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University Senate 2/12/15

University Senate
February 12, 2015 - 3:30pm
Room 203 Law School

University Senate

February 12, 2015 – 3:30 p.m.

Room 203 Green Hall (Law School)

(This meeting may be electronically recorded.)

I.          Announcements

II.        Approval of minutes from December 4, 2014

III.       Standing Reports

            A.  University Senate President Jonathan Mayhew

            B.  Faculty Senate President Jim Carothers

            C.  Student Senate President Miranda Wagner

            D.  Unclassified Senate President Amanda Ostreko

E.  University Support Staff Senate President Chris Wallace

 IV.       Social Medial Policy

 V.        Amendments to the University Senate Code regarding the new “One Staff” Senate

VI.       Old Business

VII.      New Business




February 12, 2015 – 3:30 p.m.

203 Green Hall

Approved: 3/5/2015C

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Faculty – Jonathan Mayhew, Jim Carothers, Mahasweta Banerjee, Philip Baringer,  Thomas Beisecker, Jay Childers, Katherine Clark, AnthaCotten-Spreckelmeyer, Mohamed El-Hodiri, Chuck Epp, Lisa Friis, Kim Glover,  Andrea Greenhoot, Kissan Joseph, Pam Keller, Nancy Kinnersley, Paul Laird, Jeremy Martin, Kirk McClure, Gerald Mikkelson, Steve Padget, BozennaPasik-Duncan, Meagan Patterson, Angela Rathmel, Marlesa Roney, Roberta Freund Schwartz, Bill Staples, Mike Williams, Lisa Wolfe-Wendel, Susan Williams.  Students – Alex Montgomery, Garrett Wolfe, Omar Rana, Harrison Baker, Sarah Elliot, Kaitlyn Klein, Michael Walker, Emma Halling, Miranda Wagner .Unclassified Staff – Mishelle Denton, David Day, Keah Cuningham, Greg Smith, Elizabeth Phillips, Michael Krings. University Support Staff – Charlotte Goodman, Chris Wallace.Ex-Officio non-voting – Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Provost Jeff Vitter, Unclassified Senate President Amanda Ostreko.

EXCUSEDFaculty – Allan Pasco, Barbara Timmerman, Elizabeth MacGonagle.. University Support Staff – Peggy Robinson, David Weakley .Unclassified Staff – Michelle Denson; 

ALSO PRESENT:  Molly Mulloy and Kathy Reed, University Governance; Amy Smith, Policy Office; John Stratton, Libraries.

President Jonathan Mayhew called the meeting to order. He introduced Molly Mulloy, interim Governance Office administrator, and welcomed new Senate members Angela Rathmel (faculty) and Richie Hernandez (student).

MINUTES for December 4, 2014, were approved.


University Senate President – Mayhew thanked the Chancellor for her support of KU’s LGBT policy in the letter she sent to the University Community yesterday. In regard to today’s agenda, he announced that the University Senate Code amendments regarding the new Staff Senate will be discussed  before the Social Medial Policy procedures.

Faculty Senate President –  Jim Carothers also expressed appreciation to the Chancellor for her commitment to inclusiveness, and Senate members applauded in agreement. The Governance Office will email nomination forms to all faculty on Monday for elections to Faculty Senate for FY2016.  

FacEx (Faculty Executive Committee) accepted a recommendation from the FRPR (Faculty Rights, Privileges, and Responsibilities) Committee regarding their charge to look into KU’s policy for excused absences for university activities. FRPR recommended that the decision whether to excuse students for activities such as debate or athletics should remain with individual faculty members. Carothers read this excerpt from the FRPR report:

“The committee strongly believes that requiring faculty to excuse absences for athletes or any student who is in a university-sponsored activity infringes on the faculty member’s academic freedom to determine how student performance in a course is evaluated. Requiring this overrides the faculty member’s ability to determine what constitutes an excused or unexcused absence. The committee feels that there should be no university rule that requires this. Moreover, the committee notes that the majority of KU’s AAU and in-state peer universities have reached the same conclusion…..”

            The report of the KU Bi-Campus Committee on Patent Ownership and Faculty Consultation, chaired by Andrew Torrance,  will be discussed by FacEx on 2/24 and then forwarded to the Faculty Senate this spring for comment.

On Tuesday, FacEx completed its discussion of proposed changes to the Code of Faculty Rights, Privileges, and Responsibilities. A “clean” draft will be forwarded to all faculty for comment before it is discussed at the March 5 Faculty Senate meeting.

Student Senate President – Wagner reported that last night the Student Senate approved $10,000 in funding for various events and passed a bill for create a new student senator position for a ROTC representative. Twenty KU students traveled to the state capitol for “Higher Education and collaborated with student leaders from the other Regents’ universities in meetings with state legislators. 

Unclassified Senate President – Ostreko announced that Mike Krings met with the leaders of the other Board of Regents university employee senates to discuss tuition assistance and the market re-classification study. She recently sent feedback to the KU Human Resources department regarding the disciplinary action policy.

University Support Staff (USS) Senate President – Chris Wallace stated that the USS Senate passed a motion to approve the creation of the new Staff Senate and is currently updating relevant rules and regulations now.


            Mayhew noted that the proposed amendments had been emailed with the agenda and were generally “housekeeping” related to the merging of the two employee senates (University Support Staff Senate and the Unclassified Senate) into a single KU Staff Senate. Greg Smith/Chris Wallace moved to suspend University Senate Code 9.2 that allows a vote on the amendment to be taken today rather than at the next Senate meeting. The vote passed. Mike Krings/Harrison Baker moved to approve the proposed amendments. Passed.


Print copies of the draft KU procedures regarding the Regents’ Social Media Policy were distributed.  Mayhew reported on the 22 online comments, both positive and negative, that hereceived from the university community and said he will compile a FAQ list with responses. Senate members can decide at the March 5th Senate meeting whether they are satisfied with the answers and ready to vote on the procedures.

Jim Carothers said he doesn’t like the Regents’ Social Media Policy now any more than he did a year ago. However, if a KU employee were brought up on charges that the BOR policy was breached, it would be important for the University to have its own due process and procedures in place.

Mayhew asked members to comment on any aspect of the policy, and the following questions or points were raised:

  1. Re the composition of the Substantive Review Board (SRB), there is no guarantee that one of the panel members will be a student if a student employee is charged. Mayhew said he would look into this.
  2. The KBOR gives the chancellor the authority to make the final decision in these cases but the Provost, not the Chancellor, is mentioned in the KU procedures. Provost Jeffrey Vitter explained  that right now the procedure is that if a charge is brought forward,  it goes through the Provost’s office, where there is due process already in place, with the final determination  made by the Chancellor. This [Social Media Policy] procedure, which did not exist before, is a process to determine if a charge should be brought forward, and whether it has merit.
  3. Does this decision by the IRP have to be unanimous or a simple majority?

Mayhew will clarify this in the policy.

  1. The designee of the University Senate President may be a member of the employee class of the employee who is facing the charge. Is “may” prescriptive or could the employee request someone from another a class?

Mayhew said some staff members may prefer to have a faculty member with tenure on the panel rather than someone from their own class who does not have the protection of tenure.

  1. Do Unclassified Academic staff fall under staff or faculty? They fall under faculty, but Mayhew will clarify this in the procedure.
  2. Could either the IRP or the SRB have the ability to compel testimony?

Mayhew said no,you can’t force someone to be a witness; the university does not have subpoena power.

  1. Is the Chair of the IRP (Initial Review Panel) or SRB a voting member, or does he/she only vote in cases of a tie? Mayhew responded that the chair is a full voting member.
  2. Under the SRB Outcome, does the SRB make a recommendation to the provost that disciplinary action be taken, or does SRB provide specific examples of possible sanctions? Chuck Epp, a member of the committee that drafted the procedures, responded that the committee purposely left this open to give the SRB the ability to either recommend action be taken or to add what disciplinary action should be taken, depending on the severity of the charge.
  3. What is the status of the employee during the time frame? Mayhew said this is covered by existing KU policies.
  4. Under IRP, no charge is forwarded to the SRB unless the IRP recommends it. Does the administration have the ability to go beyond this?  Mayhew replied that the administration would be breaking its own procedures if it did.  This could bring various consequences, one being a vote of no confidence by the senate.   
  5. How much of this is public? How would the University Senate know if the IRP determined there were no grounds to charge someone but the administration did it anyway? How could there be a vote of no confidence if the IRP action is not public? Mayhew said the Social Media Policy does carry some notoriety with it, and if the administration overrode the IRP decision he is certain that the Senate would be so informed.

Gerald Mikkelson said there are several issues concerning the role of the Provost in approving IRP and SRP panel members that Senate members might want to think about. He will bring a substitute motion regarding the procedures to the March 5th Senate meeting.

No further business.

Respectfully submitted,

Molly Mulloy



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