UNL Academic Senate Meeting - January 14, 2003



City Campus Union, Auditorium

January 14, 2003

Presidents Tice Miller, John Wunder, and Miles Bryant, Presiding


1.0      Call to Order

            President Miller called the meeting to order at 2:37 p.m.


2.0      Announcements

2.1  Events Honoring Martin Luther King

President Miller announced that a number of events will take place throughout the campus during the week of January 13th to commemorate Martin Luther King.  He noted that the annual Freedom Breakfast to honor Martin Luther King will be held on Friday, January 17th at 7:30 a.m.  President Miller congratulated Professor Hitchcock, Anthropology and Geography Department, and Leroy Stokes, President of the Lincoln NAACP, for winning the Chancellor’s 2003 “Fulfilling the Dream” Awards.


3.0      Chancellor Perlman

Chancellor Perlman welcomed back the faculty to another semester.  He stated that the proposal for the merger of Teachers College and the College of Human Resources & Family Sciences is moving forward.  He stated that faculty members from both of the colleges are engaged in extensive conversations, within and between the two units.  He pointed out that the idea to merge the two colleges is the result of wanting to make both the units and the university better.  He noted that the merger is not a result of budget cuts.  Chancellor Perlman stated that alumni from both units have been informed of the rationale behind the merger.  He noted that administrators have met with the constituent groups of each college.


Chancellor Perlman stated that the steering committee, composed of elected faculty members from the two colleges, conducted a survey of the faculty regarding the merger.  He stated that the survey indicated that there is strong support in both colleges for the merger.  He noted that even those faculty members responding negatively expressed a willingness to commit to the merger if it is accepted.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the merger will go to the Academic Planning Committee for approval and then to the Board of Regents for final approval.  He stated that he hoped that the new college would start August 18, 2003, although he noted that the transition would be an on-going process.  Chancellor Perlman commended the faculty members of each college for their acceptance and work on the merger.


Chancellor Perlman reported that the contributions to this year’s United Way campaign exceed last year’s contributions.  He noted that this is an indication that the people of the university deeply care about their community and that they are willing to give, in spite of the budget cuts facing them. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the Governor would announce his proposal for the 2003-04 biennium budget on January 15th.  He noted that the Governor’s announcement begins the budget process.  He pointed out that there will be much work to do and that he would try to minimize the impact of the cuts as much as possible.  He stated that the best thing for all university employees to do is to continue doing the good work they have been doing.  He noted that the administrators will begin planning for the budget cuts as soon as they hear the details of the Governor’s budget.


4.0      Provost Noren

            4.1  USPatriot Act

Provost Noren reported that three federal acts and a US Attorney General Order are requiring universities to maintain more detailed information on international students.  He noted that those people affected by these orders are international students, scholars, and dependents.  The orders require monitoring of the students, restricting access to biological agents, and enhancing electronic surveillance of international visitors.


Provost Noren stated that the Patriot Act requires all new F, J, or M visas to be issued through INS’ new web based system SEVIS (student exchange and visitor information system).  He noted that the university must also use SEVIS to maintain ongoing information on all foreign students/visitors and their dependents.  Provost Noren pointed out that the INS is rigidly enforcing these requirements.  He noted that 6 students in Colorado and 22 in California were arrested because of violations of their visas. 


Provost Noren reported that the US Patriot Act requires universities to regulate the use, transfer, or receipt of select agents on campuses.  He noted that agents refer to potential biological and chemical weapons.  He stated that NU has already reported both human and plant agents. 


Provost Noren stated that one of the more difficult issues of the US Patriot Act is the concept of restricted persons.  He noted that restricted persons include those people under indictment or convicted and have served more than one year in prison, fugitives, users of controlled unlawful substances, illegal aliens, mentally defective people, any alien national from terrorist designated countries (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and several others), and those who have been dishonorably discharged.  Provost Noren reported that currently there are no requirements for the university to conduct background checks of restricted people.  He noted that background checks will eventually be required.


Provost Noren reported that the Patriot Act supercedes the privacy protection of student records as stated in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  He noted that this is a significant change in policies regarding student rights. 


Provost Noren stated that the US Attorney General Order created the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System which requires all adult males from 19 countries to register with the INS.  Registration would require an interview, a photograph and fingerprints of the individual registering. 


Provost Noren stated that these regulations will impact the finances of the university, academic freedom, civil liberties, and international student recruiting.  He noted that the regulations to fully implement the federal orders are still not fully clear. 


Provost Noren reported that in response to these regulations, the university is testing new software to comply with the requirements to use SEVIS, will report select agents, and will provide general counsel to protect the civil liberties of students and employees while ensuring compliance of the law is met.  He stated that the university community will be kept informed of further developments, particularly in regards to the registration of adult males 19 years of age or older. 


Provost Noren stated that two university groups have been created in response to the regulations.  He stated that the Bioterrorism Preparedness Task Force will provide technical advice and recommendations regarding the implementation of the US Patriot Act and other associated acts.  He noted that the task force is composed of faculty representatives from all four campuses.  The other group is the SEVIS Steering Committee.  This committee will monitor federal changes in reporting requirements.  He stated that members are representatives from International Affairs and IT from all four campuses. 


Provost Noren stated that the AAUP is planning to address the issues of academic freedom and speech, restricted research, and the impact on international scholars and students.  He noted that the regulations will continue to evolve.


Professor May, Economics, asked what the estimated cost for compliance will be for the university.  Provost Noren stated that the costs are not yet clear.  He stated that the university wants to minimize the cost as much as possible but must be in compliance.  Professor May asked if there is any indication of what the legal fees will be.  Provost Noren stated that General Counsel Wood does not think there will be significant legal expenses. 


Professor Hoffman, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, asked if the requirement that pertains to the 19 countries includes individuals who have become US citizens.  Provost Noren stated that the regulation  is intended for foreign non-citizens.  Professor Peterson, Agricultural Economics, asked if individuals with green cards need to register.  Provost Noren stated that they would have to register. 


President-Elect Wunder asked how many laboratories will need to have security systems put in place.  Provost Noren stated that approximately 75 labs will need to be secured.  President-Elect Wunder asked what the costs for the physical alterations will be and who will pay for them.  Provost Noren stated that these costs are being discussed both at the local university level and at the federal level as well.  He stated that he hopes that there will be some federal relief for these security measures. 


Professor Starita, News Editorial, asked about the agreement with Texas A & M to create a training center on how to deal with bioterrorism.  Provost Noren stated that Nebraska’s US senators could probably provide


more information on these negotiations.  He noted that probably six universities would immediately qualify as training centers. 


Professor Kranz, Northeast Research & Extension, asked if there were any regulations regarding non-biological agents, such as those that could be used in the making of bombs.  Provost Noren stated that he has only heard of the selected agents identified by the federal government.


Provost Noren stated that he will keep the university informed of any updates regarding the US Patriot Act and other federal regulations.


5.0      Vice Chancellor Owens

            5.1  An IANR Update

Vice Chancellor Owens gave an overview of the creation of land grant universities.    He noted that IANR receives 27% of the state dollars given to the university.   He reported that the Agricultural Research Division, headed by Darrel Nelson, captured $37.1 million in grants and contracts during the 2000-2002 biennium.  He noted that this is 49.8% of all UNL research dollars. 


VC Owens reported that cooperative extension is a programmatic effort between the state and UNL.  He noted that it is the most successful out-of-classroom learning experience.  He pointed out that there are 93 counties in the state and 83 county extension centers.  VC Owens stated that cooperative extension acts as the front door to the university throughout the state.  He noted that there are two types of extension appointments:  extension educators whose positions are housed in the county extension office and extension specialists whose positions are housed in the departments.


VC Owens reported that the School of Natural Resource Sciences and the Conservation and Survey Division will be merged into a single unit.  He stated that the Clifford Hardin Nebraska Center will be renovated to accommodate the SNRS.  He noted that it would take $60 million to build a new facility and that the administration felt that the Hardin Center could be converted into office space. 


VC Owens stated that IANR is beginning its strategic planning session.  


President Miller asked what the response from the state has been regarding the budget cuts made to IANR.  VC Owens stated that some people in rural Nebraska feel abandoned by the University although the facts do not support this sentiment.  He pointed out that with less permanent dollars in the university’s budget there are some services that the university will be unable to provide. 


Professor May asked the Vice Chancellor to address Senator Wehrbein’s statement regarding the university’s need to shift service to be a higher priority than research.  VC Owens stated that all the missions of the university should be equally important.  He pointed out that times are difficult when extension educators are viewed as doing service work rather than educational work.  He noted that the Senator’s statement provides an opportunity to discuss the issue. 


President-Elect Wunder asked if the College of Human Resources & Family Sciences will leave IANR once it is merged with the Teachers College.  VC Owens stated that the college would remain in IANR.  He pointed out that 47% of the members of the college are on state dollars.  He noted that he is excited about the merger.  President-Elect Wunder asked if the appointments would remain in IANR.  VC Owens stated that there will probably be a split in the number of appointments assigned to IANR. 


President-Elect Wunder asked if the department of Geosciences will move into the renovated Hardin center once it is completed.  VC Owens stated that he did not think this will happen.  He noted that Dean Hoffman of Arts & Sciences is involved in the merger.  VC Owens pointed out that the renovated building will only be able to house the current SNRS faculty members and that there is no plan to move any of the city campus faculty. 


President-Elect Wunder noted that 10 years ago he worked with the Native American communities.  He stated that at that time they asked for access to the extension centers.   He asked if there are extension faculty today who are working with the Native American communities.  VC Owens stated that he wished there was a provision in the 1994 federal Native American Land Grant Institution Act that would have included earlier land grant universities.  He stated that the university should be involved in assisting Native American land grant institutions.



6.0      Approval of 12/3/02 Minutes

Professor Diffendal, Conservation & Survey Division, moved and Professor Peterson, Agricultural Economics, seconded approval of the minutes.  Motion approved.


7.0      Committee Reports

7.1  Academic Planning Committee (Professor Eckhardt)

Professor Eckhardt reported that the committee worked exceedingly hard this year to address the budget cuts and other issues.  He stated that the committee is planning on slightly changing its structure and wants to be more anticipatory on the budget cuts.  He noted that subcommittees will be formed to help reorganize the workload of the committee.  He reported that the Senate may be asked to appoint someone to these subcommittees.  He stated that he hopes the committee can act a little more independently and that it will have more time to complete its work, particularly in regards to the budget cuts.  He noted that the committee is trying to be responsive to other groups on campus such as ASUN, UAAD, and UNOPA.  He reported that the academic program review for Food Science & Technology will be due this year. 


Professor Wolf stated that the APC passed a resolution that the committee be sensitive to the guidelines stated by AAUP in regards to the firing of faculty.  He asked if the administration was sensitive to the AAUP guidelines.  Professor Eckhardt reported that administration was sensitive as evident in the retention of the two extension faculty that were slated to be fired.  He pointed out that it will become increasingly more difficult to be sensitive to the AAUP guidelines as the university is hit with more budget cuts.


7.2  University Appeals and Judicial Boards (Rosemary Blum)

Blum reported that additional information regarding the number of violations on campus was being distributed to the Senate.  She noted that three hearings were pending.  One hearing concerned the violation of alcohol, another concerned dangerous actions, and the third hearing was on academic integrity.  She pointed out that there are openings on the Judicial Board and the Appeals board. 


Blum reported that the primary infractions the occurred involved the use of alcohol.  She pointed out that alcohol on campus can only be consumed if a permit has been obtained from the university.  She stated that the violation of dangerous conduct usually involves students who are drunk.  She reported that merely being in the presence of alcohol on campus can be considered a housing violation.  Blum stated that in cases involving academic dishonesty, her office usually works with the instructor to see what action he/she would like to take place.  Blum noted that they try to create an educational sanction for the student.  She pointed out that if a student is involved in a second academic dishonesty case, he/she will be suspended. 


Blum reported that she is hearing more reports of disturbances in classrooms.  She encouraged the faculty to let her office know if a student is disruptive in class.  She stated that her office can provide strategies that could help discontinue the disruptions.


Professor Diffendal asked if the cases involving alcohol had increased or decreased last year.  Blum stated that the number was nearly the same although there was a slight drop. 


Professor Ford, English, stated that the Senate had asked three times previously to get categorical records of the disposition of the cases.  He asked what happened to them and he asked the Executive Committee to follow up on this issue.  Blum stated that she was unaware of this request but would be happy to supply the information to the Academic Senate Office.


Professor Hoffman asked why there is a difference in the total number of charges by infraction and the total charge by person.  Blum stated that the total number of charges could have involved more than one person for the same incidence. 


Secretary King asked if there were any incidences of harassment reported with international students since September 11th.  Blum stated that no direct incidences were reported.


8.0      Unfinished Business

            No unfinished business was discussed.


9.0      New Business

9.1  Revisions to the Computing General Privacy Policy (Professor Jackson)

Professor Jackson, Chair of the Computational Services and Facilities Committee, stated that the Senate approved changes to the general policy in April 2002.  He noted that the policy refers to the information that the web browser provides to the server.  He stated that after the Senate’s approval, the administration wanted to review the policy and decided to include some additional language.   He pointed out that the policy is more of an informational policy and that it does not give or take away existing rights.  He stated that the Computational Services and Facilities Committee approved the language and is bringing the motion for approval to the Senate.  Motion approved. 


9.2  Request to Hold Open Forums on Faculty Governance Issue

Professor Beck, Animal Science, made a request for the Executive Committee to hold open forums during the month of February for faculty members to come and discuss faculty governance issues.  She requested that the Executive Committee also accept anonymous letters.  She stated that the request was being made because there is a growing sense that in some colleges, issues regarding faculty governance are increasing.  She pointed out that in some departments quality indicators are being used to evaluate individual faculty members.  President Miller stated that the Executive Committee would discuss the request.


Professor Wolf, English, asked if Professors Pratt and Bacon from UNO were going to be speaking at the February Senate meeting.  President Miller stated that Professor Beck has been invited to speak to the Executive Committee concerning this request. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:04 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, February 4, at 2:30 p.m. in the East Campus Union, Great Plains Room.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.