Draft Minutes of the October , 2007 University Senate Meeting
3:00 pm Broun Hall Auditorium
Present: Dave Cicci, Robert Locy, Ann Beth Presley, Richard Penaskovic, Sue Barry, Debbie Shaw, Royrickers Cook, Don Large, Dan Bennett, Overton Jenda, Stewart Schneller, Drew Clark, Bonnie MacEwan, Ethan Trevino, Wendy Pechman, Marie Folmar, John Hung, Gary Martin, Ronald Clark, Winfred Foster, John Heilman, Norbert Wilson, Sondra Parmer, Charles Mitchell, Keith Cummins, Barbara Kemppainen, Charlene LeBleu, Christopher McNulty, Anthony Moss, Paul Swamidas, Anoop Sattineni, Rik Blumenthal, Larry Crowley, Suhyun Suh, Carol Centrallo, John Saye, Dan Gropper, James Witte, Scott Hodel, James Goldstein, Claire Crutchley, Allen Davis, Michel Raby Larry Teeter, Jim Sanders, Mark Fischman, David Carter, Chris Arnold, Robert Bulfin, Andrew Wohrley, Casey Cegielski, Edith Davidson, Steve Stuckwisch, Bart Prorok, Constance Hendricks, Claire Zizza, Jim Wright, Daniel Parson, Salisa Westrick, Bernie Olin, James Shelley, Don-Terry Veal, Changhoon Jung, Peggy Shippen, Tom Williams, Scott Phillips, R. D. Montgomery, Howard Goldstein.
Absent with Substitute: Fran Kochan, Brigitta Brunner (Debra Worthington), Thomas Smith (Jamie Andersen), Francis Robicheaux (Joe Perez), Dan Svyantek, Carole Zugazaga (Kristirina Shuler).
Absent without Substitute: Johnny Green, Matt Jenkins, Robert Gross, Timothy McDonald, Ronald Neuman, Alevin Sek See Lim, Robin Huettel, , Robert Voitle, Randy Tillery.
Meeting Convened at 3 p.m.
David Cicci (Chair): The strategic planning process is underway. One aspect of the input-gathering procedure is an online survey open to all members of the university community until November 21. I urge you to complete this online survey in order to provide your input in this most important process.
In addition, there will be a meeting of a focus group consisting of 20-30 senators and Senate leadership to be held on Tuesday, November 13, at 1:00 pm. We still need a number of senators to participate, so please contact Ann Beth Presley if you’d like to attend.
A Task Force is being formed for the Writing Initiative. This Task Force will be made up of one representative from each college and school, one from Senate leadership, one from the SGA, and the Chair of the English Department. Nominations will be submitted by both the Deans and the Rules Committee, and the selection will be made by the Provost. If you’d like to volunteer for this Task Force please contact Ann Beth by Friday, November 9.
An ad hoc committee was recently formed to plan an Installation ceremony for Dr. Gogue as our 18th President. At his request, this ceremony will be low-key, internal, and inexpensive. It will likely be scheduled for sometime next spring. That committee is being co-chaired by Tim Boosinger and Bob Locy.
John Heilman (Provost): I think the strategic planning process as you’ve mentioned is now moving into high gear. A website is available which has background documentation. There is now a survey up on it. It has been available for a couple of weeks and will be for a bit longer. I’m advised we have 880 responses to that. We also have sessions for input averaging 20 people per session as a target attendance. A total of 36 of these are scheduled to take place both here on campus and out in the state in the next couple of weeks. I believe 6 or 7 are in trustee districts so that we get some representation from the state. Attendance will be by invitation so that we have a representative mix of people attending those.
On campus there are some sessions that are for specific constituents to improve such as faculty, staff, A&P, etc. A whole series of groups that have mixed representation reflecting Dr.Gouge’s preferences for having things that are not a monoculture-his word have been put together. Dr. Gouge wants to emphasize that this is important. I know it is going to have his very serious attention and also on a fast time frame. His stated intention is to have stated ideas to present to the Board of Trustees at the February meeting. Something approaching a final proposal for consideration will be available at the April meeting.
The survey responses will get cross-tabs and get presentations from information technology. Each of the section facilitators are qualified, experienced faculty from here at Auburn. They are responsible for taking notes and organizing them into main themes. The main yield of that will be reviewed in my and provide preliminary assessment for Dr. Gouge to consider and present at the February meeting.
Second, the Provost’s office has just announced the availability of a faculty internship to the president’s office starting winter semester. Dr. Gouge feels this very important. I have, just in the past two days, asked formally of the senate leadership, and I appreciate your assistance with that Dave and the message that went out for nominations for each school and college and the library for membership on the Writing Initiative Task Force. The request has gone out to the deans. I look forward to convening that task force as soon as I can to begin the process which I believe will add value to the students and indeed the entire climate of this institution for a long time to come. We’ll get started on that as soon as possible and offer assurance of broad-based input. I think it’ll be a valuable process and I appreciate your support of it.
Finally, I think also important to the faculty well represented the Senate at the last Board of Trustees meeting. The Board of Trustee passed the Dismissal
Conner Bailey (Ag Econ and Rural Sociology): Last Friday evening I forwarded to Dr. Gouge and copied to you, a question that is in light of the increasing number of student’s that we’ve experienced in the last several years. The question is, has the number of full time faculty grown as the number of students has grown over the past five years? And the corollary of that is has the number of part time or contingent faculty changed over the past five years? Thank you.
John Heilman (Provost): Conner, I have Drew Clark’s summary. Number one: Has the number of full time faculty grown as the numbers of students has grown over the last five years? Yes, between 2002, the last year for which data are available, and 2006, the latest year for which data are available, the rate of growth in full time faculty was greater than the rate of growth of FTE enrollment. For faculty 2002, full time faculty, that figure is 1145; 2006 it’s 1184. That’s an increase of 39 full time faculty or 3%. FTE student enrollment; 2002-21378; 2006 is listed 21542. The gain is 164 FTE students or 1%.
Two: Has the number of part-time or contingent faculty changed over the last five years? Drew’s comment; we don’t use the term ‘contingent faculty’. That said, yes between 2002 and 2006 the number of part time faculty has increased 2002 it was 135, 2006 152. A gain of 17 part time faculty or 13%.
David Cicci (Chair): Before we move to our two action items for today, I’d like to make some comments regarding the Trustees meeting last week. As you already know, the Dismissal Policy was presented to the Board of Trustees last week for approval. There was a significant amount of discussion on both Thursday and Friday regarding the provisions of the policy. One member of the board, in particular, adamantly disapproved of the policy, stating that it offered no improvement over the previous policy that did not work, that this new policy would not work, and that Auburn needed a policy that would be effective in dismissing tenured faculty members. A process conducted by administrators rather than faculty was advocated.
While a few board members expressed concern over some of the issues that were raised, all but one voted to approve it on a one-year trial basis. In approving the policy, the strong statement made by the Senate in unanimously approving the policy, and the trust that has been established between the faculty and the administration during the process played an important role and was acknowledged by at least a few of the trustees.
The policy that was brought forward resulted from an arduous process over the last six months. The final product represented a true compromise between the Senate, Senate leadership, and the administration, which I believe was a quality document that greatly improved on the previous policy. The process undertaken with the administration was one of professionalism, mutual respect, and trust. I would like to publicly thank both Lee Armstrong and John Heilman for the roles they played in the negotiations in the development of this policy.
The negative comments made at the board meeting last week were made with a lack of reason and understanding of the policy, as well as the concepts of tenure, shared governance, and academic freedom. Some of the comments made were in direct contradiction to the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the AAUP, which this board has recently sworn to uphold.
The clear implication of the one-year trial period for the Dismissal Policy was that the board expects someone to be dismissed within the next year under the new policy, and if one isn’t, the policy would be at fault. If these expectations are not realized, I fear that we’ll be in a similar position next year as we were last April: that of being faced with the imposition of an unacceptable policy that violates both AAUP principles and SACS standards. If that is allowed to occur, the stature of our university will be greatly reduced and Auburn will be immeasurably harmed in the process.
Nonetheless, Senate leadership will not do anything to jeopardize the trust and unity that we have established between the faculty, the administration, and many of the Board members. We will continue to work to strengthen that trust for the betterment of Auburn University, and we will not let the narrow views of one trustee affect our efforts to move forward in the future. Thank you. Anyone have any questions of the Chair?
John Heilman (Provost): Dave, not a question but a comment. Dave spoke of a compromise and the trust and hard work that went into the development of that document. I think all those statements are accurate. It is my personal view that Dave Cicci did an absolutely outstanding job working on that. He served the University and the Senate well. Thank you.
David Cicci (Chair): Thank you John. Any other questions? Okay, moving to the action items. We have an approval of the Senate committees recently nominated.
Ann Beth Presley (Secretary): I apologize in the delay of getting these out. I kept hoping I’d have a few more volunteers. These are volunteers are nominations for senate committees.
David Cicci (Chair): Any discussion on the nominations? If not, all those in favor of approving these nominations respond by saying Aye. Opposed. Nay. Nominations accepted and passed. The next action item is the Faculty Merit Raise Resolution which is being brought forward by the Faculty Salaries committee and will be presented by Claire Crutchley, the chair of that committee.
Claire Crutchley (Chair, Faculty Salaries): Hopefully, everyone has a copy of this. Dave Cicci brought this forward a month ago at the last Senate meeting and then it went to the Salaries committee and we discussed it and made a few changes to the resolution from last time. I would just like to present and ask for any comments.
David Cicci (Chair): The floor is open for discussion on the Faculty Merit Raise resolution. James.
James Goldstein (English): I support the notion that merit raises should be based equitably on one’s assigned task I just have a question on number 5 at the bottom; that each faculty member shall be provided justification for his or her merit raise? I’m wondering exactly what the intention is here. When we receive our annual notice of what our salary is going to be there should be some kind of statement that explains what the number is based on?
Claire Crutchley (Chair, Faculty Salaries): We tried not to be too specific. But we did think that a faculty member, if they wanted to know why they got the specific raise they got, should be able to get information about that. So we didn’t say that the chair had to present them with information, but they may choose to or they can go to their chair and ask them.
James Goldstein (English): ‘Shall be’ sounds like it’s automatically going to occur. So, maybe as a friendly amendment on request- I would just insert ‘shall be provided on request justification for his or her merit raise’.
Claire Crutchley (Chair, Faculty Salaries): I actually think we discussed that and we decided that maybe you should get justification whether you ask for it or not. So I don’t know.
James Goldstein (English): In that case, it’s not a friendly amendment, so I’ll withdraw the amendment.
Claire Crutchley (Chair, Faculty Salaries): We discussed both of those.
John Heilman (Provost): One source of information would be the annual review. I think by its nature, as the policy is set forth in the handbook is something the faculty would have access to. That might not tell the complete story, but it might provide some information. Also, I can confirm that when I got to the Provost’s office a few years back there were concerns expressed that these reviews were not being done and now we are reviewing them all in the Provost’s office, they are now being done. So, that, at a minimum, should be available.
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): I like the friendly amendment of James, inserting words ‘upon request’ because some department heads might be reluctant to give justification. If you have it right in there, upon request, and you’re requesting it, it’s harder to turn down. So it’s less ambiguous. So, I’d like to have that inserted into the resolution.
David Cicci (Chair): So, how would you like that inserted, at the beginning “Upon request, each faculty member shall be provided justification”
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): The way James proposed it initially.
Claire Crutchley (Chair, Faculty Salaries):: Right here between ‘justification and for’
David Cicci (Chair): That will be accepted as a friendly amendment. Any other discussion on the resolution? Okay, if not, we can move to voting on the resolution. All those in favor of passing the resolution with the friendly amendment respond by saying Aye. Opposed nay. Resolution passed. Thank you.
Next, we move to the information items. The first is the discussion of the Sustainability Initiative. Which will be presented by Lindy Biggs, from the History Department.
Lindy Biggs (History): I am faculty in the History department and I’m also the direction of the sustainability initiative--Sustainability at Auburn. Green is everywhere these days. I’ve heard more than one person say that they feel the issue of sustainability is a little confusing because they see the word everywhere these days. Green is on the cover of lots of national magazines. I’d like to suggest that there is one overarching definition for sustainability and everything else falls under it. ‘Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’-Comes out of the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987. Europe, especially, has been embracing these ideas since the report in 1987. Sustainability is becoming mainstream. It is becoming a persistent presence in discussion and debate. It is no longer a trend. It is our future. It is refocusing our attention on the human dependence on this environment. The UN millennium ecosystem assessment test tells us that of all these experts from all of these different countries they agree that rising human population has polluted or over-exploited two-thirds of the ecological system on which life depends. Human activity is causing damage on a massive scale throughout the world. That’s what sustainability is addressing. Sustainability is a paradigm that is teaching us how to work, how to live, smarter. Humans cannot live without the life sustaining systems that the other species depend on.
What are the causes of these problems? We know that population growth is exceeding the ability of the Earth to support this population. The use of resources in the US has gone out of sight.
I imagine a good number of you have looked at the Inter-Governmental panel on environment change that has come out this year. The IPEC has been in existence for about 20 years now. I’m sure you’ve all seen what they call the hockey stick graph with the rate of change soon going off the chart. Global average temperatures are increasing 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. In 100 years, the prediction 4-12 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.
How soon? James Hanson, the foremost scientist talking about climate change in the US, says we have 10 years. Not 10 years to decide upon action, but 10 years to take action, to alter fundamentally the production of green house gases. Globally, big initiatives take American involvement and we have been a little slow in getting involved.
The built environment is one of the easiest things to change. We could, almost overnight, begin to change all of the problems that I talked about earlier. The built environment consumes 36% of our energy; 65% of our electricity; is responsible for 30-60% of green house gas, waste, raw materials and water consumption. Technologies are readily available that can change old buildings, make them 3-4 times more efficient over night simply by changing light bulbs, by using energy star appliances. New buildings can achieve a 10 fold increase in efficiency with very little extra expense.
People are building energy efficient homes all over the country. The construction cost is slightly higher, the lifetime cost of these buildings is remarkably.
So what does this have to do with us? The role of the University is very important. We should be playing a leadership role in this. We’re creating the future through the education of our students.
David Orr, Overland College, says that the crisis we face is first and foremost one of the mind, perception, and values. Hence, the challenge to those institutions presuming to shape minds, perceptions, and values- and that is us. We have an obligation to begin educating our students about the environment. Our environmental literacy is appalling. The average adult identifies 1000 commercial brands and very few plants or animals. Sustainability is University wide. It can and should be a part of every discipline. I am a historian, leading this revolution on campus and I think that’s a really good demonstration of how it plays a role in everything we do on campus. The sustainability initiative is based on 4 premises.
Premise 1: That sustainability will be a component of future education research and outreach on University campuses nationwide.
Premise 2: That education and sustainability will become increasingly important in career opportunities. We are doing our students a great disservice to not include sustainability in the classroom. 89% of Fortune 1000 say that sustainability will be a more significant issue in 5 years and 150 of the largest companies in the world have sustainability officers.
Premise 3: That the University campus should serve as a laboratory for these forward thinking practices.
Premise 4: That the campus should serve as a laboratory and a model. This is one of the most striking examples of this, at Overland College. The Louis Building for Environmental studies, it is almost a zero energy building. It has passive systems for heating and cooling. The landscape is integrated into the building. They actually grow food crops around the building. All the waste water in the building is treated with a living machines.
So what are we doing on the sustainability initiative? These are some of our major projects. The recycling and waste reduction has been started in our office. Sustainability is in the curriculum workshop that we hold every spring if you’re interested. So far we have at least a dozen new classes on campus that are dealing with sustainability based on this workshop of two years. Campus awareness and education: just generally trying to target the entire campus population and educate them about sustainability. We send out a periodic newsletter.
Future projects: We are working on a minor in sustainability studies. And that looks like it will probably be launched next fall. It will be interdisciplinary, modeled much along the lines of the women’s studies minor. Next semester we’re going to be working on campus carbon footprint to have a base line for where we are starting. And we want to encourage the campus to be moving toward carbon neutrality. Ultimately we see ourselves becoming a regional resource on sustainability and we would like to do something more within the student population; to create a green student. There are other projects going on like the biodiesel with Tiger Transit..
And this is what I want to close with: The American University and College President’s Climate Commitment. We call it the PCC for short. 426 presidents have signed it so far. The premise of this is that Universities are in the business of educating the students and producing the knowledge that will result in a thriving civil society.. The PCC brings some benefits to a university. Stabilize long term energy cost, sustainability costs a little bit up front, but it saves money in the long run. The sustainability initiative would like Auburn University to sign the President’s Climate Commitment. It commits us to certain things, to developing a comprehensive plan, to doing an inventory, a plan for becoming climate neutral, and to immediately implement some tangible actions. Here are the peer institutions that have signed: Florida, Georgia Tech, Chapel Hill, South Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee..
President Gouge is open to signing but he realizes that doing so will require some resources, some diversion of resources from other operations on campus and so he would like to have the senate’s endorsement before he signs it. So I’m here, just to present this to you, give you a little bit of background on the sustainability initiative and present the premise of the PCC to you. Does anyone have questions? No, okay, thank you very much.
David Cicci (Chair): Thank you Lindy. Our next information item is one that’s important to all of us; and that’s campus security. Don Large will be making that presentation.
Don Large (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer): Security. Actually I’m going to present what we presented to the Trustees as an update this past Thursday. So for those of you who have to sit through this again, I apologize. In February of this year, we had a very good report that was a product of a committee that had a cross section of the campus and they were concerned about security in general. A great deal of it was related to the police contract we have; but it extended well beyond that into access controls and close circuit TV’s and the need for monitoring, etc. We had this good report and we were starting to work toward addressing those findings and then the April 16th tragedy that happened at Virginia Tech caused us to step back to step back and say, are we secure? What do we need to do? We were in that boat, and what we decided to do ultimately, was interview three very good firms that we felt could come in and possibly give us a comprehensive view of our security and ultimately we decided on Elsur Corporation. I thought would be helpful to you, and hopefully it was to the Trustees, is to describe what we have done and hopefully you come away with feeling we have taken a comprehensive review of our problems. What I don’t want to get into today, nor with the Trustees, is exactly what we found. We know where they are, we have shared in detail those discussions with your senate leadership and, hopefully, they can vouch for the fact that we have done something. We know where we’re headed and we’re committed to getting things in place very quickly. What I’d like to do at this point is introduce Bob Roland, who heads up Elsur Corporation. Let him talk some about his team, it’s a very impressive team. They’ve done a good job. And let him describe what they’ve done, and then I’ll come back and describe where we’re going there.
Bob Roland: Elsur is actually an abbreviation of Electronic Surveillance. Every type of wire tap, every type of video is classified as electronic surveillance so we classified it Elsur. So, we formed a little group, the Elsur group, and specialize in electronic counter measures, security assessments, the actual design and implementation of systems. There are three of us that are working with this project. We have a network throughout the nation, involving other people, other former agents to assist in the operations that we’ve developed. The three of us are former technically trained special agents. Each one of us has in excess of 30 years with the Bureau. We’ve all done the covert installations. We’ve put in cameras, access controls, locks alarms. We’ve traveled to various places around the world to do assessments on various facilities to do almost anything you can imagine. So we’ve got some pretty good credentials. We began in late August on your campus here. We drove in one day and started looking around. We were trying to see who was on campus, what was on campus and trying to figure out what exactly happens. The primary objective was to look at the policies and procedures of the security on campus and look at the buildings and try and find a way to enhance protection and safety of the students, faculty, and staff and try and move that to the protection of the University properties and assets. We interviewed more than 70 key people. We were here for less than a month. But we interviewed more than 70 key individuals, toured and evaluated 60 buildings including student housing, we conducted meetings with the city of Auburn and the police department. We had a meeting with I guess 8-10 of the administration at Auburn. We looked at your existing CCTV, close circuit TV, systems, the locks and the access control systems on campus. You’ve got a variety of cameras, the access control system is not standardized throughout the entire campus but it is fragmented in our opinion in how it’s managed and how it’s operated as far as what’s being done with the actual alarms. The camera system is- if you have a project and you need a camera, you go to your respective college and you get the funding and you put your system together. We’re hoping that is going to change under this new process that we’ve come up with.
We looked at a game day operation at Jordan Hare to see what could be done to enhance the security of the operations. We’ve written a couple of documents that were provided to the appropriate people that address some of the issues that we have identified. We looked at the existing policing campus model and tried to figure out how we could enhance the security of each and every person on campus. We looked at the efforts towards a campus emergency notification system and, on the direction of Christine L Eick and her group, we followed along and watched them do an exceptional job, and I guess she’ll talk about that in a few minutes, as far as what’s currently online. As far as our operation, we discussed the findings with the general council and the president’s office. Most of the information we found, kind of like if you have a problem and you don’t want somebody to know about that problem or they’re going to exploit that problem, so we didn’t tell everybody in the Trustee meeting or in a general assembly like this. What we see is problems on campus because if I know what the problems are I’m going to know how to cause you more problems. Whenever we did what we call the clandestine entries or covert entries for the FBI, our job was to go out and look at a facility, find out how we can get past the alarms, past the cameras, past the locks, get in, get our information, and get out without getting taped. If we put the information that we found here out, that is going to allow somebody else to do basically the same thing. We don’t want that because we want a strong security posture on campus. I think with what Don’s going to advise you on, you’re going to see a remarkable improvement and change.
Don Large (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer): Thank you, Bob. First and foremost on their list and as part of the discussion of findings was that we need a chief security officer who is in charge of security, and coordinating and communicating on campus. They suggested that we need a director or executive director of something along those lines of ‘who’s the go to person?’. We agreed and said, “Is there somebody on campus that you’ve seen so far that could do that.” All three strongly agreed that, yes, we do have that person and that was Melvin Owens. Melvin has served the University for 27 years in various law enforcement capacities, has a master’s in criminology, and is a graduate of the FBI national academy. This is a very high honor in the law enforcement world. All of us in administration that had worked with Melvin also agreed that he would be a good candidate. So, basically what we did is took his position and, again, we had discussion with senate leadership that rethinking his position and adding these responsibilities did not violate the senate resolution that you passed a meeting or two ago on doing searches. They agree that yes this was well within an acceptable approach of addressing this situation. So we appointed Melvin as Executive Director of Security and Public Safety. What I’d like to do now is ask Melvin to come forward and talk about the kinds of initiatives we are undertaking and that we’ll be addressing over the next two or three months. After that any three of us can try and respond to questions.
Melvin Owens (Executive Director of Security and Public Safety): Thank you. The first thing I want to say as I talk to each of you is that we should be reminded that no campus is 100% safe. I have said that for 20 years now in various meetings. A college where the very ideas of open discussion and freedom are promoted can be terribly vulnerable as the events of Virginia Tech demonstrated. Campuses across the country are dealing with and wrapping up their efforts toward keeping their community safe. Auburn University recognizes responsibility to provide an atmosphere conducive for the community to concentrate on fulfilling its mission. My charge, as I see it, is to provide leadership and direction which will assist in creating a safe and secure environment. This can best be accomplished by bringing about collaborative relationships with the many components which make up this University--to bring a sense of coordination and cohesiveness to a comprehensive campus safety program. The University has taken steps to add to the security notification programs already in place by implementing an emergency notification system. It should be noted that this system adds to the ability to contact the University community in the event of an emergency. The mass notification system is a notification system which enables the University to reach students, staff, personalized voice and text messages via cell phones, home phones, email, or text receiving devices. That is in process. The opt-in, or enrollment, is in process even as we speak and I would encourage each of you to take advantage of that opportunity to sign up. It’s a very simple process. As we seek to improve the overall police services we have initiated and will continue to discuss with the City of Auburn the campus policing model. It is our desire to have a proactive presence of law enforcement and to implement a comprehensive security program. The tenants of that program are: the presence of active patrol, an increased commitment to educational programming, the monitoring of alarms, the placement of cameras, follow up investigations of crimes, and effective emergency management plans. We will make detailed assessment of the current police services contract for this evaluation will assist and assure that we offer to the University the level of service and commitment needed to provide a safe campus. One, often overlooked component of security, is the preconstruction planning for security; be it the installation of cameras, landscaping, design features. Therefore, as a part of planning for new construction, it is our aim to incorporate increased security planning for each new building. We will also attempt to assist in a systematic evaluation of security concerns and we will accomplish that by soliciting the aid of a security action team which will be made up of persons from across the campus from strategic locations campus wide who will meet periodically and assist with the assessment and fine tuning of the campus security plan. It is our desire to develop a uniform policy and coordinate a program for campus wide electronic and physical security measures. At present, we are utilizing security methods or electronic security methods as a need for coordination to provide for inoperability across colleges and units. Demonstrators will be held on campus. We’ll get some people from various entities to look at their demonstrations and wares as we prepare to make our recommendation of what companies we will utilize in the installment of close circuit television equipment. We will continuously review access control measures; be it electronic or manual, and seek measures to address any deficiencies to ensure the security of people and property. We hope to develop security standards for contract security personnel. We believe it necessary that if people are going to work in security on campus they should be readily identifiable so we’re going to develop standards and procedures for anyone providing services on campus. These standards will speak to qualifications, appearance, training and supervision. Overall, our security strategies will be ever changing. It is necessary in an ever changing world to evaluate what we are doing and revise and implement strategies to address changes in crime trends and societal issues. So we will have an ongoing commitment to providing an environment where the constituents of Auburn University will feel safe and be able to pursue the fulfilling of the missions stated in the Auburn creed.
Don Large (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer):: That is a brief summary of where we stand relative to these security efforts. We’ve made a strong assessment and a comprehensive one. We’ve begun to initiate changes and we’re committed to moving very quickly on the other areas. This is our summary and we’ll be happy to answer questions.
Conner Bailey (Ag. Econ and Rural Soc.): Don, I know we can’t go into detail, but I understand there’s some discussion about looking the police coverage and looking at the contract that brought the City and the University into partnership. Are there plans being made to consider changing or significantly altering that?
Don Large (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer):: There are, we’re looking at different options on that. Status quo will not be one of those options. There will be some changes. The big issue is should certain police be dedicated to Auburn or accessible 24/7? The more we at the situation there needs to be some level of dedicated police officers on campus at all times. So that’s likely the position we’ll be taking and Melvin will lead those discussion and I’ll be a part of those.
Raymond Kessler (Horticulture): I’m speaking mainly from having served on the Traffic Appeals Board for many years and heard the explanations that students have given us for illegal parking on this campus. One prevailing thing that we hear all the time, especially from young ladies in freshman and sophomore year parked illegally, is because I was afraid to park away from campus in a C zone and walk in the dark at night to their dorm rooms. Now, we can view that as an excuse for illegal parking. But I have a feeling there is a real feeling out there that they don’t feel particularly comfortable walking from outside of campus to the dorm areas.
Don Large (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer):: Thank you. Melvin, do you want to-?
Melvin Owens (Executive Director of Security and Public Safety): Certainly a concern for safety when parking is a viable concern. We have implemented a night shuttle security program which starts at 6 in the evening and stops at 3 in the morning. We have five vans operating and the numbers are publicized. All they have to do is call that number and the van will come to wherever they are on campus and take them to any other campus location. We have received good coverage. Over the weekend there were 1000 people who used it, this weekend about 800 or so. It’s just about utilizing that service that is provided.
David Cicci (Chair): Thank you, Don. About a year ago, Senate leadership presented Dr. Richardson with a proposal for the Ombudsman position which was not acted upon prior to his departure. When Dr. Gouge arrived, he encouraged us to re-submit a proposal to fill such a position. We are retooling the original proposal to do that. The plan is to discuss it this meeting, vote early next year, and present it to Dr. Gouge spring semester. Richard Penaskovic has been working on that and will present that proposal now.
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair):. I think we owe a debt to Conner Bailey who kind of got the ball rolling on this Ombudsman deal. John Heilman formulated the early draft that sat on Richardson’s desk for months on end. I tried to prod Dr. Richardson to act on it but he felt he would leave it to his successor and kept putting me off for different reasons which I won’t go into. Anyway, Dave Cicci has also helped with this draft along with the Executive Committee and the Steering Committee of the University Senate. I’m not going to read the entire draft to you-it is about 3 or 4 pages. I’ll just highlight a few points about it. The Ombudsperson will assist the University community-that includes faculty, staff, administrative and professional employees to expeditiously solve problems or conflicts that arise within the institutional setting. What can the Ombudsman can do? The Ombudsman can gather information about the problem or conflict from involved parties, help employees analyze their problems or conflicts and help evaluate possible options for obtaining a resolution; carry the issue forward on behalf of the employee if the employee cannot do so or has a fear of retaliation; mediate a resolution of the problem or conflict; and evaluate if policies and procedures have been applied correctly if the Ombudsman decides the employees problem or conflict has merit.
What the Ombudsman cannot do. I just want to highlight one point here, he or she cannot change a grade or deal with parking violations. What kind of problems or conflicts are we talking about? One may discuss any problem or concern with the Ombudsman. Some possible issues include: examination procedures and scheduling, graduation or departmental requirements, financial concerns, grading practices, salary increase, promotion, performance reviews, tenure, workplace conflicts, employment conditions, departmental relations, share or advisory disputes. In other words, it’s an informal way of solving problems without going through the hassle of filing a grievance. Then we listed qualifications there. The Ombudsman’s office shall consist of a faculty Ombudsman at 0.75 FTE during the regular academic year plus 0.5 FTE during the summer. In addition a staff person at 0.50 FTE on 12 month salary will be available to run the office. The reason we wanted the person to have some contact with his or her original department was to keep that person aware of what’s going on in their department, etc.
Selection procedure: A search committee will evaluate nominations and applications for the position. The search committee shall be elected by the Executive committee and be composed of three tenured faculty members, one of whom will act as Chair, one classified staff member, one administrative professional staff member. The search committee will narrow the pool to no more than 3 candidates and these finalists will be available to the University community in an open forum. Members of the community will provide feedback on the finalists to the search committee which will then make recommendations to the Executive committee of the University Senate including the Provost and the Provost will make the appointment. I’ve already received feedback from individual senators about this policy which will be incorporated into the next draft which you will get. Now I ask if you have any further comments or questions about this. Basically what I did in putting this together, I looked at several descriptions of Ombudsman from other comparable Universities and I tried to sort out the best ideas from each of them and incorporate them into this draft, but there may still be some questions or concerns that you may have. The University counsel is still going to look at this especially regarding the first section on no confidentiality. I’m not an attorney so I’ll leave that to his better judgment. But right now I open the floor to any questions or comments about this.
David Carter (History): Rich, I wondered about the origin of the trial period, not that this is an ‘us and them’ situation. But we now have a trial period in place for the academic dismissal policy, do you see this as a good thing to try this for a couple years; or would it be better to push for making this a permanent position and I’m sure it could always be taken away from us.
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): I thought it might be helpful to have it for a 2 year trial period to work out the bugs and the kinks through the whole thing before we have a final policy, etc, to see how things work. Notice there’s a difference between theory and practice. So some things may come forward in the actual implementation of this that we didn’t foresee. I’ve never been at an institution where they had this kind of person working so that’s basically why it was done this way I think.
Ron Montgomery (Veterinary Medicine): There is a international organization of Ombudsman, much to my surprise, but one of my faculty members pointed that out to me. Some brief reading about their organization and their guidelines it appears they’re fairly well organized and have some history and experience in it. I was wondering if that group had been investigated to see what suggestions they had for this position?
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): I haven’t really done anything on that. I knew of that organization, but I haven’t read what they propose, etc, but I think that your colleague has sent me some comments on this policy which I hope to incorporate in the next draft.
James Goldstein (English): . I noticed that the definition of University community didn’t include students, but I was a little bit confused about possible problems that to me, at least, seemed to involved students, things such as grading policies, etc. Is it typical for University Ombudsmen not to be available to students or is the intention that they are actually available to students and they were just left out of the job summary?
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): Some Universities that have a University Ombudsman for faculty also have one for students. But I believe we have now, Jim Ellis who will act as a student advocate. What we thought initially was in order to get this by Dr. Richardson was we would just go slow to start with and just ask for a faculty Ombudsman and then we would see the need for a student Ombudsman and then we would try and get that past him. But that’s a good point you raise, and I think that there is definitely a need, a very strongly felt need, for a student Ombudsman. Hopefully that will work out of the office of Overton Jenda. Dr. Jenda might want to comment on that, or if Jim Ellis is here- Jim are you here? Would you like to comment on this?
Jim Ellis (Dir, Diversity Student Advocacy): You’re accurate about mid-August and September a position of diversity student advocacy was created. We’re still in the process of building a lot of the infrastructure for that but had meetings with many on campus, including yourself, to discuss the functions of the office. I’ve been meeting with a number of student leaders and organizations to talk about the different issues that might be involved in the office. And I’m finding an amazing amount of support for the concept. Not to say there are a lot of problems, but there is a lot of interest in the concept. So we are in the process of building that. We have a website that we’re still tweaking a bit, and hopefully in the next month or so will be up but we’re working out of 346 Foy Union and you should still be able to find me in the system. However, my position title isn’t exactly accurate in the group list, so just use their email and it’ll work out.
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): I think what we need here, what you’re doing, needs to be communicated to the entire Auburn community, including students. For most Senators, this is probably the first time they’ve heard of this so I would imagine.
Jim Ellis (Dir, Diversity Student Advocacy):: We’re aware of that and Dr. Jenda’s asked me to put some material together for that. However, one of the areas of concern has been to make sure we put the infrastructure in. I think coordination, as you move along with the faculty component, I think there’s going to be a lot of coordination areas that are going to be very important. A student issue will often come up with something having faculty implications and faculty issues that have student implications so there is going to be some overlap in discussions between these two offices. There are a number functional areas, in some ways the trial period is going to be very important, however I think this is- I’ve come from campuses that have had an Ombudsman and I’ve visited Indiana University a couple weeks ago and looked at their office and how their set up. And that’s actually a model that Dr. Genda has found very useful, and I’ve found it very useful myself in meeting with them and they way their structured.
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): Thank you very much for your comments, Jim, we appreciate it. John.
John Heilman (Provost): Just two quick comments. Dr. Montgomery referred to the mention of the International Organization of Ombudsmen. I think that the executive director of that was here on campus, brought here by Lynn Hammond probably a couple years back when this was first initiated. So there has been some contact that the information that was gained during a pretty thorough visit and pretty thorough set of discussions has I think found its way into the initial material that was prepared. I’ve been supportive of the notion of an Ombudsman since the discussion began. I think one of the strengths of the Ombudsman’s position is its informality. I think will lend credence more to some areas than to others. You had mentioned the issue of tenure, as I Chair the University Promotion Tenure committee, I think I should say, if we’re discussing the awarding of tenure, that is a whole process that is very highly carefully set forth in the policy and is pretty detailed and so I think those procedures exist. I think that the members of the Promotion Tenure committee would agree that there is nothing informal about their operation. It is a pretty systematic and standard approach. I just thought I’d mention that.
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): I realize that tenure policies are in the handbook. I thought that the Ombudsman might render some informal comments to the person about what to do, etc.
John Heilman (Provost): Quite honestly, I think that’s a responsibility of the administration that is charged with carrying out policies. Anyone considering applying for promotion or tenure, in my view, ought to consult the handbook and then work with the department head or chair and/or the dean as those administrators deem appropriate. That’s where the authoritative information comes from. Those are the folks who prepare and review all the documentation that comes to the Promotion and Tenure committee.
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): John, are you saying that the word tenure should be removed from the document there in that context? Would you be more comfortable with that?
John Heilman (Provost): I really don’t have a strong preference. I just wanted to say that whatever the document says, the reality is that the Promotion and Tenure process is very highly structured. There are administrative officials who are charged with the responsibility for that. And as a faculty member, when applying for promotion and/or tenure, I would certainly look to them for advice.
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): Thank you for your comments John.
Drew Clark (Institutional Research and Assessment): Rich, thank you for pulling this together. I note with interest that this puts the elected chair of the faculty in the position of hiring and evaluating job performance and potentially recommending dismissal. So, Dave, welcome to the administrative side. I do have a couple of questions. I believe it was at the last meeting of the Senate that a resolution was passed calling for searches at the national level for all positions at or above that of the department chair. Is this correct? Would it apply to the Ombudsperson position?
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): I haven’t thought about that.
Drew Clark (Institutional Research and Assessment): Why is tenure, which is an academic distinction, an appropriate minimum qualification for this position?
Richard Penaskovic (Immediate Past Chair): I believe the thinking was that the person should have been here awhile, and know something of the culture of Auburn University-how things are done, and also know the people so that they might be more visible and they might be more easily recognize them so that the people will feel more comfortable discussing things which might be confidential and rather intimate. I think that was the reasoning behind that. Anybody else? Thank you.
David Cicci (Chair): Thank you Rich. We will bring that back before this body in January. We don’t have a meeting in December. Any other comments or questions anyone might want to make or have? Is there any old business? Seeing none, is there any new business? Seeing none. Are there any objections to adjournment? If not, we are adjourned.