FACULTY MEETING MINUTES
March 6, l998
President Porter called the meeting to order at 3:38 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The February 6, l998 faculty meeting minutes were approved as written.
President Porter announced that a revised Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Diversity Policy will be mailed to everyone shortly and asked that they be inserted into each individual’s Faculty Handbook. He said that the American Association of Colleges and Universities has identified 35 institutions across the country for a program called "Racial Legacies and Learning." Due to the efforts of Kathleen Wiater, Assistant to the President, Skidmore has been selected as one of these institutions. Each of the schools will receive $8,000 to mount a program during the week of April 6-9 focused on diversity and then to mount a program in the fall in conjunction with the community in which they are located. Each of the 35 presidents will be invited to the White House to meet with President Clinton. He also announced that Jack Ling, the newly appointed Diversity and Affirmative Action Officer, will be on campus as of April l, l998 (this has since been changed to April 6th).
The President reported on the February Board of Trustee meetings: The campaign has brought in close to $75.5M and the Board is hoping that we will surpass our goal of $78M. Courtney Sale Ross ’70 has pledged the funds to establish a chair with an interdisciplinary focus. The Board approved the l998-99 budget which included a 4.9% increase in the comprehensive fee, 3.5% general salary adjustment, and a $l30,000 enhancement pool for the faculty. The Board adopted an assumption of 2% endowment growth for purposes of next year’s budget but will use an 8% endowment growth assumption for longer-range projections. Due to higher enrollments we hope to have a higher year-end surplus for this year and possibly next and we shall explore ways of converting such surpluses into long-term compensation.
We need to increase the space in Filene and to provide access to the museum, improve student social space, and create a faculty/staff lounge. We also would like to put student services (the registrar’s office, student aid, academic advising, student accounts, HEOP, career planning) in one location. The Board adopted a reimbursement resolution that opens the door to a bond issue that would fund these improvements. Before taking such a step, however, we shall carefully test whether such a bond issue would exert unwanted pressures on the operating budget or overly constrain the financial flexibility the next president will need for other and larger projects.
The President commented on the on-going discussions regarding the sale of tobacco products on campus and pointed out that there were some points on which everyone agreed; however, there are still some points that need further discussion before a final decision is made (see Attachment A). He asked that everyone consider the issues on both sides seriously and think about issues such as the moral obligation of the College, the nature of our College community, its tripartite governance system, and respect for the opinions of others.
Alison Kupfer, Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President for Academic Affairs, read a resolution passed by the Senate last semester:
"WHEREAS, the SGA Senate recognizes that cigarettes and other tobacco products are harmful to the health of members of the Skidmore community, and
WHEREAS, the SGA Senate recognizes the necessity of state and federal law regulating the sale of cigarette products to minors, and
WHEREAS, the SGA Senate recognizes the ability of the employees in the Skidmore Shop to enforce said federal and state legislation, and
WHEREAS, the SGA Senate recognized the Skidmore students who are not minors are capable and must be allowed to make decisions affecting their health and welfare if state and federal deem them so, and
WHEREAS, the SGA Senate recognizes the importance of maintaining a campus atmosphere in which students should not be forced to leave campus in order to pursue their chosen life style, and
WHEREAS, the SGA Senate does not recognize the authority of the faculty to alone make decisions regarding the entire Skidmore community which is predominately composed of students,
THEREFORE, be it resolved that the SGA Senate fully supports the continued sale of tobacco products in the Skidmore Shop until such local, state, or federal laws prohibits such action."
Ms. Kupfer pointed out that "the students appreciate the ability to engage in this dialogue and realize the strength of the tripartite system that Dr. Porter has supported during his time here. However, ultimately we feel there is a problem when decisions affecting the student community primarily are made without consideration from the majority, especially those concerning our ability to make life style, legal choices." She expressed the students’ appreciation to Professor Effinger for his visit to the SGA Senate to explain the faculty resolution.
President Porter suggested that any comments or suggestions be directed to the All College Council (ACC) members, Alison Kupfer or members of the SGA Senate.
Phyllis Roth, Dean of the Faculty, announced several personnel actions that were approved at the February Board of Trustees meeting:
Promoted to Associate Professor and granted tenure:
Promoted to Professor:
Promoted to Professor:
Promoted to Associate Librarian:
Reappointed at Sixth Year:
PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH COMMITTEE REPORT
Murray Levith, for the Presidential Search Committee, thanked everyone for their participation in the two forums held by the Presidential Search Committee. He said that the committee is finalizing the wording for the ads that will appear in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Black Issues in Higher Education, and Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education.
President Porter opened the floor to a discussion on the motion presented by Lary Opitz at the February faculty meeting to rescind the vote on the motion to merge the Admissions Committee and the Financial Aid Committee.
The motion to take this motion off the table was made, seconded and the vote carried.
To start the discussion, Peggy Seiden, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG), explained that it is her sense that the institution does not want to give up need-blind admissions. However, times have changed and almost all institutions are need- aware and financial aid has become an integral part of the recruitment and retention strategy. She went on to say, that while it is true that both committees have issues to consider that have nothing to do with each other, financial aid does in reality impact on admissions policy; an occasional joint meeting does not allow for the integrated thought that is necessary to allow for informed decisions which must be made jointly. The merger does make it difficult to get all the members together at the same time but we do need to think about the most effective way of using faculty and administrators’ time.
Terence Diggory pointed out that this committee would be establishing policy, not making admissions or individual financial aid decisions. He also added that whether these committees are joined or separate, the policy decisions they make could very well be the same.
Lary Opitz said that he is concerned about the streamlining of the committee structure. He cautioned that the faculty has attempted streamlining before and as a result the faculty gave up responsibility and certain rights.
As a point of order, John Thomas said that protocol dedicates that members of the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG) count the ballots.
The motion to rescind the vote on the motion was defeated (the majority were opposed to rescinding the original motion).
Peggy Seiden, Chair of the Committee on Faculty Governance (CFG), presented the following motion:
MOTION: Be it resolved that the following changes be made to the Faculty Handbook, Part II, Section 2, Committees of the Faculty which were passed at the November 7, l997 faculty meeting. The Admissions and Student Aid Committee is now an elected committee with three faculty elected to serve three-year terms, no one of whom has athletic coaching responsibilities, the Dean of Enrollment and College Relations, the Director of Admissions, the Director of Student Aid and Family Finance, two representatives from the Dean of Student Affairs, at least one representing HEOP, both of whom are ex-officio and non-voting, and three students selected by the Student Government Association, each to serve a two-year term (see Attachment B).
Stuart Witt made the following motion:
Motion: Change the Director of Admissions and the Director of Student Aid and Family Finance to ex-officio and non-voting members.
This motion was seconded.
During the debate, the question arose as to why the Dean of Enrollment and College Relations, the Director of Admissions, and the Director of Financial Aid all need to be on this merged committee. The directors best represent their immediate constituencies. The argument supporting the amendment was that while the current directors are capable of voicing their opinions and voting as their conscience dictates, we have to look to the future and provide a structure that will avoid problems. This structure will also enhance faculty power. Perhaps it would make more sense to make the Dean of Admissions and College Relations ex-offico (non-voting). Peggy Seiden pointed out that the Admissions/Financial Aid committee is not under the purview of the faculty. The faculty serve a different purpose on these committees--they help to develop policies, they inform the committee members and they are informed by it. She said that this is not a power struggle as to how many administrators and how many faculty serve on a committee. We have to have a committee structure that works; the people who have the most vested interest must be the ones who can vote. Kent Jones, Dean of Admissions and College Relations, said that it is very important that the perspectives of the directors be represented and be allowed to vote in the merged committee. The current directors are nationally respected figures in very separate arenas; they attend very different conferences and the perspectives from these two very different areas are needed on this committee. Stuart Witt pointed out that if this motion passed, the directors of these committees would still have a voice.
The amendment was voted on and defeated by 54 opposed to 3l in favor.
The original motion was voted on by voice vote and carried.
Karl Broekhuizen, for the Faculty/Staff Club, announced that the reception following the faculty meeting will be held in the Dana Atrium and is being sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs.
Una Bray, Chair of the Committee on Financial Policy and Planning (FPPC), presented the following motion which had lain over from the February faculty meeting:
MOTION: Pension contributions for employees hired after May 3l, l998 will commence one year after the date of employment, unless the employee already has a TIAA-CREF or Vanguard 403B plan. If the employee comes to the college with an existing plan, contributions will commence upon employment (see Attachment B attached to the February 6, l998 faculty meeting minutes).
On a separate but related issue that has been under discussion, Una Bray reported on her investigation into the past history of contributions by the College during a leave of absence without pay, particularly during one-year sabbatical leaves. She said that currently the College makes contributions to pensions based upon the actual salary received during sabbatical leaves. Prior to the time when the College began to contribute ll% (l2% for employees 50 years or older), employees contributed 3% to their retirement plan and the College matched it with a 7% contribution. For any faculty member on unpaid leave who contributed the 3%, the College would contribute 7% but would not make any contributions if the faculty members did not make their contribution. She said she had called a number of cohort institutions asking what their handbooks said about contributions on unpaid leave of absence and, of the five colleges contacted, she did not find any who made pension contributions. Una Bray said that after all her research, it was not clear as to when this change was brought to the faculty for a vote. During l987 the Faculty Council made the statement in writing to the faculty that "they could not at this point bring this [issue] to them." The motion CFG brought to you is a clarification of the Handbook. This motion keeps with practices we have had at least for the last ten years and probably before that, that is, benefits based upon the salary being paid by the College. She explained that Karl Broekhuizen has gone back and rechecked the past ten years for accuracy and finds that no one has been paid a contribution to pension during an unpaid leave of absence. Previous to that, some people actually did make their 3% contribution while on an unpaid leave of absence and the College then did contribute it’s 7% matching contribution.
With regard to the current motion on the one-year delay for pension benefits, Una Bray reminded everyone that this motion came about because the Benefits Committee had been charged with the task of cutting costs. The Benefits Committee tried to fulfill this goal by cutting costs where they felt the cuts would do the least harm. She explained that the money that would be saved would not be taken away from compensation but would be reallocated perhaps toward some other compensation.
This motion was voted on by a hand count and carried 31 in favor and 24 opposed.
David Baum, CEPP, presented the CEPP report (see Attachment C). He said the primary activity this year has been developing an assessment plan for the all college curriculum. Our goal is to develop an assessment plan that can be presented to Middle States when they visit in the year 2000. In addition, CEPP has been overseeing the Honors Forum. There is a CEPP/IRC document that discusses the information technology provisions of the last curriculum proposal. We have fixed the calendar for the next few years (see Attachment D).
William Standish, CAS, presented the following two motions:
MOTION #l: Beginning with fall semester l998, the minimum semester grade-point average necessary to achieve Honors on the Dean’s List shall be 3.40 (see Attachment E).
MOTION #2: Beginning with the Class of 2002, students must meet the following minimal standards for continuation at Skidmore College (see Attachment F for the remainder of the motion).
These two motions will lie over for a vote at the April 3, l998 faculty meeting.
President Porter asked Professsor Standish to send these two motions to the faculty over e-mail.
Jon Ramsey, Dean of Studies, asked everyone to please read the material on the Honors Forum (see Attachment G) that was distributed prior to the meeting and said that it was also included in the Master Schedule that will be delivered to students and faculty starting next week.
Roy Rotheim invited everyone to attend the lecture tonight given by Linda Alvarado, this year’s F. William Harder lecturer.
President Porter adjourned the meeting at 6:03 p.m.
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