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SenEx-University Senate Executive Committee 12/06/16

December 6, 2016 - 3:00pm
Provost’s Conference Room


I.   Announcements

II.  Approval of minutes from November 15, 2016

III.   Standing Reports

     a. University Senate President Joe Harrington

     b. Faculty Senate President Pam Keller

    c. Student Senate President Gabby Naylor

    d. Staff Senate President Liz Phillips

IV. Ombuds Code Change Proposal

V.  Unfinished Business

VI.  New Business



December 6, 2016 – 3:00 p.m.

Provost Conference Room

Approved January 31, 2017

MEMBERS PRESENT: Joe Harrington, Suzanne Shontz, Pam Keller, Amalia Monroe-Gulick, Tom Beisecker, Pam Fine, Ruben Flores, Charlotte Goodman, Dylan Jones, Jacob Murray, Brian Moss, Gabby Naylor, Brittney Oleniacz, Liz Phillips


ALSO PRESENT: Maureen Altman and Kathy Reed, University Governance; Frank McGuinness, non-traditional Student Senate Senator

Joe Harrington called the meeting to order, announced that the meeting was being recorded, and asked for announcements.

MINUTES for November 15, 2016 were approved

  Report of University Senate President

Harrington asked SenEx to please respond to the poll he had asked Kathy Reed to send regarding Senate meeting times.  He announced that there is still no word on the Chancellor search committee.  Harrington said he would be sending the University Senate’s Campus Carry Resolution to media and others. 


Keller reported that she should be able to find out information about the search committee at the next KBOR meeting.  As agreed upon in the November 1 SenEx meeting she and Suzanne Shontz met with Rodolfo Torres (Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Research who had been on the IP task force) regarding the IP (Intellectual Properties) Policy and employee agreement.  They gave him the Engineering School’s Resolution opposing the IP Policy, and explained some of the issues, particularly with the employee agreement.  Shontz and Keller sensed there will be some resistance to changing the policy but might have better luck with the employee agreement.


Gabby Naylor reported that three resolutions supporting undocumented students were approved, and the students were offered resources.  The fee assessment process will begin soon.  Their legislative awareness boards will be working on a campus carry resolution similar to the one University Senate approved last week; they will be advocating at the Higher Education Day for each school to have their own exemption policy.  During last week’s Diversity Forum and Outreach Week Student Senate reached out to all their student organizations to update them on progress and goals and discuss issues such as funding.  At the last meeting of the semester tomorrow night they will consider several bills and they anticipate questions about the University Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within University Governance which was approved at the December 1, 2016 University Senate meeting.  They had spent several days clarifying information about the committee and reassuring groups that were afraid they would lose funding that the committee was just a review of issues, including election procedures, and that Student Senate would be working as usual.


Since Higher Education Day won’t allow an opportunity for individual groups Liz Phillips asked Naylor to let Staff Senate know if Student Senate wanted staff to work with them since, although they would have to take a vacation day, staff would like to be involved.  Keller added that students have their day but the other day is basically only for the Chancellor.  Phillips said that the Common Books for Employees of the Month went out and she will ask the Provost for 12 more books for future awards; Harrington and Keller will make the request if they meet with the Provost first.  Phillips reported that the UPS Unclassified Professional Staff representatives to KBOR met and mentioned the Day of Service proposal which would allow employees time off to volunteer.  She and Brian Moss will ask the Provost for an update on the issue.  The group requested a reciprocal agreement for tuition assistance for dependents but Phillips pointed out to them that KU doesn’t have dependent tuition assistance.  She did say the issue is being looked into.  Frank McGuinness, a non-traditional Student Senate Senator, asked if they could look into extending benefits to include non-traditional students who were no longer dependents.  Phillips said she advocated for graduate students but her understanding is that the focus is on the government’s definition of dependents as 26 years old or younger.  She also reported that KU staff received raises but the other Kansas institutions had not. 

Ombuds code change proposal

In preparation for a search to replace her, University Ombud Kelly Harmon proposed changes to the USRR to reflect changes in the positon.  The amendments update the Ombud position which is now a professional position and put the responsibility for a search committee on SenEx.  Harrington also noted other amendments.  The Ombuds would not serve at the pleasure of the Provost.  If the proposed change eliminating the requirement of having at least six years at KU were adopted a professional Ombud could now be hired from outside, with institutional memory being provided by the faculty ombuds.

Motion to approve proposed USRR amendments.  Jones/Fine.  Passed as amended.

A question was posed about faculty members’ salaries; both receive course remission and one receives a stipend.  Tom Beisecker stated that he was bothered by the lack of knowledge of the University.  He explained that the word “ombudsman” has a Scandinavian origin and referred to the elder who had no real power but was knowledgeable of the town and facilitated communication.  The original KU Ombud was Bill Balfour, a knowledgeable and respected faculty member who had been at the university for several years, as was his successor Bob Shelton.  Beisecker expressed that it was unfortunate that the position is being professionalized and was concerned that a professional ombud from the outside wouldn’t know the community.  Responding to Dylan Jones’ question whether the faculty ombud wouldn’t serve that purpose Beisecker said no because the ombud handles disputes between several groups.  Keller asked Beisecker if, while institutional knowledge would be ideal, a professional ombud might not bring certain other valuable skills.  Beisecker stated that a good ombud knows the community. 

Keller and Naylor suggested the proposal be amended to require more knowledge of the institution.     MOTION to amend the proposed changes by unstriking “…comprehensive knowledge of the University organization and procedures and…” in USRR 5.1.4   Naylor/Beisecker.  Yeas 4, nays 8.  Failed.

It was argued that the requirement narrows the search to KU; Beisecker pointed out that that wasn’t necessarily true since the applicant could be someone who had left and returned.  Pam Fine said that an outsider would be unbiased and the new qualifications would open the search, adding that SenEx would have to trust the search committee.  Phillips noted that internal applicants might not have the Ombud background.  Brittney Oleniacz expressed that an ombud from outside could acquire knowledge of the University and that the ombud must be able to see conflict of interest. 

Motion to amend the first motion to change the years of service for the Faculty Ombuds from six to ten years (USRR 5.1.4 …and He or she shall, at the time of initial appointment, have completed at least six ten years of service at the University of Kansas.)  Keller/Fine.  PASSED. 

Feeling that the bigger the applicant pool the better, Fine disagreed with the amendment which excluded people from the applicant pool.  Ruben Flores felt a minimum of ten years was important since it afforded knowledge of more policies.  

SenEx agreed to forward the amended proposal to University Senate at the next meeting after the required seven-day notification.


Harrington explained sections of the Policy Library Review Committee report (available at the end of the minutes) which committee chair Jonathan Clark had asked Harrington to present so he could confirm SenEx understands the procedure the committee is using and to elicit suggestions and feedback.  Harrington explained that section C referred to a new policy.  During the discussion concerns and questions were raised: whether approval of policies other than Governance policies was within the scope of the Senate; whether Senate would have power to do anything more than simply go on record if they objected to a policy; whether the Senate should create conflict with existing policies; whether it’s possible to determine what policies are Governance based and which have already been approved by Senate; review would require that documents be sent weeks in advance; policies to be reviewed should be sent to SenEx first.  Harrington said he would give Clark a sense of the Senate: that policies to be reviewed be given to SenEx weeks in advance; that the committee extremely vet the policies and only bring those which Governance might really have an issue with rather than possibly creating conflict simply for the sake of reviewing policies; that the committee share lessons they learned from looking at policies about how to move forward in approving new policies.  SenEx also asked Harrington to convey their thanks for all the committee’s work. 



Meeting adjourned at 4:03

Respectfully submitted,

Maureen Altman


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