GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
 MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

OCTOBER 18, 2006

 

Senators Present:  Ernest Barreto, Sheryl Beach, Kristine Bell, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, Phillip Buchanan, Julie Christensen, Rick Coffinberger, Jose Cortina, Warren Decker, Allison Frendak, Karen Hallows, Susan Hirsch, Mark Houck, Matthew Karush, David Kuebrich, Howard Kurtz, Jane McDonald, Linda Monson, Ami Motro, Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Robert Nadeau, Paula Petrik, Larry Rockwood, Jim Sanford, Joe Scimecca, Suzanne Slayden, Ilya Somin, Ray Sommer, Peter Stearns, Cliff Sutton, June Tangney, Ellen Todd, Susan Trencher, Iosif Vaisman, Phil Wiest, James Willett, Mary Williams, Jennie Wu, Stanley Zoltek.

 

Senators Absent:  Deborah Boehm-Davis, Russ Brayley, Lorraine Brown, Frieda Butler, Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Sara Cobb, Lloyd Cohen, Jane Flinn, Jeffrey Gorrell, Lloyd Griffiths, Kingsley Haynes, Dan Joyce, Menas Kafatos, Richard Klimoski, Jim Kozlowski, Alan Merten, Jean Moore, Peter Pober, Daniel Polsby, Jane Razeghi, William Reeder, Shirley Travis, John Zenelis.

 

Visitors Present:  Josh Cantor, Director, Parking and Transportation; Pat Donini, Deputy Director, Human Resources and Payroll; Linda Harber, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources and Payroll; Tom Hennessey, Chief of Staff; Robin Herron, editor, Mason Gazette; Susan Jones, University Registrar; Eugenia Verdaguer, Director; BIS Program.

 

I.  Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 3:04 p.m.

 

II.  Approval of the Minutes of September 6, 2006 and September 13, 2006:  The minutes were approved as distributed.

 

III.  Announcements

Chair Suzanne Slayden welcomed new Senators Ilya Somin (School of Law); Jane Flinn (College of Humanities and Social Sciences – Psychology); and Bob Nadeau (College of Humanities and Social Sciences – English).   Janette Muir will serve as the new faculty representative to the BOV University Life Committee (replacing Evans Mandes). 

 

IV.  Unfinished Business – None.

 

V.  New Business – Committee Reports

A.  Senate Standing Committees

Executive Committee – No report.

 

Academic Policies – Cliff Sutton

Julie Christensen will review the academic policies section of the GMU catalog.  The Chair and committee member Jim Willett will meet today (10/18/06) with Renate Guilford and Cathy Evans to discuss the summer session calendar.  The committee will schedule a meeting with Susan Jones, University Registrar in early November when the Registrar will present some data concerning academic warnings and suspensions since the Senate approved changes several years ago.

 

Budget and Resources – Phil Buchanan

The Budget and Resources Committee met today (10/18/06) and will continue to meet on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM in Enterprise Hall, room 204.  All are welcome to attend.  The committee is working on two issues: (1) resources made available to the faculty (financial, non-financial, and physical) and, (2) out-of-cycle raises brought up by the Faculty Salary Task Force.

 

Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford

In response to a request for the Faculty Matters Committee to examine parking decal costs, (with a particular focus on a reduced rate for adjunct faculty), the Committee took the opportunity to look into a number of aspects regarding the policies and operations of the Parking Services Office.  Committee members thank Mr. Josh Cantor, Director of Parking Services, for meeting with the Committee on September 18 and October 4, 2006.

 

Summary of Committee Findings

There is currently no special decal rate for adjunct faculty. Parking Services is reluctant to implement a special rate based on concerns over (a) potential revenue loss and (b) lack of equity with other part-time/hourly workers and, perhaps, part-time students.  There are currently two ways that an individual can get a reduced rate: (1) purchasing a parking pass for West Campus (decals cost $50/year, and regular shuttle service runs between West and the main Fairfax Campuses), and (2) purchasing a pass that allows parking 15 times during the semester for $4 each.  Parking Services does not currently have technology to modify the latter pass into one that would be time- rather than event-based.

·         Senior Vice President Maurice Scherrens reviews and approves parking policies, and the Board of Visitors approves enforcement policies.  A Parking Services Advisory Committee exists to review and advise administrators regarding policies.  At present both the Staff Senate and Student Government have designated representatives on the committee.  There is no designated faculty member.

·         GMU’s share of CUE bus funding and all shuttle funding comes from Campus Access Funds, and some revenue goes to the university.  CUE bus usage has increased considerably in recent years, with 300,000 trips taken by faculty, staff, and students last year.

·         Lot G, which has been partly closed for contractor parking, will not be available during hours that contractors are not using it due to liability issues.

·         Based on the arbitrary nature of the age of eligibility and on advice of University Counsel, the senior citizen parking discount will be completely eliminated beginning fall, 2007.  It was retained this year for people for whom it had already been in effect because decal sales and distribution had already begun.  Free parking for emeritus faculty and for senior citizen students who qualify for free tuition will be retained.

·         Parking is free for some campus events, e.g., at the Center for the Arts and the Patriot Center, because a special fee is paid by the organization to exempt one or more lots from enforcement.

·         The Parking Services Office’s Website has not been updated recently and includes errors in enforcement hours.  Faculty lots are enforced all the time, but general lots are enforced from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. Monday through Friday and 8:00 to 2:00 on Saturday.  Parking meters are enforced from 7:00 to 10:00 Monday through Friday and 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Saturday and Sunday.

·         There are multiple reasons why some parking decals that were ordered using payroll deduction were not mailed.  These include batch rather than item-by-item processing by the decal manufacturer, the address of record on Banner not matching the address on the order form (the Banner address overrides other addresses), and changes in employment category and the consequent eligibility for payroll deduction.  In the future, people will only be offered on-line choices for which they are eligible.  Payroll deduction will automatically continue for faculty and staff who currently use it.

·         Faculty and staff with Fairfax Campus permits may park at Arlington after making arrangements with Parking Services.  Underground parking in the adjacent FDIC building is available to individuals with both a valid decal and GMU ID card after 5:00 Monday through Thursday.

·         Parking Services is attempting to improve maintenance of parking decks by hiring more part-time workers and students to clean up trash and by power-washing once per year and sweeping quarterly.

·         More decks will be built and more deck parking will be required as GMU construction continues in the future.  A balance will have to be struck between parking and public transportation.

 

Motion:  The Faculty Matters Committee moves that the Faculty Senate elect a faculty member to serve on the Parking Services Advisory Committee and that the elected faculty member report to the Senate at least annually on issues that are important to faculty, e.g., adjunct faculty and senior citizen parking rates.

 

The motion was passed unanimously by voice vote.

 

Nominations – Jim Bennett

June Tangney was nominated and unanimously elected by voice vote to serve on the Organization and Operations Committee. 

 

Organizations and Operations – No report.

 

B. Other Committees

External Academic Relations/Faculty Senate of Virginia – Dave Kuebrich

The Faculty Senate of Virginia has scheduled four meetings this year; the first was held in September.  Higher Education Advocacy Day will take place in Richmond on Thursday, January 11, 2007.  The GMU committee wants to send teams of 8-10 faculty members to meet with each northern Virginia legislator or assistant. 

Suggested legislative topics discussed at the September 11th FSVA meeting included;

The final decision of which topics to pursue will be made at the November 11th FSVA meeting. SCHEV is very interested to consider more economies in higher education with distance learning; may establish one program to emphasize distance learning.

 

Faculty/Staff Housing Workgroup – Mark Houck

Phase 1 of the Faculty/Staff Housing Project will have a mix of 145-175 units; another survey is now underway to determine demand for type of units – flats, duplexes, town homes.  All will be rentals.  The first units will be available Summer 2008, continuing through Fall and Winter, 2008 – given the progress made, quite remarkable.  A special purpose entity will be created to manage the units; legal issues pending sign-off by the GMU Foundation.  Topographical and area maps were displayed; the site is located near the Krasnow Institute, behind Physical Plant; contains 17 acres, of which 11 ½ to be developed.  The property is currently owned by GMU. 

 

A draft priority list of eligibility for housing is as follows;
a.  President’s designee (a typical clause, never used).

b.  New tenure-track, tenured, or research faculty (within first two years of employment here).

c.  Existing tenure-track, tenured, or research faculty.

d.  New classified, administrative/professional faculty with special skills.

e.  Existing classified, administrative/professional faculty with special skills.

f.  Existing classified, administrative/professional faculty with higher than average turnover rates.

g.  Term faculty.

h.  Existing classified, administrative/professional faculty.

i.  Graduate students, possibly undergraduate students.

j.  Staff of educational partners and affiliated organizations.

k.  City/County employees.

The expectation of the committee is that it is unlikely that the list will get past “c”.  Plans for very short-term housing in parallel development for a conference/hotel center separate from this project.  Linda Harber noted that Human Resources has rental housing with furniture/dishes, etc. available – contact her (lharber@gmu.edu) or Lucy Cummings (lcumming@gmu.edu) for more information. 

 

A question arose from the floor as to who makes the decisions to assign housing, i.e. reviews the applications and makes the selection?  Dr. Houck reported that such decisions are to be made on a first come, first save basis.  In that event, units that hire early in the cycle will have an edge over those who hire later.  “New” is defined as anytime in the first two years of employment, during which time it is possible to move up the list.  After that time, transition will be made into “existing” categories.  Concerned was expressed from the floor re the ways in which the timing of funding decisions will favor some units over others given the varying time frames for funding of positions in different units.

 

Phase Two of the Faculty/Staff Housing Project will probably be located on the west campus, and/or near existing housing on the north side of campus.  The unit mix and pricing are as yet unknown.  The BOV Land Use and Facilities Committee (note:  Mark is Faculty Rep) is trying to figure out what to do with the west.

 

Faculty Task Force on Salary Issues: Policy Recommendations – Rick Coffinberger

Chair Coffinberger started by expressing the hope that many of those in attendance at this meeting were also able to attend the meeting of September 13.  Seven motions were developed for consideration based on the meeting of the 13th.  Each motion was separately considered.

 

                        Motions from the Ad Hoc Task Force on Salary Issues

Please note: Questions and comments following the motions, appear in italics beneath each motion.

 

The Faculty Senate’s Ad Hoc Task Force on Salary Issues was charged to review the University’s existing policies regarding the salaries paid to instructional and administrative faculty and to recommend as it deems appropriate changes in existing policies and/or new policies to enhance equity and transparency in the University’s salaries.  The Task Force is not charged to consider the salary policies as they impact the support staff but has concluded that the support staff’s salaries are also in need of improvement especially in regard to the high cost of living in Northern Virginia.

 

The Task Force has concluded that the University’s leadership must address the lack of cost of living adjustments to counter the high cost of living in Northern Virginia; the low benchmark for evaluating the appropriate level for instructional faculty salaries compared the benchmark utilized for the salaries of some senior administrators; and the lack of transparency or meaningful involvement by peer-elected instructional faculty in some of the salient policies regarding salaries.  The Task Force continues to meet and discuss these issues and may introduce additional motions for the Senate’s consideration at its November 1st meeting. 

 

For now, the Task Force moves adoption by the Faculty Senate of the following proposals which if adopted, will be forwarded to the President, the Rector of the University’s Board of Visitors and the Provost for their consideration:

 

.

(1)    The President and Rector of the Board of Visitors publicly announce that significantly improving instructional faculty salaries in relationship to relevant benchmarks (e.g., the 80th percentile for public universities offering doctorates as reported by the American Association of University Professors),

taking into account the cost of living in Northern Virginia, is the university’s highest budget priority over the next five years.

 

Question:  What is the cost to accomplish this in the time frame?  Will it fit into the budget cycle?

Response:  We have not calculated the total cost; administrative data shows we are approximately 33% behind, each percentile equals approximately $1,000.000.  The Provost also noted that the Budget Committee of the General Assembly has not requested more information; increase not likely historically in an off-year cycle.

The motion was passed unanimously by voice vote.

 

(2)    The President and Rector of the Board of Visitors be invited by the Senate Chair to speak to the Faculty Senate* as soon as feasible to endorse and publicize the goal of significantly improving instructional faculty salaries as well as to share their ideas on how it may be achieved.

 

Question:  How long are the motions supposed to be in force? 

Response:  The first motion defines a five-year period; the fourth motion requests an annual review.

The motion was passed unanimously by voice vote.

 

(3)     The President and Rector of the Board of Visitors, in concert with peer-elected instructional faculty representatives and representatives of other key groups (e.g., the lobbyists, staff, students, Alumni/ae, and other supporters), develop and implement a detailed plan for persuading the Virginia General Assembly to provide financial support for significantly improving instructional faculty salaries. 

 

The motion was amended to include “staff.”  Some progress has been made; the University has hired a professional lobbying firm who will meet soon at GMU with interested parties.

The amended motion was passed unanimously by voice vote.

 

(4)    The President provide the Board of Visitors and the Faculty Senate annual reports on the university’s progress toward the goal of improving instructional faculty salaries.

 

In response to a question raised regarding the form the report should take, the Task Force will discuss and provide an update as an information item.

The motion was passed unanimously by voice vote.

 

(5)    The President commit to limiting the annual salary increments for top administrators who are at or above the 80th percentile with respect to their peers in comparable institutions (as reported by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources) to one percent until the salaries paid to instructional faculty reach the 80th percentile with respect to their relative peers (as reported by the American Association of University Professors). 

 

Questions and concerns:

Do “top administrators” refer to specific administrators?  Is this a group? It was noted that it may not be feasible to determine the answers to these questions as administrators are a wide category – data not available.  The Task Force focused on deans and above as defined in CUPA data.  Vice Presidents were included.  In response to a question raised, the Committee did not focus on Assistant and Associate Deans at this time but could do so in the future.  Even though the SCHEV benchmark for faculty salaries is 60%, GMU faculty is at  40%. 

Concern expressed that this might cause some top administrators to seek jobs elsewhere and the need to focus on raising faculty salaries.  In talking about “top administrators” from the academic side of the house, non-academic administrators were not included as we lacked data to make comparisons. A concern was expressed that university administrators need flexibility to hire good administrators – those who are very good cost money.  Some members of the Senate argued that it was a negative effort to pit one group of faculty against another and asked the question:  Who to monitor raises and gaps? 

Those speaking in support of motion, argued that we must be concerned about the growing gap between administrative and instructional faculty salaries.  AAUP views this as a fairly recent trend; administrators used to not be paid much more than faculty.  Also legislative and public concern about what is going on in foundations.  This was not seen as an issue between the faculties, but one that was to raise consciousness of an existing situation which was now being discussed..  A comment was directed to the issue that the President would not accept motion #5 given the limitation it made on his power to raise salaries as he saw fit, but nonetheless argued that acceptance of motion #5 was evidence of how serious the faculty was about these issues.  A related comment focused on the need for the Faculty Senate to represent faculty interests whether or not those in administrative positions agreed or disagreed with them.  It was further noted that one percent of administrative salaries would be a very high raise for many faculty who are earning between $30,000 and $60,000 per year.  Finally, whatever the agreed upon percentage, it should be noted that when   available monies are tied up in administrative salaries and raises, it cannot be allocated to faculty equity; while disparities also exist between those holding similar positions in administrative positions (e.g. Chairs within a single unit earning widely disparate salaries).

Questions and comments were also raised regarding:  Is 1% a real or nominal (adjusted for inflation)?   Could it actually be a pay cut that would undermine the market?

 Question:Was study based on state or contract dollars?  Some faculty receive zero state dollars and must bring in their own dollars. (The Chair noted that this was not discussed by the Committee)

A response from a Committee member pointed out that while it is “really shocking” to think someone takes a pay cut because of inflation ,the GMU faculty did so for 3-4 years when there was not only no money to keep up with inflation but not raises at all.  It was noted that during this time, some administrators in charge of money got 25-30% raises.  The motion on the table sought to reverse this trend; to revise trend. 

Of course deans earn much more than a professor. How much do people here earn in relation to peers in other doctoral institutions?  If we are paying 40-46% relative to peers at other institutions, it is not a question of absolute dollars.

 

A motion made to refer Motion #5 back to the committee was passed by a divided vote.

 

(6)    The Provost fully disclose annually to the Salary Issues Task Force the terms of the existing contracts of administrative faculty who report to him.**

This would affect a handful of administrators based on data we have at this time.  

The motion was amended to include “annually,” and was passed unanimously by voice vote.

 

(7)    The Faculty Task Force on Salary Issues be authorized to continue its work until it has completed   

      the tasks assigned to it by the Senate in March 2006.

The motion passed unanimously by voice vote.

 

      *The President is schedule to speak to the Senate at the November 1st, 2006 meeting and the Rector is scheduled to speak to the Senate at its March, 2007 meeting.

      **The Provost recently provided this report to the Task Force.

 

VI.  Other New Business

Policy on Use of Public Space – Tom Hennessey

Purpose:  After an incident in the Johnson Center, the utility and application of a number of space utilization policies were questioned.  The President appointed a committee to review current university policies on the use of public space at the university; with regard to how requests by groups and individuals seeking access to public space at the University are managed, and where appropriate, to identify current policies that need to be updated and necessary policies that do not now exist.  The membership of the task force included Bob Nadeau, Professor of English, and was chaired by Jon Gould, Acting Director and Associate Professor, Administration of Justice; now on sabbatical with the Supreme Court and resident authority on free speech issues. 

 

The nine policies and procedures governing the use of university space are: University Policy 1103, Space Use; 1105, Graffiti; 1109, Posters; 1110, Vending; 1112 Banners; 54, Leafleting; 56 Weapons; University Police policies on trespass orders and prevailing regulations and practices in place in the Johnson Center and Residence Halls. 

 

Key findings:  The university is rightly committed to open discourse and access in its use of campus space, however there are two general shortcomings in the University’s approach to its grounds and facilities identified as ambiguous wording and inconsistencies between certain policies. 

 

Conclusions:  The University should:

Recommendations:  There should be a single, organizing principle for use of space.  One is recommended:

Open discourse and assembly have a hallowed place in the American democratic system.  At George Mason University, campus policies and procedures regarding the use of space and facilities are predicated on these values.  At the same time, University policies and procedures proceed on the assumption that space and facilities are intended primarily for the use of University students, faculty and staff to advance the core functions of the institution:  education/instruction, research and community service.  Facilities and spaces may be used in these ways provided the activities or events do not interfere with the core functions of the institution, prevent or interrupt the core use of the space or facility, or endanger or present a safety hazard to others.  Use of the facilities and campus space will be managed in accordance with this principle. 

 

University space and facilities should not be managed in a way that regulates the content of events or activities, but certain activities need not be permitted.

 

The Office of the President identify and designate individuals to whom questions will be referred when difficult policy decisions must be made. 

 

Current University policies require revision.  Those listed need to be revised and specific recommendations for each are provided:

-         Changes to Policy 1103: Space Utilization and Scheduling

-         Changes to Policy 1110:  Vending Sales and Solicitation Policy

-         An amended Leafleting Policy

-         Changes to Policy 1109:  Poster Posting Policy

-         A new Policy on Demonstrations

-         Changes to Policy 1105:  University Graffiti

 

Time Line:  Comment period until the end of the semester; review for responsible offices finalized at the end of the semester.  Implementation of revisions and new policies at the beginning of Spring 07 semester.

 

On behalf of the Executive Committee, Suzanne Slayden noted concerns about who defines obscene and defamatory speech.  Will the Use of Public Space Task Force continue?  Will there be more faculty members on the committee? (In addition to Bob Nadeau?)

 

In response to a question raised, the BOV has placed responsibility in the President’s Office for approval of the policy.  One Senator asked that the revised document come before the Faculty Senate for a vote.  Other concerns included the need for leaders of unplanned demonstrations to go to the administration prior to the demonstration.  Mr. Hennessey responded that the situation is just the opposite.  When an unplanned demonstration occurs, university representatives can advise demonstrators where they can go in order not to interrupt university access and operations.  The administration has not recognized this responsibility in the past and now recognizes the obligation to let people know is something is not permitted.

 

A Senator expressed concerns about freedoms of speech and assembly. As currently written the document abridges freedom of speech and assembly.  Tom Hennessey responded that the only obligation of GMU as an institution is to provide sight and sound.

 

Concerns were raised regarding permission for demonstrating in certain areas only. Tom responded that there are demonstrations which could be held around campus and wouldn’t interfere but  if  a demonstration was held  beyond a certain size, the requirement is that it move to designated space.  Faculty are invited to send comments to Tom at thenness@gmu.edu or Suzanne Slayden at sslayden@gmu.edu.

 

VII.  Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 4:25 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Trencher

Secretary

 

APPENDIX:  Policy on Use of Public Space

 

In the Fall of 2005, President Merten established a University Policy Review Taskforce to consider how George Mason University manages the use of its public space. His charge gave the Taskforce three responsibilities:

 

 

The Report is now available to the Faculty Senate and General Faculty for review and comment. The next step in the process is revision of the existing policies as recommended by the Task Force by the end of Fall Semester.

 

Please read the entire report at http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/senate/Information/Taskforce_on_PublicSpace_4-24-06_final.pdf

 

Most of the policies that are referred to in the Report may be found at http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/policy/newpolicy/general.html

 

If you have comments or suggestions on the Report or the policies that are to be revised, you may submit them directly to Tom Hennessey, Office of the President, MSN 3A1 (thenness@gmu.edu) or to Suzanne Slayden, Chair of the Faculty Senate, MSN 3E2 (sslayden@gmu.edu) for anonymous incorporation into a response from the Senate Executive Committee.