Meeting Minutes: May 6, 2003


The Winter Semester General Faculty Meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by Chancellor Richard Wallace in the Jesse Wrench Auditorium of the Memorial Union. Approximately 150 people were in attendance.

Report from Faculty Council

Wallace introduced Michael Devaney, Chair of the MU Faculty Council, who reported on Council's activities since the last faculty meeting in October of 2002. He noted an ongoing concern about budget reductions and with the report on Reduction of Academic Costs (REDAC). He said that Council is pursuing efforts to have faculty workload defined in terms of all faculty efforts, not just teaching. Other responses to the REDAC report were Council's resolution concerning the merging or reorganization of units with no loss of tenured faculty. Devaney cited a letter he sent to Governor Holden and noted that, in his reply, the Governor recognized the work done by the university and said he would try to minimize budget reductions. Devaney then reported on two projects concerning grievance procedures: the first is formation of a committee to review the fairness and effectiveness of grievance hearings in the last five years; the second is the report of a committee headed by Judith Goodman which recommends significant changes in grievance procedures. Members of Council's Executive Committee are preparing a document based on those recommendations which will be brought before the faculty for their approval in the fall. It will then be taken to the Board of Curators with a request for a three-year trial at the University of Missouri Columbia.

Devaney said that the Executive Committee met recently with the Chancellor and Provost Deaton concerning possible conflicts of interest in the Research Animal Diagnostic Laboratory (RADIL) in the School of Veterinary Medicine. He described Council's view that administrators should not received incentives and those who receive incentives should not occupy administrative positions.

Devaney noted that 75 faculty retired in January under the VERIP program bringing tenured and tenure track faculty at UMC to 1,114, which reflects a continuing 20 year decline.

Devaney reported that Council's standing committee on Academic Affairs recommended proposals regarding course renumbering, electronic distribution of class rosters, academic renewal, revision of records, course repeat policy, and grade of incomplete (I) policy.

Devaney reported that the Board of Curators recently adopted Council's recommendation to change the "Collected Rules and Regulations" such that the decision to modify the suspension from practice and competitions of an athlete charged with a felony will be made, not by the Director of Athletics, but by the Provost or Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs as designated by the Chancellor. Devaney also noted that Council has formed an ad hoc committee chaired by Richard Hessler to study the impact of intercollegiate athletics on UMC and its athletes.

Devaney thanked the members of Council's Executive Committee and reported that Gordon Christensen is our Chair for academic year 2003-04 and Eileen Porter is the new Vice Chair. He concluded by asking that funding for faculty development be restored, noting that we must invest in ourselves before others will do so.

Report from Chancellor Wallace

Chancellor Wallace thanked Devaney and Faculty Council for their cooperation and their efforts and expressed his approval of Council's new Chair and Vice Chair as well as of President Floyd and his leadership thus far. Wallace expressed appreciation for Council's projects concerning grievance procedures and approved of plans to hold a faculty vote concerning revised grievance procedures. Wallace referred to his recent letter to faculty and staff concerning progress at UMC noting especially the newly premiered opera "Corps of Discovery: A Musical Journey" commissioned by UMC as a source of great pride as well as the development campaign of the Jefferson Club.

In his budget report, Wallace described current revenue sources and noted that state support constitutes twenty percent of revenues (as compared to forty nine percent in 1966). He said that student fees accounted for thirty six percent of revenues in fiscal year 2001 and will account for forty seven percent of revenues in fiscal year 2004 if there are not reduction in state support. In discussing budget planning assumptions Wallace noted that, with no reduction in state funding, the twenty nine percent increase in benefits costs could be accommodated at the campus level. However, a reduction of 10.8 percent, as has been discussed, would require more drastic measures: a student fee increase of up to twenty one percent; reallocations among and reductions of programs.

Wallace said that a new benefit, educational fee reductions for spouses and dependents of university employees, is being considered. As now conceived, five years' service would be required, spouse and dependents would be as defined for medical benefits and the benefit would comprise a fifty percent reduction of the resident, undergraduate fees for up to 140 credit house. President Floyd will present the proposal to the Curators at their May meeting.

Wallace noted that under John David's leadership the Strategic Planning Resource Advisory Council (SPRAC) has formed three subcommittees: planning, vision and program priorities. Subcommittee reports will be made in the fall with open meetings to discuss any changes proposed.

Wallace next reviewed changes in the "Collected Rules and Regulations" regarding the immediate suspension of an athlete accursed of a felony. Within forty eight hours the athlete's coach and the Director of Athletics will recommend whether or not to modify the suspension. Within five days of that the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, after consulting with the Provost, will accept or reject the recommendation to modify the athlete's suspension. The athlete may appeal that decision to the Chancellor.

Regarding recent discussions concerning the joining of Northwest Missouri State University with the UM system, Wallace perceives three positive results: (1) it would further the needed simplification in structure and governance of higher education in the state; (2) it will address questions of mission differentiation at UM campuses; (3) and new programs could be established at the Maryville campus sooner and better than would otherwise be the case.

With respect to the controversy regarding RADIL, Wallace noted the need to develop new sources of funding but added that doing so must not be allowed to compromise the university's values. He has not received the final report of the Conflicts of Interest's Committee and will consult the Provost and Vice Chancellors when he does receive it. Wallace called upon Provost Brady Deaton who discussed the development of RADIL at UMC since 1968 and the recent expansion of its incentive plan, comparing it with other incentive plans on campus. He described the arrangements by which RADIL reimburses UMC for its costs. He noted that the Conflicts of Interests Committee concluded that the potential for conflicts of interests exists in the administrative structure of RADIL and described the appointment by the Dean of Veterinary Medicine of a committee to oversee the operation of RADIL. He discussed the need for incentive plans to attract and retain faculty and staff and described plans for a system-wide research incentive plan.

A question was raised for Chancellor Wallace whether the five years of service requirement for eligibility for the tuition reduction benefit could be waived to make the benefit a more attractive recruiting tool. Wallace said he would contact the administration in University Hall later that afternoon.

Other Business and Adjournment

In response to a request for new business, Frank Schmidt, Professor of Biochemistry, introduced a motion to suspend the rules for the purpose of acting on a resolution concerning accusations raised against Miriam Golomb, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences. The motion to suspend the rules passed without opposition. Schmidt described the accusations raised and the lack of evidence to support them. Discussion yielded a consensus that charges of unprofessional conduct were unsubstantiated but some concerns were raised about a reference in the resolution to a state legislator's threat of financial sanctions. It was agreed that the resolution would describe the threat as "reported" and the resolution, as amended, passed without dissent.
Moved by Francis J.(Frank) Schmidt, Professor of Biochemistry
WHEREAS, on April 10, 2003, an invited speaker to the MU campus alleged in person, by press release, and on his web site, that Professor Miriam Golomb had committed unprofessional conduct, AND
WHEREAS, such allegations were publicized as fact by an officer of a campus student organization and reiterated by a member of the State legislature, accompanied by the reported threat of financial sanctions against Professor Golomb and/or the University, AND
WHEREAS, unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing can be used to inhibit faculty, teachers, students and staff from carrying out their academic duties, especially those that involve controversial subjects, AND
WHEREAS, established procedures in Section 300.010 of the University of Missouri Columbia faculty bylaws regarding allegations of unprofessional conduct were not followed in this case,
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia
COMMENDS Professor Golomb, her students and all members of the University community who address controversial issues in an academically responsible manner, AND
REPRIMANDS those individuals and organizations who promulgate anonymous and unsubstantiated allegations against members of the MU community, AND
REAFFIRMS its dedication to the principles of free inquiry, reasoned argument and civil discourse that characterize of University."
The General Faculty Meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m. Respectfully Recorded,
Thomas Hurley, Recorder for the Faculty