The University of Iowa
October 9, 2001
Penn State Room, IMU
Members Present: Joyce Berg, Lois Geist, Rebecca Hegeman, Richard LeBlond, Chuck Lynch, David Manderscheid, Kim Marra, Ann Marie McCarthy, John Moyer, Paul Muhly, Gene Parkin, Craig Porter, Margaret Raymond, Hazel Seaba, Lisa Troyer, John Westefeld
Members Absent: Howard Cowan, Vicki Grassian
Faculty Senate Officers in Attendance: Amitava Bhattacharjee, President; Jeff Cox, Vice President; Erin Irish, Secretary; Carolyn Colvin, Past President
Guests: Lee Anna Clark (Office of the Provost), Jon Whitmore (Provost), Mark Schantz (General Counsel), John Menninger (Biological Sciences), Steve Collins (Electrical Engineering), Edward Wasserman (Psychology), Robert Wiley (Professor Emeritus), Robert Engel (Emeritus Faculty Council), Jan Waterhouse (Office of Affirmative Action), Charles Drum (University Relations), Sean Thompson (Daily Iowan), Heather Woodward (Press-Citizen), Steve Hoch (Office of the Provost), Julie Thatcher (Faculty Senate Office), Kristin Clark (Faculty Senate Office)
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 3:40.
A. Meeting Agenda
Prof. Lynch moved and Prof. Moyer seconded the following:
MOTION: To approve the agenda. The motion carried.
B. Minutes- Faculty Council, September 11, 2001
Prof. LeBlond moved and Prof. Westefeld seconded the following:
MOTION: To approve the minutes. The motion carried.
III. Report of the Faculty Senate President (Amitava Bhattacharjee)
President Bhattacharjee began his report by providing some news regarding the 21.9 million-dollar deappropriation. In the last couple of weeks the central administration has consulted with the senate budget committee and has established the broad, qualitative principles that will be used in addressing the budget reductions. These principles have been circulated today. The principles include protecting the ability of the University to attract and retain students, such as the maintenance of financial aid and continued commitment to the four-year graduation plan. The principles also include protection of our abilities to attract external funding. President Bhattacharjee continued that he has received a number of e-mails asking what the Faculty Senate can do in response to these cuts. He explained that we are working with the central administration, and suggested that we each follow President Coleman’s lead in speaking out on behalf of the University. He then announced his decision to call a special meeting of the Faculty Senate for next Tuesday, urging everyone to attend or, if one cannot, to send a substitute.
Prof. Lynch asked Provost Whitmore whether the 21.9 million could be just the beginning of a series of cuts. Provost Whitmore replied that there could be another 20 million cut from next year’s budget, which amounts to three cuts, totaling about 60 million dollars, in two years. He added that at least there is a tuition increase, but unfortunately those revenues won’t start to be available until August 2002. Prof. Lynch asked whether to expect another reversion of funds this year. Provost Whitmore agreed that state revenues are down, but suggested that it is likely that we have taken all of the cut that the governor can give us already. Prof. Cox followed up by pointing out that this is not an across-the-board cut; rather, we have been singled out. This is a political decision to target the university (and the prisons). Prof. Seaba asked how the cuts to the university budget compared to those of other state-funded enterprises. Provost Whitmore replied that some of that information might be on the Governor’s web site, but probably would not allow an easy comparison of cut percentages. General Counsel Schantz added that last year our base budget was cut but it was not a deappropriation. He also pointed out that the governor cannot do the deappropriation on his own. Prof. Porter added that whereas the governor is not explicitly targeting child welfare agencies at present, he has singled out for a 7% cut the only comprehensive developmental disabilities program in the state of Iowa, the university hospital’s schools, which will have substantial effects on the welfare of children.
Status of Reviews of Central Administration:
President Bhattacharjee turned to his reports on the status of various reviews, beginning by reminding the Council that two years ago Faculty Senate President Carlson set up the schedule for reviews, as specified by the Operations Manual. That schedule had to be revised and updated, as discussed in the attached memo. The following reviews are now in progress:
- Office of the President. The self-studies of the Office and of the President herself have been completed. Provost Whitmore and President Bhattacharjee are in the process of selecting the members of the review committee. This review will start this year, probably very soon.
- Office of the Provost. This review is nearing completion, and should be completed by the end of the fall semester, 2001.
- Office of the Vice President for Finance and University Services. This review is done. A report of the review of the Office has been published on the web.
- Office of the Vice President for University Relations. This review is complete.
- Office of the Vice President for Student Services. This review has been delayed but will by done by the end of the semester.
- Office of the Vice President for Research. This review will start next semester.
- Office of the General Counsel: Although this office is bracketed with the other vice presidents’ offices, the Operations Manual does not specify that it be reviewed as the others are. Nonetheless, a review will occur in the near future.
Ad hoc Committee for Rules on Collegiate and Decanal Reviews:
An ad hoc committee will be appointed by President Bhattacharjee to establish these rules. The committee will start their work this fall and will report their proposed rules in the spring. Steve Collins, College of Engineering, will chair the committee.
Approval of the agenda for the special meeting of the Faculty Senate.
Prof. Porter moved and Prof. Colvin seconded the following:
Motion: To approve the agenda. The motion carried.
III. Unfinished Business
A. Discussion of modification (C. Complaint, 1, a) to Unacceptable Performance of Duty Warranting Termination policy
President Bhattacharjee introduced this discussion by announcing that we must make some minor, but important, changes to the policy that was approved by the Senate last April. Prof. Colvin explained that after the Senate approved the policy, Associate Provost Clark and Prof. S. Kurtz went over it with a fine-toothed comb, and found an item that needed to be brought back to the Senate. Prof. Cox added that this deals with small departments, with small DCG’s. The change amounts to an expansion of language to make it conform to the policy for promotion and tenure.
Prof. Westefeld moved and Prof. Moyer seconded the following:
Motion: To accept the suggested modification. The motion carried.
B. Discussion of modification to Clinical Track policy
President Bhattacharjee explained that the modification makes specific how the percentages should be computed. Associate Provost Clark had suggested computing it in terms of FTE’s. Prof. Lynch clarified that this does not mean counting faculty, but counting FTE’s.
Prof. Lynch moved and Prof. Raymond seconded the following:
Motion: To accept the suggested modification. The motion carried.
IV. New Business
A. Policies on Sexual Harassment and Consensual Relations (Lee Anna Clark)
President Bhattacharjee introduced this topic by explaining that in the past, both sexual harassment and consensual relations had been handled in one section of the Operations Manual. The changes have been made to reflect the fact that these two are distinct, and should be handled in distinct manners. The new policies were crafted by a substantial committee, which included several lawyers as well as faculty and staff members. He explained that we do not have to vote on these new policies today.
Prof. LeBlond questioned an aspect of informal complaints that specified that the respondent is not to be notified (p.3, section 3e., Policy on Sexual Harassment), pointing out that that would prevent intervention. Associate Provost Clark explained that they tried to strike a delicate balance between protecting the rights of the complainant and the respondent. As written, the new policy should give the complainant a sense of security, such that if (s)he wants the matter to remain confidential, action could still be taken. Prof. LeBlond countered that you don’t have to violate the confidence of the complainant when alerting the respondent that there are concerns. Associate Provost Clark asserted that there is sufficient flexibility in the new policy. General Counsel Schantz added that this policy is moving in the direction Prof. LeBlond wants. The old policy was entirely complainant driven. With the new policy, the University takes action independent of further involvement by the complainant. Prof. LeBlond expressed concern about whether one might be liable, having heard an informal complaint, if one didn’t go talk to the respondent immediately upon hearing the complaint. Associate Provost Clark pointed out that the Office of Affirmative Action would have new powers to serve as a central repository of information, including the names of the respondents, which is a change. This gives them more to go on. President Bhattacharjee followed up on this question, clarifying that a supervisor who hears an informal complaint can speak to the respondent informally. Prof. LeBlond reiterated his concerns, wanting clarity about liability of a supervisor either for giving a name or for not doing so.
Prof. Marra expressed her concern about third party complaints, asking what the argument was for taking them now. General Counsel Schantz responded by clarifying the meaning of confidential: you may tell your supervisors, but not the outside world. Other members of your unit may be notified, on a need-to-know basis. He reminded us that the courts are now holding us responsible if we have knowledge. If a complainant goes to the university ombudsperson, the university has no knowledge, but if a complainant goes to his/her supervisor, then legally the university has knowledge. He admitted that anonymity itself is not perfect protection, as a respondent can often deduce who made the complaint. He added that at least in the past ten or even 20 years people can be effectively protected from retaliation.
Prof. Raymond made a couple of interrelated points. She expressed her appreciation that the two issues had been separated into two distinct policies. She was concerned about students coming to figures who play multiple roles, such as counseling and administrative. How will a student know that, depending on who (s)he goes to, a report may have to be filed? She also noted that the policy specifies that any officer of the university who learns of such behavior must make a report. Her concern was that if any of the faculty hear a complaint, or a rumor, but make the judgment not to report it, that faculty member could be at risk of penalty from the university. The difficulty is in evaluating allegations. A second point regarding confidentiality: as written, a complainant is held to a different standard of confidentiality than are officers of the university. General Counsel Schantz replied to the first point, interpreting “officer of the university” as someone in an administrative position, such as a dean or DEO. Prof. Manderscheid asked about cases when a person serves as both an administrator and a faculty member. General Counsel Schantz replied that one solution would be to ask the student what capacity (s)he comes to you as having. He emphasized that the university has a responsibility to report. Prof. Raymond continued that she was still concerned about cases in which the university is sued, and it learns that you had information that you had not divulged, emphasizing the need for a standard for a reportable allegation.
Prof. Colvin inquired about informal complaints, asking whether the response need be written or oral. Waterhouse replied that in most cases the response is oral: most people prefer to come in, tell their side of the story, but written responses are acceptable as well. In formal complaints, the chain of events is different. Prof. Colvin followed up by raising the question of how an informal complaint becomes a formal complaint.
Prof. Westefeld asked Associate Provost Clark where this policy is, with regard to being adopted, to which she replied that the policies have gone to the deans, and should be in place by the end of the semester. Prof. Porter addressed the policy on consensual relations, suggesting that the examples listed in section 4 are too limiting, and feared that someone failing to find a close enough match to his/her situation may wrongly fail to conclude that the policy is applicable. Prof. Westefeld suggested adding language to the effect that these are only illustrative cases, whereas Prof. Porter suggested omitting the examples. Associate Provost Clark answered that this point had been debated, and the conclusion was that they helped. Prof. LeBlond suggested that there be examples of when informal vs. formal complaints are appropriate.
Prof. Cox returned to the issue of who to go to with respect to confidentiality, stating that the ombudsman and university counseling center have confidentiality. He felt that with the new policy, protection of the complainant is sacrificed for the sake of pursuing the respondent. He also pointed out that these policies involve the opening of a new kind of file, in which allegations from second-hand sources can accumulate. It may be very difficult to defend oneself retroactively. A file will be there, maybe indefinitely. He added that he was in favor of the policies, but was just looking for possible consequences of implementing them. President Bhattacharjee made the point that if there is a pattern of abuse, yet no one is willing to go forward, under the new policies action can nonetheless be taken.
Prof. Raymond turned the discussion to consider the policy if one’s children are in one’s class. General Counsel Schantz suggested that the nepotism policy covers that, and added that one must make a disclosure. Prof. Moyer inquired about the First Amendment rights alluded to in the Sexual Harassment Policy. General Counsel Schantz replied that threats are not protected speech, but a joke or a question might be. He added that a new part, number 7, addresses display of sexual material. If a monitor in a computer center shows sexually explicit material from some web site, for example, this gets right up to the First Amendment, especially if no one is forced to stay in the room. President Bhattacharjee inquired how many of the changes to the old policy reflect changes in Iowa Code, to which General Counsel Schantz replied that most are. President Bhattacharjee wound up the discussion by suggesting that those who have raised an issue e-mail that concern to Associate Provost Clark and/or General Counsel Schantz, with a cc. to President Bhattacharjee, as part of an ongoing iteration. If all of the issues are raised in that way, we may be able to act on the new policies at the next Faculty Council meeting.
B. Review of Vice-President Douglas True (in Executive Session) (Amitava Bhattacharjee)
Prof. Colvin moved and Prof. McCarthy seconded the following:
MOTION: To move into Executive Session. The motion carried.
President Bhattacharjee introduced the invited guests, who were either Past Presidents of Faculty Senate, in office during the time when this review was in process (Edward Wasserman and Robert Wiley) or members of the review committee (John Menninger and Steve Collins).
Prof. Cox moved and Prof. Westefeld seconded the following:
MOTION: To allow the guests to participate in this executive session. The motion carried.
President Bhattacharjee announced that the reviews have been delivered to President Coleman and to the President of the Faculty Senate, and that President Coleman has met with Vice President True to discuss the review. He then went on to convey the essence of the report, which stated that Vice President True is well liked and respected, receiving substantial and universally positive comments. Numerous rumors that one who did not come from a traditional academic track could not be expected fully to support teaching and scholarship were thoroughly investigated and contradicted. Less positive evaluations of his office concerned the links between Vice President True and the office he supervises. An example was the choice and implementation of PeopleSoft. Some staff and graduate students experienced distress when the payroll/benefits aspect of this package were implemented. Some Human Resources personnel resented having to compensate for what they perceived as a failure of management with extra work during the early stages of the implementation of this software. Criticism was also made of the infrequency with which the Finance and University Services office’s staff is evaluated. In summary, the report was laudatory to Vice President True, but identified some areas for improvement in his Office.
President Bhattacharjee then reported that he had received a letter from President Coleman, in which she carried out the required affirmation of the officer under review to remain in office.
Further discussion reiterated the concern that Vice President True plays a very central role in running the university, perhaps overshadowing the roles played by those who should be controlling academic decisions. Also discussed was the enormity of his responsibility, his wise choice to delegate responsibilities, but shortfalls in supervising the delegation. Both Finance and Facilities Services are by themselves huge jobs, and his office has taken on additional responsibilities since the decision was made not to replace Ann Rhodes. Suggestions were made to reorganize the administration, transferring Facilities Services from this office but adding more interactions with the foundation, the latter seeming a more natural alignment. It was also pointed out that Vice President True does an excellent job dealing with issues confronted by legislators and regents. Concerns were voiced about reports of excess charges from internal contractors. A final point regarded the extent to which his office oversees operations at the hospital, which seems pretty independent.
At the conclusion of the discussion, President Bhattacharjee explained that this report to the Faculty Council was the last step in the process of the review. In one year, the review committee will reconvene to monitor and examine whether the recommendations made have been implemented.
Prof. Colvin moved and Prof. Cox seconded the following:
MOTION: The Faculty Council thanks the review committee for their efforts. The motion carried.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:40.