DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT (02sep25mins)




Present:          Bryant, DiMagno, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Sawyer,

                        Siekman, Spann, Wolf, Wunder


Absent:           King, Whitt


Date:               Wednesday, September 25, 2002


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace


1.0       Call to Order (Miller)

            Miller called the meeting to order at 3:02 pm.


2.0       Announcements

            No announcements were made.


3.0       Vice Chancellor Jackson

            3.1       Transit

VC Jackson reported that the Parking Advisory Committee recommended last year the proposal to charge $20 per month for bus passes.  She stated that this was based on an effort to take the burden off the parking permit holders of subsidizing both parking and transit services.  She noted that the timing of the proposal and the cost created a firestorm which resulted in the proposal being deferred until this fall.  She reported that her office is finalizing the details on campus discussions of this issue.  She stated that she wants to hold discussions with the Academic Senate, ASUN, UNOPA, and UAAD to try to determine what would work best for the campus. 


VC Jackson stated that there are several options being considered.  Option 1 is to review and control the bus routes.  Parking permit holders would be allowed to use the shuttle buses for free and there would be a voluntary transit fee for non permit holders.   Option 2 is a mandatory transit fee for those who do not buy parking permits.  VC Jackson pointed out that both options would require a bus pass. 


Sawyer asked if drivers would have to collect money if the voluntary fee was instituted.  VC Jackson stated that this is not the plan because exchanging money would slow down the shuttles. 


DiMagno asked if the contract with the city bus service was the most costly aspect of the transit system.  VC Jackson stated that the cost of the agreement with Startran was about 25% of the total costs for transit services.  She pointed out that she does not expect the transit users to cover the entire cost of the service.


Peterson stated that he uses the shuttle services now but does not purchase a parking permit.  He pointed out that if changes were made to the current system requiring him to pay, he would not use the shuttle.  He noted that students not bringing cars to campus are more helpful to the parking situation.  He pointed out that students are often required to take classes on both campuses and that the university should be responsible for providing transportation for them. 


Bryant asked how other campuses deal with this situation.  VC Jackson stated that it varies.  She noted that some universities provide transit services through state operating funds, some charge a transit fee, and some are tied to the student general fees.  She pointed out that there is no tolerance left on campus to increase parking fees.  She stated that she would like to see the campus community decide what plan it favors the most. 


Fuller asked what the cost would be if people just purchased a StarTran pass.  VC Jackson stated that the cost for a non-university person would be $33 per month.  Peterson asked if there was consideration of canceling the contract with StarTran.  VC Jackson stated that this would cause problems for those students and faculty who use the bus to commute between campuses. 


DiMagno asked how many parking permits are sold in a year.  VC Jackson stated that anywhere from 1/3 to ½ of the student population has a parking permit and 3500 faculty/staff have parking permits.  She noted that parking permit fees are the major source of funding for both parking and transit services.


Sawyer asked if the campus could apply for federal dollars to assist with transit services.  VC Jackson stated that we do not qualify.  She pointed out that it would not be cost effective to turn the shuttle system over to StarTran. 


Wunder noted that the lottery often covers funding of projects for environmental reasons.  He pointed out that providing shuttle service reduces the number of vehicles that are driven to campus thereby reducing pollution.  He suggested that a possible source of revenue could be a grant from the lottery which helps to fund environmental projects.


Wolf stated that it is fair to have transit users pay some part of the cost of the service but it is important not to discourage its use.  VC Jackson reminded the committee that administrative costs need to be considered when various options are proposed. 


DiMagno noted that the transit system costs approximately $1.2 million a year.  He stated that if student fees were increased by $20 per year, it would help cover a significant amount of the costs.  He suggested that the cost of a student parking permit could be reduced by $20 to compensate for the increase in student fees.


3.2       Parking

VC Jackson stated that there have been some minor problems with parking this fall but there are currently no major issues. 


Wunder stated that the Trails Committee for the City reported that runners are very upset with the garage that will be built at 14th & Avery Streets because it cuts across a trail.  VC Jackson stated that the trail is still on the map but will be changed slightly with the building of the garage and the Antelope Valley Project. 


Wunder commended VC Jackson for being the voice of calm during the period of time when the Academic Planning Committee requested that alternative funding needed to be found for the 14th & Avery Street garage.  Spann reported that the parking lot by Anderson Hall is getting patrolled more frequently which has resulted in a safer and cleaner lot.  VC Jackson noted that there was a security issue with that particular lot.  She commended the Lincoln Police department for the increased monitoring of that lot. 


Spann asked if there were still plans to improve the mall.  VC Jackson stated that some improvements have been made and more are scheduled to come.  She noted that a great number of organizations are responsible for various sections of the mall and that this has sometimes impeded the rate of progress on improvements.


3.3       Pepsi Fund

VC Jackson reported that the Pepsi funds were distributed as follows: 1) $400,000 to the UCARE program; 2) $200,000 for the Melvin Jones Scholarship fund; 3) $44,500 to the Pepsi Scholars program, and 4) $30,000 for student leadership.  She noted that the endowment is for $11.5 million but this year for the first time there were negative earnings. 


Wunder reported that faculty, staff, and students in Oldfather had been pleased with the coffee shop that had been created on the first floor.  He stated that the quality of the shop recently went downhill because, as he was told, Pepsi took over the shop because they felt the prior arrangement was an infringement on their contract.  VC Jackson stated that Student Affairs recently combined housing and the food services.  She noted that Housing reviewed operations and may have downsized some of the cafes on campus.  She stated that she does not know if Pepsi was involved in any of the changes because they do not sell coffee.  She stated that she would check into it further. 


Wunder pointed out that there are very few faculty members on the Pepsi Advisory Committee.  Bryant stated that this point was made last year to the Vice Chancellor.  He noted that the money appears to be allocated each year to the same programs.  He asked how the scholarships are awarded.  VC Jackson stated that she will check on the awarding of the scholarships. 


Fuller noted that there is still some question on whether the endowment fund can be used.  VC Jackson stated that it is a quasi endowment fund which means that the principal could be spent.  She reported that the contract will be renegotiated in 2005-06.  Wunder suggested that some faculty members should review the contract when it is renegotiated.  He stated that the contract could be more specific about academic enhancements.  Spann asked how Pepsi felt about the endowment and how it is going.  VC Jackson stated that overall they are pleased with it although there have been some financial challenges.  She pointed out that this contract is the only one of its kind in the country.


4.0       Approval of 9/18/02 Minutes

            Fuller moved and Peterson seconded approval of the minutes as amended.


5.0       Report on Meeting with President Smith

Miller reported that he, along with the other Senate Presidents, met with President Smith and Provost Noren.  He stated that the Provost spoke on the US Patriots Act and its impact on academic freedom.  Miller stated that the act will make it difficult for some foreign students to have access to certain laboratories.  He stated that high level security checks by the local police will be conducted on international students.  He reported that Provost Noren will speak to the full Senate at an upcoming Senate meeting about the act. 


DiMagno noted that the inventorying of hazardous materials and agents required by the act has already taken place.


Miller reported that the screening of students will take place in either student or judicial affairs.  He stated that he did not know what would be done about international students who are already here.  Wolf stated that he has concerns on how this will be handled on campus. 


Miller reported that Varner Hall believes that the university could get hit with a $20 million budget cut for the next two years in January.  He noted that fixed costs will decrease the budget by $18 million.  He reported that President Smith stated that a 15% increase in tuition would cover the deficit of the university.  However this would not cover salary increases.  Wunder noted that many universities are raising tuition fees, some by as much as 40%. 


Miller reported that there was discussion regarding integrating the business services of the campuses.  He reported that the President wants to have courses taken off the books that are not being taught or that have low enrollment.  Miller stated that health service costs are up by 11.9%.  He noted that the group that was close to retiring had the highest medical costs.  He stated that the administration is looking at vertical costs of the various insured groups.  He noted that the Senate will be presented with this information at the October meeting. 


Wolf asked if there was any action being taken to consolidate the business services.  Miller stated that it was just talk at this point.  Wunder asked if there was any discussion about mergers of departments or colleges.  Miller stated that President Smith thought the merger of Teachers College and the College of Human Resources and Family Sciences is a good idea and that more mergers are needed.


Miller stated that there was discussion on the priority funds.  He stated that President Smith reported that the Board of Regents has mandated that the priority funds be used only for those identified programs and that the university needed to abide by the decision of the Regents. 


6.0       Quality Indicators Report

The committee discussed the quality indicators report.  DiMagno thought it gave an accurate reflection of the university.  Fuller stated that it showed the university to be below average.  Wolf suggested that other groups on campus, such as the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, should be asked to review and assess the report.  Wolf and Spann stated that the lack of inventory of inputs and investments makes the report unrealistic.  Siekman stated that he did not feel that much of the report related to IANR and cooperative extension.  He stated that some things in the report seem exaggerated.  Wunder stated that there was not much interpretive narrative to the report.  He pointed out that there is a problem in data collection, especially with the arts and humanities. 


Peterson pointed out that the numbers for the Fulbright program are low because little support is provided to the faculty members assigned to coordinate the program.  He stated that he chaired the Fulbright program for about a year and that it required a lot of time.  Because of normal teaching and research obligations, he was unable to do the kind of recruiting and background work that might have increased the number of applicants.  He stated that a managerial professional assigned full time to the Fulbright and other undergraduate award programs might be able to improve UNL’s performance in this area.


Fuller suggested that the Executive Committee contact the Graduate Council, Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and the endowed chairs to ask them to review and assess the report.  Wolf suggested that the groups be asked if they consider the criteria selected to be true quality indicators.  Spann suggested that the Senators should be asked to respond to the report as well. 


7.0       Unfinished Business

            7.1       Letter to APC on Alternative Budget Cuts

Wunder reported that he worked with Fuller and Sawyer to write a letter suggesting that alternative budget cuts could be found instead of releasing the two tenure track faculty members in the cooperative extension program.  Wunder reported that the committee has not received a request from the APC to appear at a hearing regarding the letter.  The committee agreed to have Professor Lee, the President’s Designee to the APC, report to them on the budget hearings.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 pm.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, October 2nd at 3:00 pm, in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and James King, Secretary.