George Mason University
Minutes of the Faculty Senate
October 6, 2004

Senators Present: K. Avruch, J. Bennett, R. Berroa, A. Berry, P. Black, D. Boehm-Davis, R. Brayley, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Carver, S. Cobb, R. Coffinberger, W. Decker, C. Douglas, R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, M. Ferri, M. Houck, D. Joyce, C. Kaffenberger, J. Kozlowski, D. Kuebrich, J. Mahler, J. McDonald, A. Merten, J. Metcalf, L. Monson, J. Moore, A. Motro, P. Moyer-Packenham, P. Pober, D. Polsby, J. Razeghi, W. Reeder, P. Regan, L. Rockwood, E. Roman-Mendoza, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, S. Slayden, C. Smith, P. Stearns, C. Sutton, J. Tangney, T. Thatchenkery, I. Vaisman, P. Wiest, S. Zoltek

Senators Absent: M. Boardman, B. Brown, M. DeNys, J. Gorrell, L. Griffiths, K. Haynes, B. Johnsen, M. Kafatos, K. Johnsen-Neshati, R. Klimoski, R. Nadeau, D. Struppa, S. Travis, S. Trencher, J. Zenelis

Guests Present: B. Crandall, D. Faxon, D. Gomes-Moran, R. Herron, S. Jones, A. Moran, M. Terry, E. Verheyen

I. Call to Order
Chair Jim Bennett called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes
T. Thatchenkery’s name was added to the list of Senators present at the September 8, 2004 meeting, and then the minutes of September 8, 2004 were approved as distributed.

III. Announcements and Introductions
A. Chair’s Announcements
The Chair introduced Marylou Masiyowski as the new Clerk of the Faculty Senate.

The Chair announced that Rector Dewberry was unable to address the Faculty Senate asplanned due to the death of his sister. The Chair instructed the Secretary of the Senate to send a letter of condolence to Rector Dewberry on behalf of the Facultyand the Faculty Senate.

B. President Merten’s Address
President Merten spoke on three topics: Michael Moore, legislative priorities, and sources of revenue.

Michael Moore:
President Merten expressed his regret about the handling of Michel Moore’s invitation and its subsequent cancellation. Stating that the details of the issue had been reported correctly in the Washington Post, the President explained that the University had cancelled its contract (which allowed each party to cancel until five days prior to the scheduled program) with Moore because it was illegal to pay a “political” speaker $35,000 with state funds. There was no suppression of free speech. “I am all for free speech,” President Merten said, “Political or controversial figures can and have spoken at George Mason before, but the events were paid for by private sources.” A mistake was made, but “we’re now moving ahead.”

Senators brought up the fact that AAUP Director Roger Bowen had written President Merten and the GMU Chapter of the AAUP, expressing concern that Moore’s cancellation was a violation of academic freedom. President Merten responded that he had spoken by phone with Bowen, explaining the situation and that Bowen was satisfied. However, Stanley Zoltek and Joe Scimecca, former and current presidents respectively of GMU’s AAUP chapter, reported that they believed Bowen still had concerns and that, given his position as head of the leading faculty professional organization, these concerns should not be lightly dismissed

Various questions were asked: Why was the problem not anticipated? How was the decision made to invite Moore? Is a new policy needed? Did the decision to cancel Moore’s speaking engagement satisfy the state legislators and others who complained?

On the last point, President Merten responded that he had received about 350 emails on the issue. He said some will never be satisfied but others had emailed or called to praisethe University for its prompt decision.

Legislative Priorities:
President Merten said that GMU has four priorities: faculty salaries, student financial aid, enrollment growth, and capital projects.

Faculty salaries: Improving salaries is the first priority of GMU and all the other state universities. GMU set aside funds for a 4.5% increase this year (of which 1.5% was from State funds and 3% from tuition). The President stated that the faculty should receive 5 % salary increases (3 percent from the State, 2 percent from tuition) for at least the next 3 years to bring GMU to the 60 percent benchmark among its designated group of peer institutions.

Senators welcomed this information but pointed out that GMU salaries are not keeping pace with the raises given to area workers by the federal government and the private sector. In response to a question regarding the need for GMU to receive a salary locality adjustment, the President responded that it is not politically feasible to ask for this during the coming year, but GMU will make a “big push” for a COLA in the ensuing year.

Student aid: The recent increases in tuition have enabled the University to supplement the financial-aid pool, but this is not a viable long-term solution. GMU will ask the State to increase student aid by an additional $12-15 million over the next 3-4 years.

Enrollment growth: the 2004 fall-term enrollment is over 29,000 (up from about 23,000 four years ago). There are many reasons for this increase: a higher number of applications received, a higher percentage of admitted students choosing to come to GMU, and a markedly higher retention rate (now in the 70-80% range). The number of out-of-state students has also increased to about 20% of the student body—which is salutary for the University’s profile and revenues. Current demographics project a significant increase in demand for higher education in the years from 2007-12.

Senators expressed satisfaction with the improved retention rate but there was concern that it might reflect a lowering of academic standards. President Merten said the explanation is simply that students are reporting a greater degree of satisfaction with GMU.

Capital Projects: The University is requesting more capital-project funds from the legislature for the building of Academic V. It is also asking for planning monies for Academic VI and Research II. The new parking deck should be finished by December, and the construction of Research I is continuing.

Sources of Revenue
President Merten stated that the GMU budget is about $480 million. Of this, $120 million comes from the State, $120 million from tuition, and the remaining $240 million comes from such sources as research grants, student fees, private contributions, and fees on the use of the Patriot Center. To maintain itself and optimize its potential, GMU needs to identify new donors. Every local academic unit and school/college must ask itself how it can generate more funds. When feasible, local academic units are urged to develop more fee-for-service courses.

On Friday, October 8, 2004 the University will sponsor a program on increasing financial sources.

III. Reports from Senate Standing Committee Chairs

VII. New Business
Mike Ferri questioned whether the University’s designated spaces for handicapped parkingand pathways meet ADA regulations. His concerns include poor lighting, a lack of handrails, and pathways with loose gravel and steep grades. In addition, a building such as Enterprise Hall currently has no handicapped parking spaces within several hundred yards. Senator Ferri pointed out that he and others have repeatedly called these matters to the attention of University Services, but there has been no satisfactory response.

Ann Moran of the University Service Department spoke with the Faculty Senate about handicap parking. Over the past few weeks, she has spoken with the ADACoordinator regarding the number of handicap-parking spaces required. After verifying the number of parking spaces on campus, the requirements are for 197 spaces, and currently there are 273. Ann Moran agreed that Enterprise Hall is somewhat hard to access, but she stated there are 12 spaces by Science and Technology I and II. It was mentioned that the parking situation should get better by January 2005 when the new parking garage is opened. Ms. Moran said that the fraudulent use of the handicap-parking spaces might be another cause of the problem.

The ensuing discussion raised several issues. It was pointed out that the University should not only provide an adequate number of parking spaces but also locate them appropriately. The University’s concern should be focused not simply on satisfying the law but on meeting the needs of the handicapped. Senators also asked why the concerns of Senator Ferri and others were not addressed earlier? And have concerns such as this received less Senate attention since replacing the earlier Facilities and Resources Committee with the Budget and Resources Committee?

Esther Elstun commented that with the absorption of the Faculty responsibilities by the Faculty Matters Committee some issues may not being resolved in a timely fashion.

2003-2004 Report of the Minority and Diversity Committee
Rei Berroa from the Minority and Diversity Committee made the following report:

2003-2004 Committee members: Heibatollah Baghi, Rei Berroa, Molly Davis (Chair), Ellen Fagenson-Eland, Jeng Eng Lin

2004-2005 Committee members: Heibatollah Baghi, Rei Berroa, Kristin Johnsen-Neshati, Jeng Eng Lin, Peter Pober (Chair)

Charge: To work in concert with the Equity Office, Minority Students Services Office, other pertinent administrators, and campus organizations in developing and implementing means to ensure nondiscrimination, tolerance, and protection of the rights of all persons affiliated with the University; and to facilitate dialogue among those connected with the University and those in the broader community on matters concerning minority populations and diversity issues.

The Minority and Diversity Committee embarked upon a year long investigation to define excellence in diversity at George Mason University. It was noted that the phrase “excellence in diversity” was prominently placed on the University web page, but it was not exactly clear how this term was being operationalized. The Committee sought to interview key stakeholders within the GMU community. Our goal was to understand the functions of their offices and to obtain their perspectives on how to assess the standard of excellence in diversity. The following individuals made presentations to the Committee at monthly meetings and we gratefully acknowledge their contributions:

Ron Sinacore, Office of Equity and Diversity
Earl Ingram, Office of Equity and Diversity (prior to his retirement)
Karen Rosenblum, Vice President for University Life
Karen Gentemann, Office of Institutional Assessment
Art King, Office of Diversity Student Services
Meihua Zhai, Institutional Research and Reporting
Camille Hazeur, Office of Equity and Diversity


The Princeton Review has identified GMU as the most diverse university in the country. Diversity is a strong asset to the university community and contributes to every aspect of the life of GMU students, faculty, staff and administrators. There is general consensus that diversity should be valued and appreciated. There is less consensus about specific strategies on how to demonstrate an appreciation of diversity. The publication Diversity Facts and other documents provided by each of the above mentioned presenters provided insight about programs and services targeting diverse members of the GMU community. Although the committee did not interview everyone it could on this topic, the presenters were able to share vital information for the group to consider.

The following represents the goal and the list of standards for the Excellence in Diversity initiative mounted by the committee during the year. In the next phase, this committee will determine the evaluative procedures to assess the implementation of the following standards. The committee supports increased attention to the issue of diversity. The statistical data clearly indicates that the student body is diverse. It is now important to make additional steps to ensure that GMU is a place where diverse members can thrive. Special attention should be directed toward increasing the diversity represented among faculty. This will require a concerted, committed effort on the part of all academic units. In addition, the data gathering process also revealed the need to examine ways to retain diverse faculty and staff and to create opportunities to increase the representation of diverse groups within the ranks of the administration and governance of the university.

Goal: To define the standards for Excellence in Diversity at George Mason University.

Standard 1: Diversity Goals

Identify diversity goals through a process of broad participation and widely publicize them to all units of the GMU community.

Standard 2: Organizational Culture

Develop a culture at George Mason University that values, appreciates and celebrates diversity and a climate that reflects respect, openness, and tolerance toward differences.

Standard 3: Inclusion

Seek full participation of diverse groups of students, faculty, administrators and staff in university affairs.

Standard 4: Full Participation

Maintain a diverse community through recruitment and retention policies that promote continued representation of diversity among faculty, students, administrators, and staff.

Standard 5: Resource Development

Provide adequate, ongoing funding for diversity programs and services.

Standard 6: Policies and Procedures

Preview standards for diversity policies and procedures to assess their efficacy and implementation.

Standard 7: Research and Data Gathering

Use research and data to assess the university’s success in implementing corrective plans.

Standard 8: Administrative Support

University leaders and administrators will commit to institutional diversity goals and ensure that all academic and administrative units reflect them.

VIII. Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty
Esther Elstun remarked that the dates for the Summer Session 2005 have not yet been posted onto the Web, and requested that the Clerk of the Faculty Senate report these to the Faculty. Those date for Summer Session 2005 are below:

Dates for Summer Term 2005

SessionDaysDatesExam Dates
AMTWRFMay 23-June 21June 23 & 24
 MTWRMay 23-June 21June 23
 MWF (evening)*May 23-June 22June 27
 TRS (evening)**May 24-June 23June 28

*Classes meet MW and the following Fridays: June 3, June 10, and 17
**Classes meet TR and the following Saturdays: June 11 and June 18

University closed on Memorial Day – Monday May 30

SessionDaysDatesExam Dates
BMWJune 6-July 25June 27
 TRJune 7-July 26June 28

University closed on Monday, July In Observance of Independence Day
No Standard Classes on Tuesday, July 5

SessionDaysDatesExam Dates
AMTWRFJune 27-July27July 29 & 30
 MTWRJune 27-July 27July 29
 MWF (evening)*June 27-August 1August 3
 TRS (evening)**June 28-August 2August 4

*Classes meet MW and the following Fridays: July 9, 16, and 23
**Classes meet TR and the following Saturdays: July 10 and 17

University closed on Monday, July 4 In Observance of Independence Day
No Standard Classes on Tuesday, July 5

Session X - Days, dates and times determined by individual course instructor

VI. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 4:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
David Kuebrich
Secretary, Faculty Senate