UNL ACADEMIC SENATE MEETING MINUTES

City Campus Union, Great Plains Rooms

March 4, 2003

Presidents Tice Miller, and John Wunder, Presiding

 

1.0      Call to Order

            President Miller called the meeting to order at 2:33 p.m.

 

2.0      Announcements

2.1  A Call for Support

President Miller read a passage from Robert Knoll’s book (Prairie University:  A History of the University of Nebraska) on the university during the depression.  He noted that the book states that in the 1930’s, friends of the university went to the legislature to support the university.  President Miller called for friends of the university, both in Nebraska and in the United States, to come to the defense of the university now during this economic crisis.

 

2.2  Donation to the Academic Senate Schwartzkopf Fund

Professor Fech, Southeast Research & Extension Center, gave President Miller a check for $1,000 from the Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association to the Senate Schwartzkopf Fund.  This fund is a foundation account which is used to help support the Academic Senate.

 

2.3  Open Faculty Forums

President Miller reported that the Executive Committee met on February 25th and February 26th with faculty members from across the campus.  He noted that the forums were very sobering and that a number of issues, particularly those regarding the budget cuts, were discussed.  He thanked all of those who participated in the forums.

 

3.0      President Smith

President Smith wanted to compliment UNL on the remarkable work that has been accomplished recently, and for some time.  He noted that the number of federal research grants is up substantially, particularly in the biological sciences, humanities, and social sciences.  He pointed out that the Mathematics & Statistics department was recently designated as a Carnegie Foundation program and that they are one out of eight departments selected for excellence in the doctoral level program of Mathematics. 

 

President Smith congratulated ORCA winners, John Turner, Classics and Religious Studies, and Stephen Ragsdale, Biochemistry.  He also congratulated Jim Lewis for winning the OTICA award.  He congratulated Gary Moulton on his continuing work on Lewis and Clark, and most recently for publishing a single volume that bridges the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

 

President Smith stated that with the merger of Teachers College and the College of Human Resources and Family Sciences the university will produce better educated teachers and will be able to serve K-12 education in the state of Nebraska more. 

 

President Smith reported that the ongoing research on chicory by the Panhandle Research & Extension Center has recently resulted in a grant.   He stated that this crop could be an alternative crop for western Nebraska. 

 

President Smith reported that he attended a presentation by Cooperative Extension regarding how it plans to deliver distance education to the state.  He noted that UNL continues to deliver services throughout the state.

 

President Smith announced that Chancellor Perlman will be the AAU representative for the University of Nebraska.  President Smith stated that he is stepping down as the representative to the AAU because he feels that it is important for the research branch of the university to be represented at the AAU. 

 

President Smith noted that the current economic crisis is creating a great deal of emotional turmoil for everyone on campus.  He asked the Senate for assistance in dealing with the stress that people are experiencing due to the budget cuts.  He pointed out that Central Administration is taking its share of the budget cuts as well as the four campuses.  He noted that over $1million was cut from Central Administration during the last round of cuts and they will continue to take cuts. 

 

President Smith suggested that people be measured in their responses to the budget cuts.  He stated that it is important for the members of the university system to get the message out to the public about the importance of the university.  He stated that the first priority of the university is to protect undergraduate education.  He stressed how important it is to keep Nebraska’s students in the state.  He noted that 70% of high school students stay in the state while 30% go out of state.  He pointed out that this could change if the quality of the undergraduate education at the university suffers due to the cuts.

 

President Smith stated that the university produces the most educated workers in the state and that the research that is conducted here is extremely important to the state.  He noted that the staff is working very hard to reduce the cuts. 

 

President Smith reported that the Board of Regents insists on vertical cuts.  He stated that there will be no salary increases from the Vice Chancellors on up to the President for this year and possibly next year.  He stated that there are two components to the Board of Regents budget.  The first year of the biennium calls for a $13.6 million or 3.2% increase while the second year calls for a $13.3 million or 3% increase.  He noted that the budget has become moot with the Governor’s budget recommendations. 

 

President Smith reported that the total budget decreases given to state agencies by the Governor is $98.3 million.  He pointed out that the University is being asked to take 42%, or $41.2 million, of these cuts.  He stated that the Appropriations Committee reduced the university’s cut to 8% but recommended no increases in the budget for the second year of the biennium. 

 

President Smith stated that a request for salary increases has not been made to the Board of Regents yet.  He noted that a request will not be made until the bargaining is completed by the UNO and UNK campuses.   He pointed out that the Governor has chosen not to add a salary increase equivalent to the state employees’ increases into the university’s budget.  He noted that the Appropriations Committee has suggested that there be a salary increase of 1.5% for the first year and 2.00% for the second year of the biennium.  He warned the faculty not to be too hasty in deciding not to take a salary increase.  He stated that the Appropriations Committee may decide to take that money back if it is not used for salary increases.  He pointed out that the Appropriations Committee has added funds to the health care trust to help offset any increases in health care costs to university employees. 

 

Professor Logan-Peters, Library, noted that the President would be reporting one quarter of the cuts to the Appropriations Committee.  She stated that there is concern that announcing the cuts ahead of time could result in them becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.  President Smith stated that it is very important to explain to the legislature and the Governor that the University has no fat left to eliminate and the budget cuts will have impacts on academic programs.  He pointed out that he does not want to cut anything.  He stated that the University is one of the most valuable assets to the state because it produces highly educated workers. 

 

Professor Genoways, Museums, asked why there has not been more talk on increasing tuition rates?  President Smith stated that the Board of Regents has not come to a conclusion regarding tuition rate increases.  He noted that there is concern that the legislature might believe that the budget cuts could be significantly reduced by raising tuition rates.  Also, there is great concern about need based aid for students and those students who could not afford to come to the university because of the cost of tuition.   He stated that there would need to be a 30% increase in tuition in order to cover the budget deficits.  He pointed out that the Board of Regents would not pass an increase this large.  Professor Genoways noted that the state supported schools in Iowa received a 20% increase in tuition last year and are having a 20% increase in tuition for this upcoming year.   President Smith stated that this is correct.  He noted that all of the surrounding states are comparing how much tuition rates are increasing.

 

Professor Beck, Animal Science, stated that tenure is essential to academic freedom.  She stated that the faculty members do not want to be the first university in the Big 12 to fire tenured faculty.  President Smith stated that he too is tenured and he plans to return to the faculty when he retires from administration.  He stated that tenure is a sacred institution to higher education.  However, he stated that he does not intend to issue instructions to each of the campuses on what can and cannot be cut.  He stated that everyone in the university needs to be realistic regarding the cuts.  He noted that academic programs will be cut with this round of budget cuts.  He pointed out that tenure resides at the department level on the UNL campus.  He stated that the university would not be the first to fire tenured faculty.  He stated that it was done at the University of California-Irvine.  He noted that each of the campuses needs to look at and assess what they can and cannot cut.

 

 

4.0      Chancellor Perlman

Chancellor Perlman reported that if the Governor’s recommendations are passed, the UNL campus faces a $21 million budget cut which does not include fixed costs.  He emphasized that the Board of Regents is committed to maintaining the strength of the university.  He pointed out that it took the university a decade to recover from the budget cuts made during the 1930’s. 

 

Chancellor Perlman presented a breakdown of the UNL budget.  He noted that the total budget for the UNL campus is $713 million.  It breaks down to the following:  27% of the budget ($194 million) comes from the state, 12% ($89 million) comes from tuition, 20% ($145 million) comes from federal dollars, 30% ($205 million) comes from auxiliaries, and 11% ($80 million) comes from restricted funds.  He pointed out that only the state dollars and tuition funds can be used to cover the budget cuts.  Chancellor Perlman noted that tuition rates have been increasing because the percentage of state support has been declining in the past 10 years. 

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that city campus receives 57% ($162 million) of the UNL budget while east campus receives 27% ($75 million).  He noted that 4% ($11 million) goes to the physical plant, 5% ($13 million is used to pay for utilities, 2% ($6 million) is spent on student services, and 2% ($6 million) goes towards general expenses and insurances.  He noted that the east campus’ budget cuts are proportioned on the amount of their budget (they receive 27% of the budget cuts while the remainder goes to city campus). 

 

Chancellor Perlman then presented a breakdown of the amount of money each college receives.  (To see the full Powerpoint presentation, go to http://www.unl.edu/pr/chancllr/2003-5budget/# [Presentation on Current UNL Budget ONLINE March 11, 2003]).  He noted that the amount of the proposed cuts is equivalent to the budgets of the four smallest colleges (Human Resources and Family Sciences, Architecture, Journalism, and Law).  He reported that 52% of the students at UNL are from areas outside Lincoln and Omaha.

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that these are extraordinarily difficult times for everyone on campus.  He stated that he knows that people are anxious and he reported that the administration is trying to do the best that they can.  He noted that he is not fearful of a budget cutting process that allows people to raise questions about his decisions.  In fact, he urges people to participate in the process.  He stated that he does not see how the budget cuts can be met without cutting academic programs and faculty.  He reported that the university will do all that it can to help tenured faculty members find a place within the university.  However, not everyone will be able to be placed.  He noted that it will be up to the departments to decide what and how many faculty members they can take from an eliminated program. 

 

Professor Wolf, English, asked the Chancellor to elaborate on the comments he and President Smith made regarding tenure.  Particularly, Wolf asked the Chancellor to comment on statements he made during the February 19th Executive Committee meeting on moving tenured faculty to other departments  (see Executive Committee Minutes, Section 3.1, paragraph 7, http://www.unl.edu/asenate/exec/03feb19mins.htm).  Wolf stated that after circulating the Executive Committee minutes to faculty in his department, he received emails expressing the following concerns:  whether faculty could lose tenure if moved to another department, if appointed as an adjunct they would not be able to conduct research, and they would be paid as an adjunct.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he was attempting to address the implications that could arise if academic programs are cut and tenured faculty members lose their jobs in those programs.  He noted that some flexibility will be required from all faculty members.  He stated that his highest obligation will be to tenured faculty members, then tenure leading faculty, and finally non-tenured faculty.  He stated that the reality of the situation is that some tenured faculty members will be cut but the administration will work with each individual tenured faculty member to help them relocate within the university if possible.

 

Professor Keith, Entomology, asked the Chancellor what he sees as the future of the extension division, given the scenario of the budget cuts.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he has no intention of eliminating cooperative extension.  He pointed out that if the cuts were to be across the board, then he would have to make deep cuts into cooperative extension and other units.  He noted that there are some plans to refigure cooperative extension and hopefully they will make it more efficient and effective. 

 

Professor Beck asked if there were any efforts to force a discussion on higher education in the legislative arena to address the large amount of higher education institutions in Nebraska.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this is a decision by the legislature that needs to be made.  He pointed out that the legislature and government should develop a system of priorities and adhere to it in regards to high education in the state.  He noted that other options need to be considered such as revenue enhancements.

 

Professor Barnes, Music, stated that it would help the morale of the employees if they had an idea of the level of advocacy that is being done on behalf of the university.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he wants to assure everyone that a number of steps are being taken to support the university.  He noted that many groups, such as the four alumni associations, are coming together to work on behalf of the university.  He stated that they are finding strong support from organizations within the state, some even suggesting that taxes should be raised in order to support the university.

 

Professor Bradford, Law, asked if there were any discussions on using some of the principle from the endowment funds to help support the university.  Chancellor Perlman stated that most endowed funds cannot be used for operating costs. 

 

President-Elect Wunder asked if revenue enhancements can be increased through auxiliaries.  He noted that the University of Oklahoma recently passed a $2 surcharge on football tickets to help the University with budget cuts.  He asked if other auxiliaries could be increased.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the athletics department already provides $1.5 million to the campus.  He noted that the University of Oklahoma athletics department is not self-supporting like Nebraska.  He pointed out that it is too late to change the price on the football tickets because they have already been printed.  He noted that the administration is looking at a variety of ways to extract more money from auxiliaries. 

 

President-Elect Wunder stated that there is confusion over where tenure resides.  He stated that there are no real definitive answers to this question.  He noted that President Smith states that it resides in the departments but it is the Board of Regents who makes the final decision to grant tenure.  Does this mean that tenure resides at the university level and, if so, faculty members should be moved with tenure?  Chancellor Perlman sated that most letters of offer state that tenure is in the department.  He noted that there are some ambiguous appointments where this could be confusing.  He stated that the issue of the joint appointments is being discussed with the Vice Chancellors.

 

5.0      Approval of 2/4/03 Minutes

Professor Diffendal, Conservation and Survey Division, moved that the minutes be approved.  Professor Keith, Entomology, seconded the motion.  Motion approved.

 

8.0      New Business

            President Miller changed the agenda by moving New Business as the next item of business. 

 

            8.1  Resolution in Support of the University of Nebraska

President Miller presented a resolution from the Executive Committee to support the University of Nebraska. 

President Miller asked the Senate for approval to treat the resolution as an emergency motion.  Motion approved.   Professor Bauer, West Central Research & Extension Center, suggested a friendly amendment to eliminate the language “terminating tenured faculty”.  Professor Hoffman, Industrial Management Systems Engineering, seconded the amendment.  The friendly amendment was approved, 22 in favor, 21 against.  There was no further discussion on the original motion.  Motion approved.

 

8.2  Resolution in Support of Core Academic Programming

President Miller presented a resolution from the Executive Committee to support core academic programming.  President Miller asked the Senate for approval to treat the resolution as an emergency motion.  Motion approved.  President-Elect Wunder explained that the resolution was written in response to a request by the Academic Planning Committee for the Senate to provide some guidance to the APC on the budget cuts.  Professor Keith stated that he has concerns with the language referring to tenured and tenure leading faculty.  He asked whether the language could be changed to more broadly represent those who are teaching.  Professor May, Economics, stated that as a member of the APC she appreciated the resolution being put forward.  She stated that the central issue is academic freedom and tenure is at the core of academic freedom.  She stated that the APC needs to have guidance in dealing with the budget cuts and this resolution helps to give them guidance.  Professor Fech asked if the figures on the budget were correct.  President-Elect Wunder stated that the figures are based on the Appropriations Committee suggestion to drop the percent of budget cuts for the university.  Motion approved, 34 in favor, 11 against.

 

8.3  Motion on Revenue Enhancements

President Miller presented a resolution from the Executive Committee to support revenue enhancements.  President Miller asked the Senate for approval to treat the resolution as an emergency motion.  Motion approved, 34 for, 8 against.  A professor asked for clarification regarding the abolition of 12 month appointments.  President-Elect Wunder stated that individual negotiations should take place to move faculty members from a 12-month appointment to a 9-month appoint.  He stated that this could be one way of increasing funds for the budget without firing any faculty.  He noted that the huge reduction to the Summer Sessions budget has some faculty regulated to strictly a 9 month appointment.  He stated that it is now time to discuss the 12 month appointments and the motion is a way to begin this discussion.  Professor DiMagno, Chemistry, suggested a friendly amendment to remove all specifics from the motion.  Professor Peterson, Agricultural Economics, seconded the motion.  The friendly amendment to the motion was approved.  Professor Diffendal suggested a friendly amendment to remove the language tenured and tenure track faculty.  He stated that the motion would then cover all faculty members.  Professor Bauer, seconded the motion.  Motion approved, 38 for, 9 against.  Professor Carlo, Psychology, stated that the amendment seems to have been diluted by the friendly amendments.  He asked what the motion would accomplish.  Professor May stated that the resolution will provide the APC with more input into the budget cuts.  Motion approved.

 

6.0      Committee Reports

6.1  Parking Advisory Committee (Professor Bell)

The committee report was postponed due to a time conflict. 

 

6.2  Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (Professors Miller and Potuto)

Professor Miller reported that the IAC provides oversight for scheduling of athletic events.  He noted that there is a subcommittee that assesses the academic support for athletes and reviews graduation rates.  He noted that a report on the 10 year graduation rates for athletes was included in the Senator’s packet. 

 

Professor Potuto, UNL’s faculty representative to the NCAA, stated that she represents the university in conferences and on NCAA committees.  She stated that she keeps the IAC informed on any initiatives within the NCAA that are going on nationally that could have an impact on athletes, classes, course scheduling, etc.  President-Elect Wunder asked if Professor Potuto has any conflict in being the Chancellor’s representative as well as the faculty representative to the NCAA.  He noted that student athletes are often put into difficult situations because of scheduling.  Professor Potuto stated that there could be a potential for conflict, but on major concerns there has been no difference between the Chancellor’s view and the faculty’s view on these issues. 

 

Professor Potuto stated that scheduling is difficult because many of the institutions in Division I are on different schedules.  She stated that the structure of the NCAA makes it difficult to narrow down a time when the final competitions can be held.  She noted that a lot of work has been done on scheduling.  She pointed out that the NCAA does not have any specific policies regarding dead week.  Professor Diffendal recommended that the subcommittee of the IAC should be aware of the concerns faculty members have in regards to scheduling. 

 

Professor Hoffman questioned the logic of letting some athletes take evening classes when their games will conflict with the classes.  Professor Potuto stated that she will raise the concern in an athletic department meeting. 

 

Professor Weller, Biological Systems Engineering, asked about the Coalition on Athletics that is being formed by Big 10 schools.  He asked if they have any particular mission or focus.  Professor Miller stated that a steering committee is being put together and that they hope to meet in April to form their agenda.    Professor Potuto stated that she was not surprised by the formation of the Coalition.  She noted that it is a small organization that is concerned with the excesses of athletics.  She stated that people are concerned with the amount of money being put towards athletics.  She noted that the President of the NCAA has started pushing for academic reform. 

 

Professor May asked if Lamar Daniel interviewed female athletes and whether a coach was present at the time the interview was conducted.  Professor Potuto stated that the female athletes were all interviewed without a coach.  She pointed out that the interviews were not a climate report and were being conducted in connection with Title IX/Gender Equity compliance review.  Professor Miller reported that a copy of the diversity subcommittee report is available in the Academic Senate office.  He stated that the IAC will review the findings of the report this fall.  Professor Logan-Peters noted that Lamar Daniel has conducted the interviews for a long time.  She suggested that another firm should be used.  Professor Miller stated that he would be happy to pass the suggestion on to the athletics department. 

 

Professor Cohn, Mathematics & Statistics, asked if it was possible to get graduation information by majors.  Professor Miller stated that he did not know if this could be done.  Professor Potuto stated that there is data on the major, but that it might be difficult to obtain. 

 

Professor McShane, English, pointed out that the Senate passed a resolution that only 20% of classes could be missed.  He asked if this is looked at as the maximum amount by the athletic department.   He noted that the Senate did not intend the missed class policy to be used as a maximum amount that could be missed by a team.  He asked if the IAC reviews whether teams are continually scheduling games so that athletes miss 20% of a class.  Professor Miller noted that many teams do not reach the 20% maximum and that scheduling is not done on the notion that 20% of classes can be missed. 

 

6.3  Employee Benefits Committee (Professor Bradford)

The committee report was postponed due to a time conflict.

 

7.0      Unfinished Business

            7.1   Approval of APC, ARRC, and ARRP Ballot

The Senate approved the ballot for the APC, ARRC, and ARRP.  The ballot will be sent out to all faculty members for voting following the Senate meeting.

 

            7.2  Approval of Motion Regarding Implementation of New Grading System

Professor Ford, English, requested that the motion be postponed to the April 1st meeting.

 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 3:32 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, March 4, at 2:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union, Auditorium.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.