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FacEx-Faculty Senate Executive Committee

March 24, 2015 - 3:30pm
Provost’s Conference Room

I.          Announcements

II.        Approval of Minutes from March 10, 2015

III.       Report of Faculty Senate President Jim Carothers

IV.       Comments from KU AAUP on Faculty Code of Conduct

V.        Recommendation from Faculty Rights Board on FSRR 7.3

VI.       Old Business

VII.      New Business


Approved: 3/31/2015

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Jim Carothers, Jonathan Mayhew, Tom Beisecker, Mike Williams, Katherine Clark, Jeremy Martin

EXCUSED: Lisa Friis

ALSO PRESENT:  Amy Smith, Policy Office; Mohamed El-Hodiri, AAUP representative; Molly Mulloy and Kathy Reed, University Governance.

            FacEx chair Jim Carothers called the meeting to order.

MINUTES for 3/10/2015 were approved.


            Jim Carothers reported that we may be nearing the end of a seven year process to update the Faculty Code of Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. At Faculty Senate this Thursday, he will recommend that there first be a general discussion of the major issues, with Faculty Senate meeting as a “committee of the whole.”  Following the general discussion, new amendments could be made and discussed, with further discussion and a possible vote at the specially called April 2 Senate meeting. He commented that  he has received relatively little commentary from faculty regarding the revised Faculty Code that was emailed to all faculty on March 12th.  


            Carothers led a brief discussion of the Faculty Rights Board’s (FRB) recommendation, just received, to amend FSRR 7.3 regarding due process procedures in hearings and appeals. The consensus of FacEx was to postpone discussion of the FSRR at this time until the Faculty Senate completes its discussion of amendments to the Faculty Code.    Katherine Clark noted that not all of the proposed changes to FSRR 7.3 were unanimously approved by the FRB. She identified two issues that she would like FacEx to consider when they discuss FSRR 7.3 at a future meeting: (1) Under FSRR 7.3.2.d.3, Clark would like to strike ”decline to hear an appeal from the faculty determinations of another tribunal established by faculty governance and comporting with due process principles,” and (2) Under FSRR 7.3.2.f, Clark objects to the phrase “subject to the authority of the chair;”  she would substitute “the Faculty Rights Board as a whole” for “chair.”


            Members discussed a detailed memo from AAUP member Prof. Eve Levin in which she expressed various concerns or proposed additional amendments, as follows:

Re Art. I, Title

Katherine Clark reported that she informed Prof. Levin  that the phrase “subject to the ultimate authority of the Chancellor” is anchored in Board of Regents policy.

Re Art. III. Faculty Rights

            Members discussed Prof. Levin’s recommendation to remove the phrase “University policy” from the preamble but did not appear to support it. Jeremy Martin pointed out that faculty rights under the proposed new Faculty Code cannot be changed unilaterally by the Provost because both the Provost and the Faculty Senate must approve all changes.

Re Art. III.2 and III.4  Faculty Rights

            Members discussed their difficulty in finding a better word than “non-discriminatory” to replace the word “fair.” Tom Beisecker said the term “non-discriminatory” has been broadened in recent years in the application of policies such as the ADA (Americans with Disabities Act) ; he does not see a problem with the word. Consensus was to retain the word “non-discriminatory” unless a better term is proposed by Faculty Senate.

Re Art. III.4 (Teaching assignments)

            Members discussed Prof. Levin’s statement that the new language, compared to the previous version of the Faculty Code, reduces faculty control over teaching assignments to merely a right “to provide information.” The governance version states: “Faculty members have the right to provide information to assist in the determination of their teaching, administrative, and other university assignments and responsibilities…” Martin read the previous version, which states: “Faculty members have the right to participate [in the determination…responsibilities.”].  Mayhew said his department sends a survey to faculty asking them to provide information on what you want to teach, preferred days, etc., and then the department puts the final schedule together with information gathered from all its faculty. FacEx members agreed that it would be chaotic to have individual faculty vetoing their teaching assignments.  It was the sense of FacEx to retain the revised text and not go back to using the word “participate.”  

Re III.5 (Personnel Files)

            Clark said it seemed reasonable to be able to see your own personnel file. She suggested adding an “s” to the word “file” in Prof. Levin’s proposed new sentence, which would then read: “Each faculty member has a right to access his or her own personnel files.” Prof. Levin’s proposed new sentence would be added after the following sentence in III.5: “The confidentiality of all faculty personnel files will be maintained in accordance with University policy and Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations

In the lengthy discussion that followed, Jeremy Martin asked to which personnel file(s) Prof. Levin referred, noting that, for example, his department has a file on him, the College has a file, certainly UCPT [University Committee on Promotion and Tenure] has a file, and so forth. Tom Beisecker objected to Prof. Levin’s new sentence on the basis that material in P&T files, such as letters solicited from outside reviewers, must remain confidential. He emphasized that adding Prof. Levin’s blanket new sentence would make such files “un-confidential.”  Mike Williams read an excerpt from Kansas State Open Records Act (KOMA) stating that personnel records and performance ratings of state employees are not open records. It was pointed out that Art. III.5 already refers to the personnel policies in FSRR and that perhaps a link to the FSRR could be added there. It appeared to be the consensus that FacEx did not endorse Prof. Levin’s recommendation.


Re III.16 (Retaliation)

Martin said he much prefers Prof. Levin’s wording (“Faculty members may not be subject to punishment or reprisal for the exercise of such rights and privileges.”) to the revised Faculty Code version (“Faculty members have the right to utilize applicable grievance procedures without fear of retaliation.”).  Carothers said if retaliation is already listed in the rules elsewhere, it would be easy to add a link, and Mayhew said the benefit of more specific language is that it’s not up to interpretation.  Clark said it would be useful to get Faculty Senate’s consensus on this issue.


V. Administrative Leave

            Members discussed Levin’s recommendation to use the AAUP’s preferred phrase “imminent danger” instead of the phrase “irreparable harm.” Levin would replace the current sentence (“When a faculty member’s failure to perform a primary job responsibility creates a threat of irreparable harm to the University…”) with the AAUP’s language (“When a faculty member’s conduct presents an imminent danger to the safety of member(s) of the University community…”). Beisecker said that the term “irreparable harm” could also apply to things such as damage to one’s reputation or damage to University property like lab equipment or scientific experiments.  Clark said the terms “irreparable harm” and “threatening behavior” are  too vague.


Discussion ended at 5:00 p.m. because the meeting room was being closed for the day.


Respectfully submitted,

Molly Mulloy

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