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University Senate Minutes - December 8, 2003

The University Senate met in regular session at 3:00 pm, December 8, 2003, in the Auditorium of the W. T. Young Library.

Members absent: Charles Ambrose*, Lynley Anderman*, Kimberly Anderson, Mary Arthur*, Wendy Baldwin*, Rolando Berger*, Suketu Bhavsar*, Sheila Brothers*, Frank Butler, Ben Carr, James Cibulka, Alfred Cohen, Elizabeth Debski*, Jody Deem*, Nirmala Desai*, Philip DeSimone, Michelle Duffy*, Mary Duke*, David Durant*, Roberta Dwyer*, Greg Feeney, Joseph Fink III*, Mat Gabel, Daniel Gargola, Rachel Hardy*, Allison Hensley*, Kay Hoffman, Brian Jackson*, Tom Janoski*, Ling Hwey Jeng*, James Kerley, Richrd King*, Robert Kovarik, Phil Kraemer, Thomas Lester, Mary Marchant, Joan Mazur*, Leola McClure, Katherine McCormick, Terry Mobley, David Mohney, Michael Nietzel, Sue Nokes*, Sean Peffer*, Peter Perry, Martha Purdue*, David Randall*, Connie Ray*, Kenneth Roberts, Thomas Robinson, Mark Roland*, Peggy Saunier*, Sandy Schomaker*, Jason Shaw, Robert Shay*, Richard Siemer, Scott Smith*, Veleashia Smith, D.C. Storm, Devanathan Sudharshan*, Patricia Terrell, Lee Todd, Allan Vestal, Retia Walker, Rachel Watts*, Shirley Whitescarver*, Carolyn Williams, Eugene Williams, Emery Wilson, Don Witt.

*Absence Excused.

Chairperson Jeffrey Dembo called the meeting to order at 3:02 pm.

1. Approval of the Minutes

The Chair noted a modification to the minutes and asked the Parliamentarian to explain the need for the change. Blyton informed the Senate of the principle of due notice and said the Senate vote on a motion made from the floor at the last meeting was out of order because it violated this principle. Blyton said the vote taken by the Senate was a straw vote and has been noted as such in the revised minutes. The minutes were approved as amended.

2. Memorial Resolutions

Memorial Resolutions were presented for John Ballantine by Pat Litzelfelner from the College of Social Work and for Willem Meijer by Chuck Staben from the College of Arts and Sciences. A copy of the resolutions will be made available in the full transcript of the meeting and a copy will be sent to the families of the deceased.

5. Announcement

The Chair reminded the Senate of the upcoming Board and Senates' holiday reception and urged the Senators to attend. He also noted that there will not be a Senate meeting in January. He suggested the Senators should begin thinking about possible nominees for the next Board of Trustees election since Jones' term expires in June 2004. The Chair then announced the results of the recent Senate Council elections. Chard, Grabau and Jones were elected and will begin their terms in January 2004. The Chair told the Senate that Yanarella is the Senate Council Chair elect and Saunier will be Vice-Chair. Their terms will begin at the end of June 2004.

4. Annual Academic Ombud Reports

The Chair noted the absence of Anthony and yielded the floor to Scollay. Scollay thanked several people for their assistance during her term as Ombud, including Michelle Sohner from the Office of the Ombud, Don Witt and Cleo Price from the Registrar's Office, Dean of Students Victor Hazard, former Acting-Dean of the Graduate School Doug Kalika and her predecessors in the role of Ombud.

Scollay reported on the various activities undertaken by the Ombud and explained the differences between single-contacted records and those which become cases. She called the Senate's attention to a hand-out in which she placed her time in the Ombud's office in a ten-year context to see how the nature of the cases had or had not changed over time. Scollay noted the similarity in type and number of cases heard. She then outlined the disposition of the various cases heard by her office and noted how few of them were forwarded to the University Appeals Board.

Scollay said her recommendations were similar to those made by past-Ombuds. She noted a larger population of Distance Learning students and the complex and diverse nature of today's students. She urged the Senate to examine it Rules governing the academic enterprise of the University.

The Chair thanked Scollay for her report.

5. December Degree List

The Chair noted the Senate's statutory responsibility and obligation in relation to the approval of the lists of candidates for degree three times per year. Blandford moved to approve the December 2003 degree list and Jones seconded the motion. The motion passed without dissent.

Brief conversation was held regarding the role of the Senate and the role of the departments in approving these lists. Gesund suggested increasing the role played by the departmental faculty in the approval process. Garen said the University already employs multiple safeguards to ensure the quality of the potential graduates. Jones said the Senate should act in its role as the body of higher authority that has delegated the responsibility of making sure those safeguards are in place to the colleges and departments. The Chair noted the importance of the Senate retaining its visible role in the approval process.

6. Retiree Health Benefits Motion

Retiree Health Benefits Motion (PDF)

The Chair noted several letters which have been sent to the Employee Benefits Committee about this issue, including some from the College of Nursing staff and the faculty and staff of the College of Health Sciences. Goldman said the AAUP had prepared a petition which was being circulated and invited interested Senators to sign it after the meeting or take copies to their units.

The Chair reported on the activities of the Staff Senate and said the Senate Council had instructed him to write a joint letter with the Chair of the Staff Senate to underscore the areas of the mutual concern between the two Senates. The letter will be sent to the Employee Benefits Committee.

The Chair called the attention of the Senate to the rationales drafted by the Senate Council. He reminded the Senate of their charge to the Senate Council to create this document. Gesund made a request to put forth a friendly amendment. Byton informed him that a committee report could not be amended. Gesund respectfully reminded the Parliamentarian that this item was a Senate resolution and not a committee report. Gesund suggested two friendly amendments. The first was to add that it was the sense of the Senate that the report and recommendations of the Retiree Health Benefits Task Force would damage the reputation for integrity of the University and its Administration. The amendment was seconded by Mark Hanson. After brief discussion a vote was conducted. Six were in favor of the motion and the rest of the Senators were opposed, with one abstention. The motion failed.

Gesund then proposed a friendly amendment noting the task force did not give due consideration to the recent changes in Medicare in its projections. Tagavi seconded the motion. After brief discussion Gesund withdrew his amendment and instead offered a friendly amendment suggested by Carolyn Bratt. The amendment suggested adding wording to the first item on the rationale which would then read

"rests on narrow and possibly flawed foundations, including but not limited to the lack of consideration of the recently enacted Medicare reform, and questionable assumptions posited by the consulting firm that developed the model and generated the projections and proposed options".

After brief discussion the motion passed with two votes opposed and one abstention.

After further discussion, in which no motions were proposed, the entire rationale were voted upon and passed with none opposed and two abstentions. The Senate directed the Chair to include appropriately gracious language in the joint letter he will compose with the Chair of the Staff Senate to express appreciation for the hard work accomplished by the Retiree Health Benefits Task Force.

The Senate then turned its attention to the recommendation (DOC), which was proposed by the Senate Council. Grossman offered a friendly amendment that the "blue ribbon" wording be deleted. Conversation ensured regarding the definition of the wording. Zentall seconded the motion. Staten, Cibull, Bailey and Tagavi spoke against the amendment. After further discussion a vote was taken with twelve in favor of the amendment and the rest of the Senators against it. The motion failed. The recommendation will move forward as written.

7. Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct (DOC)

The Chair provided some brief background on this item and yielded the floor to Doug Boyd. Boyd provided the history of the item, including its initiation with the Board of Trustees' committee headed by Joe Fink and the various iterations it had undergone when Phyllis Nash was the Chief of Staff. Boyd said Nash had prepared a status report in June 2003, which was forwarded to the President and the Board as a work in progress. He noted the completion of the second draft in August 2003 and said that draft was now being circulated to various groups around campus for comment.

Boyd said the Medical Center and Athletics might add amendments to the Code because of the stricter guidelines to which they must be held due to their affiliations with external agencies, companies and associations. Boyd said the Code was coming before the University Senate and the Staff Senate for comments, which will then be incorporated into a final draft which will be submitted to the Board of Trustees in late January.

The Chair asked if Boyd was seeking comment on a document which was a work in progress. Boyd said the document was a draft and was open to any comments or input and added the Administration would never send such a document forward without providing an opportunity for input from both Senates.

The Chair asked the Senators if they had any questions about the process. Jones asked for a deadline by which input could be submitted. Boyd said a firm deadline had not been set but suggested input would be necessary by mid-January in order to be incorporated in time to be prepared for the Board in late January.

Lesnaw asked if a relationship existed between this Code and the existing Code of Conduct. Boyd said he didn't know, and added this Code of Conduct would apply to everyone associated with the University instead of to small groups who have developed various Codes in compliance with their various accreditation needs. Lesnaw asked if an effort had been made to incorporate the Administration's code of ethics as it pertains to the commitments it makes. Boyd replied that he did not know.

Gesund expressed concern about the second paragraph on the second page and suggested it be re-written to protect affirmative action. Boyd noted the suggestion. Tagavi asked if the Code would also include other boards, like the Hospital Board and the Athletics Board. Boyd said the Code includes virtually everyone at the University. Tagavi suggested it include students as well. He also suggested including anti-discrimination language as it applies to the evaluation of students and their work. Boyd asked if Victor Hazard had any comments about the suggestion. Hazard said whether or not to include students in this document was at the discretion of the Senate.

Lesnaw suggested the Code deal more with concerns about ethics in a general way and leave issues pertaining to conflict of interest under the aegis of existent regulations.

Zentall suggested placing the current Code in the context of historical versions, or in relationship with earlier documents to help the argument of why this is necessary become more easily understood.

Rouhier-Willoughby wondered what the term "University resources" refers to.

The Chair noted the Code was an action item on the agenda and encouraged Senators to forward individual concerns or suggestions and then see the Code again in its finished form. Staben noted the Senate will not meet again until after the item has been presented to the Board. Cibull suggested inviting the members of the Senate, or all faculty, to submit concerns or suggestions to the Senate Council office, which could in turn collate the responses and forward them to Boyd. Cibull made a motion to that affect. The motion read:

"to solicit comments from the University Senate that would be collated by the Senate Council which would then submit the comments to Dr. Boyd with its recommendation regarding this document".

Tagavi made the friendly amendment to include all University faculty. Cibull accepted the amendment. Jones seconded the motion, which passed in voice vote without dissent.

Annual Academic Ombud Report, continued:

The Chair yielded the floor to Joe Anthony, Academic Ombud from LCC, explaining that Anthony had arrived late due to class obligations. Anthony presented his report in which he expressed concern for the number and type of claims his office received in relation to Distance Learning education. He reported on the types of classroom disputes in which he is asked to intervene and the increasingly-diverse student body as it relates to cultural expectations of classroom decorum. He reported on the increasing rate at which plagiarism occurs on his campus and expressed concern over the number of students who admit to cheating or sharing work in polls. Anthony concluded his presentation by recommending the appointment of a task force to examine the question of academic honesty among students. He said his ideal solution would be the creation of an enforceable honor code which would attempt to change the atmosphere of acceptability in which cheating occurs. He expressed concern that some students don't feel that cheating is morally or ethically wrong, and he hoped the creation of a task force could help address the problem.

The Chair thanked Anthony for his report and suggested the Senate might hear a recommendation from the Senate Council at a subsequent meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:45 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Jeffrey Dembo
Chair, Senate Council

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on December 15, 2003