Senate Minutes 9/00

University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Faculty Senate
Minutes of the Faculty Senate Meeting of 8 September 2000

The UAB Faculty Senate met on 8 September 2000 in the Great Hall, Rooms A&B, of the Hill University Center. The agenda adopted by the Executive Committee was distributed (Document 1).

Those present were: Officers: Wyss (Chair), Hickson (Chair-Elect), Jannett (Past-Chair), Schnorrenberg (Secretary). Senators: Ball, Cheung, Filler, Fullard, Greenup, Gunther-Canada, Harris, Heaven, Knowles, Mercado, Price, Reed, Rigney, Rostand, Smith, Swanson, Tyson. Alternates: Beard, Bodon (for Basilico), Chapman, Claude (for Ward), Givan, Jackson (for Morrow), McKenna (for Zahariadis), Phillips. Ex-Officio: O'Neil, Wittig (Parliamentarian).

The chair called the meeting to order at 8:09 A.M.

The chair asked if there were any corrections to the minutes of the senate meeting of 11 August as distributed (Document 2). It was moved and seconded that they be approved and the motion carried.

The chair made his report. He announced the creation and appointment of a Faculty Compensation Committee. Its members are: Sara Culver (Business), John Lyons (Vice President for Planning and Information Management), James Rachels (Arts and Humanities), Margarete Roser (Office of the Provost), John Smith (Medicine), Rosalia Scripa (Associate Provost). Professor Rachels will chair the committee.

The chair is asking the committee to review compensation practice by schools to discover if there are widespread inequities in each school. The committee is asked to offer guidance to the provost on prioritization of redress of salary inequities.

The chair recognized Sheila Chaffin, Executive Director of Campus Planning and Facilities Programming. Ms. Chaffin reported on the planning for new buildings and remodeling of existing buildings to provide classroom and other institutional needs.

The chair recognized Senator Gunther-Canada who gave a report on the Arts and Sciences Council. Its next meeting is scheduled for September 21 at 9:00 A.M. All faculty are welcome to attend.

The chair recognized Senator Greenup to give the report of the Faculty Affairs Committee. (Document 3).

The chair recognized Senator Hogan-Smith to give the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Childcare. (Document 4).

The chair recognized Senator McKenna to give the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Parking. Senator McKenna said that this report and its recommendations were the final activity of the committee. (Document 5).

The chair introduced Howard Hawk, Chair of the Alabama House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means for Education. Mr. Hawk said that he wanted to continue the discussion with the senate he had begun when he met with the senate last year. Because of that meeting he was now planning to meet with faculty senates at all public institutions. He reviewed the budget process and outcome in the first two years of the four-year legislative and gubernatorial term. The House of Representatives had begun performance-based budgeting. It is trying to reduce competition to take some money home for overly local objectives and plan for spending objectives in relation to priorities and resources.

As the quadrennium began, K-12 education received 67% of the money spent for education and higher education received 19%. At the end of the last legislative session this had changed so that K-12 received 65% and higher education 21%. To improve this will be difficult without a new constitution and tax reform. Tax reform will depend on a new constitution.

As the quadrennium began the committee discovered that there were 357 line items in the Education Budget. Examination and review of these reduced the number by about 100 and saved three million dollars.

For the coming year there will be about 6% more money for education than last year. The goal is that these funds will be to hold and attract faculty and staff.

Although no progress was made on revising tax structure or writing a new constitution, the House did began to look at sales tax exemptions. Forty percent of the Special Education Trust Fund comes from sales taxes. ALFA did not oppose the re-examination, but our proposal for changes did not pass the legislature.

What must now be done is to continue to work on budget process reform. We must set goals and projections for every area of the budget including higher education.

We adopted a mandate for funding K-12. We must meet that mandate.

We must persuade the people of Alabama that the legislature is trustworthy as it spends state funds. Getting a new constitution probably depends on securing that trust.

Major tax reform cannot happen without constitutional reform. We face a serious problem because of the increasing use of internet commerce, which does not pay state sales tax. It has been estimated that we may face a loss of $269,000,000 in sales tax revenue by 2003.

Encourage your legislators and your board of trustees to seek and support constitutional reform. Lobby effectively for this. And remember that by national standards state support for K-12 is low and for higher education is high.

The chair thanked Mr. Hawk for his remarks.

The chair announced that the senate had received a report on the Distribution of Increased State Appropriations (2000/01) from the Office of the Vice President for Financial Affairs (Document 6).

The chair announced that Professor Scripa, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs, had given the senate a copy of the Final Report of the Retention Task Force (Document 7).

The chair recognized Senator Jannett who moved the following resolution:

WHEREAS, health care is arguably the most important Fringe Benefit and is a significant part of total compensation for faculty and staff of UAB, and

WHEREAS, over the last five years through the activity of the Senate's Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care Benefits, numerous Senate resolutions, and efforts put forth by the Senate Finance Committee Chairs as they have served on the Fringe Benefits Committee, both the Faculty Senate and the UAB Fringe Benefits Committee have provided learned counsel to the administration of UAB concerning health care benefits, and

WHEREAS, despite these good-faith efforts, the administration uniformly rejected the overtures of the Senate and committees and has not developed any reasonable alternative solution to the health care crisis, and

WHEREAS, under the current policy set by the administration, the employee contribution for BC/BS and UHC health care benefits is increasing drastically at UAB, and

WHEREAS, the employee contribution for BC/BS and UHC has risen so drastically that these are no longer viable options for most employees,

NOW THEREFORE be it resolved by the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham that the Senate deplores the lack of response exhibited by the administration to the numerous previous attempts of the Senate and the Fringe Benefits Committee to deal with health care benefits problems.

The motion was seconded and questions and discussion followed. Senators Jannett, Rostand, Greenup, Ball, Reed, Hickson, Wyss, and Schnorrenberg spoke.

The chair asked for and received a motion to extend the time of the meeting for two minutes in order to permit a vote on the resolution. This motion carried.

The chair put the question on Senator Jannett's resolution and it carried.

The senate adjourned at 10:02 A.M.

Respectfully submitted,

John M. Schnorrenberg
Secretary of the Faculty

NOTE: Persons who wish to have a copy of an attached document referred to in the minutes should e-mail a request to Stephanie Belcher. Please specify the date of the Senate and the number of the document you desire. Attached documents exist only as hard copy. They will be sent by campus mail.