex wanted to know how Mr. Catchen identified his professional association when publishing a paper. Mr. Catchen stated that his affiliation was the University of Oregon. Professor Maddex stated that everyone benefits from the University of Oregon research, to which Mr. Catchen agreed. Professor Maddex went on to say that during the 1970’s, in a previous organizing faculty drive, he was on the committee for the AFT. During that time, local 3544 of the AFT acquired bargaining rights for the university GTFs. According to Professor Maddex, negotiating that first contract was more complicated than any subsequent one. Due to his connection with the AFT, he was invited to witness several contract negotiation meetings. Also, due to the turnover rate of GTFs and administrators, he did not think anyone else was still working at the university since that time. He then stated that the roles of GTF were extremely diverse before the first contract was written. Considering the difficulty of negotiating contracts for GTFs, Professor Maddex believes it will be even more difficult to negotiate contracts for tenure-track faculty, NTTF, and post doctoral candidates.
At this point in the meeting Senate President Kyr interrupted Professor Maddex and stated that unfortunately the open discussion portion of the Senate meeting had expired. He then reminded all in attendance that there would be additional time for questions and answers at the reception which was being held immediately after the Senate meeting in room 110 of the Law School.
5.1 Senate Retreat, Robert Kyr
Senate President Kyr stated that the Senate retreat was very productive and rewarding. The retreat established two working groups.
5.1.1 Mission Statement Working Group
The first group formed from the Senate retreat was the mission statement working group. This group is charged with reviewing the mission statement of the university.
5.1.2 Media Connectivity Working Group
The second group formed from the Senate retreat was the media connectivity working group. This group is charged with establishing better connections with various forms of media in an attempt to more adequately express who the Senate is and what the Senate does. He then stated that these groups will provide more information regarding their respective charges and progress as the year continues.
5.2 Coalition of PAC-12 Faculties, Robert Kyr
Senate President Kyr stated that he attended the Coalition of PAC-12 Faculties at the University of Colorado, Boulder. According to the Senate President, it was a very productive meeting. Both he and his colleagues who attended the meeting are very committed to coming together and representing academics in a way that would be a complement to the way the PAC-12 is organized around athletics. At the conference, the Coalition of PAC-12 Faculties was formed and they are currently in the process of drafting a letter to all of the presidents of the PAC-12 regarding educational needs. He stated that the coalition was a very strong group and that everyone should be hopeful for the future.
5.3 ASUO Report; Ben Eckstein, ASUO President
ASUO Vice President Katie Taylor gave the report in place of ASUO President Ben Eckstein who had to leave the Senate meeting early. Both she and ASUO President Ben Eckstein postponed the referendum regarding the EMU question due to not receiving guarantees of student space and student involvement in the decision making process. Currently, their plan is to postpone the referendum until the spring term. She believes that once the vote has been taken, the students will decide whether or not they want to pay for the renovations. She then stated that the ASUO wants to make sure they have guarantees for the things that they want. Students are paying for seventy percent of the EMU renovation project and should have more say in what the building looks like. She then used the example that donors who funded the Jaqua Academic Learning Center had a great deal of influence on the final product and she feels students should as well. The ASUO has also been supporting students who are fighting to secure the office of multicultural academic success. A coalition has been formed called UO Truth, and the ASUO has been trying to form a student and community oversight board for their new proposal. Finally, she informed the Senate that there are two resolutions currently being worked on in the ASUO Senate. The first has to do with freedom of speech which was brought on by the Occupy Eugene movement, and the second resolution deals with mandatory reporting. RAs that reside in residence halls are required to report to DPS if someone reports an instance of sexual assault. Senate President Kyr thanked ASUO Vice President Taylor and moved to the final portion of the meeting.
6. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE FLOOR
6.1 Notice of Motion(s)
6.1.1 US11/12-03 Improving Campus Communication, Emma Newman (ASUO Student Senator)
Senate President Kyr invited Emma Newman (Student Senator) to the floor to discuss US11/12-03 Improving Campus Communication. Senator Newman stated that at the Senate retreat, a discussion was held regarding communication across campus. She then remarked that as a freshman, she was in the school of music and realized just how isolated that section of campus was. She believes that other areas are just as isolated. She then asked Senators to support her in an effort to increase the accessibility of information flow across campus by sharing events, and informing others on academic opportunities. She also wanted to increase listserv access for students. As an academic Senator, she believes it is her responsibility to inform her constituents of Senate activities, but it is difficult to accomplish this task when forms of access do not exist. Senate President Kyr thanked Senator Newman for her comments and invited ASUO Senate Vice President Katie Taylor back to the floor to discuss the next motion.
6.1.2 US11/12-04 EMU Project Oversight and Stakeholder Participation, Ben Eckstein (ASUO President)
ASUO Vice President Katie Taylor stated that the EMU project oversight and stakeholder participation motion involves multiple stakeholders. The ASUO wants to make sure that more students are involved as well as other constituent groups across campus including classified staff workers who are employed at various food and beverage installations throughout the EMU. ASUO Vice President Taylor stated that she is unsure if these positions will be secure after the EMU is renovated.
Senator John Bonine (Law) then asked Senate President Kyr for a point of process. When Senators present a notice of motion, it would be interesting to know whether the motion has come from a certain committee or other groups, and to what degree consultation has taken place with other interest groups. Senate President Kyr responded by stating that all motions are currently in process due to the complexities of various issues surrounding them.
6.1.3 US11/12-05 Athletic Contribution to the Educational Mission of the University, Cedar Cosner (ASUO Elections Coordinator)
Senate President Kyr introduced Cedar Cosner (ASUO Elections Coordinator) who briefly discussed US11/12-05. He informed the Senate that the ASUO Executive is running a campaign in support of the academic mission of the university. They are interested in bringing this mission more clearly into focus. He then stated that they are interested in highlighting the student aspect of a student athlete. The campaign is exploratory and discussions will continue as the campaign moves forward. Senate President Kyr then personally thanked the students for their exceptional work within the Senate
6.1.4 US11/12-06 Changes to the Charge and Membership of the Academic Council, Ian McNeely (Chair, Academic Council)
Senate President Kyr informed the Senate that Senator Ian McNeely (Academic Council chair), who was unable to attend the Senate meeting, had prepared a brief statement regarding the changes to the charge and membership of the Academic Council. Senate President Kyr did not read Senator McNeely’s statement due to the lack of time remaining. He informed the Senate that the council was in the process of revising its charge and membership description. He then thanked Senator McNeely for all his hard work with the Academic Council. Senator McNeely’s comments are displayed below in their entirety.
The Academic Council's first year of existence revealed a few problems in its charge and membership, some of which were described in its 2011 end-of-year report. Making the needed changes requires amending the UO Constitution, however. After consultation with the Internal Governance Committee, a two-step process was decided upon. First, the passages specifying the Academic Council's membership and charge will be stricken from the revised constitution that will be voted upon by the Statutory Faculty Assembly later this academic year. The only constitutional provisions remaining will be the ones requiring that an Academic Council in some form be established and that its chair have a seat in the Senate. Then, in the motion being announced today, the Academic Council will be reconstituted as a regular standing committee. No other committee, after all, has its membership and charge specified in the UO Constitution. Doing so by Senate motion instead of swapping in new constitutional language will preserve flexibility for the future without compromising the Academic Council's key role in the UO shared governance system. Details on the precise changes that will appear in the final version of this motion are still under discussion, but those with questions or concerns are welcome to contact the Academic Council chair, Ian McNeely (firstname.lastname@example.org).
6.2 Formation of Ad Hoc Committees (AHC), Robert Kyr
Senate President Kyr stated that there are three ad hoc committees that are in the process of being formed.
6.2.1 Policy on Policies AHC
The first ad hoc committee was the Policy on Policies Ad Hoc Committee.
6.2.2 Review of Charge and Purpose of FAC AHC
The second ad hoc committee was the Review of Charge and Purpose of FAC (Faculty Advisory Council) Ad Hoc Committee. Senate President Kyr reminded the Senate that all committees were undergoing their tenth year review period, including the FAC. He also informed the Senate that the FAC was one of the longest standing university committees, and the Senate was forming this ad hoc committee, comprised of mostly former FAC chairs, to review the charge and purpose of the council.
6.2.3 Instructional Faculty Grievance Process AHC
The final ad hoc committee was the Instructional Faculty Grievance Process Ad Hoc Committee. According to President Kyr, this committee will be investigating the structure of and process for instructional faculty grievance as it relates to instructional faculty, officers of administration and every other constituency of the Senate.
6.3 Change of Senate Meeting Date for December
Senate President Kyr stated that the final Senate meeting of the fall quarter was scheduled to take place during exam week. Because of this, the possibility existed that relatively few Senators would be able to attend the meeting. He recommended cancelling the December meeting and scheduling an additional Senate meeting during the month of February. He then asked for questions from the Senate body.
Andrew Marcus (Associate Dean of CAS Social Sciences) stated that his one concern was that normally the Senate votes to approve the fall curriculum report at the last meeting of the fall term, and if the meeting was cancelled, this would cause a substantial delay for a variety of curricular matters. After it is approved by the Senate, the report is sent to the Oregon University System (OUS). Senator Debra Merskin (Journalism and Communication) stated that she sat on the Committee on Courses who is charged with updating these reports, and as far as she knew, the report must be approved by the Senate at the last meeting of every term. Senate President Kyr then stated that in light of this news, the December meeting should not be canceled.
Senator John Bonine (Law) then asked Senate President Kyr if approving the fall curriculum report at the final Senate meeting of the term was a routine procedure. Senator Bonine stated that there might be a way to vote on matters that are routine to the Senate without meeting. He also recommended meeting a week earlier on November 30. Senate President Kyr stated that meeting a week earlier was not advisable at this time.
Senator Nathan Tublitz (Biology) commented that the curriculum reports have recently been approved pro forma in the Senate, however in the past there have been significant questions raised over the report and departments need to have the ability to raise questions. He then asked Andrew Marcus and Senator Merskin if the approval of the report could be deferred to the January meeting. Mr. Marcus responded that if the report is not passed during the December meeting, several departments would not be able to offer specific classes contained within the report.
Senator Emma Newman (Student Senator) proposed that the Senate have a shorter meeting in December. Senate President Kyr approved of this idea and said he would be in touch regarding the additional meeting in February.
Senator Bonine (Law) then asked Senate Parliamentarian Paul Simonds (Anthropology Emeritus) if the Senate meeting in December was shortened in length and had poor attendance, and if a motion was passed noticing the absence of a quorum, could the Senate still have the ability to take action. Senate Parliamentarian Simonds replied that the Senate cannot take any action without a quorum.
Seeing no further questions, Senate President Kyr called the November 9, 2011 meeting of the University Senate to a close at 5:02PM.
Minutes of the University of Oregon Senate Meeting 07 December 2011
Prepared and Submitted by Christopher S. Prosser, Senate Executive Coordinator
Present: John Bonine, Nancy Bray, Jane Brubaker, Ben Eckstein, Robert Elliot, Jennifer Ellis, Ali Emami, John Foster, Pedro Garcia-Caro, Deborah Healey, Harinder Kaur Khalsa, Ryan Kellems, Peter Keyes, Theodora Ko Thompson, Robert Kyr, Peter Lambert, Kelley Leon Howarth, Huaxin Lin, Peng Lu, Andrew Lubash, Ian McNeely, Jeffery Measelle, Debra Merskin, Ronald Mitchell, Emma Newman, Marilyn Nippold, Amy Nuetzman, Roxann Prazniak, Sonja Runberg, Gordon Sayre, Donna Shaw, Christopher Sinclair, Randy Sullivan, Ying Tan, Glen Waddell, Dean Walton
Absent: Tracy Bars, Karen Estlund, Mark Gillem, Roland Good, Sangita Gopal, Anthony Hornof, Jena Langham, Stephanie Matheson, Harlan Mechling Steven Pologe, David Riley, Vadim Vologodski, Peter Walker
Excused: Roger Adkins, Colin Ives, Carla McNelly, Nathan Tublitz
1. CALL TO ORDER
Senate President Robert Kyr (Music and Dance) called the meeting of the University Senate for December 7, 2011 to order at 3:05PM in McArthur Court. He first thanked everyone for attending the meeting and stated that it was one of the most important meetings in the history of the university. Senate President Kyr then asked Professor Paul Engelking (Chemistry), chair of the committee on courses, to come forward and present the fall curriculum report, which the Senate is required to approve by the Oregon University System.
2. NEW BUSINESS
2.1 Fall Curriculum Report, Paul Engelking, Committee on Courses chair
Professor Engelking stated that the curriculum report from the committee on courses had a few minor corrections that were outlined in red on the overhead projector. Physics, Biology, and Finance all had minor word and number corrections. An addition to “other matters” concerning the Human Physiology degree was also updated. Professor Engelking then asked for corrections from the floor. Hearing none, he moved that the Senate adopt the fall curriculum report. Senate President Kyr then called for a voice vote to approve the report. A vote was taken and the fall curriculum report was unanimously approved. Senate President Kyr thanked Professor Engelking for all the hard work he has done with the committee on courses throughout the years.
Seeing no further business, Senate President Kyr called for a motion of adjournment. The motion was called and seconded bringing the December 7, 2011 meeting of the University Senate to a close at 3:10PM.
The Faculty Assembly was convened immediately following this Senate meeting. At the meeting, the new Constitution was unanimously approved. To view the Constitution, please click here:
Minutes of the University of Oregon Senate Meeting 30 November 2011
Prepared and Submitted by Christopher S. Prosser, Senate Executive Coordinator
Present: Roger Adkins, Nancy Bray, John Bonine, Jane Brubaker, Ben Eckstein, Robert Elliot, Jennifer Ellis, Karen Estlund, Pedro Garcia-Caro, Roland Good, Sangita Gopal, Anthony Hornof, Colin Ives, Harinder Kaur Khalsa, Theodora Ko Thompson, Ryan Kellems, Robert Kyr, Kelley Leon Howarth, Huaxin Lin, Ian McNeely, Carla McNelly, Jeffrey Measelle, Harlan Mechling, Deborah Merskin, Emma Newman, Amy Nuetzman, Steven Pologe, Roxann Prazniak, Sonja Runberg, Gordon Sayre, Christopher Sinclair, Randy Sullivan, Ying Tan, Nathan Tublitz, Glen Waddell, Dean Walton
Absent: Tracy Bars, Ali Emami, Christian Erichsen, John Foster, Mark Gillem, Deborah Healey, Peter Keyes, Peter Lambert, Jena Langham, Peng Lu, Stephanie Matheson, Ronald Mitchell, Marilyn Nippold, David Riley, Donna Shaw, Vadim Vologodski, Peter Walker
1. CALL TO ORDER
Senate President Robert Kyr (Music and Dance) called the meeting of the University Senate for November 30, 2011 to order at 3:07PM in McArthur Court.
2. NEW BUSINESS
2.1 Motion to call a meeting of the UO Statutory Faculty Assembly 30 November, 2011; Sponsor Senate Executive Committee
Senate President Kyr called for a motion to call a meeting of the UO Statutory Faculty Assembly on November 30, 2011. The motion was called and seconded. A voice vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously.
2.2 Motion to call a meeting of the UO Statutory Faculty Assembly 07 December, 2011; Sponsor Senate Executive Committee
Senate President Kyr called for a motion to call a meeting of the UO Statutory Faculty Assembly on December 7, 2011. He then stated that the meeting would take place in McArthur Court at 3PM. The motion was called. A voice vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously.
Seeing no further business, Senate President Kyr called for a motion of adjournment. The motion was called and seconded bringing the November 30, 2011 meeting of the University Senate to a close at 3:10PM.
The Faculty Assembly was convened immediately following this Senate meeting. At the meeting, four motions were approved as follows:
SFA 11/12-01: Motion on the replacement of President Richard Lariviere; Senate Executive Committee presented by Professor Ian McNeely, History (APPROVED)
SFA 11/12-02: Motion for the Establishment of a UO Board of Trustees, Senate Executive Committee presented by Professor Peter Keyes, Architecture (APPROVED)
SFA 11/12-03: Motion for the Senate Executive Committee to provide a candidate for the Interim President of the UO; University Senate presented by Huaxin Lin, Mathematics (APPROVED)
SFA 11/12-04: Motion requesting the OUS Board to vote on the renewal status of Chancellor Pernsteiner's employment; Senate Executive Committee presented by Bill Harbarugh (APPROVED)
RE: SENATE MEETING (& Faculty Assembly)-- Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm in MAC COURT
I am writing to remind you that your participation in both the Senate meeting and Faculty Assembly on this Wednesday (December 7, 2011) at 3:00 pm in MAC COURT is extremely important for the future of our university.
At 3:00 pm, we will begin with the Senate meeting during which we will vote on the Curriculum Report (an OUS requirement for the end of the quarter), which will be presented by the Committee on Courses. We urgently need a quorum so that we can vote on this report and meet our obligation to send curricular revisions to OUS by the end of the year. [Please see the agenda for the Senate meeting at the end of this email.]
At 3:10 pm, we will proceed with the Faculty Assembly, which is one of the most important meetings in the history of our university, during which the revised constitution will be presented and discussed. Finally, the Statutory Faculty will vote on the constitution, and if it is ratified, then President Lariviere will have the option of signing it as one of the final acts of his presidency. Our understanding is that he is very supportive of the revised constitution, which is the result of an eighteen-month period of discussion and collaboration between the Internal Governance Committee and the President's Office.
I will also be giving an update about the search for an Interim President and presenting information about two meetings on Tuesday-- one with Chancellor Pernsteiner at the UO and the other with Governor Kitzhaber in Salem.
I very much look forward to seeing you at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, December 7 at MAC COURT. Your participation is very much appreciated.