April 9, 1997

Senators Present: Albanese,Bergmann, Blaisten-Barojas, Boileau, Conti, Crockett, De Nys, Deshmukh, Elstun, Gantz, Hamburger, High, Irvine (representing Provost Potter), Jensen, Manchester, Metcalf, L. Miller, O'Connor, Palkovich, Perry, Rine, Ruhling, Ruth, Sanford, Sofer, Spikell, Tabak, Taylor, Wilkie, Wood, and Zoltek.

Senators Absent: P. Black, W. M. Black, Carty, Clements, Eagle, High, Hurt, Kaplan, Mellander, Merten, Mose, Muris, O'Hara, Palkovich, Thomas and Travis.

Attending Guests: C. McKalip (Academic Advising), J. Wilkinson (Student Senate), S. Jones (Registrar), J. Walsh (Librarians Council), J. Robinson (Student Government) J. Bronchtein (Federation for Off Campus Students), Rootes (Faculty Senate Office)

I. Call to Order

II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the March 5, 1997 meeting were approved as distributed.

III. Announcements
A. On behalf of the Senate, Elstun extended condolences to Professor Don Gantz and his family on the recent death of his mother.

B. The second and last of two town meetings concerning the recommendations of the Business Education Task Force will be held April 10, from 12:00-1:30 in Mason Hall, Room D3 A-B. The meeting will be chaired by Provost David Potter, and Chair ProTempore of the Senate Don Gantz.

C. The next General Faculty meeting will be Wednesday, April 23, at 3:30 in the Johnson Center Multipurpose Room.

IV. Unfinished Business
There was no unfinished business.

V. New Business

A. Senate Committee Reports

1. Executive Committee
At their meeting of April 7, the Provost and Executive Committee used a document interpreting Handbook Section 1.3.2 to work out the details of faculty/central administration consultations concerning the Business Education Task Force. This interpretive document prescribes a review of proposed organizational changes, a public forum and the option of a senate recommendation to the President. The first two requirements have been met by the Task Force and Town Meetings respectively. Should the Senate elect to make a formal recommendation, the President would be obliged to notify the Senate of his final decision. If his decision does not agree with the Senate's recommendation, the President would be required to include a statement of his reasons. Because of this last provision, Elstun directed any senator who believed a position should be taken to present a motion under "Other New Business". At this time the Executive Committee is not recommending any action.

Elstun reported that the Student Senate had adopted a resolution calling for changes in the teacher/course evaluations. The resolution proposed that comments as well as numerical data be made public. It also called for the establishment of an ad hoc committee of five faculty, three students, and one administrator to consider changes in the evaluation questions. Initial reactions of the Executive Committee and the Provost were that the entire matter of teacher/course evaluations, including the recommendations of the Student Senate, needs to be reviewed. There was also discussion regarding the need for another ad hoc committee, rather than referring the matter to the existing University Committee on Teaching Effectiveness. Accordingly, the resolution will be forwarded to the Organization and Operations Committee as an item of new business.

2. Academic Policies Committee
DeNys presented a motion from the Academic Policies Committee (Attachment A) that the Faculty Senate establish a University Standing Committee on Academic Appeals. The charge of the committee would be to serve as a final locus for appeal of decisions regarding late withdrawal, late add, suspension, or dismissal for academic reasons. It specifically is not charged to address grade or Honor Committee appeals. These latter issues are handled by the Dean, or student association respectively. DeNys also stated that if passed, catalog copy should be changed to clarify appeal policies and procedures.

The motion passed unanimously.

Taylor requested instructions for the Nominations Committee. DeNys indicated that it would be appropriate to wait until Fall, 1997 to make nominations for committee membership.

DeNys then presented options for the next Academic Calendar (Attachment B), but did not present a motion from the committee. He indicated that the registrar's office had notified the Student Senate of the proposed calendars. Elstun received an unsigned copy of the Student Senate resolution endorsing the maintenance of reading days. Wilkinson (Student Senate) confirmed the Student Senate resolution.

It was then moved (Hamburger) and seconded to adopt the "Early Thursday" option. This option (defined in Attachment B) permits retention of reading days without making grades due on Christmas Day.

The extensive ensuing discussion touched on such issues as the scheduling of final examinations and the impact of an early start on other University activities, such as new student orientations and the preparation of residence halls. Other suggestions were to delay grade reporting, use weekends as reading days or eliminate the Columbus Day break, using the "renaming of days" technique as needed.

A substitute motion (Tabak) - to declare as reading days the weekend after the last Friday of classes - did not receive a second. A substitute motion (Wilkie) to make fall semester grades due in January did not receive a second. In view of the many issues raised Boileau raised the question of delaying the vote. Jones (Registrar) indicated that a decision could be delayed, but not beyond the end of the semester. It was moved (Boileau), seconded and passed that a vote on the calendar be postponed until the May 7 Senate meeting.

3. Faculty Matters
Committee Boileau reported that the Sexual Harassment Committee would present its final report in May. He indicated that the committee had learned that harassment frequently begins off-campus, but that it affects students on-campus. He also reported that there appears to be a serious problem with stalking.

Discussions are underway with the Provost to establish a university ombudsman. The ombudsman would assist faculty who do not wish to pursue the formal grievance procedure.

Wood reported that the Salary Equity Study Committee is fully constituted and has held its first meeting. The committee received its charge and requested clarification as to whether the committee was to be proactive and to interpret its charge broadly. That understanding was confirmed.

4. Organization and Operations Committee
There was no report. Spikell reminded the Senate that under the bylaw revisions the Senate Chair for 1997-1998 must be elected at the May meeting.

5. Facilities and Support Services Committee
Zoltek reported that he had attended the Parking Services retreat. He advised faculty that stolen or damaged parking decals may be replaced if a written police or accident report is provided.

The committee discussed the issue of smoking next to building entrances, concluding that such smoking is outdoors and so within regulations.

Regarding the matter of people falling down in Thompson Hall, Zoltek reported that larger mats had been put in place and that the use of sweeping compounds on the floors had been discontinued.

6. Nominations Committee
There was no report.

B. Other Reports

1. Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors
Sofer distributed a full report to those present (Attachment C). She reported briefly that an analysis by the GMU Intercollegiate Athletics Program indicated that it would be a very expensive program, however there was some dispute over this analysis. The issue will continue to be discussed at the next BoV meeting.

2. Faculty Senate of Virginia
Taylor reported that the next meeting would be April 25-26. A proposal to make the Faculty Senate of Virginia the primary voice of Virginia faculty in legislative issues will be presented.

Elstun reported that she and Travis had attended a Virginia Faculty Legislative Relations Workshop on March 22 (Attachment D). The morning workshop addressed lobbying practices and techniques. It was made clear that faculty are conspicuously absent in Richmond and that faculty views are not being represented by administration. The afternoon session turned to methods to improve the faculty senate network and work with existing organizations.

VI. Other New Business
There was no new business.

VII Adjournment at 4:15pm.

ATTACHMENT A: Motion from Academic Policies Committee Moved that the Faculty Senate establish a University Academic Appeals Committee as a University Standing Committee.

Charge: To serve as final locus for appeal of decisions regarding late withdrawal, late add, suspension and dismissal for academic reasons. At its discretion, the Committee may choose to review other individual cases that are relevant to the application of University-wide policies.

Membership: Five faculty members, including at least one member of the Faculty Senate, and the Provost or his/her designee who will serve in an ex-officio, non-voting capacity. Rationale: At present, the Catalog describes criteria and procedures related to grade appeal and appeal of Honor Committee decisions, but is silent on all other academic appeals. Thus, it is not clear to students, faculty and administrators what avenues are available and how they may be used. Furthermore, academic appeals procedures in LAUs appear to vary, and students may be informed differently about additional levels to which appeals can be made.

If this motion is approved, catalog copy will be changed to inform the university community about appeals policies and procedures.

Note that this committee is not charged to hear grade appeals or appeals of Honor Committee decisions. Policies and procedures for both are already in place, and according to the Catalog, Honor Committee decisions are within student rather than faculty jurisdiction.

Procedure: Before being heard by the Academic Appeals Committee, all appeals must be adjudicated by the LAU in which the student's program of study is housed. If the student feels that the decision rendered at this level is unfair, s/he may appeal to the Provost. The Committee will hear cases only where procedural irregularities are clearly demonstrated or demonstrably questionable application of University policies to an individual case is shown. The burden of proof rests with the student, and the student must provide clear and convincing documentation to support his or her contention that the decision was unfair. If the Provost feels that the student has sufficient cause, the case is heard by the Committee; the Committee decision is final. The Provost is responsible for maintaining appeals records, determining whether students have just cause, and ensuring that complete documentation is available for all committee members. The Committee will normally meet at least twice each semester in order to ensure timely action regarding its cases. The Committee will communicate its decision to the student, the relevant LAU and the Provost.

ATTACHMENT B: Proposed options for the Fall 1998 through Spring 2001 Academic Calendar for George Mason University from S. Jones (Director of Registration & Records) to the Academic Policies Committee and Faculty Senate

Since our current Three Year Planning Calendar will run out at the end of the Spring 1998 semester, I request your assistance in setting the next one. I understand that my role is to draft the calendar within Faculty Senate guidelines, then secure your approval before the calendar can become official. Unfortunately, the Faculty Senate office has not been able to locate earlier guidelines for setting up semester dates. Fortunately, Mike McDermott has a splendid memory and I have a few years' experience with this task.

My understanding of the calendar rules from Mr. McDermott is attached for your information. Using those rules to set up proposed future calendars results in less than optimum Fall semesters for 1998 and 1999. Keeping in mind the "48 hour grading period" for faculty, grades would be due on December 25 and 24 respectively. Given this circumstance, I have received the required approval from the Provost to construct proposed Fall semester calendars beginning on the Thursday previous to the Monday before Labor Day. This is in keeping with the Faculty Senate motion of March 1992.

In the process of drafting possible academic calendars, I have also consulted with Dr. James Fletcher, Associate Provost at the time Reading Days were approved and implemented. He has assured me that students at that time were made aware that Reading Days could not be accommodated in Fall semesters when Labor Day occurs late in the first week of September, and that they accepted this fact. However, since those negotiations and understandings took place in the Spring of 1992, Dr. Fletcher encouraged me to consult with the current Student Senate for their input.

I directed an inquiry to Bryan Hubbard, Student Senate Chair, accompanied by the two optional calendars attached here. My questions were purposely narrow:

While initial discussions in the Student Senate seemed to lean toward maintaining Reading Days at the cost of the early start to the semesters, their motion to that effect has been tabled until Thursday evening, March 27. Therefore I am unable to include their feedback with this request while also meeting the March 28 noon deadline for inclusion of this item on the April 9 agenda. I note that they plan to inform the Faculty Senate by copy of their resolution once it is approved.

I have also included below a list of pros and cons regarding these options. Please give this matter your immediate consideration so that a decision can be made by the end of this semester at the latest. We are already receiving numerous requests for future calendar information. Thank you for your consideration.

Addendum to Memorandum:
"Early Thursday Start"
1. This is the solution prescribed by the Faculty Senate in March 1992 minutes.
2. Reading Days are maintained.
1. University must open four days earlier in August.
a. Less time to prepare buildings/classrooms between Summer & Fall.
b. Students must leave summer jobs earlier.
2. Two-week Add Period ends at a time when once-per-week Monday classes will have met only once.

"No Reading Days"
1. When Reading Days were initially approved (Spring 92), students were informed by Dr. Fletcher that they would not be able to be scheduled in years when Labor Day falls late.
2. Extra-early start to the semester can be avoided.
3. Two-week Add Period ends after all semester-long classes will have met at least twice.
1. Elimination of Reading Days in the first semester of plus/minus grading (Fall 98) may prove especially difficult for those students who have used Reading Days to their advantage.

Recollection of Mike McDermott regarding guidelines for semester calendars, as related to Susan Jones. [S. Jones comments in brackets.] February 14, 1997.

1. Each semester must have 14 weeks of class, including 14 Mondays, 14 Tuesdays, 14 Wednesdays, 14 Thursdays, and 14 Fridays. [This rule preceded use of Saturdays for classes; 14 of them are also required.]

2. Each semester actually encompasses 15 weeks plus examinations [Reading Days were added in the early 1990's.]

3. For Spring semesters, there will be a week-long Spring Break following the seventh week of class.

4. For Fall semesters, there will be no classes Labor Day (Monday), Thanksgiving and the day after (Thursday and Friday) [this now pertains to Saturday classes as well, since classes do not resume until the Monday following Thanksgiving]. When the Columbus Day Holiday was put into place, that resulted in a second Monday Holiday and a Tuesday Holiday; thus on the following Wednesday, all Monday classes were to meet. The result is that during the 15-week Fall semester, classes are suspended for one of each class day, but those days are distributed during the semester.

5. Fall semesters should start the Monday before Labor Day except when Labor Day falls on the 1st or 2nd of September, then they start on the day after Labor Day. [Note this guideline preceded the use of Reading Days at the end of the semester. Beginning a semester on Sept 2 or 3 would result in semesters that have the last day of Final Examinations on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.] [Labor Day does not fall on the 1st or 2nd of September until 2003, so this is not an immediate issue.]

6. Spring semesters begin no sooner than the first Monday after the 15th of January. [In practice, Spring semesters have never begun earlier than January 19th.]

ATTACHMENT C: Report from the Liaisons to the Board of Visitors

The BOV's March session began in the evening of March 25 with a meeting of the Student Affairs Committee. The meeting, that stretched over four hours was attended by scores of students, including many athletes concerned about possible elimination of their sports.

The first item was the restructuring plan of the Intercollegiate Athletic Program. Athletics Director Tom O'Connor and VP Scherrens presented an analysis of various options for adding men's and women's swimming and women's crew that would comply with Title IX gender equity requirements and maintain financial responsibility. The alternatives proposed included possible elimination of men's volley ball and/or men's and women's tennis. The analysis indicated that adding the new sports without eliminating existing sports would require a student fee increase of $4.50 per year for the next four years and a $270,000 increase in scholarships over this time period. The Committee directed O'Connor and Scherrens to determine whether this option could be achieved with a student fee increase of only $3.50 per year, and moved to accept this option subject to its approval by the Board's Finance and Resource Development Committee. On the following day, at the Meeting of the Finance Committee, O'Connor and Scherrens presented a revision of the option of not eliminating any sports, achieved by postponing the swimming teams' activities from 1998 to 1999, reducing scholarships to existing and new programs, and reducing operating support. The revised option requires only a $3.50 increase in annual student fees, and a $215,000 increase in scholarship over the next four years. It will also bring the GMU athletic program to full compliance with Title IX. The Finance Committee voted to accept this option, and their recommendation was later approved in the meeting of the full Board.

Another item on the agenda of the Student Affairs Committee was football at GMU. O'Connor and Scherrens provided an analysis that determined that an NCAA I-AA team with scholarships would cost about $3.4 million a year in football-related expenses plus an additional $1.5 million a year to meet gender equity requirements, and would generate about $1 million in revenue. Their analysis also indicated that the student fee allocation to Intercollegiate Athletics, which currently provides $5 million of support would increase to at least $7.7 million, and possibly to $9 million if other sources of revenue could not cover the costs of additional scholarships. The Patriot Club which currently struggles to provide $250,000 of annual scholarships would be required to generate over $1.3 million annually. They concluded in summary that football is extremely expensive. O'Connor and Scherrens did however endorse the continued development of the GMU Club Football program, and recommended that $50,000 additional funding (primarily for coaching and insurance) be provided to the club, for a total of $75,000 in support.

Following this presentation, Committee Chairman Joan Digennaro invited John McGeehan, to make a presentation. McGeehan, a lawyer who represents Club Football, attacked the premises of O'Connor's analysis, and the figures he presented. His view was that the team should start at the lowest intercollegiate level with no scholarships, and progress incrementally to a scholarship program. He estimated that the team could initially operate at a budget of $200,000 a year. McGeehan stated that in a survey conducted three years ago, 6800 students indicated that they would pay $10 per year in fees to support a football team. He dismissed the issue of gender equity and said that Title IX does not prescribe an explicit allocation of funding or activity that must be strictly adhered to.

After hearing the presentations, the Student Affairs Committee endorsed the addition of $50,000 in funding for the club. The Committee noted the vast difference in the cost estimates of the two parties, and agreed that Visitor Hazel (Chair of the Finance and Resource Development Committee) would meet with O'Connor, Scherrens and McGeehan to determine the financial feasibility of scholarship and non-scholarship teams.

The Student Affairs Committee also heard statements made by Judge Thatcher and representatives of the Students' Bar Association, and a letter sent by Judge Lee, criticizing the reduction in the funds for the Inns of Court from $200,000 to $75,000, and the 35% reduction in the budget for the GMU Law Review. The Committee decided that Board members Hazel and McGeary will meet with Judge Thatcher, the Provost and the Interim Law Dean, to attempt to resolve these issues, and will report to the Board in the May Meeting. This concludes the report on the meeting of the Student Affairs Committee.

The Board continued its meeting the following day, March 26. The EEO and Affirmative Action Committee heard reports discussing GMU's obligations mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the steps GMU is taking to reach compliance. GMU requires $16 million to be in full compliance with ADA.

The Land Use and Physical Facilities Committee toured the Krasnow Institute and heard reports on the status of all capital projects under construction.

The Finance and Resource Development Committee discussed Summer 1997 tuition and fee rates, and passed a motion that there will be no increase over the current rates. The Committee also endorsed a proposal presented by Dr. High to raise the tuition rate for the MBA program, and the MS programs in taxation and accounting to $257 per credit. Yet another item on the agenda was a presentation on the budget process for the student fees. Committee members noted that students need a say in how their money is spent. The Committee requested more detail on the budget breakdown, and directed GMU to prepare a unit review of student fees for the May Board Meeting. The Committee also discussed the issues arising from the Meeting of the Student Affairs Committee, mentioned above. Finally, in a joint session with the Faculty and Academic Standards Committee, the Committee heard an analysis by VP Scherrens and Provost Potter explaining the reasons for the current level of vacant positions, and the actions taken GMU is taking regarding this issue.

Following that, the Faculty and Academic Standards Committee, received a report of the recommendations of the Business Education Task Force, and an update on the status of the various searches. The Committee also approved a number of faculty actions. In addition to those, the Provost requested the Committee to approve the status of Dr. Mark Grady, the newly appointed Dean of the School of Law, as a Professor of Law without term. Some Board members then raised the question of whether the Board, rather than the President should have the authority to appoint Deans and Vice Presidents. They noted that the Virginia Code gives boards of visitors the authority to make such appointments, but the GMU Faculty Handbook gives this authority to the President, and requested an explanation for this apparent conflict. Jeffrey Brandwine, Assistant Vice President for Legal Affairs, explained that there was no conflict between the Faculty Handbook and the Code; the Board, many years ago, had delegated to the President the authority to make certain appointments. In response to a question from Rector Murray about how the Handbook can be amended, Mr. Brandwine referred to the Preface to the 1994 Edition, which specifies (among other): "If a proposal to amend the Handbook originates with the Board or the central administration, the Board of Visitors, through the President, will notify the Faculty Senate of the proposed amendment and will ask the advice of the Senate at least twenty one days before the Board acts on any such amendment." The Provost also added that some of the finalists for Deans were also finalists elsewhere, so that time was of the essence. The Committee then concurred that it would remain the President's discretion to appoint Deans and VP's, and that the Board's role would be to approve their tenure status.

Finally the Committee briefly discussed matters relating to the decline in the enrollment in Economics; the location of the International Institute; and the location of the International Transactions Program.

The day of meetings was concluded with a meeting of the full Board. After a statement by the President, the various committees presented their recommendations to the entire Board. All such committee recommendations were approved by the full Board. Before adjourning, the Board also went into a closed Executive Session to review legal issues.

ATTACHMENT D: Report of the Virginia Faculty Legislative Relations Workshop

On March 22 Paul Metz President of the Virginia Tech Faculty Senate convened a meeting of representatives who serve in the Faculty Senate of Virginia universities and community colleges. This working group was to review the following issue which had been raised by members of the General Assembly in regard to faculty representation in Richmond" 1) faculty were among the few state employees not presented in Richmond in any organized way 2) lobbying was viewed by legislators as positive and necessary, as a way of obtaining honest information when over 3,000 bills are considered in 45 days 3) committees and subcommittees of the legislature are where the real action takes place 4) the need for information and contact is broader than simply during the session itself, a working relationship needs to be cultivated before the session. This might be carried out in conjunction with the AAUP or the Virginia Education Association. However, both organizations have weak reputations in Virginia.

The consensus was that a five member steering committee be formed to attend the April Faculty Senate of Virginia meeting and to plan the next meeting of this group. The next meeting is scheduled for May 31st at a location to be selected. At that meeting, recommendations will be made regarding the minimum costs of hiring a government relations specialist.

Return to Archives