JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY SENATE The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)Regular session - October 14, 1996 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102

office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206 phone: 325-6789 FAX: 325-6782e-mail: web site:

The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Rick Tepker, Chair.

PRESENT: Albert, Baker, Benson, Bremer, Dillon, Durica, Egle, Elisens, Emery, Fiedler, Fung, Gana, Gilje, B.Greene, EGreene, Gupta, Harris, Hillyer, Hobbs, Holmes, Horrell, Hughes, Hutchison, Kinzie, C.Knapp, Konopak, Laird, Lancaster, F. Lee, Murphy, Norwood, Palmer, Patten, Patterson, Ramsey, Reynolds, Shaughnessy, Sipes, Smith, St.John, Stoltenberg, Tepker, Thulasiraman, Wahl, Wallach, Wenk

Provost's office representative: Mergler

PSA representatives: Spencer

ABSENT: Blank, Civan, Joyce, VanGundy, Williams




Issues and concerns identified by Faculty Senate 2

Search committees: Honors College dean and College of Engineering dean 3

Remarks by Interim Senior Vice President and Provost Nancy Mergler 3

Senate Chair's Report:

Meeting with HSC and OSU 5

Tuition waivers 5

Meeting with Athletic Director 5

Arts and Sciences dean search 5

Recycling program 5

Elimination of committees 5

E-mail guidelines 6



Prof. Norwood objected to the minutes of the September 9, 1996 meeting, claiming the section describing his questions to President Boren was inaccurate, misrepresented his comments, and trivialized the issues raised. He said the first issue he had raised was the arbitrary enforcement of University regulations by OU security police. While the police prevented union members from distributing handbills, when the union had gotten prior approval, they repeatedly refused to enforce regulations when the Montana militia was distributing handbills inside a campus building. The police said the militia had permission, which they did not. The union has always requested advanced approval for distributing leaflets, yet the OU police frequently harass members who are distributing literature. He contended that the militia handbills were anti-Semitic and violated the University's racial and ethic harassment code and the funds solicitation regulation. Prof. Norwood said he also questioned President Boren about the University sponsoring, endorsing, funding, and promoting a talk by Benjamin Chavis at a Big 8 African-American student government conference. According to Prof. Norwood, Mr. Chavis was the agent of Louis Farrakhan and gave an anti-Semitic speech. The OU administration refused to meet with concerned faculty. Prof. Norwood moved that corrections be incorporated into the minutes. Prof. Holmes asked whether the motion could be tabled until the comments could be reviewed. Prof. Hutchison moved to table the motion, and that was approved on a voice vote. Prof. Tepker said the comments will be reviewed by Faculty Senate Executive Committee and reported back to the Senate. The Senate approved the motion to table the minutes on a voice vote.


The following list of the issues and concerns identified by the Faculty Senate was distributed at the meeting. This list will be sent to the president, provost, appropriate vice presidents, and appropriate committee chairs for their information and possible action.

1. Priorities for $250 million fundraising program.

2. Expenditures for athletic department.

3. Faculty salaries & compensation.

4. Spending for administrative tasks, projects, travel.

5. Faculty morale (other than compensation issues).

6. Technology.

7. Course scheduling.

8. Inadequate administrative attention to following rules and policies.

9. Health insurance.

10. Athletics and academic performance.

11. Affirmative Action policies of the University.

The Senate Executive Committee nominated Professors Drew Kershen (Law) and David Sabatini (Civil Engineering and Environmental Science) for the faculty-at-large position on the Honors College dean search committee and Professors Michelle Hanna (Chemistry and Biochemistry) and John Furneaux (Physics and Astronomy) for the faculty-at-large position on the College of Engineering dean search committee.


Provost Mergler reported on the good news at OU. For FY 96, grants and contracts expenditures topped $110 million due to the quality of our research faculty and administrative efforts. She intends to keep this forward momentum even though federal research funding is problematic. The Reach for Excellence fund-raising campaign goal was raised from $200 million to $250 million. We have already raised $100 million. An average 5% salary increase was provided for faculty, staff, and graduate assistants effective October 1. Peers are averaging 2-3% salary programs; therefore, our ranking should improve slightly. A new computer network fee will generate over $2 million a year to fund the Internet. The Information Technology Council, chaired by Prof. Bruce Mason (Physics and Astronomy), will oversee the expansion of computer systems within the University. The purchase of a new mainframe computer was approved by the OU Regents in September. An Honors College has been established. The formation of search committees for the Honors College dean, Arts and Sciences dean, and Engineering dean will be on the October Regents' agenda. We now have an Executive Director for the International Programs Center, and we are enhancing the offices of International Relations and International Academic Programs. The President has announced that he will allocate $75,000 of OU Associates' funds to international travel for faculty, students, and staff during the coming academic year. Several faculty searches will enhance the international areas. This current year 56 faculty lines were filled, including 20 women and 9 minorities. The average ACT score for this year's freshman class is 24.4, an all-time high for OU. The Provost's office has received no complaints this semester from students about the English proficiency of their teachers, which reflects the more rigorous standards.

Provost Mergler then discussed the continuing challenges. Increasing numbers of public universities are being asked to review their processes for faculty accountability. She has called a joint meeting of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, deans, and the Senate's faculty development task force to review strategies. Federal research funding is unstable, as is federal financial aid for students. This can impact OU in terms of the number of hours students work outside of class. The more students work outside of class, the longer it takes them to complete their degree. She would like to have higher retention and graduation rates.

The State Regents continued the endowment matching program for chairs and professors and the Oklahoma academic scholars program and provided funding to develop exhibits at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. The Regents are being challenged in the rules and regulations for distance education (ONENET). We need to work cooperatively with them. The Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System is still a dilemma. For FY 98, it will take $1 million of new money to pay the 1% increase in the University's contribution to OTRS. That is independent of any increases individuals have to pay. The administration is continuing efforts to stop or change these planned increases. She said it was wonderful not to have to worry about SQ 669 or tax reductions this year.

Dr. Mergler said we need to personalize undergraduate education. We offered 153 more course sections--a 6.3% increase--in FY 96. This year we have five more filled faculty lines than last year. There will be a 6% increase in the number of high school students who will graduate this year. She was able to increase the library serials budget by $400,000 for FY 97 to keep journal subscriptions constant. The library continues to be a priority for Provost Mergler and President Boren. She wants to work with faculty and students on different ways to access material in the library, for example electronic access to journals.

Turning to budget issues, Provost Mergler said we will need $1 million of new money for FY 98 to pay the institutional costs of OTRS, $1.1 million for cost-to-continue items, $880,000 to fully fund the salary program for this year, and $240,000 for faculty promotions. The President and Provost want another good salary program next year to help us meet the goal of reaching the average of the Big Twelve in faculty salaries. The basic goals remain: build strength in undergraduate education, provide better rewards for teaching, increase the size of the faculty, move targeted programs higher in competitive national rankings, attain Carnegie research university I status, and build the international studies program.

Prof. Fiedler noted that there is not much incentive to teach general education courses. Provost Mergler said $700,000 in Teaching Incentive Program money is allocated to departments; this past year, 80% was based on head count and tuition revenue generated and 20% was for increases in sections taught and for faculty teaching lower division sections. However, increasing the TIP pool is not as high a priority as faculty salaries and additional faculty.

Prof. Gilje said the Provost had indicated how much new money the University would need right off the bat for FY 98. He asked how tuition waivers would play into that. Provost Mergler answered that, currently, children or grandchildren of OU degree holders are given a $1000 waiver, which costs the University $220,000 in non-resident tuition waivers reported to the State Regents but also generates some revenue. The President is now implementing for students entering Fall 1997 a complete waiver ($3,500) of non-resident tuition for those students. Dr. Mergler predicts that we will get about 120 students each year and, at end of four years, have about $1.1 million in reportable waivers. But because they will generate additional revenue, the net loss in revenue will be about $700,000. The President thinks this program will yield fund-raising opportunities. Prof. Gilje asked how much tuition waivers cost the University. Provost Mergler said the waivers reported to the State Regents have been running $10-11 million the last three years. This program will increase it about $1 million by the end of four years.

Prof. Fung asked about her policy on deans returning to faculty positions. Provost Mergler said a dean's salary is composed of a 9-month faculty-based salary plus a 3-month summer salary at the same rate plus an administrative stipend. When an individual goes back to a 9-month faculty contract, the part that goes with her/him is the 9-month faculty rate. That is to prevent salaries that are out of line with other salaries in a department.


The Senate Executive Committee met with the executive committees of the HSC Faculty Senate and OSU Faculty Council to discuss familiar issues and share concerns, including funding, the future of higher education, and faculty tenure and accountability.

The OU Regents are studying the Conflict of Interest policy and have not acted on it yet.

The Senate Executive Committee discussed the tuition waiver policy with the Provost and sent a letter to the President. The Faculty Senate was not consulted prior to the development of the policy. The Executive Committee indicated that it will represent too much cost at the expense of program development and excellence and will impact salaries.

The Senate Executive Committee will meet with Athletic Director Steve Owens November 14. Senators were invited to submit concerns that should be shared with Mr. Owens. One item that will be discussed is the problem of academic eligibility of athletes in their senior year.

There has been some discussion on what kind of search might be appropriate for the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Should it be an internal search as opposed to a full external search? The Senate Executive Committee is seeking input. Prof. Greene asked how the search would be decided. Prof. Tepker said he assumes the faculty views will be accepted if they recommend no external search. Prof. Dillon said the faculty of the college should be responsible for making that decision. Provost Mergler noted that she had asked for input about the Honors College dean search but that she was proceeding with an external search for the Arts and Sciences dean. Prof. Tepker said there had been some suggestion that the Arts and Sciences search should be a real national search or no search or an internal search. Prof. Greene commented that a number of people had suggested that an internal search might be more appealing to the college. Prof. Sipes asked about the role of the Faculty Senate in this. Prof. Tepker said senators are supposed to represent the views of constituents.

Student Congress and Graduate Student Senate are currently working with OUrEarth and other student organizations on a proposal to present to the administration on creating a campus-wide recycling program. Environmental Awareness Week is October 20-26, and they are hoping to have drafted a joint resolution by this time. If any of you are interested in joining these efforts or would like to support this proposal through petitions in your department, please contact John Bell, Chair of the Recycling Subcommittee in GSS, or Tiffany Stevens, Chair of the Problems and Projects Committee in Student Congress, at 325-5471.


Prof. Tepker explained that the Senate Executive Committee was proposing that the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President, Strategic Planning Committee, and University Development Council be eliminated (current charges attached as Appendix I). The Faculty Advisory Committee has not met in some time, and the Strategic Planning Committee and University Development Council have never met since they were formed. Prof. Hillyer pointed out that the Faculty Advisory Committee used to meet. She asked if Prof. Tepker had some historical sense about why that committee is no longer active. Prof. Tepker said the Faculty Senate Executive Committee is better suited to perform the function of the Faculty Advisory Committee. Prof. Holmes said it is the right of the President to abolish his advisory committee. Provost Mergler explained that former President Van Horn wanted committees that had representation from the Norman and HSC campuses and had restructured the advisory committee to have more HSC representation. President Boren thinks it is important to use existing committees like the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, although he also brings in other groups of faculty to meet with him. Prof. Tepker said he believes it is in the interest of faculty governance to have fewer and more effective committees. Prof. Dillon pointed out that there are two different kinds of committees--those established by the President and those established by the Faculty Senate. The Senate is not being asked to disband one of its own committees. Some senators suggested that the minutes should reflect the notion that the Faculty Senate serves the role of an advisory committee as opposed to the notion that the President wants to abolish that committee. Prof. Patterson said she did not think the President even needed to ask the Senate. Prof. Tepker said he did not know to what extent the President had total discretion over his own committees. The motion to eliminate those three committees was approved on a voice vote.


Prof. Tepker asked the senators to review the proposed e-mail guidelines (Appendix II) and be prepared to vote at the next meeting. There are some important issues related to privacy in point three. The Senate Executive Committee has not reviewed the guidelines yet.

Prof. Palmer asked how this policy compares with policies of privacy concerning mail and telephone. The e-mail policy is vague concerning who can read it. Prof. Tepker said there are many legal restrictions on listening in on phone conversations or opening mail. It is not clear what rights employers have to look at files. Current cases tend to say there is no individual expectation of privacy with regard to e-mail. An employer can look at an employee's e-mail for reasonable purposes. We need to look more closely at the law and review other universities' policies. When an individual's e-mail is accessed s/he should receive notice and it should be advanced notice. He will make that suggestion to the Executive Committee.

When asked who wrote these guidelines, Prof. Tepker said he thought it was a joint effort by Legal Counsel and the Information Technology Council. Prof. Hobbs asked how these guidelines would relate to listserve guidelines. Prof. Tepker said he will have to get someone here to answer these questions.

Prof. Fiedler asked whether the Senate would have the option of making a policy that is more similar to telephone and mail policies. He remarked that these guidelines are much less restrictive. He noted that the Senate would need more information before it could vote next time. Prof. Tepker said there was no deadline. The Senate vote could be delayed another month. But, the process ought to begin. Information will be shared next time.

Prof. Durica said the document seems to deal more with the employee/employer relationship. He asked whether this also would apply to students. Prof. Tepker said students seem to have a different status because they are paying fees and may have a more legitimate basis for their expectations of privacy. Prof. Knapp said he thought the password creates an expectation of privacy. Prof. Tepker said it was his understanding that the court cases were saying there is no expectation of privacy, but he has not had time to read them and has only had the guidelines a couple of days. Prof. Gana explained that in most of the cases dealing with the corporate work environment, there is no expectation of privacy. An employer can access e-mail if s/he has a reasonable basis to believe the employee is using e-mail in a way that does not serve the interest of the employer. However, she has not read any case dealing with higher education. Part of the problem is there is no way to guarantee privacy. There is also the sense that if the employer is paying fees for the service and the employee is not paying anything to use that service, then it is the employer's prerogative to access that information as long as it is used in the office during office time. Prof. Tepker pointed out that e-mail is not to be trusted if information needs to be kept confidential. Prof. Palmer contended that it is easy for people to tap into the telephone and yet we have an expectation of privacy with that. Prof. Gana responded that the cases that have dealt with e-mail privacy have said the same thing about telephone privacy. If an employee uses the phone at work, the employer can also access that if s/he thinks it is reasonable to do so.

Provost Mergler added that there can be situations where an e-mail message that is too large can clog the system. In that case, the system administrator will need to investigate. Prof. Sipes, referring to point 3, said there should be a distinction between the corporate environment and a University with respect to privacy because of academic freedom. Prof. Palmer said the University should be able to review documents when there are problems with the network or security issues but not in a vague sense. Prof. Tepker said "for legitimate University business purposes" may seem vague, but all privacy expectations are not absolute. The real problem is how to allow the University to do what it needs to do to keep the equipment running but balance privacy issues. Prof. Wahl asked for the basis and analogies that he could report back to his faculty colleagues. Prof. Fiedler said the guidelines should be written in a language that system administrators can understand as opposed to case law.

Prof. Hillyer commented that OSU investigated this issue and was concerned about professors being condemned for participation in certain listserves. Prof. Tepker said maintaining the resources to conduct the surveillance is beyond present state budget capacity. Prof. Palmer said she would like to see the guidelines for students.


The meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m. The next regular session of the Senate will be held at 3:30p.m. on Monday, November 12, 1996, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Alexander Holmes, Secretary


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator