George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
September 25, 2002


Present: J. Bennett, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Coffinberger, M. DeNys, E. Elstun, D. Kuebrich

Guests Present: Mike Ferri

Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 12:10 pm.

I. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the September 18, 2002 Executive Committee meeting were approved as amended. The Clerk of the Faculty Senate will be the signatory of the Executive Committee Minutes, while the Senate Secretary remains the signatory for the Faculty Senate Minutes.

II. Announcement
Some faculty members sense that the Administration holds them responsible for character-building in the students—especially in matters of academic integrity—when it isn’t their responsibility. It was expressed that the Administration and the Task Force on Academic Integrity, not the faculty, need to be held more accountable on this issue.

III. Faculty Rewards and Incentives/BOV Meeting
Rick Coffinberger, Lorraine Brown, and Toni Travis attended the Faculty and Academic Standards Committee meeting on September 19th. It was reported that Lloyd Griffiths, Lorraine Brown, Jack Censer, and Mark Grady gave forceful presentations against changing the Faculty Handbook as recommended in the Faculty Rewards and Incentives Report. It was argued that the proposed change: 1) disregarded the strong tie between teaching and research, 2) would demoralize faculty, 3) would not help GMU create a national academic presence, and 4) might not only ruin the University’s chance of
moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2, but also might actually lower its ranking. The Committee decided to recommend that the Board delay voting on the proposed change until the November meeting.

The Senate Chair will raise the issue with the President and Provost’s offices since the BOV may decide to override the objections of the Provost, Deans, and faculty in this matter. GMU’s accreditation agency could possibly supply consultants to ascertain the negative consequences and whether GMU’s accreditation might be jeopardized.

It was noted that, when the Committee presented its report to the BOV, it was added that the faculty was invited to submit its own report, as long as it stayed within the intent of the original BOV proposal. Also, the four faculty members’ presentations will be transcribed and given to the BOV before they vote on the proposed change.

Other topics of interest at the full meeting were:
1) The new BOV bylaws give more power to their Audit and Space Committee. This committee is going to be very important during the budget cuts discussions;
2) The timing of Robert Fisk’s speech on September 10th was criticized;
3) The issue of the BOV being involved in the selection of Deans was brought up again; and
4) It was announced that the Capital Campaign has topped $84 million.

IV. Reports from Standing Committee Chairs
All of the Chairs presented what they will say at the full Faculty Senate meeting at 3:00 pm.

V. GMU Foundation Update
Mike Ferri, as the Faculty Senate representative on the GMU Foundation Board, reported on the organization’s current situation. The Foundation will not be much help to the University in the current budget crisis for many reasons: 1) its cash in hand is very low; 2) a large portion of its assets is in restricted real estate; and 3) its investments have lost value in the current market downswing. Dr. Ferri was asked to find out what constitutes the $84M that the Foundation says has been raised in the Capital Campaign, how much of that $84M has already been spent, and on what?

Mike recommended that the Executive Committee ask for a meeting with the Foundation’s administration and representatives from Legal Affairs to discuss the issues raised by the lack of separation between the Foundation and the University’s administration. There must be a clear and legal definition between the Foundation, a private fund-raising organization, and the University, a state entity, to avoid violating state and federal laws.

It was noted that the Foundation’s current situation is only part of a larger fund-raising crisis at GMU. The current strategy is decentralized and puts the burden on schools and Deans. The Senate should directly ask President Merten these questions: Is your model is working? How much money have you raised? What is being done about alumni fundraising?

VI. Additional Topics
Research Faculty’s Due-Process Rights
The issue of due-process rights for Research Faculty was brought up, since they are not covered in the Faculty Handbook. There was a question to whether the Grievance Committee’s charge could be changed to rectify the situation, or whether it required a change to the Faculty Handbook. The Organization & Operations Committee will follow up on this matter.

Tenure Track Faculty Increase
The Administration promised there would be an increase of tenured and tenure-track faculty, and it was recommended that a verification report be requested of the Administration every fall.

VII. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 1:35 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Debi Siler
Clerk, Faculty Senate

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