The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – April 9, 2007 – 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 Roger Frech, Chair.


PRESENT:       Basic, M. Bemben, Benson, Blank, Bradford, Brown, Brule, Civan, Cramer, Croft, Draheim, Elisens, Eodice, Forman, Franklin, Frech, Gade, Greene, Gutierrez, Houser, James, Knapp, Kutner, Lai, Lester, Livesey, Magnusson, Marcus-Mendoza, Miranda, Raadschelders, Riggs, Roche, Scamehorn, Schwarzkopf, Skeeters, Strawn, Thulasiraman, Trytten, Vitt, Warnken, Wei

ISA representatives:  Cook

ABSENT:         Albert, Badhwar, D. Bemben, Biggerstaff, Fincke, Ge, Keppel, Kolar, Rambo, Tan, Weaver, Wyckoff





New senator

Employment Benefits Committee retiree member

Information Technology presentation

Senate Chair’s Report:

Regular faculty ballot: grading scale, reapportionment

Meeting with OU-Tulsa Faculty Senate

Presentations at May 7 Faculty Senate meeting

Preliminary nominations for councils/committees/boards

User Name/I.D.






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of March 12, 2007 was approved.





Prof. Michele Eodice (Writing Center) was elected to complete the 2004-07 term of Prof. Ralph Hamerla (Honors) and then to serve a full 2007-10 term on the Faculty Senate, representing the Honors and Provost-direct non-degree-recommending divisions. 


President Boren approved the recommendation passed by the Faculty Senate at its March 12 meeting that the OU Retirees Association delegate to the Employment Benefits Committee become a voting member.





Mr. Nicholas Key, Information Technology Program Coordinator, addressed the issue that the OUNetID/User Name (4+4) includes digits from Social Security numbers.  He said a process is in place to manually adjust those numbers.  It has not been publicized because Information Technology (IT) had been working with the Information Technology Council (ITC) on a streamlined way to convert all the 4+4s that included Social Security numbers.  That process got stalled, and now the conversion is optional.  Individuals who want to change can call the help desk, but that process takes a lot of manual manpower to migrate mail to a new mailbox, especially for the student e-mail system.  IT would like to set it up so users could log into their accounts page and click a button to get a new 4+4.  In late summer, IT plans to move students from the POP e-mail system to the faculty/staff system because Exchange/Outlook is more automated.


Prof. Trytten asked whether the change from Social Security numbers could be done by IT.  Mr. Key said individuals would have to log in and authenticate.  The POP system would require a manual change.  The other systems could be updated automatically by pushing a button, but no formal process has been set up yet.  Prof. Trytten explained that people who are not knowledgeable about IT issues would be vulnerable.  A lot of staff members who do not use e-mail very often may not know that having Social Security numbers in the 4+4 is a risk.  Mr. Key said the issue concerned university policy.  IT could make a recommendation, but it would have to go through ITC and the provost’s office.  Prof. Trytten pointed out that she knew that ITC had requested a change because she was chair of ITC at the time.  Mr. Key said someone in the administration made the decision to delay.  IT had been ready to move forward.  He mentioned that he had started his job last summer and was not familiar with past ITC actions.  Prof. Trytten said the ITC had been told last spring that the change was going to be made.  She noted that financial and other institutions verify phone transactions by using the last four digits of the Social Security number, and those are the numbers that IT is e-mailing out to 300 people a day.  Mr. Key agreed that privacy was a big concern; however, IT was told at the beginning of this semester that this project could be discontinued.  He said IT could put some resources into communication if the Faculty Senate had strong feelings.  Prof. Trytten said the money should be spent fixing the system, not communicating.  She said she was surprised that the 4+4 was acceptable to the Senate.


Mr. Key said another issue for IT was e-mail spam.  A study last fall showed that 90 percent of all e-mail worldwide was spam.  IT has a couple of solutions that will help.  They have started testing some additional spam filtering rules.  Some people want a strong spam filtering system, while others are concerned that legitimate messages will be tagged as spam.  Individuals can set rules based on their comfort level.  He outlined the instructions for setting up the anti-spam service in Outlook (see  The tool allows users to choose the way they want to filter mail.  For example, they can filter out certain words.  Messages from a specific sender or with specific words in the subject can be moved to a specific folder.  When asked whether IT recommended Outlook as the most secure mail system to use, Mr. Key said Exchange and Outlook were made to work together as server and e-mail client and were more secure and user friendly.  He said he could find out the recommended clients for Mac users.  For the IT filter, choose “with specific words in the message header” and type “x-spam: Yes.”  The spam can be deleted or moved to a specified folder, such as Junk E-mail.  Exceptions can be set at the same time or later.  Everything that IT tags as spam will be sent to the junk e-mail folder.  Outlook also has an added level of spam filtering that sends spam to the junk e-mail folder.


Prof. Marcus-Mendoza asked why her University computer sends more spam to her junk e-mail folder than her home computer does.  Mr. Key said that was because the University machines come configured to catch the first level of junk e-mail.  Prof. Schwarzkopf asked if there was an easy way to get the setting back to default if necessary.  Mr. Key said the procedure was to uncheck the rule or click “delete.”  Responding to a question about filtering key words, Mr. Key said the key words could be in the subject, in the body, or wherever specified.  Prof. Miranda asked why she would have to set rules separately on her work and home computer.  Mr. Key said it was because rules apply to the client software program, not the server.  In the near future, faculty and staff will be moved from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007.  He said he thought the new version would pass some of the rules back and forth.  He demonstrated what the new version of web mail will look like.  Prof. Miranda asked what sort of filters could be set through web mail.  Mr. Key answered that individuals should be able to set rules the same way.  Prof. Kutner said he found the idea of filtering useless because he would have to look through two inboxes.  He said the user should be able to tell the system never to accept another message from a certain sender or domain.  Mr. Key replied that IT already does that with messages that are obviously malicious.  However, IT does not want to filter too strongly because some legitimate messages will be lost.  Users can set as an option that messages sent by a particular person or domain should never get through, and one of the options would permanently delete the message automatically.  Prof. Kutner said he did not think that option existed on web mail.  Prof. Miranda said there was a way to filter out an e-mail address in web mail.  Mr. Key added that IT planned to add an extra iron port to accept spam if our servers are backed up.  This feature will get information from the spam, block malicious messages, and give us better tracking.  IT also is going to look at closing some of the backdoor e-mail servers.  The purpose is to make sure all campus systems are protected and no ports are left open.  Storage is becoming a big issue; that is one reason IT is changing the student system.  The changes IT is making and the new 2007 Exchange server will help with the spam problem.


Prof. Frech asked about ways to improve general communication between IT and faculty and staff.  Mr. Key said there had been a lapse in communication in the past.  He wants not only to communicate IT’s projects, but also find out from users the projects that IT should work on.  He asked about the faculty’s preferred way to get information and share information.  Prof. Blank responded that different people use different methods, so IT should use several formats.  Mr. Key asked if faculty preferred to receive information through face-to-face meetings, instructional booklets, mass e-mail, paper mail, or all of the above.  Prof. Marcus-Mendoza said e-mail was likely to be ignored.  Faculty members are more likely to pay attention to something that comes in their mailboxes and via additional methods such as face to face or messages from deans or chairs.  For projects that affect the whole campus, Mr. Key said IT would not be able to do face-to-face meetings.  He asked if RSS feeds would be an option, that is, a news feed that would be published on a person’s desktop or on a web page.  Mr. Key said he understood that it was probably important to send communications more than one way.  Prof. Vitt commented that for an issue such as the 4+4, it is critical that messages be sent to deans and chairs so that all staff are notified.  He said the notion that someone could use the last four digits of the Social Security number to gain access was scary.  Mr. Key asked if the faculty generally received communications from their departmental personnel or from deans and chairs.  Prof. Schwarzkopf responded that if an issue was important enough to require universal access, IT could ask the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to help distribute the information and also use every type of communication.



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Roger Frech


“A ballot has been distributed by e-mail to the regular faculty on the Norman campus.  There are two items on which to vote: the proposed change in the grading scale and the recommended reapportionment.  The Senate has previously discussed and voted on both of these items.  Please encourage your constituents to vote; the ballots are due by May 11.  Faculty can vote either by e-mail reply or by printing off the ballot and returning it in a sealed envelope with their name and academic unit printed on the outside.  It is very important to have a significant voice from the faculty. 


“On March 29, Steve Bradford and I visited the Schusterman Center, OU-Tulsa.  After meeting with Dean Bill Ray, we then met with about 20 of the 35 OU-Tulsa faculty (members of the OU-Tulsa faculty who teach in academic programs that fall under the jurisdiction of the Norman Campus Provost but whose primary place of employment is Tulsa, not faculty from the medical college).  Our discussion focused on a number of local issues and then evolved into their feelings of isolation from the Norman campus.  We discussed possible mechanisms for developing stronger ties with the Norman campus and the need for the OU-Tulsa faculty to discuss these issues with each other, much as the Faculty Senate listens to information.  These issues will probably be taken up in some form by the Senate next year.


“OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione will address the Senate at the May meeting.  This talk is usually followed by a question and answer session.  The new Chair of the OU Board of Regents, Tom Clark, also will speak at the May meeting.”





The Senate Committee on Committees’ preliminary nominations for the end-of-the-year vacancies on university and campus councils, committees, and boards were distributed at the meeting and will be voted on at the May meeting.  Prof. Frech said volunteers were still needed for a few vacancies. 





Prof. Trytten asked whether the Senate wanted to take up the issue of Social Security numbers in the 4+4 user name/I.D (see earlier IT presentation).  Prof. Frech said, “We certainly do.”  Prof. Trytten moved that “the remaining four digits of the Social Security number be permanently removed from all faculty and staff identification numbers, including legacy systems, by July 2008.”  Prof. Forman said Information Technology (IT) should make the change as soon as possible and replace the last four digits with the digits on the new I.D. cards.  Prof. Trytten said she came up with July 2008 because Information Technology Vice President Aebersold had indicated to the Information Technology Council that it would take a full year to make a change.  Legacy systems are a problem, and it is complicated to move mailboxes.  To be fair to IT and make it more likely that the change will be made, the Senate should have a reasonable, attainable goal.  Prof. Frech asked whether Prof. Trytten was willing to accept Prof. Forman’s language as a friendly amendment.  Prof. Trytten suggested that her resolution read “…as soon as possible, but not later than July 2008.” 


Prof. Scamehorn said he had to remember several I.D.s and passwords for various organizations and would like the option to keep his Social Security number as his OU user I.D.  Prof. Trytten said the issue was the responsibility of the University to protect the private information of its employees.  It is a tremendous risk.  She said she was concerned that employees who were not very knowledgeable about the issue were at a tremendous disadvantage.  She said she did not think it was a good idea to have part of one’s Social Security number publicly viewable.  Prof. Kutner said he agreed that Social Security numbers should not be displayed, but that was only one part of the picture.  The same I.D. and password are used to access e-mail, the library, and personnel functions.  Until all the pieces are worked out, he said he was reluctant to fix just one.  Prof. Benson said the Senate could resolve the one objection by saying anyone who wants to use the original 4+4 (with the Social Security numbers) must choose to do so.  That would also take care of the people who do not use e-mail.  Prof. Trytten remarked that computer scientists debate whether it is better to use one password for everything or have multiple passwords.  Multiple passwords lead people to unsafe behavior, such as putting passwords and I.D.s on a post-it note on a computer screen or in a file on the desk. 


Following some discussion about logons for personnel records, Prof. Trytten agreed that her resolution would not solve all the problems, but it was a first step.  Displaying digits of the Social Security number is unacceptable.  Prof. Schwarzkopf said the more important piece is security awareness.  The resolution would send the message that we do not want to be cavalier about security.  Prof. Frech said the Senate would vote on the resolution at the May meeting.  The proposed resolution reads:  The remaining four digits of the Social Security number shall be permanently removed from all faculty and staff identification numbers, including legacy systems, as soon as possible, but not later than July 2008. 





The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 7, 2007, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Cecelia Brown, Secretary