January 22, 2002
Present: Chair Carter, Secretary Banks, Chair Emeritus Corbin, Provost Cooper, Parliamentarian Gilbert; Senators Allen, Bernhard, Blanchard, Braunbeck, Brothers, Cassidy, Daley, Garval, Havner, Hodge, Hooper, Hughes-Oliver, Kimler, Levine, Lytle, Marshall, McRae, Rolle, Smoak, Tucker, Weiner, Wilkerson
Absent: Senators Ash, El-Masry, Funderlic, Grainger, Grimes, Headen, Istook, Tyler, Vickery
Excused: Senators Kirby, Kailash, Sawyers
Visitors: Clare Kristofco, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor; Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor; Rosalind Thomas, Chair, Staff Senate; Judy Peel, Associate Vice Provost, Frank Abram, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Joanne Woodard, Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity; Margaret King, Associate Dean, Graduate School
1. Call to Order
The eighth meeting of the forty-eighth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:00 p.m. by Chair Philip B. Carter.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Carter welcomed Senators and Guests.
Chair Carter announced that Peggy Foegeding, Professor of Food Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, passed away last week. John Reuer, Distinguished Professor in the College of Design passed away unexpectedly and the memorial service was held for him on Saturday. He extended his condolences to the faculty in both colleges.
Chair Carter announced that the General Faculty Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, 2002. The meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Erdahl Cloyd Theater. A reception will follow in the Faculty Senate Conference Room.
Judy Peel, Associate Vice Provost encouraged the faculty to submit nominations for the Holladay Medal. That process is currently being conducted in the Office of the Provost. The deadline for those nominations is February 15, 2002. She noted that it is the highest award for career achievements for a faculty member. For the full criteria please go to .
Secretary Banks announced that there will be a meeting of the Instructional Telecommunications Delivery (ITD) on Thursday, January 31, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. They are discussing the ways that ITD have affected the university and will continue to affect it. He feels that this is a great time to get information on what is being done here, what is projected to be done and ways that the faculty can affect that by asking good questions. He encouraged the faculty to attend.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 7, January 8, 2002
The minutes were approved as amended.
4. Remarks from the Chancellor
"I wanted to bring the Faculty Senate up to date on two issues that are of some importance to the university. The first of these has to do with tuition and the second has to do with a freedom of information request from tobacco companies that you may read about in the newspaper today.
When I spoke with you two weeks ago I mentioned that there was a workshop being planned at the Board of Governors meeting which would be two days, which would have been Thursday and Friday since the last time I visited with you on Tuesday, two weeks ago. It was at that workshop and the subsequent Board of Governors meeting on Friday at which each of the campuses was to receive information about general parameters for tuition and fees. The fees were considered in the fall and finally adopted in March, but tuition, which is also supposed to be considered in October because of financial uncertainties in the state this year, had been relegated to an internal study by the Board of Governors with the admonition that we would get advice about how to think about campus initiated tuition increases in the fall if there were to be any. In addition to that Board of Governors meeting on that Thursday and Friday, the next Monday we received advice from the governor’s office and in particular the finance office in which a fiscal analyst told us that revenue collections from the general fund were significantly behind target this year. The number cited in this report dated January 11, is $322M behind the projected budget. All the economic projections I have seen suggest that recovery is on its way economically for the nation, but it is not likely to happen before several months into 2002. If we are this far behind in terms of the state budget, the message which I think has been rather clear is that we cannot count on the state to make substantial incremental contributions next year to higher education. The Board of Governors were informally informed about this. They did not have the numbers, but they had reached the same conclusion. As part of the analysis that the finance office did, they gave advice to the Chancellors and the members of the Board of Governors that a moratorium would not be held this year with respect to campus initiated tuition increases. That is negative advice, but the converse is that therefore it is the responsibility of every campus to think about the fact that that represents one potential source of revenue for a campus, and since an across the board moratorium was not to be established that it really is our obligation to think about the role that campus initiated tuition increases may have with respect to prudent management of the campuses. In response to that, I would also refer to you an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Mark Yudof the President of the University of Minnesota whose article is entitled Is the Public Research University Dead, recognizing that this same kind of financial shortfall is in many of the states around the country. The estimate is that approximately forty states are substantially below budget in terms of their revenue source compared to expenditures at this stage right now. As a result, I think it is important for us to think about this. I can draw your attention as well to the fact that last Wednesday in the Technician our students recognized that there is a rising cost of higher education. The Chapel Hill students became a little more explicit, that is they have a tuition committee that even that quickly after defining the budget shortfall and the lack of a moratorium, the committee at Chapel Hill has recommended a one year $400 increase in tuition.
We are at a stage where, as you all know very well, this last year was a very difficult one with respect to compensation packages for our faculty. We are all well aware that the total compensation at all the UNC system schools, because the benefits are weaker in this state than many of our competitor’s states, puts us at a disadvantage for recruiting and retention. Add to that the fact that the vast majority of faculty this last year actually had a decrease in their practical income, as a result of offsetting a $625 salary increase with an increase in insurance rates. I really believe that it is very difficult for us to sustain that for a second year. If the Legislature is not willing to step forward it seems to me that no matter how badly we want to stay with the constitutional provision of keeping low tuition as a tenet, what we are learning is "as low as practicable" is probably higher than what it is now. One of the arguments that is made in the article by President Yudof is that the higher education share of budgets in many states has decreased significantly. Funding fell by 14% between 1990 and 1996 in a typical state for higher education as a share of their budget. In part because of increased investments in medicaid and in corrections. We may not like that, but this is a reality of living in the United States. At the same time, the margin between income for college graduates and those who possess a high school diploma actually expanded. In 1975 for example, a person holding a high school diploma would expect to earn about $15,000 less than someone who held a college diploma. Whereas now that margin has expanded to approximately $32,000 each year between high school graduates and college graduates. That means over a lifetime, approximately one million dollars in difference. If one pursues a further degree, that means on average approximately three million dollars difference, according to President Yudof in lifetime income. As a result of this difference in income, many people around the country are making the argument that what was considered a public good in the past, the principle on which are constitutional resolution that we would keep tuition as low as possible, is being supplanted by the fact that education is increasingly a private good. That is not to say that the public does not benefit and, in fact, an institution like North Carolina State benefits the state significantly. That is, the extension education research activities which are conducted at this university in particular have been a mainstay in the economic development and maintaining the quality of life in North Carolina. The fact that this differential is increasing so much, I think, argues at least to some who are convinced by that argument that there should be a larger contribution made by those who are benefitting from that additional income. There is another way of looking at state support for tuition. At the University of Minnesota for example in 1975 about two thirds of the cost of instruction was borne by the state. The remaining third being borne by philanthropy or tuition or other sources of income from endowment. Now that one third has completely inverted. That is, only about one third comes from state appropriation and two thirds come from philanthropy and tuition and other sources of income. You can see that if we are to continue what we think is important in this university, we have to be thinking about the financial realities that face us.
This university has been long an institution which has held fast to three tenets in its operation. One is low tuition which is suggested to us by the constitution, one is high quality programs that provide each of our students with as strong an education as is possible, and the third is access without reference of financial need of our students. So low tuition, high quality, and broad access are the three tenets by which a public land grant institution has long existed. We are now at a stage where, if the state’s ability to respond to contribute to the cost of the high quality education and the financial need is precluded by economic downturn, we have to do something about tuition. That is to say that of those three tenets, you could probably choose any two of them but not all three. That is, we can have high quality education with high tuition and address the needs of our students; or you can maintain low tuition, address the needs of our students and sacrifice the quality of our education; or you can have low tuition, high quality education and not provide access to those who can not afford it. It is very difficult to do all three. The two out of three choices that we would want relates to the possibility of changing the continuing commitment we have made to low tuition.
If we raise tuition, the argument is that this puts our students at a disadvantage and that we are not able to meet the financial need of many of our students. Yet over the last two years when tuition was increased, we have devoted a third of that tuition increase to specifically address the financial needs of our students. So much so that we had 38% of our students with unmet financial need in 1998, before these tuition increases. In the last two years that number has actually decreased to approximately 35% of our students. That is with our campus initiated tuition increases over the period in which we had $300 and then another $300 we have actually met a larger fraction of our students’ needs than we did before, when we had lower tuition. In other words, I believe that it is possible to raise tuition and to the extent that we take some of those resources and allocate it back to student financial aid, it should be possible for us to have the best of all possible worlds. That is, with minimal changes of those three criteria, we could maintain top quality education, have rather low tuition, and have access for our students. We are at a stage where there are many needs. Not only do we need an effective compensation structure for our faculty, we also need to have a larger fraction of our faculty who are full time instructors, i.e., tenure or tenure track. We need to have a smaller student to faculty ratio which is particularly acute in several colleges. We need to have support for our graduate students in a way that makes sense consistent with the research mission which we have adopted. As a result it is probably going to be necessary for us to think very hard about what kind of tuition increase, if at all, we will propose. What I have done in response to these new developments is, to visit with each member of the Board of Trustees. I have visited with the Student Government President and have pledged to all of these groups our willingness to go forward with an analysis of what tuition increase will make sense to optimize the interaction between those three qualities which have always characterized an NC State education. To do this we would begin by having two town meetings with the students on February 4 in the evening and February 5 during the day. Now they are scheduled to be held at Stewart Theater on Monday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m and on Tuesday February 5 at 10:15 a.m. The format would be an open town meeting where anyone could participate. We would hope that the faculty and staff would participate as well as students. In addition, we would have a specific workshop as part of the Board of Trustees meeting. This would be on Thursday morning of the Board of Trustees meeting February 21 at 8 a.m. We are at a stage where the pledge I have made to the students is to keep tuition as low as practicable. The question is defining what that means in such a way that we can maintain the quality of their education and at the same time provide access. We are working diligently to do an analysis that would involve comparison of our faculty salaries or teaching loads or ratio of students to faculty. Our plan be to cut costs as much as possible while at the same time providing a financial base that makes sense for this great university. I would encourage all of you to help us in that analysis and to participate actively if your schedule permits, in the town meetings and/or the workshop. The sequence of events would be that we would make a recommendation at the culmination of that workshop to the Board of Trustees and that they would act on it. They have agreed to do so because we need to be making financial aid offers for our incoming students starting in March. In fact, one of the things I have asked our Financial Aid office to do is to move up these financial aid packages as far as possible so students can make an informed decision about their financial ability to attend NC State or other institutions. We are on a relatively tight time scale, and of course this consideration of tuition would be for one year only, for the 2002-2003 academic year. The Board of Governors in fact, at their meeting, encouraged us to do a longer term study of tuition which would respond to student request for being able to plan for the cost of their education more effectively. I have asked Provost Cooper to assemble a task force to conduct that longer range study to determine what our tuition ought to be. Presumably, although the Board of Governors has not set a definitive date, it would be due in the fall, probably in October. That task force would be initiating its work soon after the March meeting when we know what has happened from this year’s tuition, and would continue over the summer into the early fall.
Senator Daley stated that he still thinks that it is possible to convince the General Assembly long term to get back into funding public education. "That is demonstrating to them what we have added in value all across the board through our research, why they should pay more for research universities."
Chancellor Fox stated that it is part of the reason for doing comparisons with peer institutions rather than only within the UNC system. She thinks that is a very good point.
Senator Daley stated that he has never had someone from the public relations to come to his office wanting to know what he does. He noted that at other universities they go from office to office just looking for stories. They are constantly having newspaper stories, sending out reports to other weekly newspapers, to emphasizing what the universities are accomplishing. He thinks that is something that NC State needs to do more of to show them that this University accomplishes a lot.
Chancellor Fox stated that they are working with a public relations firm to think about how best to tell our story. She said the next time she visits the Faculty Senate she will be able to give the faculty some statistics about how the number of stories emanating from the university has increased in national coverage over the last several years. She stated that the other thing is to get some suggestions back to our public affairs people about people who could actively contribute in this sense. They have a detailed book which is delivered to each of the editorial offices around North Carolina. Expertise and specific accomplishments she thinks is part of the strategy for how we tell our story.
"This is a complicated business as you know, and I want to assure you that we are both sensitive to the needs of our students but at the same time recognize that in a modern university you need resources as a base line in order to attract the outside support that would allow us to continue our research."
Senator Smoak stated, "not that our situation is comparable to UNC Chapel Hill, but what percent of the increase does that represent?"
Chancellor Fox responded that the tuitions are very similar. "Ours is only about $100 higher because of an additional fee from the College of Engineering for Information Technology Resources and it is about $2400 right now. It is a good point to make that, percentage wise, our tuition increases look larger than some of our peer institutions because our tuition has been so very low to begin with. We will make that comparison, not just the percentage increase but a dollar per dollar increase with some of our peers."
"The second topic I wanted to review with you was about our response to a subpoena that we received in November with a response date set for January. It demanded production of documents related to specific research done at North Carolina State. A similar subpoena has been issued to a number of other universities as well. It was requested by a group of attorneys representing several tobacco companies, RJR and Phillip Morris being prominent among them. They asked for documents that included proposals for research, award documents, budget information, expense reports, and in some cases the final report of the research. They also asked for short summary reports about tobacco research that was conducted in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. These were reports that were printed and distributed at the time by Cooperative Extension Service. These were the kinds of documents that were requested during a period from 1965-1984 for specific documents that were requested. As well there was an open-ended request asking for any research done on tobacco at the university. This university was founded in 1887 and although we have wonderful archives, it has been difficult for us to respond to the open ended part of that request.
You also know that North Carolina has a Broad Public Records Law and, because of that, our archiving is much more detailed and accessible than many other institutions. Our requirement for archiving for public records make it easier for us to respond to this kind of subpoena than many other institutions. That is not to say that this was an easy thing. We estimate that substantially more than 150 hours were required to assemble these documents because what one has to do is to be sure that there is no release of anything apart from the records that were requested in the file. The things that I listed are all quite frankly available from the sponsor of research, even were it not true that these would be available in a broad public record law request in North Carolina. Under those circumstances we consider this a rather routine subpoena and we sought to get advice about whether we could get more specificity about the open ended nature of that request. That is what we asked the Attorney General to give us advice on; whether it might be possible to ask for a better definition of what any other tobacco research might mean in addition to the documents that were specifically requested. We were encouraged to comply, as we do in every case, with public records law and release the documents that were requested. We have done so. In addition, it is my understanding that one faculty member, who is an Emeritus faculty member in the Agriculture Research Service, offered to make available the records of his research, which involves some data. We have responded to this subpoena in the same way that we always have done with respect to public information records requests and that is, to the extent that we have them available and that they are consistent with the law, we have provided them and will continue to do so.
I think some of the other universities that have received similar subpoenas have had more difficulty in finding the documents and have reached other conclusions about whether their release would go forward. As you read the newspapers it will look like we were very cooperative. I can assure you that the types of documents that were requested were quite clearly public records for which there really is no difficulty."
Senator Lytle wanted to know what the current university policy is on research that involves proprietary information.
Chancellor Fox stated that any research results that are in a preliminary stage that can lead to commercializable property are the private property of the person conducting the research and will not be released.
Senator McRae wanted to know the current status of the open ended request.
Chancellor Fox stated that they responded as well as possible to the request in the subpoena and she thinks they are satisfied.
Senator Daley stated that some of the news accounts implied that this information was being gathered to target some of the people who had done the research. He wanted to know if there is going to be any kind of listing to make sure that the individuals who are involved in this research are not later individually subpoenaed to try to get material that they no longer have or do not remember where it is.
Chancellor Fox stated that the university would defend any faculty member if there were any such request. It is true of course that, when you make available these kinds of documents, the proposal identifies the principal investigator and those who participated. That information will be conveyed to those who have requested that subpoena and would be provided in response to an open records request as well. Chancellor Fox noted that the legal staff is here for the benefit of faculty and staff. "I urge you, if you have any question about the requirement to release any information, to contact them to get legal advice."
Chancellor Fox congratulated Senator Allen and her colleagues on the gravitational biology work that they have done.
5. Unfinished Business
Personnel Policy Committee (Response to the Provost Request for comment on the RPT Draft)
Senator Marshall, Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee, reported that the response from the committee was that the direction in which the revisions are going seems to be in order and that the revisions are relatively minor. She stated that they were in a spirit of transparency in the process. There was a separate discussion on whether or not there should have been a separate discussion on clinical professors. The committee recommends that the faculty pass the document.
Chair Carter stated that the language encourages consultation. He asked Vice Provost Abrams for an explanation of the change.
Vice Provost Abrams stated that the concern was that it is difficult to schedule meetings to be sure that everyone can attend. It was not to prohibit meetings but to make it possible for faculty to be consulted, even if they could not attend the meeting.
Chair Carter stated that the issue is whether a person in the department be permitted to vote lacking their presence at the meeting to hear the pros and cons argued. Is it enough to be able to just review the dossiers?
Senator McRae stated that his concern is that this wording could be misconstrued. He thinks that is the danger.
Chair Carter stated that some of the specifics could be handled in bylaws for the colleges, but for the main point that you are addressing , that is a different issue.
Senator Kimler wanted to know if it is still the case that departments should be able to choose to not allow proxy votes.
Senator Wilkerson stated that she thinks there is a concern with the way the language is. She thinks the meeting should be a mandate from the faculty handbook.
Senator Smoak thinks the discussion is necessary for a valid vote to be taken. She stated that unfortunately people will migrate toward the least amount of work, which is to not meet if given that option.
Senator Havner feels that there should be a requirement that there should be a meeting. He agrees with several of the opinions expressed. Perhaps there can be a variety among departments as to whether those who cannot attend the meeting may be able to vote or not.
Vice Provost Abrams stated that he would like to have a sense of how the faculty feel about proxy voting and absentee voting.
Senator Banks stated that the committee’s desire to remove the word "meeting" was one to make certain that all members of the DVF would cast a vote without prescribing a uniformed way of doing it. "If we have to say there has to be a meeting in which a number of faculty could not attend, then by allowing faculty to express an informed decision one would insure greater participation in the process, not less."
Senator Smoak stated that she thinks discussions at those meetings are extremely important. It could change people’s minds, according to what comes up in the meeting.
Senator Lytle stated that it seems to him that the objectives as stated are best served by having both, that there should be a meeting, but there should also be an opportunity for those who are unable to attend that meeting, for good reason, to be able to vote absentee or by proxy.
Provost Cooper asked, "Can we just say that there is a consensus that the voting should be explicit, that there should be a meeting and that there will be other words that deal with the individuals who just cannot make it, so that their voices can be heard."
Senator Levine stated that he would be very concerned about having a proxy sit in a promotion and tenure meeting. The person that is up for promotion and tenure does not know who is necessarily in that room prior to that meeting.
Senator Kimler asked the Provost if he would want to know the breakdown in a close vote.
Provost Cooper stated that the main thing that he heard today that concerned him is that he always thought, as a faculty member, that he had a right to a vote on a tenure issue in his department. He thinks that faculty should have a governance process where everyone’s voice is heard. He thinks that the present wording allows this to occur. "We can certainly put in the requirements. We will get this change back to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the Personnel Committee."
Vice Provost Abrams stated that as he understands it, "this would mean that you want to be sure that it is explicit that there should be at least a meeting and that there should be a way for those who cannot participate in the meeting to also vote."
Senator Havner stated that a policy in his department for a very long time has been for those faculty who know, in advance of such meetings, that they cannot attend to turn in a proxy vote. There is no distinction in what is reported forward as absent or not absent, that those people were absent from discussion. They are simply counted as present. The only ones listed as absent are the people who said they did not vote at all. The policy has also been that no one is permitted to vote after the meeting. He feels that a local departmental faculty could make the decision every three years as to whether absent faculty could or could not vote.
Senator Hodge stated that he heard a number of comments stating that it is very important to have the meeting because a lot of discussion takes place that may impact people’s votes. If that is the case, then he is concerned about the idea of allowing people who are absent for whatever reason to have a vote counted in that meeting. He is not completely happy with the idea that people who are absent must be able to vote. He feels that that should be left up to the department to specify the exact eligibility requirements.
Vice Provost Abrams stated that the proposed language says that it is the responsibility of the voting faculty to confidentially discuss each case among themselves. The old language says to have a meeting. That was to recognize that there are various ways of that confidential discussion that might take place.
Chair Carter stated that there certainly seems to be a consensus that people want a meeting. The issues seems to be who can vote if they are not at the meeting.
Senator Kimler stated that the best thing they should do is to have a summary of the issues that are involved with these sorts of absentee votes going from the Senate to the departments, to revisit the issues.
Senator Braunbeck stated that she thinks that faculty who can not be present should definitely have the right to vote because there are years of knowing the candidate as a colleague. "We should all form our opinion based on that and not just on the discussions."
Senator Hughes-Oliver agreed with Senator Braunbeck. She thinks the candidate’s file must speak for itself. It is important that whatever matters are being discussed should be in that file. She thinks it is enough that a member of the faculty who cannot attend the meeting be allowed to vote based solely on that file. She stated that if there is crucial information that will change a person’s vote from the discussion, then that should be incorporated in the file.
Secretary Banks stated that the committee talked about the statement of mutual expectations at some length. Their concern was with the emphasis of the word "mutual." One of their purviews of the URPT Committee was to look at cases in which there had been some sort of troubling kinds of decisions. What seemed to be characteristic was that for cases in which everything was very straight forward, this statement of mutual expectations seemed to be mutual. There was a number of cases in which the statement of mutual expectation looked as if it had been something the department head created and said to the faculty member, this is what I think is okay, would you please sign them. Rather than being something that the faculty member crafted and then visited with the department head, it looked to be more of a one sided document than a two party document. Our concern was to make certain that it was a mutual expectation between the faculty member and the department head in his or her role as the leader of that department.
Chair Carter stated that the Senate has been requested to review the document and to pass it.
He asked for a vote on the committee’s recommendation with the change of returning to the wording that specifically requires a departmental meeting of voting faculty.
The Faculty Senate voted unanimously to pass the document.
Senator Daley reported that the University Research Committee is beginning to finish up on the policy for scientific misconduct. They will be approving that in the next meeting and then he plans to bring it to the Faculty Senate.
7. Issues of Concern
Senator Wilkerson stated that a colleague recently had surgery and had large out of pocket expenses. He is concerned about having to pay charges at the hospital when he is having funds withdrawn from his pay for the NC Flex Program. He wants to propose that the NC Flex Program issue a debit card by which charges can be paid, instead of having to pay twice and wait for a reimbursement.
Chair Carter assigned the issue to the Personnel Policy Committee.
Chair Carter adjourned the meeting at 4:30 p.m.