EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: DiMagno, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Sawyer, Siekman, Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Absent: Bryant, King
Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:02 pm.
Miller announced that the 2nd Annual Celebration of African American Creativity by UNLs African American faculty, staff and graduate students would be held on Monday, April 28th from 3:00 5:30 in the Culture Center.
3.0 Approval of 4/16/03 Minutes
Peterson moved and Fuller seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
4.0 Steve Pederson, Athletics Director
Pederson reported that he was excited to be back at UNL and that he plans to continue refocusing athletics to recruiting top athletes while helping them academically. He stated that he is very pleased with the academic support provided by the director and staff of Academic & Student Services in the athletic department. He pointed out that these people have never lost the focus on assisting athletes with their education. He noted that the coaches also support academics.
Pederson reported that student athletes have stated that the emphasis on excelling in academics helps carry them through their time here. He noted that many universities do not support academics as well as UNL does. He reported that the football program has a tremendous graduation rate and many of the players graduate early. He stated that the athletics department stresses to the athletes that they have to keep their semester grades up in order to retain their scholarships.
Miller noted that there have been many scandals involving intercollegiate athletics recently. He asked if anyone is involved in overseeing whether scandals occur here. Pederson stated that the coaches contracts specifically state what will happen if they are found in any violation of NCAA rules. He stated that the athletic programs here can clearly excel within the NCAA rules and that he finds it insulting to think that anyone would have to cheat in order to succeed.
Miller referred to Senator Chambers proposal to have athletes paid. He asked if there was concern in the athletics department that athletes are not getting enough money. Pederson stated that athletes now are in pretty good shape compared to how things used to be, although he stated that most athletes would probably tell you that they could use more money.
Wunder stated that he was pleased with the remarks by Athletic Director Pederson on the importance of faculty at the University during the Intercollegiate Sports Banquet. Wunder praised the recognition of student athletes for their scholarly accomplishments. The committee then discussed issues dealing with scheduling, advising, and coaches contracts. Pederson stated that he has plans to look at the scheduling to see if issues of concern can be resolved.
Logan-Peters noted that former Coach Osborne was cited as saying that the athletic facilities are lacking. She stated that this is difficult for the faculty to imagine since some of them are facing severe cuts in support resources. She asked how he is going to approach improving the facilities during such difficult economic times. Pederson stated that it is facilities such as the locker rooms that need upgrading. He noted that he is just beginning to approach how to accomplish these improvements. He stated that whatever is done, it will be prudent. Logan-Peters asked if there will be any changes to Memorial Stadium. Pederson stated that he is unsure at this point.
Miller noted that Pederson and the coaches will be traveling across the state in June to speak with the public. Pederson reported that he and the coaches will be conducting a goodwill tour across the state. He stated that it will provide an opportunity to introduce the new football coaches to the public and that it will generate goodwill for the university.
Miller asked if the public was supportive of the spring football game. Pederson stated that the people have been great. He noted that they are very excited about the August 30th football game. He stated that approximately 1,000 letters were sent out to former players inviting them to attend the game and that they hope to have 600 700 of the players at the game.
Wunder noted that athletics contributes financially to the campus. He suggested that they could possibly do more fundraising for the university by placing a surcharge on football tickets the way the University of Oklahoma has done. Pederson pointed out that the athletics department at the university is self-supporting. He stated that $1.5 million is already being given to UNL, although he does not know how it is used. He stated that he is unsure how the public would react to any additional surcharge. He noted that other schools have done this but they usually receive institutional support. Sawyer asked if a portion of the concession profits could be used to help support the university. Pederson stated that these profits already are used to support athletics. He noted that there are many changes in athletic departments due to Title IX. He reminded the committee that it is in the best interest of the university to keep funds within the athletic department so it can comply with Title IX regulations. If not, the university could lose a significant amount of federal research dollars.
Miller asked if there is a cost associated with belonging to the Big 12. Pederson reported that there is no charge for being in the Big 12. He noted that the money received from Big 12 games shown on television benefits the university. He reported that approximately $12 million is made through the televised games. Wunder pointed out that most of the schools in our academic peer group are from the Big 10. He suggested that the athletic department should think seriously about joining the Big 10. Pederson stated that he personally liked the university being in the Big 12, but that it would be up to the Chancellor to make the decision to change.
Miller asked if the drop in the ticket prices was going to have an impact on the athletics departments budget. Pederson stated that he is unsure exactly where they will make up the difference in the loss of revenue due to the decreased ticket prices. He stated that the decision to drop the prices was to make the cost more reasonable. Griffin asked why the faculty/staff season ticket holders received an increase of $4.00 per game. Pederson stated that the athletics department receives complaints from the public about why faculty/staff receive a discount. He stated that the reason for the increase is to try to make the cost of tickets more equitable. Griffin suggested that an email message could have been sent to the faculty and staff giving them the notice that this increase was going to occur and the reason for it.
Wolf stated that he has had student athletes complain to him about the homophobia that is prevalent in athletics. He asked how this is addressed within the department and suggested that it could be discussed at the new student athletes orientation. Pederson stated that he is unsure of how this is addressed but that he will check into it. Wolf recommended D. Moritz, Assistant Director for GLBT & Ally Programs and Services, to help organize workshops on addressing homophobia.
Spann asked how many academic reports the NCAA requires on student athletes. Pederson stated that NCAA does not require any, but the athletic department requires a lot of reports. Whitt pointed out that it is time consuming for professors with large classes and many student athletes to fill out each individual performance card that comes from the athletic department on these students. He suggested that a list could be sent to the professor instead. DiMagno suggested that it could be done by email which would help reduce costs.
Spann noted that while there is pride in the athletic department being self-supporting, there is a feeling that the program is more like Huskers, Incorporated and that the athletics department separates itself from the university. Pederson pointed out that he and his staff members have been selling the university as a whole more than athletics. He pointed out that all of the athletic facilities have been paid out of the athletic department. He noted that it is important that athletics stay self supporting and not become a part of the university budget. He pointed out that in order to be able to do this, the department may need to be entrepreneurial at times. Fuller noted that this has the potential to create a mindset of academics versus athletics. She noted that it is in the best interest of both not to get into this way of thinking. Pederson stated that one of the good things about the Intercollegiate Sports Banquet was how the student athletes praised their faculty. He stated that he does not sense that there is a tension between athletics and academics. He pointed out that 90% of the alumni who come back to campus for a visit do so in conjunction with an athletic event. He noted that alumni often feel connected to the university again when they come back to campus and this in turn creates support for the university. Pederson pointed out that those in athletics they want the same thing academics want: the best and the brightest students.
Logan-Peters stated that many people attribute mens sports getting dropped because of Title IX. She asked how Pederson feels about this. Pederson stated that the purpose of Title IX was to create equitable opportunities in athletics for women. He stated that Title IX should not be used as an excuse for cutting athletic programs and he hopes that he never has to drop a sport.
Logan-Peters suggested that the committee should schedule Dennis Leblanc to come speak to them about scheduling and advising.
5.0 Ron Lee, Academic Senate President Designee, APC
Lee reported that all the hearings for the budget cuts announced in March have been completed. He stated that the committee is now in the process of asking the administration questions regarding the proposed cuts.
Lee stated that the APC has sent a resolution to the Board of Regents calling for a temporary freeze of the priority fund money. He stated that the committee is reviewing alternative budget cuts and revenue enhancements.
Lee stated that the committee assumes that the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee will work on faculty salaries. Wunder stated that the FCAC will not meet again until there is more definitive information regarding the budget and whether there will be any faculty salary increase. Lee stated that if there is a salary increase it is likely to be deferred by the university administration.
Siekman asked if the administration has shown the APC has what the alternative cuts would be. Lee stated that the APC has not been shown this information. He stated that it is particularly frustrating when the APC goes through a round of cuts where something very serious is eliminated and then in the next round of cuts they find that the administration has found thousands of dollars in new savings in administrative costs.
Wolf noted that the Executive Committee has been repeatedly told that horizontal cuts cannot be made. Lee pointed out that UNO and UNK are both doing horizontal cuts. The committee then discussed the firing of tenured faculty in the Museums.
Lee reported that the APC has created guidelines for the merging of colleges. He stated that he is chairing a subcommittee to review the merger of the Teachers College and the College of Human Resources and Family Sciences. He stated that another subcommittee reviewed the merger of the School of Natural Resource Sciences and the Conservation and Survey Division and the APC approved this merger. He stated that another subcommittee will review the merger of Mathematics and Statistics with Biometry. He noted that, in particular, they are watching carefully how promotion and tenure will be handled with these mergers. He stated that the APC also plans on conducting a survey of the faculty members of the merging units to see if the will of the faculty is being considered. Lee noted that the proposed mergers have done nothing to address the division between east and city campus. He pointed out that all of the appointments will remain where they are, in either IANR or Academic Affairs.
Peterson asked if APC will monitor any further cuts made during the summer. Lee stated that they would. He noted that further cuts will probably not be announced until June 2nd , unless President Smith decides to release them earlier. Fuller asked when the APC process of reviewing the cuts would take place if further cuts are announced during the summer. Lee stated that hearings would probably not take place until the fall.
6.0 Unfinished Business
6.1 Response from Senators on the Idea of Freezing Priority Funds
Griffin reported that 32 senators responded to the email sent asking for their feedback on the freezing of the priority funds. She stated that 25 were in favor of freezing the funds while 7 were against it. Wolf moved that the Executive Committee, having polled the senators and in keeping with the recommendations of the Academic Planning Committee, recommend to the Board of Regents that $2 million of the priority enhancement funds be frozen for two years to help offset the budget reductions. Peterson seconded the motion. Motion approved with one opposing vote.
7.0 New Business
7.1 Faculty Salary Increase
Wunder stated that it would be helpful for the FCAC to know what the faculty members feel about how the faculty salary increase should be used. He suggested that the faculty members should be polled. The committee discussed whether a recommendation to defer the salary increases could be made. Griffin stated that most faculty members still have access to their email over the summer and that an email message could be sent asking for their input. The committee agreed to discuss the issue further in early June.
7.2 Appreciation of Service
The committee thanked Tice Miller, Darrel Siekman, and Mac Sawyer for their contributions and work on the committee during the past three years.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:17. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, April 30th at 3:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and James King, Secretary.