UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA
21 June, 2000
The meeting was called to order at 3:04 p.m.
2. Roll Call and Agenda Approval:
a. The Senate approved without objection the Executive Committee's interpretation that Joseph Benoit (Physiology) had been elected to fill the senate vacancy created by Beverly Nelson's resignation from the University. Dr. Benoit was welcomed.
Dagenais, Gifford, Hill, Spector, Bowers, R. Brown, Comstock, Hitt, Matheson, Miller, Mozur, Payne, Rogers, Shardo, Ryder, Vest, Garmon, Bailey, Broughton, Ellis, McIntosh, Strange, Olsen, Parker, Norman, Benoit, Cepeda, Derbin, Kayes, Perkins, Townsley, Tuck-Muller, Bracken, Hsu, Swofford, Broome, DeWitt, Temple, Weitzel
Blackwell, I. Brown, Cohen, Kimbell, Kwiatkowski, Morris, Rowe, Sylvester, Murray, Wheeler, Boggs, Stubbs, Teplick, Wesenberg,Wilson, Beatty
White, Baker, Cox, Sternberg, Stevens
The minutes from the April 19, 2000 Faculty Senate meeting were presented and approved with minor corrections to the Roll Call.
4. Report on SACS Self-Study:
Professor Roger Dumars gave a presentation pertaining to the upcoming SACS self-study. He emphasized how important this study is to everyone associated with the University.
5. Report from the Chair: Part I (Report from the Chair: Part II follows Communications from the President)
Faculty Senate Chair Rogers made a statement about some of his personal feelings concerning aspects of a proposed agreement between the University and Comcast. The full text of his statement is attached to these minutes.
6. Communication from the University President:
President Moulton began with a discussion of the need for cooperation on the part of everyone. He then discussed enrollment decreases and increasing competition in higher education.
The issue of expensive technology and related required resources was then outlined. This led to a discussion of a proposed agreement with Comcast concerning, among other things, providing students with cable access and the naming of the basketball arena within the Mitchell Center. President Moulton then stated that rather than entering into an agreement with Comcast at this time, alternative plans will be implemented to improve student access to the Internet and other services.
President Moulton also discussed the recent reorganization of University hospital administration. He believes that the new structure is more in line with that used by other universities having associated hospitals.
Condolences were expressed to Dr. Covey for the recent loss of her father.
Executive Committee meeting results:
Concerning the Foundation: Depositions are in progress and, apparently, the court date will be in March 2001.
A retreat with Senators and administrators is being discussed. It is tentatively scheduled for September 8 at Brookley.
Meetings with Deans and Senators should commence soon.
President Moulton has indicated that it is his intention to continue to seek input from the Faculty Senate regarding faculty appointments to University-wide committees. He has also indicated that he will recommend that Faculty Senate representatives attending Board of Trustee's committee meetings be invited to participate in the same manner as administrators and staff attending as resource persons.
There have been discussions about possibility inviting one or two Deans to each Senate meeting to serve as a resource(s) for discussions.
Discussions are being held with Computer Center personnel concerning web-based polling/voting.
Academic forgiveness policies are under discussion with Senators, Deans and SGA representatives.
The Board of Trustees has approved a purchase of property near the USA Children's and Women's Hospital out of DSH funds.
Senator Strange raised a question concerning the Foundation. President Moulton responded.
Evaluation Committee: Senator Wesenberg was not present. Senate Chair Rogers noted that this committee will continue collection of forms used across campus to evaluate chairs and deans.
Planning Committee: Senator Dagenais indicated that the committee has had discussions with Al Yeager concerning green space and safety issues. The committee had no new business to report.
Policy and Handbook Committee: No report. Senator Brown deferred comments until the football issue was discussed.
Salary and Fringe Benefits Committee: Senator Townsley stated that the vacation policy had been approved and that discussions had taken place concerning equity pay adjustments. The committee has also met with representatives from two firms concerning a dental insurance plan.
Caucus leaders were introduced. The leaders are: Mike Spector (Allied Health), Steve Cohen (Arts and Sciences), Bob Ryder (Computer and Information Sciences), Irene McIntosh (Education), Martin Parker (Engineering), Jim Norman (Library), James Swofford (Mitchell College of Business), and Susan DeWitt (Nursing).The remaining colleges (Continuing Education/ Special Programs and Medicine) were asked to notify the Senate as soon as possible after their caucus leaders are chosen.
Senator Richmond Brown gave a status report on the football issue. He hopes to have a revised report on FSDA changes available at the next Senate meeting.
11. New Business:
Two ad hoc committees were approved:Recruitment and retention. Joe Mozur (Arts and Sciences) will serve as chair. Dr. Covey indicated that a University committee on this issue just completed its report and she encourages use of it by the ad hoc committee.
This committee's charge is "To learn about work of University-wide committees on recruitment and retention and report to the Senate on any actions the Senate might take to assist in recruitment and retention." The deadline for an initial report to the Senate is the November 15, 2000 Senate meeting.
University budget: John Strange (Education) will chair this committee.This committee's charge is "To report to the Senate and the faculty on the processes used to draft an annual budget. The report would include an analysis of major recent and projected changes in revenues and expenditures." The deadline for an initial report to the Senate is the November 15, 2000 Senate meeting.
The Fall Convocation date was discussed. Senator Olsen (Engineering) commented that the date had been moved to a time when many faculty are unlikely to be present. SGA President Hebert voiced her opinion that what worked last year should work this year.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:33 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by:
R. Bracken, Secretary
Text of Dan Rogers' Statement
I hope you will all understand if I take a few minutes to make some remarks. Once any discussion commences following the President's talk, I will have to preside over the meeting. Bob Shearer has received an e-mail from me outlining some of these views already, so I know that they will not be a surprise to President Moulton.
We are glad to have the President with us today. He has come to elaborate on the proposed deal between Comcast and the University. I for one am very happy to see high speed Internet access coming to all our dorms, and I suspect our students will greatly appreciate it as well. In the packet that was at the door, you will find several documents on a similar deal Comcast signed with the University of Maryland, on fees paid for naming rights throughout North America, and on the USA Board of Trustees' Executive Committee meeting last Friday.
While I am pleased with many aspects of the deal, and have no strong opinion on others, I do have one or two reservations. I do not represent them as those of the Senate or of the faculty, but solely as my own.
First, I do not wish to see my name, address, or any other information I provided to the University in trust and solely for bookkeeping reasons, sold without my consent to anybody. And if my information is currently being sold or provided as part of package deals with other businesses or corporations, I'd like the practice stopped. I would hope we would have enough respect for our employees, students, and alumni to guard this information or to seek specific consent before selling it.
The demographics of a university community clearly make such information very attractive to a telecommunications provider. I understand why Comcast might be willing to pay for it. But my information is mine, yours is yours, and our students' is our students'. If you want to donate control over it to the University and allow its sale in order to help the University, that should certainly be your choice. But it must be just that, a choice. In making that choice, we take our personal stand on what Justice Louis Brandeis described as "the right to be let alone - the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized" people.
In this age of mega-mergers, we have no idea during the life of a ten-year deal what new corporate affiliate or subsidiary might get hold of this information, despite contractual safeguards. And while this one deal may involve only mailing addresses, without objection now, I think we are acquiescing in future sales of phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and any other information that our jobs, salaries, or fringe benefits have caused us to reveal to the University.
Your packet contains a news story on the activities of state attorneys-general who are banding together to combat the re-selling of personal data, and a press release from Senator Shelby's office regarding legislation he is sponsoring to protect the data of elementary and secondary school children from commercial exploitation. Protection of personal data is a matter of national concern.
Many of you read the article in the Register when it appeared Saturday and thus my e-mail to you on Monday probably contained few surprises, other than a link to a document that had been provided at the Trustees' meeting entitled "USA Deal Highlights." So I must say that I was surprised to be told that the e-mail had caused some "damage," and that would have to be "cleaned up." To date, I cannot imagine what was meant by those words. Whatever the motives for the admonition, I must say that it is my duty to keep the Senate informed in a timely manner on all issues which in my judgment may affect the faculty. Of course, I will keep secret what I am told is secret, but cannot presume things are secret until I am told so. A key part of the role of Chair of the Faculty Senate is to pass along pertinent information and thereby foster better communication between the faculty and the administration. No one loses from better communication. It's the first step toward trust and confidence.
On that note, I'm happy to be able to greet the President here today. As you will see in today's handouts, Mr. Moulton has been working with the Senate to create more opportunities for faculty-administrative communication. There is a standing place in the Senate agenda for communications from him, and we hope he will attend as often as his schedule permits. When the President has concluded his remarks, I will take the floor again to moderate the question and answer session with him.
University of South Alabama
Faculty Senate - Mobile, AL 36688-0002