Transcript Senate Meeting
February 13, 2018

Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Welcome to the February 13, 2018 meeting of the University Senate.  This is our sixth meeting of the 2017-18 academic year.

First, we need to establish a quorum. We have 86 Senators in the Senate and we need 44 for a quorum. We are voting on one issue today so please get a clicker.

Let the record show that we have 45 present so a quorum is established. I now call the meeting to order.

I would like to remind you of some basic procedures for the Senate meeting. First, if you are a senator or a substitute for a senator please be sure you sign in onto the sheet at the top of the room. Second, for senators and guests let me explain the Senate rules about speaking. If you’d like to speak about an issue or ask a question please go to the microphone on either side aisle.  When it is your turn, state your name and whether or not you are a senator and the unit you represent.

The agenda today was set by the Senate Steering Committee and posted on the Web site in advance, it’s now up on the screen. The first order of business is to approve the minutes for the meeting of January 16, 2018.  Those minutes have been posted on the Web site. Are there any additions, changes, or corrections to the minutes?

Hearing none, do I have a motion to approve the minutes? Do I have a second? All in favor of approving the minutes say aye please.

Group: Aye.

Daniel Svyantek, Chair:  Opposed? [no response]  The minutes are approved. Thank you.

The first item of business is some remarks from the Provost, Bill Hardgrave. This is Bill’s first time at the Senate as our Provost. I would like to let you know that Bill has been actively involved in Senate Executive and Steering committee work already in his time as Provost. It is my pleasure to introduce Bill to the Senate.

Dr. Hardgrave, Auburn University Provost:
Good to be with you all today. I have a couple of comments. In my first 6 weeks I’d like to say I’ve done something, but I really haven’t done much other than to try to figure out the scope and the breath of the job and to do that I have spent about a half a day so far with most of the colleges and schools. I just finished one right before I came over here. I have a few more to go. I am really learning a lot about the various activities in each of the colleges and schools. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the things that are going on. It certainly reinforces the notion that we have to do a better job of telling our story because there’s just so many good things going on. Certainly I will work hard with others to tell that story and the more I know as Provost, the more I could tell that story and the more I could serve the colleges and schools really as the constituents of the Provost’s Office.

That’s the way I view the Provost’s Office, we are here to serve the colleges and the schools on campus and not the other way around. I know we have some work to do to change that mindset to look at our customer and be customer focused, but we are going to do that. I have also spent time with the many different units that are under the Provost’s Office umbrella. Still working through those and again learning about the variety of things that we do at the Provost’s Office.

As Dan said, one of the things I really enjoyed over the last 6 weeks is getting to know the Senate Executive Committee and the Steering Committee. I try to attend as many of those meetings as I can. I’ve been very impressed with the Senate leadership and I think you should be proud of the Senate leadership that you have representing you.

A second thing along the same path is we had the P&T Committee, the university P&T Committee met a couple of weeks ago and it really was enlightening and refreshing at the great work that this committee does for the university and I would encourage all of you, because every college and school is represented, the Library is represented, go back and thank your representative on that P&T Committee because they just did a phenomenal job. The process went very well, I think our faculty are well served by that process and I could not be prouder of the work that they are doing. [5:16]

Finally, we have two high level searches, one going on and one will start. We have a national search right now for a Business Dean and that has been ongoing since the middle of January. We have an external search firm that’s working with the College on that search. The second search, Dean Bonnie McEwen announced her retirement effective April 1. So we are launching an internal search for an interim Dean. Emmett Winn is chairing that internal search for the interim Dean for the Library and then we will launch a national search sometime in the next month or so and Dean George Flowers is chairing that.

That’s all the remarks I have. Thank you all, I appreciate it.

Dan Svyantek, Senate Chair: I now have a few remarks for the Senate.

First, I would to introduce the officers of the Senate and our administrative assistant. James Goldstein is the immediate past chair, Michael Baginski is the chair-elect, Donald Mulvaney is the secretary this year, and Beverly Marshall is the secretary-elect: James Witte is our Parliamentarian. However, James is traveling and away today. Don Mulvaney has offered to be our Parliamentarian today. Finally, our administrative assistant is Laura Kloberg.

Second, I would like to remind everybody that the Spring season of Auburn’s Critical Conversation series begins today. Today, Robert Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, will be speaking at 5 p.m. in room 2550 of the Mell Classroom Building.

Third, it has been an interesting year at Auburn University. We have been up and down in our newspaper coverage. I was very proud, however, to see a February 3, 2018 story about Auburn in the Opelika-Auburn News. I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to everyone at Auburn University who has been working to address the issue of free speech in higher education. These efforts have garnered the highest rating for support of free speech on campus given by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Higher Education. Auburn is one of only 38 universities in the United States to earn this rating.

Finally, I was at the AU Board of Trustees meeting last Friday. Dr. Leath expressed a goal of making Auburn University recognized as an institution of world-class scholarship and research. I believe this is an important goal and the Senate and Senate Leadership look forward to working with him in making this a reality.

Are there any questions?

We have three items on the agenda today. The first is an action item and we have two information items.

The action item is the presentation of the academic calendar for the 2020-21 academic year. The calendar will be presented by Robin Jaffe, Chair of the Calendar and Schedules Committee. [8:42]

Robin Jaffe, chair, Calendar & Schedules: Thank you Dan. Good afternoon everyone. This is an easy one, we only have one calendar this time.

We are going to propose the 2020-21 Academic Calendar today and has the consensus of our committee members attending the Calendar Committee on January 25, 2018. [9:43]

I’d like to thank the members of our Calendar Committee. This group changes each year with the new members from A&P and staff representatives and of course our students. This year we had and invited guest from the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs. We had a very good strong conversation about this calendar and how it all works out. It was an interesting conversation. We found out what things did work for everybody and how they work, and I know we are looking for the next couple of years how we can deal with the fact that we have people that are here during the summer and they have graduation and they stay an extra week longer. We are trying to deal with that issue as well as the fact that they can’t stay in dorms after they take the finals. So, we are addressing some of those issues with this calendar. [10:37]

Some of the guidelines that we have to follow for calendars for fall/spring semester are 70–73 days. Calendars for summer term are 48–49 days with each of the mini-terms about 24 days. 7–10 days between semesters, graduation on the preferred day of Saturday for fall and summer, and graduation on the preferred days of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for spring. As we get more and more graduates we need more and more graduations. 5 days for finals in the fall and spring, 2 reading days after classes at the end oof fall and spring, and at least 1 reading day for each mini-term and full summer term. Fall break will be two days unless 72 semester days aren’t available then fall break will be 1 day. But everybody seems to want 2 days for the fall break so we are going to try to keep that there.

So, here’s our proposal, classes will start in August this year on the 17th. September 7 will be Labor Day vacation, fall break will be October 8 & 9, Thanksgiving will be November 23–27, with finals going through the second week in December, and graduation will be on the 12th of December.

Classes will start in January on the 6th, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday will be the 18th, we will have that day off if it is approved by the President. We’ll have spring break on March 8–12, and we will end classes on April 24. We’ll have finals the 26-30 of April, and have graduation on the first, second and third of May.

Summer classes will begin on May 19. First mini-term will end on June 22. There will be no classes for the full summer classes because we will have a reading day and two final days on the 23, 24, 25 of June. The second mini-term will start on June 28. Fourth of July will be celebrated on the fifth of July and have classes end on July 30, two reading days and finals, the August 7 will be our graduation.

This is standard, 72-72- days for each academic spring and fall, then 24 days for each of the mini-terms, and 48 days for the full summer term.

Are there any questions? As Calendar Committee Chair, I’d like to propose that we vote on this calendar. [13:58]

Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Thank you very much for that presentation, Robin. This comes from a standing committee of the Senate and it needs no second. We are now ready to vote.

If you are in favor of this calendar, press A. If you are not if favor, press B. The vote is 43 for and 2 against. The motion carries. This concludes our action items for the day. We now have two information items.

The first information item concerns the AU Ticket Policy for athletic event tickets purchased by Auburn employees. David Pascoe, Chair of the Auburn University Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics Priority and Seating Subcommittee will present this.

David Pascoe, AU Tickets: Thank you for the opportunity on this. I should point out that there is a process for monitoring tickets for the Intercollegiate Athletics, this does not include Tigers Unlimited, It does not include student tickets, and it’s not for the general ticket admission. It is strictly for faculty and staff.

It is important to point out the fact that faculty and staff have the opportunity to buy these tickets at at a discount and it’s based on supply and demand and also on rank. When I got here, I was told the myth that you could buy your season ticket and if you sold your Alabama/Auburn ticket that would make up for the whole packet. And that is a myth. While these tickets can fetch quite a bit of money depending upon who is winning that year, you cannot profit from the selling of tickets. This is something that has been misunderstood for a while. Faculty and Staff tickets are meant for personal use. Some of you may remember the years where we had to show an ID in order to get into the ticket gate. There were problems with that, people would lend out their ID and that may cause security issues as well. Faculty ticket packets cannot be sold. Not at any time for any reason, and individual tickets can be sold but not for a profit.

This has been confusing the last couple of years because in the packet, inadvertently stub-hub has been putting it in there and this has led to some confusion by some (people). It is also important that I point out that faculty and staff are ultimately responsible for your ticket. So, if you happen to sell it or give it away to somebody and they sell it for a profit and it comes back to the committee that is sold for a profit, it's hard to figure out you did right but somebody else did wrong. You have to pay attention to that. Violators can loose their purchasing rights permanently. And it’s very important, don’t let others copy your tickets; some people are more than happy to take their tickets and put it out there on social media and say, “Ah ha, I’ve got my Auburn/Alabama tickets” and there are some unscrupulous individuals that are more than willing to copy your bar code and with that barcode they can get their ticket and some of you have probably heard there is a policy, ‘first in the gate wins.’ So, your barcode has been copied and you’ve given it to somebody, that’s unfortunate.

It's important that I ask you Senators to tell your colleagues and tell your constituents about these policies. All full-time employees have the opportunity to buy the tickets. I say opportunity because the demand is greater than what is available. [17:50] So not everybody does get tickets.

If both spouses are employed and they both buy tickets and one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse can use the ranking for a year. If it is one individual buying the tickets and the spouse passes away they can continue to buy the tickets with that rank. The priority changed back in 2006. Prior to 2006 it used to be a certain number of point allocated for your rank and it would also look at your years of service, how many years you worked at the university times 2 and the number of years you purchased your tickets times 4 and that gave you your total. After 2006 it’s just the matter of the years of service and the number of years purchasing.

With the confusion that we’ve had we’ve gone back and added the following into the rules. Basically, what the policy is now stating is “you are an employee of the Alabama system and as an employee you are held accountable to the Auburn Ethics Act.” This means that you cannot use your office for benefit and therefore selling your tickets for benefit is not allowed. Because you are getting a discount rate and it is for sports entertainment. If you are caught doing this, you will be…it will be sent to the Alabama Ethics. You will have either an opportunity to have levied fines against you or criminal charges. And for us here at the university we don’t like to play police, but I will tell you there are about 10 to 15 situations that I’ve got to deal with each year. Some of which are pretty strange; we had one individual who said her husband hurt is leg, broke his leg and needed to have handicap seating that moved him from upper deck to lower deck and then sold the tickets for lower deck price, but the individual couldn’t take a wheelchair space. We have also had some other strange ones to go along with it.

Additionally, staff and retirees that violate the policy you can loose your ticket purchasing ability permanently. Some of you might ask how we get this information? It is really strange how it comes to us, but it does come to us and we do have some on a regular basis. We wanted to make sure this is put forth to you.

We have made some changes. We have for the past 2 years kept emphasizing – do not put that stub-hub thing in the packet. We have not successfully managed that because they keep putting it in, but hopefully we have it covered this year.

We have finally got the tickets where it used to be printed on it the price which was general admission price we now have it with the faculty price. So, you will know exactly what the ticket price is. Again, we tried to get stub-hub to put that insert in.

Any Questions? (none) Thank you very much.

Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Thank you David. I’ve been here 13 years, but I was told the myth. Buy your tickets, sell the Alabama tickets… It’s a consistent myth.

Our final information item is the announcement of the slate of candidates for the 2018-19 Senate Officers. Don Mulvaney, Senate Secretary, will present this slate.

Don Mulvaney, Senate Secretary: Thank you very much. It is my pleasure to present this slate of officer candidates to you as presented by the nomination committee chaired by Robin Jaffe. We appreciate and give our thanks to that committee for careful vetting and the work on that.

You may read them and I will highlight them. Chair-elect candidates; Dr. Billor and Dr. Rotfeld and for Secretary-elect we have Dr. Marghitu and Dr. Wilson. The voting will begin February 26 and it will close on March 5. I will send out some reminder information and e-mails on that. Thank you.

Daniel Svyantek, Chair: Thank you Don. The results of the vote will be announced at the General Faculty Meeting on March 6.

This concludes our formal agenda for today.

Is there any unfinished business? Hearing none, is there any new business? Hearing none, I now adjourn the meeting. [22:58]