Senate Minutes 4/01

University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Faculty Senate
Minutes of the Faculty Senate Meeting of 13 April 2001



The UAB Faculty Senate met on 13 April 2001 in 107 Ryals. 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, Basilico, Cheung, Eberhardt, Fullard, Greenup, Gunther-Canada, Heaven, Hutchison, Knowles, Mercado, Pfeiffer, Price, Reed, Telfair, Ward. Alternates: Beard, (for Harris), Chapman, Givan, Hogan-Smith, Laken. Ex-Officio: Augsburger (Interim Provost), Reynolds (President), Wittig (Parliamentarian). Guests: Theodore Benditt, Rosalia Scripa.

The Chair of the Faculty called the meeting to order at 8:13 a.m. He asked if there were any corrections to the minutes of the meeting of 9 March 2001 as distributed to senators (Document 2). Hearing none, he asked for a motion to approve the minutes and it was moved that the minutes be approved. The motion carried.

The Chair of the Faculty made his report. He asked senators to be sure that they were receiving and looking at the regular legislative updates distributed by e-mail. The governor intends to implement proration on the basis of the opinion of the attorney general. The removal of sales tax exemptions did not pass because the governor made it clear that he would not approve the bill if it did pass. The bill would have raised enough revenue to make prorationing unnecessary. The chair said that senators now need to bring pressure on the attorney general to reconsider his opinion. The chair reported that this opinion had essentially been drafted in the governor's office. The chair said that Paul Hubbard feels he is losing ground in his contest with higher education. This is why the AEA is continuing its advertising campaign against higher education.

The chair said that there is some good news. University lobbyists have succeeded in bringing about an increase of 3.2% in next year's higher education budget. With a reasonable tuition increase this should result in an unchanged budget next year. It is good news that public opinion in the state seems to be turning in favor of better support for higher education. Support for Blazer Pac will help with this. The UAB economic impact report is published. It stresses the tremendous impact of UAB on jobs in the area.

Less good is the news about the increases in utility costs for UAB. The cost for natural gas is 57% above what was budgeted. There are additional costs for chilled water. Water and sewer bills are $200,000 more than budgeted and electricity $600,000 more.

The chair reminded senators to make their schools and departments aware of the new Faculty Handbook requirement for recommendations for tenure. There must now be not only a letter of recommendation from the chair, but also from the faculty review body in the department.

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

The chair recognized Senator Jannett to give the report of the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee. Senator Jannett moved

The Senate gives its final approval to the changes in the nepotism policy proposed by the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee in its draft of 13 March 2001 (Document 4), as follows:

Revise You & UAB Handbook for Administrative, Professional, and Support Personnel, Section 4:20 Nepotism, to delete the entire first paragraph.

Add the following sentence to the end of the second paragraph: Likewise, no UAB employee may interpret policy and procedures or make any work-related decisions regarding hiring, promotion, salary compensation level, job assignment, performance evaluation, discipline, termination, or any other issue affecting another UAB employee who is living in the same household.

Revise Faculty Handbook and Polices, Section 3.7, Nepotosm Policy, to delete entire first paragraph.

Add the following sentence to the end of the second paragraph: Likewise, no UAB employee may interpret policy and procedures to make any work-related decisions regarding hiring, promotion, salary compensation level, job assignment, performance evaluation, discipline, termination, or any other issue affecting another UAB employee who is living in the same household.

The chair put the question and the motion carried.

Senator Jannett moved.

The Senate gives its final approval to the revision of the policy concerning consensual romantic relationships proposed by the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee in its draft of 7 February 2001(Document 5), as follows:


POLICY CONCERNING CONSENSUAL ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

February 7, 2001

NOTE: See also the following related policies:

UAB Sexual Harassment Policy.
Section 3.7 "Nepotism Policy" in the Faculty Handbook and Policies.
Section 4.20 "Nepotism" in the You & UAB Handbook for Administrative, Professional, and Support Personnel.

Introduction

Whether the relationship is student/teacher or employee/employer, the work or academic relationship must be, and must remain, professional at all times. Romantic or sexual relationships between supervisors and subordinates may create an appearance of impropriety, which is contrary to the interests of UAB. Even though a relationship may have been entirely consensual at its inception, a significant power differential exists when one party to the relationship has the authority to influence the academic progress or employment of the other party. Such relationships are particularly vulnerable to exploitation as well as to claims of exploitation.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy, the term supervisor includes any employee, faculty member, or other person in a position to supervise, grade, evaluate, or influence the academic progress or employment of a student or employee. The term subordinate refers to any employee (including faculty), student, or other person who is supervised, graded, or evaluated by another person.

This policy does not apply to employees who are married to each other or who are living in the same household; those situations are addressed by the Nepotism Policy.

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the University of Alabama at Birmingham that employees (including faculty) may not engage in consensual romantic or sexual relationships when one party to the relationship is a supervisor who supervises, evaluates, or grades the other party.

Compliance and Disciplinary Action

It is the responsibility of the parties involved in such a consensual romantic or sexual relationship to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure immediate compliance with this policy. Compliance may be achieved in a number of ways including, but not limited to, (1) voluntary transfer or reassignment of one party so that the supervisor/subordinate relationship or the student/teacher relationship no longer exists or (2) termination of the romantic relationship.

Failure to comply with this policy will result in the taking of disciplinary action appropriate to the circumstances up to, and including, discharge or termination for cause for faculty employees.

Implementation

The Vice President for Financial Affairs and Administration is responsible for implementation of this policy as it relates to the workplace. The Provost is responsible for implementation of this policy as it relates to the instructional setting.


The chair put the question and the motion carried.

The chair recognized Senator Reed to give the report of the Finance Committee. She discussed the summary of the Faculty Senate Satisfaction with Health Insurance Survey conducted by the Finance Committee, which was distributed at the senate meeting (Document 6). President Reynolds pointed out that UAB picks up the unpaid costs for Blue Cross Blue Shield. The chair thanked the committee for the work it had done in planning, distributing, and reporting the survey. Senator Jannett hoped that a more detailed report of all answers could be distributed to all faculty members. Senator Reed hoped there could be a mailing. Senator Schnorrenberg said that the senate might not be able to afford another mailing. Senator Reed said that distribution by listserv and on the senate web page would be possible.

The chair recognized Senator Basilico to give the report of the Curriculum and Research Committee. He said that the committee was continuing to work on the issue of plus and minus grading and would make its report in May.

The chair recognized Senator Schnorrenberg to give the report of the Elections Committee. He said that nominations had been received from all schools, ballots had been distributed, and ballots must be returned by April 24. One person on the ballot in one school had telephoned to say that he had not agreed to be nominated. In another school a name was on the ballot of a person who had not been nominated, and a name did not appear of a person who had been nominated. The school was correcting this matter itself and he had said that if this was satisfactory to them, he would make no objection. Some schools had not provided the required number of nominees. Some schools had supplied the names of nominees very late. The election was happening later than planned because of this.

Senator Schnorrenberg said that whether or not he was reelected as Secretary of the Faculty, he would urge that the Elections Committee change the body in each school responsible for securing nominations. He would urge that this be a committee of all the senators and alternate senators from the school. That committee should work in cooperation with the appropriate authority in the school governance system. In the present system it was often difficult to find out who the appropriate authority is. Furthermore, the group of senators and alternate senators is widely representative in most schools and might, therefore, be better able to solicit and secure candidates.

The chair recognized Senator Hogan Smith to give the report of the ad hoc Committee on Childcare. She said that the committee was continuing to meet with the persons who are making proposals about nighttime childcare.

The chair commented on the failure of Chancellor Meredith to continue to support the plan concerning funding for higher education proposed by the Council of Presidents. UAB lost $1.3 million because of this decision. Huntsville and Tuscaloosa lost nothing.

The chair recognized President Reynolds who urged support for and going to the performances of the Merry Widow which involve many UAB students. Faculty may purchase tickets at a 50% discount.

The chair recognized the provost. He commented on the raise pools available last year for this year: 5% for faculty and 4% for staff. From the faculty raise pool a small amount, $300,000, was held to deal with issues of compression. This dilemma is clearly indicated in the Rachels report on faculty compensation. Senator Jannett asked about raises for promotion in rank. The provost responded that the small special pool could be used for this, but it was not limited to this purpose.

The provost said that only limited funds would be available for general raises, but the would try at least for promotion raises.

Senator Jannett moved

The report of the Special Committee on Faculty Compensation shall be forwarded to the president and the provost.

Senator Jannett said that the senate needed to deal carefully with elections for next year. He supported the ideas of Senator Schnorrenberg. Election structure needs to improve.

Senator Jannett also hoped the recommendations of the compensation committee would be carefully considered.

The chair asked whether there were financial exigency committees in place in each school.

There being no further business, the chair declared the meeting adjourned at 9:30 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

John M. Schnorrenberg
Secretary of the Faculty



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