Minutes of the University Senate Meeting November 30, 2005
Present: S. Brownmiller, C. Cherry, D. Close, S. Cohen, M. Dennis, L. Feldman, S. Holmberg, A. Hornof, R. Irvin, J. Jablonski, L. Karim, P. Keyes, L. LaTour, H. Lin, P. Lu, A. Mathas, C. McNelly, K. McPherson, C. Minson, L. Moses, L. Nelson, J. Newton, V. Ostrik, M. Pangburn, L. Richardson, P. Rounds, G. Sayre, E. Scott, S. Simmons, E. Singer, J. Sneirson, J. Stolet, P. Swangard, N. Tublitz, J. Wagenknecht,
Excused: C. Ellis, L. Freinkel, N. Fujii, G. Psaki
Absent: E. Chan, A. Djiffack, A. DuFour, A. Emami, M. Filippelli, S. Gary, J. Hurwit, M. Irvin, T. Love, S. Maier, K. McKenzie, K. Sheehan, K. Wagle
Call to Order
The regular meeting of the University Senate was called to order at 3:05 p.m. in the Fir Room of the EMU.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Minutes from the October 12, 2005 meeting were approved as distributed. Approval of the minutes from November 9, 2005 was postponed pending clarification of the provost’s statement regarding use of funds generated from the proposed sale of Westmoreland housing.
State of the University
University President Dave Frohnmayer brought the Senate up-to-date regarding the proposed sale of Westmoreland housing. He noted that transition teams, which include student members, are organized to evaluate and address childcare, international students, and financial issues related to current tenants. The president reiterated that all leases would be honored through their expiration dates. A thorough analysis of the entire inventory of university housing and childcare resources is underway; he reaffirmed that the university is attentive to both student housing and childcare needs. The childcare transition team has begun meeting with families and is collecting data on individual family needs. All existing tenants are being surveyed to determine their housing needs after leases expire on July 1, 2006. Similarly, the Financial Aid office is currently working on getting updated financial profiles of all the eligible tenants who may be displaced by the sale of the property. As stated in the last Senate meeting, a portion of the sale will be set aside to help to meet the financial needs of displaced student tenants.
President Frohnmayer continued his report by saying that legal counsel has been working with the Oregon Department of Justice to develop the appropriate request proposing the sale of the property. Upon completion of the proposal the property will be officially on the market within a short period of time. The university is already working with possible buyers of the property which includes people that are responsible for managing low income housing in this area. The president will update the State Board of Higher Education as well as the Senate on plans for the proposed sale as the project moves forward. President Frohnmayer reiterated that the needs of the tenants are somewhat indeterminate at this point until the nature of the buyer and sale is known; there is no firm way to estimate the number of people who might be displaced in addition to those who would vacate the premises due to normal turnover, which is about 30% of the tenants. Plans will be made on an individualized basis as soon as the nature of displacement, if any, is known. Finally, the president made clear that the decision to sell this property is not a cold, calculated, bottom-line business decision; rather, it is a decision based upon on the fiduciary responsibility of the UO to run its operations in the black over a long period of time and the university’s fiduciary duty to provide education of the highest quality for our students both in the present and in the future. He noted that the administration did not approach the proposed sale without consequence or knowledge of human issues that are involved which will be dealt with as humanely as possible.
Next, President Frohnmayer updated the senators on progress on the search for the new provost. All three candidates have visited the campus, and each is either involved with or directly related to people who are the leaders of AAU institutions. He thanked the search committee for their thoroughness and for the hundreds of hours of work involved in the search process. President Frohnmayer continued by saying that he wants an effective academic leader that he can work with effectively; the provost and president must be alter egos, share a high level of trust, and have a continuing capacity for growth and renewal. He indicated that the arrival of the new provost will be a time of assessment, orderly transition, and an exciting time of self-renewal.
Finally, President Frohnmayer commented on the UO Diversity Plan. He thanked the members of the executive working group for developing a refined draft of the plan, which is currently under review. The Faculty Advisory Council, a selected student group, and the senate executive committee will be reviewing the latest draft before the plan is made public. It is still a work in progress.
Presentation by Interim Vice-Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity Charles Martinez. Interim Vice Provost Martinez began his presentation saying that being involved in institutional equity and diversity raises numerous challenges. The issues we are facing are not new issues, but rather ones that have moved closer to the surface as part of the changing context of the campus, of the state of Oregon, and of the entire country. The vice provost alluded to the difficulty of defining the term diversity. He suggested that diversity envelops a notion of the personal histories each individual has – family background, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, place where one grew up; it should be perceived in its broadest terms. Mr. Martinez spoke of the need to have an environment at the UO which enables a free and open conversation about diversity without the pressures and constraints that are sometimes hampered by ideas of political correctness. The conversations about diversity here at the UO require that kind of freedom, to say what we think, and to put critical issues out in the open to discuss collectively.
The vice provost provided 2000 census data for Oregon regarding different ethnic groups. Oregon’s population is 83.5% white; the largest racial/ethnic/minority group is the Latino population, which accounts for about 8% of the population (approx. 275,000 people). However, estimates for Lane County are slight higher for Latinos. Oregon student enrollment data for 1980-81, 1990-91, and 2002-03 shows substantial change in racial/ethnic/minority populations in Oregon schools (K-12). In the first year of data more than 90 % of students in Oregon were identified as white; by 2002-03 the white student population had dropped to about 76%.
The proportion of racial/ethnic/minority students has increased for each group. Plotting minority student school enrollment from 1990-91 to 2002-03 showed Latinos increased 219%, African American students increased 44%, American Indian students increased 52%, and Asian/Pacific Islander students increased 68%. However, the growth rate for white students in Oregon during the same time period was less than 1% (.8%). Oregon ranks as one of the fastest growing and demographically changing states in the country.
Student dropout rates also show demographic differences. White students make up 80% of the student population but they only account for about 65% of the dropout statistics; Latino, African American, and American Indian students account for disproportionately larger percentages of drop out students in Oregon. At the UO, demographics are similar to the overall Oregon population data mentioned previously. White students have decreased from 83.5% to 74% of the student population. In addition, about 7% of UO students have declined to indicate their race/ethnicity, thus we know nothing about those students. The proportion of students self-identified by other racial/ethnic categories is: Latino 3%; African American 1%; American Indian 1%; and Asian/Pacific Islander 6%. International minority students account for about 6% of the UO student population.
Another set of data that warrants attention is the proportion of Oregon’s minority students who complete high school, who are eligible to attend the UO, and who actually do attend. Minority high school “completers” number about 13%, while UO minority students are about 11% (minority faculty at the UO comprise about 10% of the faculty). An issue that challenges the UO is whether the proportions of minority students and faculty at the UO reflect the changing demographics in the state.
Retaining students once they are admitted is another challenge. Student support mechanisms are relatively helpful during the first two years of attendance. But during the third and fourth years, retention rates drop off and are especially noticeable among African American and Native American students. Factors affecting retention of all students are complex, involving socioeconomic, financial, programming, and inclusion issues. The four year graduation rate for white students is about 40%, but only 22% for African American, and about 10% for American Indian students.
Although the data presented by the vice provost begin to provide information, he acknowledged that minority student data for UO students are far from complete. For example, no data are available regarding the affect of offering classes during off-peak time slots (evenings and weekend), nor for evaluating student satisfaction among various group; and international students are not included in the data.
Mr. Martinez concluded his presentation by adding to comments made earlier by President Frohnmayer regarding the revised draft of the Diversity Plan. He noted one of the key elements in re-developing the plan is that it is a contextualized action plan that empowers individual colleges/schools to engage in a diversity planning process whose context fits their school or college as it relates to the plan’s six areas: (1) developing a culturally responsive community, (2) building critical mass, (3) expanding and filling the pipeline, (4) developing and strengthening community linkages, (5) developing and reinforcing diversity infrastructure, and (6) improving campus climate.
During a question and answer session Mr. Martinez indicated that the release date of the revised draft will depend on the amount of feedback from various review groups, but probably during winter term.
Remarks by General Counsel Melinda Grier. Ms. Grier provided the annual report regarding subpoenas received under the USA Patriot Act or similar laws. She stated that no such subpoenas have been received by the General Counsel’s office nor by other campus offices.
Interinstitutional Faculty Senate Report -- Jeanne Wagenknecht, UO representative. Ms. Wagenknecht reported the IFS has had rigorous discussions regarding the issue of academic quality: how it is measured, how our comparator institution measure it, who our comparators are, when is academic quality measured, what the inputs and outputs are, and how best to measure the UO compared with other Oregon institutions.
Ms. Wagenknecht read a statement sent to IFS membership that emphasized there are differences among each OUS institution in defining academic excellence, and that it must be done in the context of each institution’s mission statement. Referring to the UO mission statement, Ms. Wagenknecht stressed that the UO is a community of scholars dedicated to the highest standards of academic inquiry, learning, and service. The university strives to enrich the public that sustains it through “a commitment to undergraduate education, with a goal of helping the individual learn to question critically, think logically, communicate clearly, act creatively, and live ethically; a commitment to graduate educate to develop creators and innovators who will generate new knowledge and shape experience for the benefit of humanity; and a recognition that research, both basic and applied, is essential to the intellectual health of the university, as well as to the enrichment of the live of Oregonians, by energizing the states’ economic, cultural, and political structure.”
Ms. Wagenknecht commented about concerns she has regarding data the IFS is putting together on academic quality in the OUS, its accuracy, whether it reflects measures deemed important or pertinent to our mission. Initial reviews have been controversial, with the IFS examining what the data say and how it might be used and interpreted. President Keyes added that the academic quality discussions in progress between the IFS and the State Board of Higher Education will continue through the year. He noted that the Senate needs to appoint new representatives from the UO campus and encouraged anyone who is interested to contact him or Jeanne Wagenknecht.
Fall 2005 Curriculum Report – Paul Engelking, Committee on Courses. Mr. Engelking reported that the only change to Fall 2005 Preliminary Curriculum Report was on page 10 under the title School of Architecture and Allied Arts stating that “The Oregon University System has approved a Ph.D. program in Landscape Architecture. Effective fall term 2006.” Hearing no further changes and with no further discussion, the motion to accept the Fall 2005 Curriculum Report with noted changes passed unanimously. (See http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen056/CurRptFinF05.html for final report.)
Senator Christian Cherry, music and dance, drew attention to the change in the name of the School of Music to the School of Music and Dance.
Motion US 05/06-1 -- to close the university from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. to facilitate attendance at a University Assembly meeting. Senator Matthew Dennis, history, introduced the following motion:
Motion US05/06-1 To close the university from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. to facilitate attendance at a University Assembly meeting when called by petition to convene with full legislative power.
MOVED to amend Motion US03/04-10 - To Enable the University Assembly to Convene with Full Legislative Power as required by the University Senate Enabling Legislation of March 1996, as follows:
CHANGE: (e) The Secretary of the Faculty shall send timely notification of the meeting to all members of the University Assembly. The notification shall remind recipients that they are Members of the Assembly and that attendance at the Assembly Meeting may take priority over routine obligations.
TO: (e) The Secretary of the Faculty shall send timely notification of the meeting to all members of the University Assembly. The notification shall remind recipients that they are members of the Assembly and that the University will be closed from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM on the day of the meeting to facilitate attendance.
Senator Dennis stated that it is difficult to obtain a quorum for an Assembly meeting (which is required if the Assembly is to act with legislative authority). Although senate legislation was passed last year (US03/04-10) to encourage members’ attendance, the makers of the motion felt closing the university would enable faculty who had teaching or administrative obligations at the time of the meeting to attend. Senator Renee Irvin, planning public policy and management, asked if a quorum could be met by meeting electronically, to which the reply was that such a meeting is against state law for public meetings. President Keyes then asked that the rules be suspended to give Mr. Frank Stahl, retired emeritus professor of biology, access to the floor to speak in favor of the motion. Mr. Stahl noted that when the previous motion was passed to facilitate a legislative Assembly meeting, closing of the UO during the meeting time was not included because the costs of doing so were not available. Since then an estimated meeting cost (space rental, set-up and take down) of $6,000 to $8,000 has been provided. Mr. Stahl continued that when the assembly is petitioned to meet, the best way to keep expenses at a minimum is to facilitate the means to obtain a quorum at the initial meeting so that repeat efforts to meet (e.g., adjourn until a week later if a quorum is not met) are not necessary.
Mr. Stahl also noted that when the current governance documents were adopted, membership of the Assembly did not include management service staff; however, the following year the state eliminated the management service employment category and at the UO these staff members were then categorized as officers of administration. Because officers of administration were included in the Assembly membership, its numbers increased substantially. Mr. Stahl suggested that administrative staff Assembly members who could not readily leave their responsibilities to attend an Assembly meeting would be freer to do so if the university were closed during the meeting time.
During the discussion period, questions were raised regarding exams that might be scheduled during a meeting time, and how they would be rescheduled, whether offices would be closed as well as whether classes would be held during an Assembly meeting time. The consensus was that no classes would be held, offices would be closed, and exams could be rescheduled if given enough advance notice. It was further emphasized that such Assembly meetings (petitioned to meet with legislative authority) were likely to be quite infrequent due to the difficulty of petition signature gathering to call such a meeting. Senator Tublitz also spoke in favor of the motion, saying that the Assembly is dysfunctional unless it has a realistic means for meeting when necessary.
With discussion drawing to a close, motion US05/06-1 to close the university from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. during petitioned Assembly meetings was put to a voice vote and passed.
Motion US05/06-2 -- regarding senate sponsored public hearings on Department of Defense funded research on the UO campus. Ms. Louise Westling, English, indicated that text of the original motion had been clarified slightly; consequently, with approval from the senators she brought the following replacement motion to the floor:
Motion US05/06-2 Requiring the University Senate to sponsor public hearings during at least one regular senate meeting on Department of Defense funded research on the UO campus
MOVED that the University Senate sponsor public forum(s) early in the Winter Quarter 2006, including one conducted as an official Senate meeting (on a Wednesday at 3:00 - 5:00 pm), on the pros and cons of Department of Defense-funded research on the UO campus.
Remarks in support of the motion acknowledged the notion that some Department of Defense (DoD) research activity is done with civil benefits in mind. On our campus, DoD research funds income from overheads, licensing of patents and inventions, summer salaries, research staff and student stipends. However, Ms. Westling said that conducing DoD research activity on campus implicitly suggests support for the DoD, which also fosters the dominance aspirations of global corporate businesses and the military industrial complex that thrives on armed conflict proliferation. Ms. Westling suggested that research universities must face the possibility of complicit involvement in violation of the Constitutions and /or war crimes in the context in which the DoD operates. She commented that a public forum sponsored by the senate, during a senate meeting, would serve to educate the faculty about relevant issues and might in turn prompt the senate to generate policy in opposition to DoD funding and seek other revenue sources to support research on campus. A student, Mr. Nick Phillips, sought access to the floor to speak in favor of the motion. He said the university needs the opportunity to hear arguments on this issue. Mr. Phillips opined that opponents of militarism cannot afford to allow the military (DoD) to lobby research scientists. He continued that the DoD only funds research that offers potential military applications, thus the UO should send a message by banning all military sources of funding.
President Keyes interjected that a senate ad hoc committee on research was under consideration to explore this and other questions concerning external funding sources and to look at policies currently in place relevant to external funding from all sources.
Senator Paul Swangaard, business, wondered whether the senate should be involved in external research funding policies (it would possibly constrain researchers’ academic freedom). Parliamentarian Paul Simonds, anthropology, reminded the senators that the senate had taken an active role on this issue a number of years ago. Mr. Stahl added that the purpose of the forum was to fully inform the campus community about DoD reseach funding activity.
Faculty member Michelle Wood, biology, spoke against the motion, saying that she has research funding from various government agencies. Her concern with this motion is that to target one agency, DoD, ignores the fact that it creates problems for possible funding from other agencies. She did not think it appropriate to single out one agency without knowing possible repercussions.
The secretary raised the issue of using a regular senate meeting time for such a forum when the senate agendas are relatively full for the year. Mr. Stahl replied that the senate could call other meetings in addition to the regular monthly meetings if it needed to complete its work.
With discussion coming to an end, President Keyes put Motion US05/06-2 regarding the senate’s sponsoring a forum on DoD funded research on campus to a voice vote. The motion passed.
Asked if there was any other new business, President Keyes recognized Senator Jon Jablonski, library, who spoke of recent news regarding the fees the tenants of Westmoreland were being assessed in response to their recent records request. Saying the fees were estimated to be in the thousands of dollars, he put forth the following motion:
Moved that the university waive any fees associated with the Westmoreland Tenants Council records request dated November 16, 2005.
Because the meeting was nearing its ending time, there was little debate on the motion. President Keyes put the motion to a vote and it passed by voice vote. (Note: this motion has since been numbered US05/06-3).
With no other business at hand, the meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
Secretary of the Faculty
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