Meeting Minutes: July 25, 1996


Present: Craig Anderson (retiring), Bob Birkenholz (for Lloyd Barrow), Benedict Campbell, Edward Colapinto, Jere Francis, Allen Hahn, Edward Hunvald (retiring and substituting for Nanette Laughrey), Nancy Knipping, Charles Knowles, Henry Liu, John Miles, Marian Minor, Alex Pickard, Glenn Pierce (retiring), Patricia Plummer, Michael Porter, Jan Colbert (for Don Ranly), Ray Rothenberger, Dennis Sentilles, Mary Ellen Sievert, Jim Keller (for Harry Tyrer {retiring}), Robert Weagley, Gilbert Youmans, Robert Almony (Librarians), Roy Utz (Retirees). Absent: Gary Allee (retiring), Edward Adelstein, Hardeep Bhullar (retiring), Leonard Forte, Elizabeth Geden, Peter Hall, Hildegarde Heymann, William Kurtz, Johnetta Morrison (retiring), Ron Plain (retiring), Robin Remington, Susan Taylor (retiring), Sara Walker (retiring), Russ Zguta, and Mable Grimes (Black Faculty&Staff).

Approval of Minutes

Chairperson Patricia Plummer called the meeting to order at 3:40 p.m. in Room S110 of the Memorial Union. The minutes of the June 20 & 27, 1996, meetings were approved.

Report of Officers

Chair Pat Plummer made the following report.

The past several months have been exceedingly stressful and unsettling to us all. Many are in a period of mourning that we failed to preserve Dr. Kiesler as Chancellor. In spite of that, I believe we can take comfort that the Chancellor felt supported by the faculty and that our actions helped to provide a month's delay in the process. This time enabled the Chancellor to attempt to resolve his differences with the President and members of the Board, which he did sufficiently to change a 9-0 vote to 5-4. Unfortunately the final outcome was the same. This time also permitted faculty to express their views to the various constituencies. In addition, your chair was not idle during this time.

Letters were written to each curator which attempted to draw attention to the fact that so far as the faculty are concerned, the chancellor is the "chief academic" officer and that changes in this office were disruptive to the academic mission of the institution. There was also a letter written to the Governor thanking him for his courage in seeking the delay in the process and his call for reasoned discourse. Additional letters were written to President Hall and Vice President Horne; and, as late as the morning of the Board meeting, additional calculations and explanations of administrative costs were presented to the Chair of the Finance Committee, Mary Gillespie. In addition, there were letters to the Board and others expressing our concerns with many of the items in Executive Order 1 which Page 2 of the 7-25-96 Minutes of the Faculty Council we viewed as reducing the authority of the chancellor and the opportunities for faculty input into policy decisions.

From the beginning of this period, I have stressed that the essence of the university is open discussion, a willingness to allow all points of view to be expressed and an obligation to follow processes that were developed to ensure fair play and respect for the worth of every individual. Self- serving, retaliatory or prejudicial attitudes have no place here whether dealing with a chancellor or assistant professor. Our procedures protect not only individuals but our unique place in society.

In our misery, we have much company; UC Berkeley, the University of Michigan, SUNY and others have all recently gone through what we have just experienced--conflict between campus leaders and governing boards, ending in resignation or removal of the campus administrator. Thus while we are not alone, our response is uniquely ours. Whether we move forward or spend our time in lament and looking backwards this is our choice. Toward this end, I called a special meeting of the Executive Committee for last Friday afternoon. I also asked the Provost to join us. After considerable expression of frustration and disappointment, we resolved to move forward.

Drafts of letters were written of thanks to the Chancellor, of protest of the action taken and the process followed by the Board, and of support for interim Chancellor Wallace. They have been presented to you for discussion at this meeting. Copies are at your place and Mike or Dennis will introduce them shortly.

We also agreed that Council should develop position papers on the following: 1) the credentials for and orientation of new appointments to the Board of Curators, to be sent to the governor and selected members of the legislature; 2) the process to be used in the search for a new chancellor including the make-up of the search committee and what we view as essential credentials for holding the position of chancellor; and 3) Executive Order #1 with emphasis on the need for a strong academic presence at the system level and academic authority at the campus level for the chancellor, with perhaps, an additional position paper on the roles of the president and the chancellors.

Although not discussed, I believe we also must have a position paper on the concept and application of "shared governance" and the benefits of faculty involvement in decision making at all levels of the university and the attendant hazards if faculty are not involved.

In this increasingly political climate, faculty cannot stand back and only become involved and raise their collective voices when they personally and/or their disciplines become threatened. What we must keep ever before us is that when the freedom of inquiry, discussion or action is limited for one of us, it limits freedom for all. When due process is denied one of us, none of us is protected.

We have labored long to develop processes which protect these freedoms--to insure justice and fair play, by the rules--for all. We must continue to Page 3 of the 7-25-96 Minutes of the Faculty Council fight to preserve them. How much more injustice is possible in "serve at the pleasure of" if tenure did not exist? Tenure remains under attack, the following are examples (less direct but much more insidious is the indirect): fewer hires on tenure track, longer probational periods, dismissal without reason prior to tenure decisions, increasingly intrusive and punitive reviews of tenured faculty and the de facto dismissal of tenured faculty by decreasing salary and increasing work loads. With only de jure adherence to our adopted policies we have the de facto practices of raises and assignments based not on demonstrable scholarship, teaching, and service but rather on subjective measures such as "maturity" or "potential" or "asset."

We as the elected representatives of the faculty are entrusted with the responsibility to be ever vigilant and ever alert to threats to the academy. However, we are only the watchmen: we cannot repel the assaults alone. When alerted, our colleagues who elected us must stand with us to protect the academy even when they may not be directly under siege. We have to defend the rights of unpopular people and the right to express opposing positions even more vigorously than we defend those we like, agree with, or who have power over us. When I assumed the position of Chair a year ago, I could never have predicted what a tumultuous year it would be--the waters looked calm, and the skies were serene. I was not prepared for what was to come. Dennis is facing rough waters with storm clouds everywhere. He will need our support, and he certainly has mine. Perhaps on the positive side, we are now alerted to many of the problems that face us and thus alerted, can better prepare our positions and their defense.

Even though after today I will no longer be your chair, I will remain your colleague, ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you to work to protect this "splendid thing" the University and to continue to improve the quality and the reputation of MU. I want also to thank all of the members of the Executive Committee who have worked with me this year and to all of you for your advice, criticism and concern. Vice Chair Dennis Sentilles reminded members of Council, including new members present at this meeting, that they should communicate their interests in a particular standing committee for Council for this next year to the Faculty Council Office by August 15 if at all possible. Dennis also reported that he has met with Interim Chancellor Richard Wallace for at least one hour and that Richard is very sensitive to current issues on campus.

Ed Hunvald reported that the next issue of Faculty Forum will be out soon.

Discussion Items

IFC Resolutions. Chair Pat Plummer handed out a copy of four draft resolutions from the Intercampus Faculty Council Retreat of July 8 & 9, 1996. These draft resolutions read as follows:

Resolution 1: English Proficiency in Teaching

To maintain and improve excellence in teaching, the IFC recommends that:

Effective date: No later than beginning of Winter, 1997.

Resolution 2: Chancellor Evaluation

The IFC recommends that an annual evaluation of each chancellor by the faculty be considered in the evaluation of that chancellor by the president. The president is encouraged to meet with faculty representatives to discuss the evaluation of the chancellor by that faculty. Resolution 3: Academic and Business Affairs

The IFC strongly endorses the President's affirmation of the unique mission of the University, "to educate students of all ages, to promote the life of the mind; and to serve the people of Missouri, the nation, and the world." With this foremost in mind, the IFC expressed its strong concern about the apparent trend toward separation of academic and business affairs. These are inherently interrelated and cannot be uncoupled in academia.

The University has always recognized that decisions are best "made at the lowest possible administrative level consistent with the delegation of authority...", and should not abandon this principle, which is being adopted by growing numbers of businesses and industries. Resolution 4: Search for System Administrators Consistent with Executive Guideline 11 (C.R.R. 20.100) and in order to maintain the confidence of the faculty, the IFC strongly recommends that:

There was discussion of the four resolutions. Specifically, several faculty questioned an item in Resolution 1 and suggested that 10 percent should be changed to 20 percent of students in a particular class. Secondly, it was suggested by several faculty members that it is inappropriate to ask the University of Missouri System to provide resources to enhance the performance of identified instructors since we hired these people, and we should solve the problem. These resolutions will be a matter of discussion at a future meeting of Faculty Council and will eventually become action items.

Letters. Three draft letters were presented to the members of Faculty Council for their consideration and approval. The text of the three letters are as follows:

Addressed to Interim Chancellor Wallace: "On behalf of the faculty, the MU Faculty Council on University Policy extends its encouragement to you in this most difficult period, and offers our readiness to work with you for the benefit of the campus that is your academic home. We are confident that you will maintain the momentum of the progress achieved in recent years. Let us work together to keep our institution on a steady course towards real quality."

Addressed to Dr. Kiesler: "On behalf of the faculty, the MU Faculty Council on University Policy wishes to convey our appreciation of the quality of leadership you have offered our campus during your far too brief tenure. Faculty have found challenge, excitement and inspiration under your leadership, and we will continue to support those elements of your vision and initiative that bred this spirit. We are confident that your future will find yet more accomplishment and we offer to you, Teru, and Hugo our heartiest encouragement and our sentiments of profound loss."

Addressed to Curator Hall: "The MU Faculty Council on University Policy wishes to express our extreme disappointment with the decision of the Board of Curators to dismiss a widely respected and appreciated Chancellor. We are dissatisfied with the process used in the firing of Chancellor Kiesler. We are most distressed by the Board's unwillingness to consult with the faculty on a decision of this magnitude. We remind the Board that the quality of any university depends on the quality of the faculty and the quality of the administration. We can only hope that the next time decisions this important are made, faculty input will be sought and taken into consideration." After discussion and revision all three letters were approved by voice vote.

Board of Curators Report

A brief, one-page, Board of Curators report for the meeting of July 18&19, 1996, was handed out in Gary Allee's absence.

Standing Committee Reports

Academic Affairs. No report.

Faculty Affairs. No report.

Fiscal Affairs. No report.

Special Projects. The Faculty Council website has been moved, and faculty members are encouraged to send a short biography to Becky Flanders in the Faculty Council Office.

Student Affairs. No report.

Other Business

A question was raised asking if the AAUP might possibly be recognized as an organization on campus with representation on Faculty Council.

Closed Session and Adjournment

Faculty Council moved into closed session at 4:55 p.m. in order to elect the 1996-97 Executive Committee of Faculty Council. The following individuals were elected.

Recorder - Robert Almony
Board of Curators Observer - Nanette Laughrey
Editor, Faculty Forum and IFC representative - Don Ranly
Chair, Academic Affairs - Gil Youmans
Chair, Faculty Affairs - Russ Zguta
Chair, Fiscal Affairs - Mary Ellen Sievert
Chair, Special Projects - Al Hahn
Chair, Student Affairs - Hildegarde Heymann

Faculty Council adjourned at 5:50 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Robert Almony, Recorder