EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Sawyer, Siekman, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Absent: Bryant, DiMagno, King, Spann
Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:07 p.m.
2.1 Visiting Guests
Miller announced that Bryan Samuel from UNK and Ellen Davis-Hall from UNMC would be attending todays meeting. He reported that they are the fellows this year participating in the Presidents Equity in Opportunity Administrative Fellowship.
2.2 Appointment to Academic Planning Committee
Wunder announced that he has reappointed Professor Ron Lee, Communication Studies, to serve as the Academic Senate Presidents Designee to the Academic Planning Committee for the 2003-2004 academic year.
2.3 APC Procedures Evaluation Committee
Wunder reported that he has sent a letter to the committee suggesting that they not make any recommendations at this time. He noted in the letter that the Chancellor has addressed the concerns raised by the APC and the Senate by making efforts to provide more information to the APC regarding the budget cuts. He pointed out that the committee should continue to watch the budget cutting process to see how it is progressing.
2.4 Meeting with Athletic Director
Miller reported that the Executive Committee will be meeting with Steve Pederson, the new athletic director on April 23rd.
3.0 Chancellor Perlman
3.1 Faculty Salary Increases
Chancellor Perlman reported that the uncertainty of the budget cuts makes it difficult to predict how much or whether there will be any faculty salary increases for this upcoming year.
Wunder stated that he read in the papers that the University of Oklahoma was attaching a permanent surcharge on football tickets in order to help raise money to offset their budget cuts. He asked if this could be done at UNL. Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the athletic department already subsidizes the campus, but he would consider the suggestion. He stated that there may be some revenue opportunities available in other places.
Miller noted that most of the comments raised at the Chancellors meeting concerning the budget cuts were concerned with firing tenured faculty members. Chancellor Perlman stated that he cannot continue to make budget cuts without it having detrimental effects on the university. He stated that he has tried to squeeze as much money out of the business and finance area as possible but he is running out of options. He stated that the size of the large cuts makes it a daunting task.
Wunder noted that some proposed mergers could save money by eliminating duplication of services. He stated that some of these mergers could eliminate the positions of administrative faculty. He asked if these administrative faculty members would return back to their departments, and, if so, would they go back with a salary equivalent to market value. Chancellor Perlman stated that there is a standard formula for putting people back into faculty ranks. He noted that some faculty received a stipend when they were hired as administrators. He stated that in theory, the stipend should be removed and their appointments would revert back to 9 month appointments.
Peterson asked if it was known how much money could be saved by not filling vacant positions. Chancellor Perlman stated that it is difficult to determine the amount at this time. He stated that presently money in open positions is being used for a variety of purposes, mostly instructional. He noted that the administration will be taking money from open positions to help with the cash flow for this year. He pointed out that taking the positions to reduce the budget would amount to an across the board cut.
Wunder noted that administrative faculty members going back to departments at the rate they have been getting paid throws the departmental salary budget out of whack. He stated that this needs to be changed in order to eliminate potential problems within departments. Chancellor Perlman stated that this is something that needs to be considered. He pointed out that there are not that many people to whom this would pertain. Sawyer asked if there is a Board of Regents policy that addresses the issue of a formula for these circumstances. Chancellor Perlman stated that there is no policy.
Chancellor Perlman stated that departments with similar disciplines could help one another out by allowing faculty members to move back and forth between the two units. He stated that if one department is eliminated, the tenured faculty could be moved to the other, similar department, although it is possible that the faculty member could receive a lower salary and lose tenure. He noted that this would increase the teaching resources in the remaining department but untenured faculty members would need to be removed. He stated that the purpose of this strategy is to keep as many tenured faculty members as possible. Fuller asked how this would protect faculty. Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the tenured faculty member would still have a job. He noted that if an academic program is removed in Phase I and II of the budget cutting process, but the cuts turn out not to be as deep as expected, tenured faculty could be integrated back into UNL.
Miller asked if cutting tenured faculty members will have an impact on legislators. Chancellor Perlman stated that it would probably not have as great an impact as cutting academic programs.
Fuller asked what would happen to the university in 20 years if tenured faculty are cut. Chancellor Perlman stated that he is looking at case studies of universities that have cut tenured faculty. He noted that Oregon States cutting tenured faculty in 1992 does not appear to have had any lingering effects.
Chancellor Perlman stated that, due to the uncertainty of the budget cuts, it is too early to discuss salary increases, but he acknowledged that there will need to be a discussion at some point. He stated that he feels strongly that tenure and promotion need to be recognized. Peterson asked how much money is equivalent to a 1% salary increase. Chancellor Perlman stated that $1.8 million is equivalent to a 1% salary increase at UNL.
Sawyer asked how far the administration is willing to push an increase in tuition. Chancellor Perlman stated that the administration is willing to push for an increase but he does not know what the Board of Regents will do. He stated that current discussions revolve around an increase that would cover the increase in fixed costs. Wunder suggested that the tuition increase be used first to cover budget cuts; then fixed costs could be examined to see how much money would be needed to cover them. He suggested that the administration should look at ways to reduce the fixed costs, where possible. Chancellor Perlman pointed out that they can predict that some things, such as the cost of gas, will be increasing. He noted that there are some items that the Board of Regents considers as fixed costs that could be removed from that list. He stated that he would be in favor of not adding additional funds, beyond what has already been committed, to the programs of excellence funding for next year.
Logan-Peters asked what percentage of cut the university would need to receive in order to avoid cutting tenured faculty. Chancellor Perlman stated that he was unsure of the actual percentage but he noted that he will do everything he can to avoid firing tenured faculty. He pointed out that he was able to avoid cutting tenured faculty last fall only because the amount of the budget cuts was reduced by the legislature. Wunder noted that the campus should expect to hear about the proposed cuts on March 10th. Chancellor Perlman stated that this is the day that some of the possible academic program cuts will be announced.
Chancellor Perlman distributed a draft document that was crafted during the last budget cuts regarding the policies and procedures for eliminating tenured and tenure-track faculty. He noted that this draft was created in August 2002 and the figures do not relate to the impending budget cuts. He asked for feedback from the committee on the document.
3.2 Update on Search for Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Chancellor Perlman stated that the responses on the three candidates have been collected. He stated that since he was unable to meet with the candidates when they were on campus, he and SVCAA Edwards will conduct airport interviews with the two outside candidates. He stated that it will probably be another month before a decision is made.
3.3 Textron Land
Chancellor Perlman reported that the university is considering purchasing the land owned by the former Textron Corporation. He stated that it is important to consider long term planning and this land is the only land accessible to the campus. He pointed out that three donors have contributed large sums of money to help purchase the land. He noted that there will also be $2 million from the Antelope Valley Project to replace facilities can be used in purchasing the land. He stated that Textron has currently rejected all bids for the land. He pointed out that the purchaser of the land would have to assume environmental liability but Textron is not revealing how much environmental damage has occurred on the property. Chancellor Perlman noted that the funds for the purchase of this land do not come from the operating budget.
4.0 Approval of 2/12/03 Minutes
Peterson moved and Wolf seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
5.0 Unfinished Business
5.1 Special Subcommittee
Miller stated that he has received names for people to serve on the subcommittee to develop guidelines in dealing with the budget cuts. He stated that he would like to have a committee of 8 10 people. He noted that he would select potential members and email the Executive Committee of his decision to get their approval. Fuller suggested that the members should include women and minorities. Logan-Peters stated that there should be a balance of disciplines representing both campuses. She asked what the time frame would be for the committee to write their report. Wunder suggested that a report would be helpful by March 9th, before the announcement on the budget cuts was made. Peterson pointed out that this was a very short time and that the report needed to be well written.
6.0 New Business
6.1 Academic Senate Agenda
Miller reported that the union negotiators for UNK could give a presentation to the Senate on March 4th but UNO could not because they are currently in negotiations. The committee discussed whether there would be sufficient time to have UNK make their presentation or whether they should wait until UNO could give their presentation on the same date.
The committee then discussed the issue of firing tenured and tenure-track faculty. Wunder pointed out that there are currently legal discussions taking place on where tenure lies in the university. Fuller pointed out that cutting academic programs is not being based on the quality of a program and that tenure means nothing if it can be removed if a faculty member is moved to another department. She pointed out that faculty would then have to earn tenure all over again. Wunder noted that the Board of Regents gives the final approval on the granting of tenure, an argument that indicates tenure could lie at the university level. He was not aware of a high court decision having been made in Nebraska yet regarding tenure, but lower Nebraska courts have considered the issue. He pointed out that faculty members have been moved to other departments and colleges and have retained their tenure.
Wunder pointed out that on March 10th an announcement will be made to the state legislature what academic programs will be abolished and that tenured faculty will be proposed to be fired as a result of these eliminations. He noted that this news will receive wide national distribution and be a significant problem for UNL. Sawyer stated that the issue of whether financial exigency needs to be declared before tenured faculty can be fired should be raised. Wunder pointed out that this will be a difficult argument to win because the university is being asked to cut $20 million from a budget of $713 million budget. The committee agreed that it needs to make an official statement at the March meeting supporting tenured and tenure track faculty.
The committee discussed whether tenured and tenured track faculty could file grievances. Fuller stated that information should be provided to the faculty regarding the process for filing a grievance.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:03 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Tuesday, February 25th at 3:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the East Campus Student Union. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and James King, Secretary.