EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Bryant, DiMagno, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Sawyer, Siekman, Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Date: Wednesday, January 29, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:01 p.m.
2.1 Third Candidate for Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Miller reminded the committee that they were interviewing the third candidate for the Dean of Undergraduate Studies on Friday, January 31st. Bryant suggested that the committee should have a discussion on all of the candidates at the next Executive Committee meeting.
3.0 Chancellor Perlman
3.1 Instructions to Deans Regarding 10% Budget Reduction
Chancellor Perlman reported that he asked the deans to develop a scenario for a 10% budget reduction. Fuller asked if he told the deans that the cuts must be vertical, horizontal, or that they could be a combination of both. Chancellor Perlman stated that he told the deans that the cuts could be both, although they are aware of what his preferences are in regards to the cuts. He noted that he told the deans that they could be as creative as possible. Fuller asked if horizontal cuts would be considered if they are the only type of cuts presented. Chancellor Perlman stated that any kind of cut would have to be considered. He stated that the strength of the university will lie in the ability to narrow the budget without cutting across the board.
Fuller asked if a program is defined by its ability to grant a degree. Chancellor Perlman stated that the definition of a program is stated in Executive Memorandum No. 24 from President Smith. Fuller asked if a program were eliminated, would tenured faculty be retained over untenured faculty in another program. Chancellor Perlman stated that this question cannot be answered generically. He noted that tenured faculty would probably be preferred over untenured faculty.
Wunder noted that, in some areas the instructions on budget cuts given to the chairs often vary significantly from those given to the deans. He stated that some departments are being asked to cut their own faculty members. Miller pointed out that cuts will need to be made that will leave the university in a position to move ahead when the economy eventually turns around. Chancellor Perlman stated that he did not want to be too direct with his instructions to the deans. He wanted to be open to various ideas. He suggested that he should make clear that no actual budget reductions will take place until all of the procedures for budget reductions have been completed. Fuller suggested that the Chancellor should let people know that there are other ways of making cuts. She noted that some people think that only vertical cuts can be made. Chancellor Perlman stated that he would consult with SVCAA Edwards and VC Owens to see if further clarification is needed.
Fuller asked if there has been any discussion about rotating chairs and whether this could possibly save any money. Chancellor Perlman stated that any good idea that saves money should be considered.
Fuller stated that she has concerns for minority faculty who have recently been hired because they are often untenured and therefore vulnerable. Chancellor Perlman noted that every proposed reduction must be reviewed by the office of Equity, Access, and Diversity Programs to make sure that our diversity is protected. Peterson asked if this included women. Chancellor Perlman stated that it did.
Wunder asked if the budget cutting process could be speeded up. Chancellor Perlman stated that he has told the deans that they need to respond back on their budgets by February 14th. He noted that the Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet the first week of March and that he hopes to be able to identify some areas that could be cut by then. He pointed out that President Smith wants an entire list of recommendations by April 1st.
Sawyer stated that he has heard that some deans are opposed to the retirement phase out plan because the savings from the plan will go to administration, not the colleges. Chancellor Perlman stated that he made it clear to the deans that administration will take all available money this year.
Wunder asked if merging other colleges was being considered. Chancellor Perlman stated that he has considered some mergers but does not know that they will actually take place. He pointed out that serious consideration needs to be given to whether the university could be administered differently in ways that would help reduce costs. He stated that this could include revamping UNLs organizational structure. Miller asked if two administrations, one for city and one for east campus, were needed. Chancellor Perlman stated that some areas of the campus administrations could be combined to reduce costs; however, it would be a mistake to try to eliminate the Institute.
Chancellor Perlman reported that the administration is working hard to find a way to describe budget cutting options for the Academic Planning Committee. He stated that the administration is working on a presentation that would show enough details about the cuts without listing specific options. Fuller noted that a presentation for the general public and campus community might be helpful to correct the misperception that people have regarding the base budget. She pointed out that people often wonder why money from the Athletics Department and the Foundation cannot be used for operating costs.
Chancellor Perlman noted that the issue of the coalition on intercollegiate athletics is very complex and one that could more easily be answered at other universities where athletics are not self-supporting. He noted that athletics as a whole are important to a university. He pointed out that this issue is not the only one that will raise concerns. He stated that the housing plan needs to be upgraded but that it will probably meet some resistance due to the budget situation.
Logan-Peters stated that some Members of the Board of Regents are concerned with the remote storage facility for the libraries. Chancellor Perlman stated that some Regents expressed concern that much of the material that would be housed in the storage facility can be obtained from other universities.
Chancellor Perlman reported that some state senators requested a list of the priority programs. He noted that the water initiative has been added to the list because of its high importance to the state.
3.2 Rotating Chairs
See discussion under 3.1
3.3 Strategies for Working with the Legislature on Budget Cuts (ASUN President Ryan Wilkins, Vice President Michelle Schrage and Sarah Campbell joined the meeting)
Miller noted that students can be very influential in getting support from the legislature for the university. Chancellor Perlman stressed that it is important for the students, staff, and faculty to present a positive campaign. He noted that groups should not pit the university against other targets such as K-12 education. He stated that the issue of raising revenue needs to be discussed at some point.
Chancellor Perlman pointed out that two crucial elements to the state of Nebraska are keeping young people in the state and diversifying the economy. He noted that the university plays a key role in both of these arenas. He pointed out that this next round of budget cuts will have impacts on students by narrowing the opportunities and possibly raising their tuition.
Wilkins stated that the ASUN is working on several different plans to address the budget cuts for the university. He stated that he hopes to have a student or students address the Appropriations Committee regarding the impact of the cuts. Schrage stated that they are working on a letter drive. She noted that post cards are being printed for students to sign and send to their state legislator. She pointed out that the post cards will be prepaid and that they hope to distribute them to students at various sites on campus.
Wilkins stated that he has been meeting with some state legislators and that the plan is to have more members of ASUN speak with their legislators. He noted that ASUN is planning a student rally on March 10th at the state capitol building. He stated that students from UNK, UNO, and UNMC have been invited to participate in the rally. He pointed out that some other universities in various states who are also experiencing budget problems may conduct a rally on the same day.
Spann stated that letters from students are valuable. He noted that they would help raise the consciousness of the students about the impacts of the budget cuts. Schrage stated that the next round of budget cuts will have greater impact on students than the previous cuts. Wilkins stated that many students are confused about where the budget cuts are coming from. He pointed out that some students feel that the cuts are coming from the administration and the Chancellor. Campbell noted that if possible budget cuts are announced earlier, the public will be ore aware of how the cuts will damage the university.
Peterson stated that the members of the committee want to support the students in this effort as much as possible. He suggested that the students contact the executive committee members if there is anything the faculty can do to help.
Wilkins reported that there is now a trial program called the Collegiate Readership Program on campus which supplies free copies of newspapers from the Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World Herald, the New York Times, and USA Today. He stated that the papers will be available from now until March 7th and can be found at six locations on campus: the Nebraska Union, Nebraska East Union, Campus Recreation Center, College of Business Administration, Love Library, and Oldfather Hall. He stated that the cost would be $5 per semester if the campus decides to participate in the program.
Schrage stated that there continues to be concern over violations of the dead week policy. She stated that the ASUN is working to revamp the policy and asked if any members of the executive committee would be willing to work on this issue. Wilkins pointed out that dead week is supposed to be a time to allow students to prepare for finals, yet in some classes project assignments are due. He noted that UNK has a three day weekend before finals week to allow students to study.
Whitt noted that many students and some faculty members are not clear about the dead week policy. Bryant stated that this issue has been raised by ASUN every year for the last several years. He pointed out that having a concrete day off might help to alleviate violations. He suggested that ASUN should draft a resolution calling for a day off. DiMagno stated that to be fair to classes that meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a Thursday class should be cancelled as well.
Wunder pointed out that there are serious problems for student athletes during finals week when they have competitions scheduled during this time. He suggested that the ASUN should speak to the athletics department concerning this issue.
4.0 Approval of 1/22/03 Minutes
Fuller moved and Peterson seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
5.0 Unfinished Business
5.1 Intercollegiate Athletics Coalition
Wunder reported that he received a phone call from the Chronicle of Higher Education regarding comments he made that appear in the minutes of one of the committees meetings regarding this issue. He noted that the national media is watching this issue very closely. He pointed out that members of the committee are receiving some very disturbing email messages from both sides of the issue.
Miller noted that this is an issue that is important nationally and one that the committee should pay close attention to. He stated that he will try to get more information from the founding members of the coalition regarding their agenda. He stated that he will contact Professor Lawry from Okalahoma State University to ask him to keep us posted.
Spann asked if the Board of Regents have any interest in this issue. Miller stated that he is not aware of any. The committee felt that UNLs Intercollegiate Athletics Committee should be informed about the coalition. Wunder noted that while this is an important issue that the committee needs to be cognizant of, there are more crucial issues facing the university such as the 10% proposed budget cuts. Miller stated that he will contact the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee to discuss this issue.
5.2 Dates for Inviting Faculty to Discuss Faculty Governance Issues
Wunder stated that a message needs to be sent out to all faculty members stating that the executive committee will have two meetings devoted to concerns regarding issues of faculty governance. The committee agreed to meet on Tuesday, February 25th at 3:00 in the East Campus Union and on Wednesday, February 26th at 3:00 in the City Campus Union. Miller will draft an email message to the faculty.
5.3 Dates to Meet with Members of the Curriculum Committee
The committee agreed to meet with members of the Curriculum Committee on Wednesday, February 12th to discuss reforming ES/IS courses.
6.0 New Business
6.1 Meeting with Academic Planning Committee
Miller reported that Professor Eckhardt, Chair of the APC, would like to have members of the APC meet with the Executive Committee. The committee agreed to meet with the APC on February 5th at 4:00 p.m.
6.2 English Department Resolution on Gallup Survey
Wolf distributed a memo written by Professor McShane which outlined the concerns of the English department in regards to the Gallup Survey. Wolf noted that the English department passed a resolution to abstain from participating in the next round of the Gallup survey. He stated that he has heard that the Chancellor may postpone distribution of the survey until the fall semester.
6.3 Memo from Professor Luther Regarding the Department of Community and Regional Planning and Funding for Priority Programs
Miller stated that he received an email message from Professor Luther regarding the withdrawal of priority funds to establish a joint Ph.D. program with Rural Sociology and the Department of Community and Regional Planning. Wunder pointed out that the APC reviewed and recommended the priority program. The Executive Committee discussed possible reasons for the withdrawal of the priority funds. The committee felt that it should not get involved with this issue at this time. They agreed to ask VC Owens on the 5th of February to explain the water initiative and why it was now receiving funding. The committee agreed that it should get some resolution from the administration regarding the status of the Community and Regional Planning department.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, February 5th 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.