George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Faculty Senate
February 8, 2002

Senators Present: J. Bennett, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, B. Brown, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, S. Cobb, R. Coffinberger, R. Conti, M. DeNys, E. Elstun, H.W. Jeong, D. Kuebrich, B. Manchester, R. Nadeau, L. Pawloski, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, S. Slayden, P. Stearns, P. Story, C. Sutton

Senators Absent: K. Avruch, A. Berry, W. M. Black, L. Bowen, R. Carty, S. Cheldelin, T. Chorvat, Y. D. Chung, S. deMonsabert, M. Deshmukh, P. Feerick, T. Friesz, J. Gorrell, H. Gortner, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, G. Hanweck, K. Haynes, J. High, R. C. Jones R. Klimoski, A. Kolker, M. Krauss, C. Mattusch. A. Merten, J. Moore, H. Morgan, W. Reeder, J. Kozlowski, L. Rockwood, S. Ruth, L. Seligmann, R. Smith, P. So, A. Sofer, D. Struppa, B. Sturtevant, C. Thomas, S. Trencher, P. Wilkie, J. Zenelis, S. Zoltek

Robert Nadeau presented his resolution which is as follows:

WHEREAS the present budgetary problems in the Commonwealth of Virginia have resulted in a crisis situation in higher education, in general, GMU, in particular, that requires the full and active participation of the Faculty Senate;
WHEREAS the diverse missions of the standing committees of the Faculty Senate and the usual time frames in which the work of these committees becomes actionable are inadequate to effectively respond to and deal with this crisis;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate instructs the Senate Executive Committee to create on its own authority ad hoc Action Committee composed of five tenured faculty members who should have experience in one or more of the following areas: a) state and local politics; b) economics and finance; c) law; d) conflict resolution; and e) working with the BOV.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the charge of said Action Committee will be as follows: a) prepare a short report to be distributed by action of the Executive Committee to all GMU faculty members via e-mail and hard copy that describes in summary fashion the current budgetary crisis and the various proposals that have been made to deal with this crisis, including recent actions taken by the BOV; b) monitor all aspects of the current crisis and meet with the members of the Senate Executive Committee on a weekly or biweekly basis to discuss findings; c) develop in concert with members of the Senate Executive Committee appropriate means for the Faculty Senate to make its issues and concerns more public; and d) fashion legislation on particular initiatives that, following the approval of the Faculty Senate, could be introduced into the General Assembly by delegates from Northern Virginia.

Friendly amendments have been included in the above resolution.

Provost Stearns spoke in favor of the motion, commenting that the legislative session is half over and new initiatives were unlikely, but he added that this resolution should be valuable in encouraging other people, such as parents, users of facilities, to write their legislators.

After general discussion the Senate agreed to elect a Committee to monitor all aspects of the current budget crisis and meet with the members of the Senate Executive committee on a weekly or biweekly basis to discuss findings. It was the sense of the Senate that this Committee would continue until the crisis ended. It was the sense of the Committee that this Committee will serve until a final report is received by the senate who will then dismiss them with thanks. The Senators agreed that publicity is needed to inform the general public of this crisis.

The motion passed unanimously with no abstentions.

Chair Don Boileau invited James Sanford to share with Senators his e-mail to students concerning the budget crisis: "I am certain that all of you have heard about the budget crisis in Virginia and how some of the budget proposals will impact higher education. This message is to let you know that you can easily contact your state senator and delegate to express your  opinions, if you want to. From the GMU homepage, simply click on "government and you" located just below the picture. From there you will be able to enter your zip code to ensure that messages are sent to the right people, and you can identify issues you would like to address. You may forward pre-scripted messages or construct your own. One caveat: some people have suggested that you use a private e-mail address rather than your own GMU account. By doing this you are not using state resources for political purposes. I don't believe this is a big deal, however, since GMU has the site on its homepage and the Commonwealth does not incur any cost for your e-mails. By the way, this message does not fall under the caveat above  because I am not promoting (overtly) particular positions. I am simply informing you of the opportunity and method by which you can become involved."

The meeting adjourned at 3:30 pm

Respectfully submitted,
Lorraine Brown
Secretary, Faculty Senate

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