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University Assembly and Senate Minutes
February 24, 2009
The assembly meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. by Chair, Matthew Keefer.
The chair briefly summarized the following:
Feb 9th remarks by Budget and Planning about furlough power, pensions and retirement. He also gave a short synopsis of the faculty proposal regarding future pension changes. He also mentioned the following: Betsy Rodriguez's HR report, President Forsee's town hall meeting and indicated that Paul Speck would give a more complete IFC report later in the meeting.
Another topic under consideration by IFC is the grievance procedure regarding academic dishonesty. There seems to be an interest in being able to fail students for an entire course when cheating occurs.
A question was raised: "Is there a 3rd party present for the current process on our campus?" (The answer was yes.)
Bryan Goers voiced a positive opinion about the current UMSL procedure.
Much time is being spent on budget reductions. A reduction of $2.5 million is the best scenario. The Governor's proposal still has to go before the legislature. We do have $787 billion in stimulus package money. Agencies will receive amounts of money which may be open for funding proposals. We are requesting $20 million for Benton-Stadler. The distribution of the stimulus package money is not yet clear.
Nasser Ashadi reported that 10 proposals were submitted a week ago for buildings and
other campus priorities. A total of $213 million was requested. (agencies and centers included). More detailed information is available on the Office of Research web site.
Susan Feigenbaum asked for a weekly update for the faculty about available funds. (agreed to do so)
Joe Martinich asked about proposed cuts for delayed internal maintenance. Is there a mechanism to go to the Governor for this kind of funding? (Chancellor replied that master plan and other needs will be put in proposals when they fit funding guidelines.)
Matt Keefer asked Nasser if we could avoid discontinuing internal grants ($80,000). (The travel portion has been suspended by the system.) Nasser indicated that internal grants are really the only place to cut the budget in the research office.
System funding for grants will remain intact because the funding source cannot be diverted for other uses.
Staff Association Report (Steffanie Rockette)
The HR discussion with Betsy Rodriguez was reviewed. Next month the staff will meet with President Forsee. The Staff Association will hold their trivia night this Saturday. Joe Martinich endorsed the trivia night.
Matt Keefer asked: "how does the staff feel about the pension change?" (As outraged as the faculty.) The staff is also concerned about possible cuts and asked the faculty for support.
Budget and Planning Committee Report (Terry Jones)
Terry Jones introduced the committee's resolution and urged its approval. There are many unknowns introduced in this process. The University will no longer assure us of the % paid that we currently have. The resolution asks for a stated policy-a commitment for the administration to put a specific % into the pension plan.
Joe Martinich endorsed the resolution by stating that this is a very reasonable resolution. Our peers paid 10 % of salary and UM paid 7% of salary.
Where will we go next? Perhaps IFC. IFC has sent 2 points to the President for consideration.
Terry Jones indicated that we should seek support from the other 3 campuses before sending the resolution to the President.
Susan Feigenbaum indicated that IFC isn't the appropriate body and indicated that we should seek support from the other campus Senates (or comparable bodies).
Steffanie Rockette indicated that we should also seek Intercampus Staff Council support.
Paul Speck agreed with Susan Feigenbaum about the appropriate route and indicated that if greater numbers were represented we could make a more powerful case than could smaller bodies like IFC.
A vote was taken to approve the B&P resolution. The resolution passed unanimously.
Joe Martinich indicated that Matt Keefer (as Chair of the Assembly) speaks for a much broader constituency since our Assembly includes faculty, staff and students.
Steffanie shared her belief that UMSL can provide leadership for all the UM campuses.
Jeanne Zarruchi requested that campus leaders get other bodies to endorse our resolution. Matt Keefer replied that other campuses may prefer to adopt their own resolutions.
Tim Farmer suggested that we establish a deadline for sending the resolution to the President and the Board of Curators.
Laura Westhoff urged that resolutions from all campuses be forwarded together.
Paul Speck expressed a concern that we were told that a push back was coming from UMSL (administrative perception). Therefore, we should represent a wider population.
Matt Keefer shared his perception that there has been movement on the other campuses.
Fred Willman mentioned the Columbia AAUP chapter's letter to the President.
Paul Speck relayed that after IFC, Paul talked with Betsy Rodriguez and that she indicated that "things are different at UMSL."
Lynne cautioned the body about a possible "divide and conquer" approach of the administration. "Many faculty and staff are afraid." She endorsed the need for togetherness. Alone (UMSL), we can easily be dismissed.
Jeanne Zarruchi urged quick action to distribute and act on this resolution.
Matt Keefer thanked Terry for his hard work.
The remainder of the report addressed the following issues: (see agenda attachments)
- moving target
- possible cost (1 time this FY) cuts are now less likely
- rate cuts next FY are likely to happen
The committee will deal next with a larger share of pending proposals.
Susan Feigenbaum asked how many rate $ are committed to the PAC. The Provost responded that the number from the past year is $.5 million for staff and $.5 million for cleaning and utilities. The building is considered to be primarily an academic building (70% academic activities, 30% activities that raise money). Susan followed up with the concern that 30% activities that require auxiliary services need to pay for themselves. She also proposed that Budget and Planning draft a resolution to the Governor to put $11 million in a fund to delay the 1% pension contribution.
Another question that was asked is why are the cuts being currently made considered rate cuts? (We don't have enough money for next year.)
Bernard Feldman asked about stockpiled hiring freeze money. Can it be used for hiring and paying withholding (hiring only if withholding doesn't happen.)?
Student Affairs Committee Report (Zulema Tang-Martinez)
The body unanimously approved adding the report to the agenda. The committee is conducting a study of troubled students and troubled student threats. Part of the process is to examine policies of other schools.
The results of a survey conducted are in and the committee will summarize the findings with recommendations by the end of the year.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:17.
The meeting was called to order at 4:22.
The minutes were approved as distributed.
Curriculum and Instruction Committee Report (Michael Allison)
Mark Pope asked that we delay the proposals until the next meeting since the faculty has not had an opportunity to examine them over a sufficient period of time. Michael Allison agreed that there is sufficient time to process the proposals at the next meeting. The C&I report was deferred until the next meeting.
Mark Pope requested that we distribute paper copies of the Assembly/Senate agenda and related items. Fred Willman spoke in favor of Mark Pope's request. Jeanne Zarruchi indicated that we need access to the documents during the meetings.
The chair asked for a poll to determine how many people preferred electronic/paper documents. Paul Speck suggested that we give people a choice. The chair indicated that each individual can send Lisa (Senate Office) a request for the kind of documents they prefer.
The body approved the choice option for receiving documents.
IFC Report (Paul Speck
A new grievance policy is being tested by Mizzou, then KC, then Rolla, on a trial basis.
Academic dishonesty is being dealt with by a sub-committee of IFC.
There has been an invitation from the President's Office to become more involved in e-learning. There is fear on the campuses that this could lead to centralization of e-learning. There will be a staff support function made available from central administration. The individual campuses will retain other e-learning functions. There was discussion at IFC that concerns about e-learning should be made collectively.
Paul Speck summarized concerns with regard to the 'trust issue'. There are 2 requests that may be made:
- that the system specify how much UM will contribute to the pension plan
- that stabilizion of the fund not be used for other purposes (non-compensatory)
Zulema Tang-Martinez asked "will new grievance procedures be imposed on all campuses? (yes, if approved)
Susan Feigenbaum indicated that she wanted to open a stabilization fund only in the event of investment losses.
There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:45.
Fred Willman, Secretary