Executive Committee Minutes - October 13, 2004




Present:          Beck, Bolin, Bradford, Fech, Hoffman, Peterson, Scholz, Shea, Signal, Stock


Absent:           Alexander, Flowers, Wunder


Date:               Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace


1.0       Call to Order

            Peterson called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

            2.1       Search Committee Representative

Peterson reported that Dean Nelson of the Agricultural Research Division will be retiring this academic year.  Peterson stated that the Executive Committee has been asked by VC Owens to provide a list of faculty names for the search committee. 


2.2       AAUP/AFCON Conference

Peterson stated that he has been requested by Professor Moshman, Educational Psychology, to distribute information about a conference that is being held on November 6th.  Peterson stated that conference will include a panel discussion and will include three tenured faculty members who were fired during the budget crisis.  The Committee agreed that the information should be sent to the Senate as information only. 


3.0       Approval of 10/6/04 Minutes

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


4.0       ARRC Case

The Committee discussed whether they have the power or authority to take further action on a grievance case if the Chancellor or President disagrees with the findings of the special investigative committee.  It was pointed out that the current Academic Rights and Responsibilities Procedures state “the ARRC shall inform the President of the Academic Senate who shall put the matter on the agenda of the next Senate Executive meeting.”  It was argued whether this language implies that the Executive Committee has any power or authority to take further action and whether doing so would breach confidentiality of the parties involved in the case.  It was pointed out that the revisions to the ARRC procedures which will be presented to the Senate at the November meeting, have clarified that the Executive Committee can take whatever action it deems appropriate. 


Discussion on confidentiality of the parties involved was discussed.  The question of whether the information in ARRC cases goes into a person’s personnel file was debated. 


A majority of the Committee agreed that a letter should be written to President Milliken pointing out that there was apparent disregard of procedures in this particular case and asking him to consider the faculty member’s request to review the case.  The letter will state the Executive Committee’s concerns over obvious violations of procedures and the impact that this causes throughout the college and the campus. 


5.0       ARRC Revised Procedures

Beck reported that the revised ARRC procedures will hopefully be presented to the Senate at the November meeting and voted on at either the December or January meeting.  She stated that the procedures will more than likely be sent in electronic form because of the number and length of the documents.  Peterson stated that the documents can be put on the Senate webpage. 


Beck stated that the committee that revised the procedures will be willing to meet with people who may have concerns or issues that they want to discuss regarding the proposed revisions. 


Bradford asked if the procedures’ reference to documentation refers only to paper documentation or whether it also includes electronic documentation.  He noted that information and communications are often done electronically.  He asked how special investigative committees can insure the destruction of electronic information once a case is completed.  Beck stated that a manual is being developed for the chairs of special investigative committees and it will include information on how to dispose of electronic documentation. 


Beck reported that copies of the revisions have gone to Richard Wood, General Counsel for the University, Associate to the Chancellor Howe, members of the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee, and the members of the Senate Executive Committee for their review.


6.0       Implementing Executive Committee Goals

Peterson stated that he reviewed the Executive Committee goals to see which ones that action can be taken on quickly.  He suggested that an ad hoc committee to work on the dead week/finals week problems should be formed quickly.  He stated that he would like to see students and some faculty members from the hard sciences on the committee as well as a member of the Executive Committee.  He stated that he will write up a charge for the committee.


Peterson stated that the second goal he identified was the ES/IS proposal.  He noted that the Committee discussed the program with SVCAA Couture at its last meeting.  He stated that he will update the Senate on where the proposal stands at the November meeting.


The Committee agreed that the Chancellor should report to the Senate on what the administration is planning to do, and what is currently being done, to recruit and retain women and faculty of color.  Shea noted that Regent Wilson has requested specific recommendations for recruiting and retaining women and faculty of color.  He suggested that the Committee should identify specific recommendations and present it to the Senate for their endorsement.  He noted if it is approved the recommendations can be presented to the Chancellor.  Signal pointed out that the Senate’s ad hoc committee reports had specific recommendations. 


Peterson noted that Chancellor Perlman will probably be getting advice from the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on the Status of People of Color and he might need some time to formulate a plan of action.  He stated that the Committee should ask the Chancellor when he will be prepared to report on the administration’s plans. 


Shea stated that efforts to provide information to the administration should be coordinated.  He pointed out that actions are more likely to be taken when committees work together to provide uniform information.  Scholz pointed out that it is important not to undermine the work of the Commissions and other committees.


Peterson stated that the Committee can try to identify specific actions from the reports.  Signal suggested that the Senate could endorse all of the recommendations made in the reports but identify specific measurable objectives.  The Committee agreed that identified recommendations should be taken to the Senate for endorsement. 


Peterson stated that the fourth goal that can be addressed soon is to provide the Senate with more information regarding collective bargaining unions.  The Committee agreed that it would be good to have a debate where both sides of the issue are being presented.  The Committee agreed to try to arrange a debate for the January meeting. 


Peterson stated that the fifth goal is to review committee structures and review the Senate rules and apportionment.  The Committee stated that the Committee on Committees should be charged with reviewing the existing committees and their structure.  They decided that an ad hoc committee should be created to review the apportionment of the Senate and the UNL Bylaws dealing with Faculty Governance. 


7.0       Unfinished Business

No unfinished business was discussed.


8.0       New Business

            8.1       Reality TV Show

Peterson reported that the does not think there will be an emergency meeting of the Academic Senate.  He stated that the required number of signatures to hold an emergency meeting was not met and some of the original signers seemed to be debating whether they should get together to write a draft resolution to present to the Senate at the November meeting instead.  Peterson pointed out that the Chancellor will be at the November meeting and the Senators can address the matter directly to him. 


Peterson noted that the reactions to the show have been varied.  He stated that there is a strong reaction from a small group of faculty members but he has received emails from others who feel that the show could have some benefits. 


Peterson stated that he believes that a resolution should be presented to the Senate that states that the faculty members have a strong commitment to education and they do not believe that the tv show serves a purpose towards education and creates a distraction.  He stated that the Senate will need to decide whether it wants to endorse a resolution and whether it should be handled as an emergency motion or voted on in December.


8.2       Nelnet

Peterson briefly reported that the Board of Regents is considering a contract with a service that provides student loans for graduate and professional students.  He noted that there is some concern that the company has had complaints made against it because of its practices.  Bradford stated that the company has taken advantage of a loophole in the law in providing student loans.  Peterson stated that the issue will be discussed further at a future meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:01 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, October 20th 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 Pat Shea, Secretary.