Minutes - December 17, 2003

Minutes - December 17, 2003

Approved by the Faculty Senate February 4, 2004

Vol. XXXVIII, No. 10


December 17, 2003

The Faculty Senate of Southeast Missouri State University met on Wednesday, December 17, 2003, in the Missouriana Room of the University Center. The following Senators were present: Paul Lloyd (presiding), Susan Swartwout, Rusty Curtis, Rick Althaus, David Bibb, Janice Chadha, James Champine, Ronald Clayton, Michael Cobb, Daniel Dunavan, Craig Elder, Bruce Hathaway, Linda Heitman, Arrick Jackson, Ted Loso, Anne Marietta, Cheryl Milde, Bruce Mims, David Naugler, Craig Roberts, Terry Sutton, Nicholas Tibbs, Larry Underberg, and Min Zou. Alternate Daniel Macleay from the Department of Modern Languages, Anthropology and Geography and non-voting Senate Representative Michael Best from the Department of Agriculture were in attendance. President Dobbins, Provost Stephens, Southeast Missourian reporter Callie Clark, Student Government Representative to the Faculty Senate Ryan Kloeppel, and Senate Secretary Paula Cunningham also attended.

Absent, and not represented by their Alternates, were Roy Farris, Kathy Gilliland, Al Hayward, Winfred Pitts, Mohan Tikoo, and James Ricks.


The Minutes of December 10, 2003 (Vol. XXXVIII, No. 9) were approved with editorial changes.

State of the Missouri Budget

President Dobbins distributed copies from a briefing given by State Budget Director Linda Luebbering entitled “The Missouri Budget: An Overview.” Luebbering's assessment predicts a total shortfall in the next fiscal year of $1,029,200,000, as opposed to the Moody Report's prediction of a $750 million shortfall. The President also commented on the economic difficulties caused by Missouri local businesses having to pay state tax, while out-of-state franchises do not pay state taxes.

He said that Higher Education in Missouri has been cut 18% in the last two years. For Southeast, he anticipated that the worst-case scenario would see us losing another $1.4 million out of our base budget. He reported that the Missouri General Assembly was pleased with the way that Southeast had been handling its finances. On January 6, 2004, all university presidents would be meeting with the Governor and might hear some news on next year's budget.

In light of the statement on Schedule G of the budget, President Dobbins' was asked about the costs associated with a change of mascot and the nonessential uniform purchases for men's and women's basketball and football. Nonessential uniform purchases were to be delayed as part of the cost-savings measures in the Athletics Department. President Dobbins said the change of
mascot was fairly low on his priority list, and it would take a substantial majority of constituents in favor of a change to move the process forward. Such a process would proceed only with a clear understanding of the costs involved. He believes any change of logos on the football and basketball fields could be done during a normal maintenance schedule, which will help limit the costs. Regarding the athletic uniforms, he does not see requisition forms from the Athletics Department, but he would ask the Athletics Director about the uniform purchases. He did note that Mona Hughey, Director of the Budget Office, has assured him that the Athletics Department has met the goal for overall cost savings that was requested in the University budget.

In closing, the President thanked the Senators for their collegiality during the very difficult and stressful period created by the financial situation.

Faculty Background Investigation Consent Form

Provost Stephens distributed draft #10 of the form “Faculty Background Investigation Consent Form.” All of the prior suggestions of the Senate were incorporated into this document with the exception of the one about all adverse information discovered during the background check being disclosed to the candidate. On the advice of the University attorney, this was not included to avoid opening a potential dialogue with the candidate. However, the University will do a second check in cases disputed by the candidate. The form asks candidates who are invited for campus interviews to grant permission to perform a background check, to state that he or she is legally able to work in the United States, and to state that the information provided on the vita is accurate. The Provost further said that the purpose of the background check is to discover candidates who have felony and/or repeated misdemeanor convictions.

When asked who would handle the background check, the Provost said that Human Resources currently contacts the Missouri Highway Patrol to conduct a background check for administrators and staff so the process for conducting background checks is already in place.

It was noted that if the wording of the form means a candidate must have documents about legal residency in their possession at the time the background check consent form is completed; this may not be possible in some instances.

In response to concerns about the form not having a place for a candidate to self-disclose potentially damaging information, the Provost said she will check about including a question addressing that issue. It was pointed out that there's no place to disclose a questionable felony and that the form should ask whether or not you have a felony: yes or no. The Provost will check on that point also.

Response to Program Cuts Resolution

Senator Althaus, chair of the Professional Affairs Committee, moved the approval of the Response to Program Cuts Resolution, and Senator Hathaway seconded the motion. A document entitled “On Institutional Problems Resulting from Financial Exigency: Some Operating Guidelines” detailing the Administration and Board's compliance with AAUP Guidelines for operating during financial emergency was distributed. Senator Althaus summarized the University's compliance by saying there was not sufficient faculty involvement during the review process leading to a declaration of financial emergency, but in regard to terminated faculty the University is largely in compliance. However, there is a gray area in which it is not clear whether faculty accepting a retirement incentives plan should actually be considered as terminated faculty. The motion passed by voice vote with one no vote and no abstentions.

When asked about a timeline for the University mission review, the Provost said the timeline will be finalized in January, and she anticipates it will be a streamlined review process that will ultimately narrow the focus of the University's mission. She also stated that she agrees with the Response to Program Cuts Resolution. (See Addendum A)

Committee Reports

Senator Marietta, chair of the Documents Committee, reported that the Committee met earlier in the day at the Johnson Faculty Centre and packed 17 boxes of Faculty Senate records to be sent to the archives in Kent Library.

Senator Underberg, chair of the Grievance Committee, distributed a grievance form prepared by the Committee. It was suggested that the grievance form be linked to the Faculty Senate web site. Senator Naugler noted that there should be a statement on the form that indicates that the grievance form will be sent only to the Grievance Committee.

Senator Curtis, chair of the Membership Committee, distributed a copy of proposed “Appointments to Faculty Senate Reporting Committees.” Senator Curtis moved and Senator Tibbs seconded a motion to approve the Membership Committee's recommendations for Faculty Senate reporting committees. The motion carried.

Chair Lloyd asked for volunteers to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care. Potential members should possess substantial knowledge about health care related issues. The president is going to appoint a retiree representative also.

Chair Lloyd reminded the Senators that the Board of Regents meeting would be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 19, and that all faculty members were invited to attend.

Thanks were extended to Paula Cunningham for an excellent and rejuvenating holiday party.

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

The next Faculty Senate meeting will be Wednesday, February 4, 2004, in the Missouriana Room.