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Oct 29, 1997 Minutes


Present: Bechtol, Bible, Conroy, Deduck-Evans, Hays, Irvin, McGee,
Oliver, Pascoe, Renick, Sawey, Simpson, Stimmel and Winek.

Guests: Grady Early (CS), Carol Hazlewood (CS), Margaret Vaverek
(Library), Bob Smallwood (Assoc. VP, Academic Affairs), Mike Moore
(The Southwest File)

CONTENTS:

ACADEMIC CALENDAR
COMPUTING INSTRUCTIONAL GRANTS
PIPER VOTING PROCESS
STAFF PETITION
SEXUAL HARASSMENT UPPS
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
PAAG AGENDA
NEW BUSINESS

The meeting was called to order by Chair Bible at 4:00 p.m.

ACADEMIC CALENDAR

At a previous meeting, the Senate was presented with an alternative to the
academic calendar recommended by the administration, and it decided to inform
the university community of the existence of both versions, to postpone further
discussion until the competing versions had been distributed and people had had
time to consider them, and to ask the University Council to RTA the item until
November, which it agreed to do.

Today, it was moved that the Senate recommend a calendar which essentially
tracks the "Early" alternative for Fall, 1998, and the "administration" model
for Spring, 1999. The specifics are as follows:

1. For the Fall '98 semester, classes would begin on August 29 and
extend through December 11.
2. Classes would not meet during the week of Thanksgiving.
3. Final exams would be given December 12 and 14-18.
4. For the Spring '99 semester, classes would begin on January 16 and
extend through May 3.
5. Classes would not meet on January 18, Martin Luther King's birthday.
6. Final exams would be given May 4-8 and May 10.

The measure passed after a discussion primarily concerned with the possibility
of meeting classes on Martin Luther King's birthday. Some senators thought that
holding classes on that day would afford opportunities for greater recognition
of Martin Luther King. Others were opposed. The consensus was that scheduling
classes on that day would be too divisive.

COMPUTING INSTRUCTIONAL GRANTS

Carol Hazlewood, former interim chair of the Academic Computing Committee,
informed the Senate that the university has accumulated almost $1 million in
student computer fees. The Committee expects to request proposals for use of
the fees to improve student access to computers. Senate discussion centered on
spending the money wisely and with maximum benefit to students. In this vein,
it was suggested that the process be suspended until a needs analysis could be
made, examining issues such as student access to computers, obsolescence, and
the possible impact on classroom availability if more space is devoted to
computer labs.

Sen. Renick moved that the Committee accept and fund proposals currently with
about $500,000 and hold back the remainder until the Committee performs a needs
assessment. The Committee would provide to the Senate criteria for awarding
proposals by November 12. The Senate would vote on the criteria at its November
12 meeting. Proposals for using the $500,000 would be submitted to the Academic
Computing Committee by January 23, 1998. Proposals accepted would then be
funded. The motion passed.

PIPER VOTING PROCESS

Chair Bible has received comments that faculty from smaller departments may be
at a competitive disadvantage compared to larger departments in terms of being
nominated for Piper Awards. After examining a list of past awards by department
the Senate could find no convincing evidence to bear out this claim. It was
also noted that if there is such a disadvantage, it is also inherent in other
university elections, and that suitable alternatives did not appear to exist.
Ultimately, there was no sentiment to change the process.

STAFF PETITION

An administrative proposal would require university offices to be open during
certain periods in which they are now closed. University staff object to the
proposal and has circulated a petition asking the administration to reconsider
the matter. The Senate took no official position; in the discussion, however,
it was noted that the university is subject to several external constraints --
e.g. Coordinating Board rules, Regents Rules, state legislation -- in deciding
the extent to which offices must be staffed, even on a skeletal basis, so that
the staff concern may be in a sense misdirected.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT UPPS

The Senate examined an administrative proposal to amend UPPS 04.04.42, Sexual
Harassment, in certain respects. It expressed consternation that the current
policy contains some clauses limiting the rights of an accused faculty member
and tending to create a climate in which guilt is assumed. Three main problems
were noted:

1. Hearings on sexual harassment allegations would be held before a panel of
five members of the university Affirmative Action Committee.
2. The alleged harasser would be prohibited from questioning or cross-examining
any witnesses.
3. The policy would prohibit the alleged harasser from using legal counsel "for
other than advisory purposes during the panel's investigation."

The Senate wondered why a panel of the Affirmative Action Committee would
be the
appropriate entity to investigate a sexual harassment charge. It also
expressed
serious concern with the prohibition on cross-examination of witnesses, noting
that this would not further the "search for truth" that is supposedly the goal
of this process and could well work to the detriment of the accused. Finally,
it was bothered about the prohibition on the use of legal counsel. During the
discussion, it was also noted that in recent years there have been several legal
cases involving other universities, in which courts have found great fault with
policies which did not afford faculty accused of harassment with an appropriate
hearing and meaningful protections of their legal rights.

The Senate voted to have Chair Bible pose several questions to administrators
concerned with the development of the UPPS.

1. Who created the UPPS and suggested the changes? Is it a "boilerplate"
document adopted from another institution, perhaps a public school system, and
inadequately adjusted to fit a major university such as SWT?

2. Why is the Affirmative Action Committee assigned the task of investigating an
accused faculty member and who chooses the panel of five members from the
committee? By what criteria are they selected?

3. Why would a faculty member be prohibited from questioning witnesses during a
"fact finding" hearing when this will mean that assertions remain untested?

4. What is the university attorney's role in the proceeding?

5. Why would the faculty member not be allowed to have an attorney speak for him
or her?

6. To what extent are accused students covered by the UPPS?

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS

All members of the university community are identified by their Social Security
numbers. Recent developments in computer technology have made it possible to
use such numbers for nefarious purposes, including invading one's privacy
concerning financial and medical
records, even "stealing" one's identity to falsely obtain credit cards.
University administrators have considered adopting an alternative numerical
identification system, using Social Security numbers only for payroll and other
critical purposes, but have rejected the idea as unnecessary. In view of
current technology, the Senate believes that the time has come to revisit the
issue before members of the university community, including students, are
seriously inconvenienced.

PAAG AGENDA

The Senate identified the following items for the November 5 PAAG meeting with
Drs. Supple and Gratz:

1. The faculty equity awards process.
2. The calendar for the 1998-99 academic year.
3. The use of Social Security numbers for identification purposes.
4. Development of more definite criteria for promotion and tenure of faculty;
providing more definite reasons to those denied promotion and tenure.
5. Development of policies for use of classrooms to the optimal benefit of the
university.

NEW BUSINESS

Sen. Bourgeois has resigned his seat on the Senate. Various senators expressed
their regrets. Ballots are being prepared for the School of Liberal Arts to
elect a new senator.

On behalf of the Senate's committee on Temporary Faculty, Sen. Hays provided
Senators with a proposed PPS on the hiring and use of part-time and per-course
faculty and a suggested questionnaire designed to assess the importance of
various issues to affected faculty. The Senate will consider the matters at its
November 5 meeting.

Sen. Simpson proposed that the Senate also consider at the November 5 meeting
certain conflicts or errors in the policies and applications for faculty
developmental leave. He suggested modifications to the process.

The minutes of October 22 were approved.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:08 p.m.