The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session - March 10, 2003 - 3:30 p.m. - Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206   phone: 325-6789
e-mail:   web site:


The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Ed Cline, Chair.


PRESENT:       Abraham, Beach, Bradford, Brady, Carnevale, Cline, Cuccia, Ferreira, Fincke, Frech, Gottesman, Hanson, Hart, Hartel, Havlicek, Huseman, Kauffman, Lee, London, Magid, McInerney, Milton, Pender, Rai, Ransom, Rodriguez, Rupp-Serrano, Russell, Striz, Tarhule, Taylor, Thulasiraman, Vale, Watts, Wheeler, Whitely, Wieder, Willinger, Wyckoff

Provost's office representative:  Mergler
ISA representatives:  Lauterbach
UOSA representatives:  McFayden


ABSENT:         Baldwin, Bozorgi, Davis, Devenport, Gensler, Henderson, Knapp, Madland, Maiden, Morrissey, Newman, Robertson, Scherman, Sievers







New senator

Senate Chair's Report:  e-mail spam, faculty development, health benefits, faculty awards

Computer policies -- Security, Acceptable Use

Faculty Compensation Committee report -- budget cuts






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of February 10, 2003 was approved.





President Boren accepted the resolution on tuition and fees (see 2/03 Senate Journal) "with appreciation to the Senate for considering this important issue."  Prof. Cline thanked the senators who voted.  The vote, which was done electronically, was 46 in favor, one abstention, and 5 who did not vote.  Prof. Cline said the resolution was sent to the state house of representatives prior to its vote on the tuition bill.  The bill was passed by the house and should be voted on by the senate this week, barring complications with the lottery bill.


Prof. Chandra Rai (Petroleum & Geological Engineering) was elected by the College of Engineering to complete the 2001-04 term of Prof. Sudarshan Dhall (Computer Science) on the Faculty Senate.





Bruce Hinson, chair of the Faculty Senate in 1993-94 and retired professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, passed away on March 2.  The senate observed a moment of silence.


Information Technology is working on the e-mail spam problem, but it is not clear whether the problem is completely solvable.


One of Prof. Cline’s goals was to create a fund for faculty development, particularly for areas with limited funding resources outside the university.  The money could be used to further research or teaching.  President Boren obtained $15,000 in new money for this fund.  Prof. Cline hopes the Faculty Senate will work toward getting the fund endowed and making the grants more widely available.  It is a small but positive start in a financially difficult year. 


The senate executive committee has transmitted concerns about health care to Human Resources (HR), which is working to address all of the issues.  Prof. Hart asked for some idea of the schedule and whether an updated health plan would be presented to the senate.  Prof. Cline said the HR people would come back with an updated plan but he was not sure when.  He said the senate executive committee had asked HR to use the next 18 months to research other programs so we would have other options to consider.  Prof. Hart said he thought that was what we just paid the consultant to do.  Provost Mergler said the university paid $150,000 to the consultants, and they gave us financial data comparing our benefits to those of other schools.  Prof. Carnevale, chair of the Employment Benefits Committee, said the EBC and HR recommended that we go to the state health plan.  The EBC also recommended that the administration put out an RFP to see if there were better plans than the state plan, and the administration agreed to do that.  The EBC had a discussion about redistributing some of the employee contribution to persons with family coverage to offset some of the extra expense, but the reaction has been negative.  The state plan will start July 1.  Enrollment will be in April, and there will be another enrollment for January.  Prof. Milton asked for clarification as to how long we would be committed to the state plan.  Prof. Carnevale said it would be for 1.5 years.  Prof. Hart said he thought one of the options being examined was to increase employee contributions in order to stay with our current self-insured plan.  Prof. Carnevale said the administration seemed to have negative feelings about our current model because of the deficits.  However, it would seem reasonable for the consultant to look at the current plan along with other options, if there is a way for the university to avoid surprising deficits.  Prof. Hart said employees were not given choices or included in the decision.  Benefits will be reduced without any consideration of last month's discussion.  He said he understood the reasons why the university wanted to get out from self-insurance, but objected to the way this had been handled.  Some issues have not been addressed, such as coverage when employees are traveling.  Prof. Cline said the cost would have increased by $90 per month per person to stay with the current plan.  The senate executive committee asked the administration to start now to look at other options and to present something earlier next time. 


The faculty awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, April 10, at 3:30 p.m. in the Bell courtroom. 





The proposed interim computer policies on security and acceptable use (attached) were developed by the Information Technology Council, in consultation with Legal Counsel, and were discussed at the January Senate meeting.  Prof. Fincke asked for clarification of the fifth point under examples of unacceptable use: use University systems for commercial or partisan political purposes.  She said faculty who teach science could stray into quasi-political situations involving such things as textbook evolution disclaimers.  Prof. Deborah Trytten, Information Technology Council chair, said the statement was required by Legal Counsel so that university systems would not be used for partisan politics, such as endorsing a particular candidate.  She said she assumed Legal Counsel would not use the policy to prosecute unpopular political opinion.  The interim policies were approved on a voice vote. 





Following discussion at the January Senate meeting, the Faculty Compensation Committee (FCC) made some revisions in its report concerning budget cuts (attached).  Prof. Striz, chair of the FCC, said the revised document reflected the concerns people had about furloughs, by saying furloughs would be a last resort.  He said he was aware that people still had concerns about the document and thought it would help to see the recommendations in context.  Citing specific budget problems at other universities, Prof. Striz said the FCC was not advocating anything, but rather was proposing ways to address budget problems, particularly if the tuition bill did not pass. 


Prof. Magid pointed out that the paragraph about furloughs had language about prorating 9-month faculty.  He suggested that the paragraph about retirement contributions should have similar language to make sure there was no confusion.  He proposed that the sentence should read, "faculty could agree to a prorated one-month delay."  He commented that one month for a 9-month faculty member is 1/3 more than for a 12-month employee.  Prof. Cline said that had already been addressed, and that it would be 1/12 for everyone.  Prof. Magid said he still would like to say that in the document.  Prof. Striz agreed to the addition. 


Prof. London said his colleagues thought the section on leaves and sabbaticals was the wrong statement for the Faculty Senate to make.  A few people would be singled out to take a big hit.  Prof. Striz suggested that “voluntary” be added.  Prof. London moved to withdraw the paragraph.  Prof. Hart said his colleagues agreed.  Very few of them could live an entire year on half pay.  He said if the paragraph was not deleted, it should at least be changed to read, “one-year half-pay sabbaticals should be explored."  Prof. Wieder noted that this option was not likely to generate much funding for the university in any case.  Prof. London's motion was approved on a voice vote. 


Prof. Wieder said the faculty in his department were concerned that the document assumed we could reduce the faculty by a substantial amount and still have the same size classes.  The state should not expect that we are going to educate the same number of students.  He suggested that a sentence should be added after the paragraph starting with "For additional budget shortfalls," that would read something like, “At some point, we should not expect that as many students could be accommodated at the university.”  With the furloughs of 1983, students were in the hallways trying to get into classes.  Provost Mergler said that idea was usually phrased as “reduction in credit hour production and further delays to the students having timely completion.”  Prof. Wieder moved to add a statement along those lines and include "is an expected outcome of a further reduction of resources."  Prof. Hart asked whether that would contradict an earlier statement in the document that talked about teaching more courses.  Prof. Striz said he did not think it was contradictory.  Prof. Wieder said the language suggested that faculty would accommodate a reduction in force.  Prof. Striz said a previous paragraph addressed what would happen if we had layoffs.  Prof. Gottesman said she thought it was worth mentioning a second time.  Prof. Wieder’s motion was approved on a voice vote.  The document as amended (attached) was approved on a voice vote, with one opposed. 





The meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 14, 2003, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Valerie Watts, Secretary