Minutes November 5, 2002
1. President Cassing called the meeting to order at 3:05 PM.
2. The minutes of the Faculty Assembly meeting on October 1, 2002 were
3. President Cassing asked for new items of business for the meeting.
He announced that Professor Chesler, Chair of Benefits and Welfare, wanted
to report on two items under committee reports. There was no other new
4. Remarks of the President
President James Cassing announced that lots of things are going on but
are not quite done. These include:
· An expedited grievance procedure was drafted by Alan Garfinkel,
General Counsel, at the earlier request of the Senate. It was reviewed
by the Provost and then sent to the President of the Senate. It will now
be looked at by members of Tenure and Academic Freedom and the Senate
· The Board of Trustees met on October 31.
· Professor Cassing said that the Executive Committee of the Senate
will finally meet on November 7 with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees,
Mr. William Dietrich. Professor Cassing invited Faculty Assembly members
to send him any issues they wished him to bring up with Mr. Dietrich.
· Nancy Brown of the University Times would like to get the word
out that the Times is now on line. Professor Cassing noted the importance
of the newspaper as a means of communication within the University.
· Professor James Holland is chairing the review of the University
Planning and Budgeting System and will report on the results at the next
Faculty Assembly meeting on November 26. This will be an important report.
· A Plenary session will be held in the spring. Professor Cassing
solicited ideas and a coordinator of the event. One suggestion for the
topic would be based on a survey on university governance done by Gabriel
Kaplan of Harvard under the sponsorship of the American Association of
University Professors and the American Conference of Academic Deans. Pitt
participated in the survey, which is available at www.ksg.Harvard.edu/2001survey.
The survey shows what other universities are doing about governance. Another
less likely topic would be on athletics and the role of athletics in universities.
A group of six athletic conferences is talking about reforms based on
the Knight Commission, but they are just at the formative stage.
· The revised Policy of Patent Rights and Technology is nearly
ready to be announced. The Senate has been working on this with Vice Provost
· The Senate is looking into staff termination issues.
5. Reports by and Announcements of Special and Standing Committees
of the Senate
Benefits and Welfare Committee
Professor Herbert Chesler, Co-chair, had two issues to bring to the Assembly.
The first was that the committee would like to have the Executive Committee
ask the Chancellor for a status report on faculty and staff access to
the athletic facilities of the Petersen Center. Last year the Chancellor
said the Petersen Center initially would only be for students; however,
he implied that in the future, staff and faculty might be able to use
it. Professor Chesler said that faculty and staff had wanted the same
access time as the students but are now willing to consider limited hours.
The committee would also like to know whether the Trees Hall and Bellefield
facilities are going to be upgraded since they are alternatives for faculty
and staff. Professor Chesler reminded everyone that a healthy faculty
is a better faculty, and a healthy faculty might reduce health care insurance
costs. Professor Chesler asked that the Assembly endorse his committee’s
Questions and comments
· Professor Friedman said she agreed and argued that faculty use
of student facilities promotes friendly interaction between students and
· Professor Pinsky noted that before the Petersen Center, faculty
and students used Trees Hall with no conflict and he does not see a problem
with joint use of Petersen.
· Professor Favorini said the Chancellor was sensitive to the fact
that the Petersen Center is a State facility and was worried about State
reaction if it is not entirely for students. Over time this concern will
probably go away.
· Professor Metzger said he went to the opening of the Baierl Center
and afterwards the center was filled with students. Although there are
40 jogging machines, all were being used and students were waiting in
line to use them.
· Professor Ross said that only one-third of the center is complete.
The dance and multipurpose rooms are not yet completed. She does not think
the Chancellor can make a decision until the work is done.
· Professor Sereika said the Trees Hall machines are not well maintained.
They are broken and filthy. Better maintenance might reduce complaints.
· Professor Chesler said that we need to remind the Chancellor
that faculty and staff want and deserve access to facilities. The condition
of Trees Hall is outrageous.
· Professor Cassing said he would bring it up with the Chancellor
at the Senate Council lunch and report back.
Professor Chesler said the second issue has to do with profits from a
bowl game. In the past, proceeds from bowl games were shared with the
rest of the University, particularly the library. Since it looks like
the football team will be invited to a bowl, he would like to remind the
Chancellor of this old tradition. Professor Chesler found an article in
the University Times in 1998 where Bruce Steele asked the Athletic Director
whether proceeds from the Liberty Bowl would be shared with the university.
In that bowl, the proceeds did not cover the expenses, but if they do
in a bowl game this year, then will the rest of the university share in
the profits? He suggested that the beneficiaries be the library system
and the wellness program.
Questions and comments
· Professor Cassing said the question of athletics often comes
up at UPBC—can athletics pay its on way? Professor Wion responded
that only football and basketball can pay their own way. The university
transfers about $10 million to other sports, but this subsidy has probably
decreased over time. In the old days it was hard to get information on
athletic finances. Then the federal government began to require information
and we got it as well. The federal government no longer requires the data,
but internally, the information is still provided.
· Professor Favorini said the bookplates in the library showing
they are a gift of the Athletic Department make good political and symbolic
sense even if not that financially valid.
Bylaws and Procedures Committee
Professor Frank Beatrous, chair of the committee, explained that the current
process for modifying bylaws is awkward, especially the part requiring
that proposed changes be circulated to all Senate members and that 15
percent must respond. This is expensive and it is difficult to get a 15
percent response, especially for minor or technical changes. The committee’s
proposal would eliminate the necessity of a full Senate vote for most
changes. Instead it would be posted on a website. If 50 faculty members
ask for a full vote, there would be one; otherwise the amendment would
Questions and comments
· Professor Pinsky noted that members of some professional societies
vote over a website. He asked whether the problem is lack of information
or apathy. Professor Beatrous said that apathy was probably too strong
a word. Many changes are small and technical and it is not surprising
that there is little interest.
· There was discussion of using email. There is no central email
list to faculty and it is unlikely there will be one because faculty do
not want it. There is too much likelihood of spam.
· Professor Wion said the proposed amendment was reasonable but
he thought that getting Faculty Assembly members to inform other faculty
could be a problem.
· Professor Bircher suggested using the email mailing list to Deans
and Directors and asking them to distribute mail to faculty in their area.
· Professor Wion proposed an amendment that just says: “Senate
Officers will inform Senate members of the location of the proposed changes.”
· Professor Beatrous said he would accept the amendment but would
also like to suggest his own: “That Faculty Assembly or Senate Council
will decide if the change is important enough to take to all faculty members.”
· Professor Costantino said 30 days is too short a time and recommended
it be changed to 45. Ms. Czak said that these votes are never held in
the summer or over a long holiday.
· Professor Daley proposed an amendment that Faculty Assembly decide
whether a change was important enough to be sent to all Senate members,
rather than using petitions.
· Professor Metzger said it depends on whether people feel strongly
enough to petition and they might not agree with the Assembly.
· Professor Wion argued against dropping the possibility of petitioning,
and suggested that both methods be available.
· Professor Favorini said that petitions raise the issue of authentification,
but Professor Beatrous said that was also a problem with electronic voting.
· Professor Costantino spoke against the proposed amendment.
The proposed amendment to drop the petition was defeated.
Professor Beatrous said that he accepted the proposed amendment of 45
days and the amendment that also allows Faculty Assembly or Senate Council
to decide whether a vote of all Senate members is necessary.
The amended proposal of the Bylaws and Procedures Committee was
The revised sections of VII read as follows (the entire proposal
is available from the Senate Office):
(4) If the proposal is approved by both the Faculty Assembly and the
it shall then be circulated to the membership.
the proposed changes shall be published on the Senate Web Site.
The Senate Officers will inform the Senate membership of the location
of the proposed change(s). The Senate Officers may include explanatory
material with the ballot, and Senate members may include brief
position papers discussing the proposed changes. The changes shall
become effective 45 days after publication unless Faculty Assembly or
Senate Council recommends a mail ballot or the Senate Office receives
a petition signed by at least 50 members of the Senate requesting a vote
of the full membership. If a majority of the members voting,
and at least fifteen percent of those eligible to vote, approves the changes,
the proposal for Bylaw change becomes effective.
(5) If a vote of the full membership is required [see (4)], the
Senate Office will distribute ballots to the full Senate membership. The
amendment shall become effective immediately if approved by a majority
of the ballots returned within three weeks from the mailing date.
6. New Business
There was no new business.
Professor Cassing announced the Teaching Excellence Fair on Friday, November
15 from 9 AM to 1 PM in the Alumni Hall Ballroom. He also announced the
new position of Jack Daniel as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies
and Dean of Students.
The meeting was adjourned at about 4:20 PM.
Josephine E. Olson, Secretary