Executive Committee Minutes - February 25, 2004




Present:          Bradford, Fech, Logan-Peters, Peterson, Shea, Spann, Wunder


Absent:           Alexander, Beck, Buck, Fuller, Miller, Whitt


Date:               Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace


1.0       Call to Order

            Wunder called the meeting to order at 1:34 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

            2.1       March 2nd Academic Senate Meeting

Wunder reported that Chancellor Perlman will not be able to attend the March 2nd Senate meeting because he will be out of town.  Wunder stated that Vice Chancellor Owens will speak to the Senate instead.


2.2       Faculty Leadership Summit

Wunder reported that approximately 40 people have stated that they will attend the Faculty Leadership Summit scheduled for February 28th. 


2.3       Hate Mail

Wunder reported that he has received nine more hate mail and white supremacist messages of increasing anger from a student.  He stated that he was advised to contact the UNL Police.  He did so and the police responded quickly and very professionally to his call.  He noted that the police talked that very day with the student and the student appeared to be remorseful for his actions and stated that he did not mean to threaten Professor Wunder.  Spann stated that the University Judicial Board should deal with the situation as well because the student may have violated the student code of conduct.


            2.4       Early Retirement

Bradford reported that employees can retire early and still receive University rates for health care up until the age of 65.  Spann noted that the difference between this early retirement plan and the special phase out retirement plan is that the special plan covered health care costs until age 68. 


Wunder asked Bradford if the University-wide Benefits Committee has scheduled a meeting.  Bradford stated that he has not heard of any committee meetings.  Wunder stated that he would contact David Lechner, Vice President for Business and Finance, to see when the next meeting of the University-wide Benefits Committee will be held and to insure that Bradford is invited to the meeting.


3.0       Approval of 2/18/04 Minutes

Peterson moved and Bradford seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Motion approved.


4.0       ES/IS Amendment

Wunder presented a draft of an amendment to the ES/IS proposal.  He stated that this amendment clarifies the process for getting the ES/IS proposal to the colleges.  He noted that the schedule for having colleges review the proposal is based on size with the smallest colleges reviewing the proposal first.   Peterson suggested that it might be better to bring the idea up as a topic for discussion rather than having an amendment to the proposal.  Wunder stated that the clarification of the process could just be announced rather than attached as an amendment.  Peterson pointed out that there is no set process in place for dealing with this issue.  He stated that the colleges’ curriculum committees do want to look at and review the proposal. 


Shea questioned why any college would assume that they could accept parts of the proposal.  Peterson stated that many faculty members believe that they can just accept parts.  Spann noted that if the proposal is not approved, it does not mean that the efforts to revise the programs are over.  He stated that objections of the colleges could be reviewed and used as possible revisions to the proposal and it could be resubmitted at another time.  Wunder pointed out that making changes to the programs will probably take a long time.


Spann asked if the colleges would be reviewing the proposal at the same time.  Wunder stated that this is possible.  He stated that he arranged the schedule in the amendment so it would give Peterson and himself the opportunity to speak to the colleges’ curriculum committee to address concerns they may have. 


Spann asked if the smaller colleges would be voting on the proposal first.  Wunder stated that this is possible but the college curriculum committee may want to wait. 


Wunder stated that it is time for the campus to make decisions regarding the proposal.  He noted that CBA and Engineering have indicated that they support the proposal.  He pointed out that discussions regarding problems with the programs began in 2002.  He stated that if the proposal is turned down, the college curriculum committees should provide reasons why. 


Bradford asked how the transition would be handled if the proposal was approved.  Peterson stated that it would start with new students who enter the university after the approval. 


Shea stated that he did not think the wording of the amendment has significant bearing on the proposal.  He suggested that it be put in the preamble instead.  Wunder stated that if it was to be put in the preamble the person who made the original motion and the person who seconded would need to accept the language in the preamble. 


The committee agreed to introduce the amendment to the Senate on March 2nd.            


5.0       Legislative Bill on Allowing Private Presidential Searches

Wunder noted that there is a legislative bill (LB 1202) to be considered by the state legislature that would exempt employment searches from the open information act.  He stated that some people applying for positions within the university do not want their names revealed.  Wunder stated that he knows that some people feel that people are reluctant to apply for the position because of the open information act.  He stated that some candidates would possibly drop out of the search if they see the names of other candidates for the position. 


Bradford asked if the bill applies to all searches or just the president’s search.  Wunder stated that he has not seen the complete bill and is not sure whether this applies to all searches.  He stated that he understands a rider has been attached to the bill that would make the law applicable to the current search for a new president. 


Shea stated that he feels it is dangerous to make the searches private.  He noted that a person applying for a position needs to accept the process and that his/her name could be made public.  He pointed out that some positions are of a higher level of interest to the public and that the public has a right to know.  Spann pointed out that public institutions belong to the public. 


Bradford noted that there could be negative consequences for a candidate if they are currently employed elsewhere.  He pointed out that at some point a candidate for a prominent position such as the president would have to become public because they would need to meet and talk with various faculty members and campus administrators. 


Wunder asked if the Senate should discuss this at the March 2nd meeting.  Peterson stated that it probably should be discussed and it is possible that a motion could be made against the bill.  He asked if it should be considered an emergency motion.  Wunder pointed out that an emergency motion must be intrinsic to the meeting and he did not believe that this would be the case.  Spann suggested that a straw poll vote on the bill could be taken at the Senate meeting and the Executive Committee could make a resolution at its next meeting based on the results of the poll. 


6.0       Email List for Senators

Wunder stated that there has been discussion on creating an email list for the senators that would allow them to send email messages to the full senate.  He stated that the Senate Office would host this list but not monitor the messages.  Griffin suggested that the list should allow senators to unsubscribe from it if they wish to do so.  The committee agreed that a list should be created but only senators can subscribe to the list.  Wunder stated that an announcement will be made to the senate when the list is up and running. 


7.0       Unfinished Business

            No unfinished business was discussed.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:43 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, March 3rd at 3:00 pm.  The meeting will be held in 201 Canfield Administration Building.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and Shelley Fuller, Secretary.