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Faculty Senate - 3/26/15

Faculty Senate
March 26, 2015 - 3:30pm
Room 203 Law School

I.          Announcements

II.        Approval of minutes from February 12, 2015 and March 5, 2015

III.       Report of Faculty Senate President Jim Carothers

IV.       Revisions to the Faculty Code of Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct

V.        Old Business

VI.       New Business


Approved: April 16, 2015

MEMBERS PRESENT: Jonathan Mayhew, Jim Carothers, Mahasweta Banerjee, Philip Baringer,  Thomas Beisecker, Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, Jay Childers, Katherine Clark,  Chuck Epp, Christopher Fischer, Kim Glover,  Andrea Greenhoot, Kissan Joseph, Pam Keller, Nancy Kinnersley, Paul Laird, Jeremy Martin Kirk McClure, Gerald Mikkelson, Allan Pasco, Meagan Patterson, Marlesa Roney, Roberta Freund Schwartz, Bill Staples, Barbara Timmerman, Barney Warf, Mike Williams, Lisa Wolfe-Wendel, Susan Williams.  Ex-Officio non-voting –  Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Provost Jeff Vitter

EXCUSED: Antha Cotten-Spreckelmeyer, Mohamed El-Hodiri, David Fowle, Lisa Friis, Kelly Chong, Pam Keller,Mario Medina, Steve Padget, Bozenna Pasik-Duncan Angela Rathmel, Elizabeth MacGonagle, Stuart Macdonald.


ALSO PRESENT:  Molly Mulloy and Kathy Reed, University Governance; Marta Caminero-Santangelo, Provost’s Office; Amy Smith, Policy Office;


President Jim Carothers called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. 

MINUTES for 2/12/15 and 3/5/2015 were approved.


            Carothers reminded members that electronic ballots will be sent next Monday for elections to the FY-16 Faculty Senate. He distributed a memo to Senate members proposing  that the body meet as a “committee of the whole” today to discuss the general principles in the Faculty Code, with discussion of any new amendments held until the April 9 meeting. He said FacEx has reviewed and tried to reconcile all of the various proposals to amend the document, but found that some were already incorporated elsewhere or were inconsistent with existing rules. Carothers asked that any new amendments be sent to him by noon on Monday, 3/30, so that FacEx may review them and forward to Faculty Senate for the April 9 meeting. He stated that we are close to having a Faculty Code we can live with that is far superior to the original 1971 version that was amended “piece-meal” through the last 40+ years. He thanked everyone, including faculty at today’s meeting, who has worked on the Faculty Code project the last few years.

            Mike Williams/Jeremy Martin moved that Faculty Senate move to “committee of the whole”  for discussion of the Faculty Code. Passed.


            Jim Carothers stated that the essential strength of the Faculty Code is embodied in Article I, and the most important sentence is at the end of Art. I, which states: “Substantive changes to the Code will be made only after approval by the Provost’s Office and the Faculty Senate, subject to the ultimate authority of the chancellor.” He expressed appreciation for the willingness of the administration to work with us on that language, which he believes represents the success of shared governance at KU.

Article I Title. Carothers asked if there were comments on Art I.  Guest Joe Harrington  asked why the final sentence in Art. I is needed if the authority of the Chancellor is already stated in state or other regulations. Carothers responded that an earlier draft of the Faculty Code gave power to the Provost alone to change the Code; FacEx thought it was critical to state that there must be participatory approval of amendments by the Faculty Senate as well as the Provost.           

Guest Jan Sheldon, chair of the FRPR Committee (Faculty Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct)  said faculty codes at many other universities don’t require the approval of their provosts or chancellors, and KU’s 1971 Code doesn’t include anything about approval by the provost or chancellor.  She questioned why that sentence was included since this is a faculty code, not an administrative code.  In the discussion that followed, FacEx member Jeremy Martin observed that the sentence puts the Faculty Code on equal footing with other policies such as the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations. He said for faculty rights to be effective, there must be administrative “buy-in;” we can’t just declare for ourselves what our rights are unless the university is going to honor them. The Code asserts what the faculty have the right to do or be, but we need to assurance that the administration will honor the rights agreed on in the Faculty Code.

Art. III.4  Faculty Rights  Carothers explained that FacEx originally used the word “fair” but changed to it to “non-discriminatory” when the General Counsel’s Office advised that there are no benchmarks in the court system for what constiutes “fair. ” FacEx has tried to find a better word than “non-discriminatory” but has been unable to do so. This section now reads: “Faculty members have the right to non-discriminatory treatment in the application of university policies and procedures for the evaluation of their performance…”  Barrett-Gonzalez said he’s concerned that the document is being revised more to go to court than for sound governance. He would like more feedback from the Provost or Chancellor themselves rather than the General Counsel’s Office.

In the discussion that followed,  Mikkelson and Katherine Clark said it would be better to have more comments from Senate members today rather than an explanation of the changes FacEx has made to the document in recent months.

Art. III, Right #14.  Kirk McClure, a member of the FRPR committee, said the 1971 version of the Faculty Code included a “just cause” phrase that has been removed and now makes termination subject to the rules of the Board of Regents. Mike Williams pointed out that the term “just cause” is listed in the Regents’ policy manual under offenses for which a faculty member could be terminated. McClure indicated that FRPR would still prefer that the phrase “just cause” be re-inserted back into Right #14.

Article IV.1.e  Faculty Responsibilities - Teaching

Carothers pointed out that FacEx added the phrase “With the exception of illness or family emergency” at the beginning of the sentence that states,  “A faculty member must make satisfactory advance arrangements and obtain his/her chair’s or dean’s approval if he/she will be absent from class….”  He explained that FacEx felt it was important to address emergency circumstances where it might be impossible to make advance arrangements.

Mikkelson said that the proposed Faculty Code was put together by a faculty that sees itself as inferior to the administration. He said if the Chancellor is empowered by the Regents to make every policy decision, why do the faculty individually and collectively have to say [in the Preamble] that we condone or authorize the administration to have these powers when they already have them.

            Barrett-Gonzalez asked to recognize non-member Jonathan Clark, and there were no objections. Jonathan Clark said he believes the Faculty Senate is not a good place to scrutinize the Faculty Code line by line, and mentioned a recent 3-page document with comments/amendments from his AAUP colleague, Eve Levin.  Carothers noted that when FacEx discussed the Levin’s memo on Tuesday, it was apparent that several of her proposed changes were already covered elsewhere in the Code or Faculty Senate Rules, but could be brought up at next week’s Senate meeting. FacEx member Jeremy Martin read an excerpt of Levin’s comments regarding Art. I and clarified that in the revised Faculty Code being discussed today, the Provost can’t issue regulations that undercut the rights stated in the Code.  Following further discussion, Carothers said the Governance Office will send copies of Prof. Levin’s memo to Faculty Senate members for their information.

Art. VI.b – Sanctions – Restitution  Guest Jonathan Clark said the phrase “costs incurred by the University as a result of the misconduct”  means legally is that if you are escorted off campus by the police, you could be charged with the financial cost of the police time; if there were a hearing, you could be charged for the General Counsel’s time. He said a faculty member could be bankrupted as an unintended consequence of a literal interpretation of this text and suggested that there be new language regarding a proportional response. He cited this issue as another example where FRPR needs to have the opportunity for one last look at the document.

Philip Baringer asked what would be the negative consequences of keeping the old Faculty Code, and Carothers replied that if we don’t replace at least one element, we don’t have authority to determine our own policies. He emphasized that if/when a revised Faculty Code is approved, it should be anchored with links to other policies or rules referenced in the document.

Lisa Wolf-Wendel/Barrett-Gonzalez moved to send the proposed Faculty Code to the FRPR Committee for a final review before the senate meeting next week. Susan Williams suggested that FRPR not be rushed to complete this task. Carothers agreed, and said he would postpone the April 2 Faculty Senate meeting to April 16.  The motion passed.  

No further business.

The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Molly Mulloy

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