FACULTY SENATE MEETING
March 10, 2009
Present: Chair Martin, Secretary Kellner; Chair Elect Overton, Provost Nielsen, Parliamentarian Corbin: Senators Auerbach, Bernhard, Boone, Carver, Daemon, Domingue, Edmisten, Fahmy, Franke, Genereux, Havner, Headen, Hemenway, Hergeth, Honeycutt, Kiwanuka-Tondo, Kotek, Lindbo, Murty, Poling, Ristaino, Roberts, Tu, Williams
Excused: Akroyd, Scotford, Ting
Absent: Senators Ambaras, Anson, Fleisher, Levy, Lindsay, Muddiman, Poindexter, Scotford
Visitors: Marcia Gumpertz, AVP Faculty and Staff Diversity; Mark Johnson, COE/MSE; Katie Perry, Senior Vice Provost; Suzanne Weiner, Library Administration; Chris Brown, Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and Development; Marc Okner, Director of Employee Relations; George Wahl, Former Chair of the Faculty, Terri Lomax, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies
1. Call to Order
Chair James D. Martin called the thirteenth meeting of the fifty-fifth session of the North Carolina State University Faculty Senate to order at 3:00 p.m.
2. Welcome and Announcements
Chair Martin welcomed Senators and guests.
There is going to be a Spring Campus Dialog on diversity on Tuesday, March 17 at 3 p.m. in the Witherspoon Student Center. Dr. Rupert Nacoste will speak on “Living in a New Racial Frontier.”
The Millennium Seminar will be March 19th at 6 p.m. Dennis Gartman, Publisher of the “Gartman Letter” will be speaking about the economic situation.
The North Carolina Chapter of the American Association for University Professors will have their annual meeting in Chapel Hill on March 20 at 7 p.m. at the Fedex Center.
The Spring General Faculty Meeting will be March 23 at 3 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Talley Student Center.
Nominations for the candidates are due March 31st and the elections will take place the second week of April.
Chair Martin responded to some questions that he had been asked about the grievance and hearings panels.
Update on the Executive Committee Meeting
Chair Martin stated that the committee discussed the General Faculty Meeting and agreed to focus on the stimulus idea. There was some discussion about possibly getting an elected official to come and they received positive feedback from David Price’s Office, but unfortunately they have to cast some votes that Monday afternoon, so there will not be an elective official coming.
Chair Martin stated that the Executive Committee wants to make sure that they don’t just look at the current package, but to also look into the future. The current package is everyone going after a certain pot of money and that is important, but we also need to think longer term than that, so we would like to have discussion on that direction. We need to ask questions you know, are there areas where policy should be influenced? We are all citizens and can write letters, potentially even as a body. We can think about -- are there things that we should be considering in terms of looking to the future, thinking about the stimulus more than just being a bunch of requests for proposals. The request for proposals tends to generate a lot of new activity, but some of what really needs to go on is supporting the core. How do we balance new opportunities with supporting core activities? Those are some of the things that we talked about that are important as we consider discussion of the stimulus package.
The Executive Committee continued discussion about the faculty employee demographics issue. There is an ad hoc task force beginning to work on this issue. I’m working with Barbara Carroll and others in the Human Resources and with Karen Helms and some others in University Planning and Analysis. That group is expanding to include some people out of the Provost Office to really look at what are the numbers and what has been happening in terms of transit hiring and how that correlates to appropriations, budget issues, etc. So that is ongoing.
Barbara Carroll did provide information about this new JCATS, which is going to be a system-wide classification that will help to get us beyond the issue of reclassification, year after year.
Chair Martin stated that he has also had the Executive Committee look at some policies that are in the works for revision with respect to summer sessions and summer salary. We have been working between the Executive Committee and the Provost Office in making some headway on those policies. One important thing is that there need to be some clear definitions, discussion of the need for parity in guidelines for summer salary and compensation for teaching summer sessions. You will be hearing more about that in the future.
The Committee also discussed an issue of concern from a faculty member from the advisory group to the Office of Post Doctoral Affairs. This person brought a particular concern and the policy is being generated about post docs and it was going to be suggested that there be an internal NC State requirement that the NIH guidelines be the base for salaries paid to post docs. The concern brought by this individual and it is also circulated to a number of departments is that if all agencies paid post doctoral rates, that people would be happy to go with those kind of salary guidelines, but until we can convince funding agencies to agree to those kind of funding guidelines it would really be counter-productive to have that kind of requirement internally. Also, [there is a] recognition to some degree that we are creating new constituents with some of these post doc related issues, and as a new constituency gets created, that now raises a lot of questions as to committee membership. There was a request, for example, to have a post doc sitting on the university Research Council. It is something we need to think about, maybe, ahead of time, rather than just letting things evolve into a situation that we have thought about carefully ahead of time.
The last issue that the committee talked about was an issue that has been brought up by the Governance Committee and we have talked about some in the full Senate. That is the role of faculty in policy revision and approval. As we noted earlier in the semester, faculty do not appear anywhere in the policy having to do with revisions to the policies; and that is something that is a concern to the Faculty Senate, but there is not a lot of support right now from the Executive Officers [for a policy] to have faculty definitively in the loop. It has been more of an at-will process, so more discussion about that. And that is the summary of what was discussed at the last Executive Committee meeting.
3. Approval of the Minutes, Meeting No. 12, February 24, 2009
A motion passed to approve the minutes.
4. Remarks from Provost Nielsen
Provost Nielsen reported that we are still operating on a presumed 7% budget cut for next year, which is about $36.5M for the university overall.
Natural Resources Library
The Technician had as their lead story that there was a forum to discuss the library closure in the College of Natural Resources. Their editorial today was to keep the Natural Resources Library open if feasible and it reminded me of what I think is the coming reality that we are all going to have to deal with relative to the budget. The hard part is about to descend upon us and that is that March 9 was the date at which all the units were to produce their plans for taking a 5% cut for the coming years and in Holladay Hall we are working on the other 2% for strategic items across the university. I think we are about to enter a new phase relative to how we talk about the budget. Your reaction to what we say about the budget [is important]. Now is the time when it’s going to switch to a defensive posture and I wanted to acknowledge that and to say openly what I think we are going to find. [We need] your good will as we roll through this process. By defensive posture, I mean we are about to enter the stage where, instead of people offering us ideas of things that we should cut, it is going to turn over to why we shouldn’t cut “X”, where “X” is an idea that has been generated either by you or by me in this process. We did the easy cutting at NC State years ago. We got rid of the things that were maybe questionable in terms of their value and whether we should be doing them or not. We lived through years of smaller budget cuts and some large ones, but I would say today that everything that we do at the institution has value and great value. The Natural Resource Library is an example of a part of the institution that has value. You may recall that I was Dean of the College of Natural Resources before, so if there is anyone here that values what the Natural Resources Library does for the College of Natural Resources and MEAS would be me, but the question we have to ask in the coming months is not about absolute value -- yes there is absolute value to the library over there -- but really the relative value among things that we are going to have to start doing or cut back on a great deal. The newspaper’s saying “keep the Natural Resources Library open if feasible” is a nice thing to say, and I’m very glad they said if feasible, because I believe if it were feasible to keep the Natural Resources Library open I wouldn’t be recommending that it be closing. This is the reality I say is upon us -- that we are going to have to close things and stop doing things that all of us perceive to be valuable parts of the institution. The job of all of us is to be judging those things and making the final decision -- that this is something we are not going to do, that this is something that we are going to eliminate. I don’t want to do an analysis of the Natural Resources Library, but I believe that when faced with doing other things in the library [system] like cutting journals, cutting books, cutting staff, etc., that what we are talking about here is a convenience factor for people who would use the Natural Resources Library. I think it’s the big picture that we are not going to get rid of materials and the resources that are associated with that, we are just going to move them some place else and save some money, space, and the cost associated with that. That is the reality that we are dealing with as we get through these budget cuts, and I can tell you that I’m beginning to get some people writing saying, don’t do this or I can’t believe you are thinking about doing that, and I expect it, and it’s okay, but please recognize that we are about to go into a time when people are talking this way. Because someone says don’t do something, that doesn’t mean that we cannot do it and there are many things that you value such as academics, people, members of them, that we are going to have to reduce or eliminate. When I say we need your good will in this, we certainly need your best thinking and the best defenses you have and the best logic for why we shouldn’t do the things we are talking about doing, but I also need to ask for your understanding that there is this number out there -- $36.5M -- and for everything that we are thinking about doing that you say don’t do, we have to replace that with something else to make this budget number. We have been in the process here where if you say to me not to do something that is going to save a half million dollars, you need to come up with a doable alternative that is going to save half a million dollars. That is the sad message that I wanted to deliver to you and recognize that now that we have things coming in from the units and we are getting very close to [final decisions] about these strategic issues. You are going to be hearing a lot and it’s all going to be anxiety-like issues.
Provost Nielsen announced that Duane Larick has been appointed the Dean of the Graduate School after serving as Interim Dean three times. One slight difference in the way that works is in the past there was the solid reporting line for the Dean of the Graduate School to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies and there was a dotted line to the Provost, but now we have a solid line that goes to both of us from the Dean of the Graduate School.
Provost Nielsen announced that they have concluded the interviews for the CHASS Dean and they have reached the deadline for getting comments in, so the hope is within the next couple of weeks he will be in a position to make an offer.
Tuition By Credit Hour
Provost Nielsen stated it appears that tuition by the credit hour is not a topic that is under active consideration any longer in the UNC system, so we can take that topic off of our agenda and we will continue to function the way we have. It puts back on the table another serious question, which is how we deal with distance education and regular classes.
The initial place where tuition by the credit hour came up was an attempt to try to deal with distance education, which is done by the credit hour and regular classes that are done on a 3, 6, 9, 12 sort of thing and in trying to resolve those the answer was to put them both under tuition by the credit hour. That [discussion] caused four years of [talk] that ended up with saying we are not going to do that, so now we have to go back and solve the original problem.
Senator Murty wanted to know how much would be saved by closing the Natural Resources Library.
Provost Nielsen stated that he didn’t have the information with him.
Senator Genereux stated that the email sent around was $180,000.00 and he added that the library is near and dear to that part of campus.
Provost Nielsen stated that the space would return to him to make a decision about what to do with it, if they close the library.
Senator Ristaino stated that she was reviewing the cuts that the Governor proposed for public education, which is 2% across the board, so she wants to know why is it that our university system is not considered part of our public education system?
Provost Nielsen stated that President Bowles is working his fingers to the bone trying to convince the Governor and the Legislature that as small as possible cuts should be given to the university system. He said public education (K-12) is mandatory, and university education is not.
Secretary Kellner wanted to know what form of announcement would there be when the budget cuts are made.
Provost Nielsen responded that right now on some of these strategic items a couple of us have prepared some short descriptions of what we think we are going to look at and probably do. We need to talk with the principals involved and then we will put together a small internal budget team and a couple of others who may be involved to work on that, and at that point we would announce these things that we are looking at and then put them on the website so that everyone could see this. I project that that would be within two weeks that we would be in a situation where we could lay these things out there.
Chair Martin asked, “Are you saying -- the laying out of these ideas needs to begin that process, or that process is already under way and once they are laid out, pretty much what is there is on the chopping block to be chopped?”
Provost Nielsen responded yes, the latter.
Chair Martin: Have faculty been involved in the pre-chop analysis?
Provost Nielsen responded no, faculty have been involved in making suggestions that these things ought to be chopped as have students and staff. The criteria are listed on the sheets and the answer to those criteria questions are there.
5. The Stimulus Package and Beyond: The Impact on Higher Ed, and how we can best be prepared to respond
Terri Lomax, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies stated that the good news is that there is a lot of money coming down the pipe on the federal stimulus. I think there is a great deal of opportunity for NC State in this. We have always competed extremely well for federal research dollars and this is going to be another place to do that.
So what’s available? There is about $18 billion in federal research and development funding over the next couple of years, plus there is another $3.5 billion for facilities and large research equipment and $1.4 billion of that will be competitively awarded to universities.
The non-competitive award -- there may also be a chance of us getting some of that but we know that there is the $1.4 billion that we can compete for and then there is additional money for non R&D Science and Tech Programs. Higher education and construction education spending related to academia are going to be available as well.
The state stabilization fund is almost all for education and in that case they don’t define [education] in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. How much of it should go to K-12? How much of it should go to community colleges? How much of it should go to universities? That is going to be a decision that is made at the Governor’s level, so again, that is something where we need to have the voices. Apparently it’s going to go down is in conversations with the Governor and Erskine Bowles and Scott Rawls and whoever is in charge of K-12 these days. That is something where we need to make sure that we get our share as well.
In the Research Funding, NIH normally has about a $30 billion dollar budget. They are getting a plus up of $10.4B for these two years, which is up by about 30 percent.
NSF normally has about a $6 billion dollar budget and they are getting an additional $3B for these two years so that is an increase of 50 percent.
NIST is getting an additional $600M.
DOE Energy is $39B and they normally have a four to five billion dollar budget for energy, so with this 39, plus their normal they are going to have $45B this year to spend.
There is an excellent article in Science by Jeffrey Mervis, “Amid the Gloom, Researchers Prepare for a Boom in Funding” and I took this chart from that article. This is talking about research dollars; it is not all the dollars that are going into Medicaid and other things like that. The greatest thing about this is going to be research in an infrastructure and in others, so these are things that could come to higher education.
The big question with DOE is that they have not been traditionally very good about sending money to universities; they like to send it to their labs and all indications are that’s what they are going to do again. The good news is that we are one of the very closest partners that Oak Ridge National Lab has, so we have worked, especially Ray Fornes with PAMS, has done wonders over the years at developing a close relationship with them. We have seven Oak Ridge Professors here on campus and they work in a lot of areas that we are interested in, such as high performance computing, renewable energy, biofuels, in addition to the nuclear kinds of things that they did, so they have become very much not simply a nuclear lab, and more in the renewable energy fields.
There is $7.2B for Rural Broadband and the hope is that that will help connect some of the things that we have wanted to do.
NASA is giving $1 billion plus, and within that there is $400M for earth observing systems, for climate change studies. There is another $400M for explanation, for some agencies the language was very detailed and there were very specific instructions and others like NASA is just like three big-ticket items. There was $200M for aeronautics.
NOAA $600 M is mostly for facilities but we have also just turned in a proposal for cooperative institute that we would do at Asheville with the NCDC.
Economic Development Assistance $150M; Clean Water Fund $4 billion; Drinking Water Fund $2 billion; Rural Waste Disposal $1.38 billion; Army Corps of Engineers $4.6 billion. How is it going to be distributed? They have until September 30th to obligate the funds, but all of the agencies are under incredible pressure to get the money out as quickly as possible. They had to have their proposals into OMB within thirty days and most of the agencies are now waiting to hear back from OMB whether their plans are approved for how they are going to spend it. OMB is also giving out very long documents on how the agencies have to do their reporting on all of this. They have to report quarterly on every dollar they spend for the stimulus and how many jobs it created, which means that we are going to have to do that too. So every grant we bring in from this we are going to have to track separately, and we are going to have to report to them quarterly.
Senator Headen wants to know, is the job creation constraint made clear?
Vice Chancellor Lomax responded that the language is not out, but what she is hearing is that the more you can demonstrate that you are creating jobs [the better], so don’t use it for buying pieces of equipment because most scientific equipment is not made in the US, so that is not creating US jobs.
Question: How about hiring new bodies or keeping existing bodies?
Lomax stated keeping existing bodies counts [if they are] people that you would have laid off. You can now keep them on. Graduate students also count.
Senator Auerbach stated that there don’t seem to be any cushions here where humanities can go looking for spare change.
Lomax stated that there is some in NSF. I think the National Endowment for Humanities got a tiny increase, but I think there are certainly things within NSF that I would look at.
Senator Ristaino stated that USDA received a very small increase compared to NIHS.
Lomax stated that USDA got completely left out of the process, except for some infrastructure money for ARS.
Senator Ristaino stated that we have bailout packages for Wall Street, but farmers are under foreclosure and losing lots of money. We can’t continue to support food and that’s my bias.
Mark Johnson asked, say we get an NSF grant and we hire twenty graduate students, do we have to pay them and graduate them in two years or we are sitting here looking at two years from now having a big continuing [unfunded] obligation?
Lomax responded that is exactly why NSF is being very particular about which programs that they do, so, for example, they are not giving any increases to graduates.
Lomax stated we are increasing the staff temporarily in the proposal development unit to help with getting those big grants out and looking for how Research and Graduate Studies can be more effective too.
Lomax stated that there is going to be a hesitance to fund multi year commitments like the five-year centers, so they have told us there is not going to be an increase in the STC program at NSF or in the ERC program. What NIH is doing is they are reaching out already. They are calling PI’s who just missed the cut off for the R01 five-year grant and telling them to come back with a two-year budget for what they could do for two years. They can’t go back any further than October to de-decline grants, but they will be doing some de-declines from the October panels.
Senator Ristaino wanted to know how far that they would be reaching to things that were denied.
Lomax stated that all the panels at NSF have grants with all “excellent” [ratings] that they can’t fund because they don’t have enough money. There are those things they could have funded that were highly ranked that they just didn’t have enough money.
Chair Martin stated that there were many who got into sub-grants and had budgets that were cut in half by what was proposed. That is different than being denied, so is there any thought of going back and taking maybe through the meritorious, exceedingly meritorious, and still whacked?
Lomax stated that she would certainly be calling her program manager. They don’t want to do supplements because supplements don’t increase their success rates, but they might give you one of these eagers for that, and generally they are two years, 300K.
Lomax stated that at NC State we have organized the Stimulus Rapid Response Team so that we can optimize our communication channels, in addition to the core team, which most of us have a lot of connections with, trying to find out this information that we are bringing together. We also have points of contact with the NH college to get the information out, but also to bring in information from you and then we want to coordinate efforts as we find out about these build teams that can go after some of these opportunities. All of the details are just coming out, so it is just ncsu.edu/stimulus. We have overviews and updates. We have links to each of the federal agency recovery act pages, other recovery act websites, updates from the agencies and it also has all the different opportunities that we think as they come out, organized by agency, and then also organized by topic.
Chair Elect Overton wanted to know about state agencies.
Lomax stated that it is still extremely murky the way it’s working with the state, so Dempsey Benton is the governor’s person who is in charge of spending the state’s stimulus funds and they have been having trouble finding out how they apply for and get the state’s stimulus funds. They are also working on how they might disseminate them and there have been no details on that.
Senator Headen asked if that means that if we were successful here that it would still have no impact on the required cuts that we discussed earlier.
Lomax stated that there are different levels. If you put money into Medicaid, it is going to help our cut be smaller, because it’s all one pot for the state budget. The money that we bring in this way can help us keep our graduate students and it can help us keep our staff.
The timing is poor because we are going to have to make some decisions now for the state budget before we know about our successes here.
Provost Nielsen commented that this is one-time money and we may be facing a $4 billion dollar cut in the revenue for the state and we have been told so far that we need to approach that as permanent reductions. There is a little wiggle room in there to allow us to maybe plan 75% of the reduction as permanent for this coming year and 25% one time and then in the next year the other 25% would go to permanent, so to the extent that the state can use money to bolster (on a one time basis over the next two years), some of their deficits, we can use that to bridge [to permanent reductions]. That is good to the extent that people we are laying off from state dollars could be picked up on these [unemployment] dollars. So that could be helpful, but we are going to have to do the things that we have to do.
Lomax stated that one place where she thinks it is going to be very important is there are a lot of departments where the only wiggle room to take the state cuts is in graduate stipends and so if we can pick up more graduates on these projects, that we can keep more of them funded.
Chair Martin: But you just said this was good for graduate stipends.
Lomax stated that they are not giving it out for graduate programs, but you can use it for graduate stipends and finish up a person who has been there for two or three years.
Chair Martin stated that he thinks the biggest challenge that we have here is that all of these dollars are two-year. Where these dollars might come in doesn’t address where the cuts are, with the possible exception of graduate stipends. You take, for example, the discussion about the Natural Resources Library where it arguably is necessary for people writing grants and doing research -- that gets cut while we are expecting [more from these] activities, so this is the hard question I think we need to grapple with in the university. We are asking again to do more with less. These monies will go to individual PI’s, but it is not going to address most of the things that we have to cut, so aren’t we going back into the same old model.
Lomax stated that it is unfortunate. It is [either] a wealth of riches on one hand, or being cut on the other side, and the two budgets don’t match extremely well, so you are right. I don’t know what changes we could make and even if we are extremely successful in bringing in a lot of these dollars this year, remember F&A follows by a year in bringing the dollars, so it doesn’t give us the money in this coming year to bridge that gap, even if we use F&A dollars.
Chair Martin: Do we need to talk to legislators about this? Are you suggesting that we just have to accept the world, as it is, which is disjointed?
Lomax stated that she thinks it is a great argument to make with them. We are going to bring all this research riches, which ends up in economic development for the state, so if you cut us down to the bone we can’t maximize that, but is there something more specific than that that you are thinking of?
Chair Martin stated that he thinks this is strategic planning and we need to be thinking about it as a university.
Chair Elect Overton: Just a question about the NSF and the conversation about the policy on the release time for some salaries.
Lomax stated that they are not going to change their mind about that.
Senator Tu asked about overhead returns. The money is spent and 50% goes to the university as overhead.
Lomax stated that overhead return is reimbursement for the facilities and administrative cost so F& A is not a pool of money that we can spend however we want. We go through every three years negotiations with the federal government about what our cost are, so those F&A dollars are actually a reimbursement for our cost of doing business.
Mark Johnson stated that Jim’s question [is best pointed], not at the legislative level because it’s at the UNC system level where we as an R1 have a different set of obligations to the whole state and not to our one university within the system. The last time the UNC System made a grand reorganization was in the middle of the great depression. Maybe it’s time to put things back on Erskine Bowles and say, do you want us to respond to this or not?
Chair Martin said that is a really a good point and I think an unfortunate part of the UNC Tomorrow Initiative, because a lot of our non R1 [universities] are now trying to claim that they are Research Extensive Universities. I was just for example, down at ECU attending a seminar last Friday, and they are under pressure to try to get a Chemistry PhD Program. The faculty are saying that this is not a good idea, but they are under pressure from their administration because everybody sees that this is where the money allegedly is, so everybody is going after these. Unfortunately our argument is going to be even harder to make because we have not effectively differentiate our R1’s from other institutions, but I agree with you that that is where we need to work.
Vice Chancellor Lomax stated that we now know what’s in the 2009 Omnibus Bill. There are pretty good trends upward in the science budget and the present budget for 2010 appeared last week and that has even larger increases for sciences, so even while he is doing an ascetic budget, he is pushing science in a big way. Again I think we need to be ready to respond.
Senator Honeycutt wants to know what are some of the other strings attached for how to spend money for personnel.
Lomax stated that for the agency stuff, so far they haven’t seen any strings and actually they are easing up a lot on the cost sharing.
Senator Ristaino wants to know if there are plans to put the buildings on the list, that have been on the wish list for a long time.
Lomax stated that they are going to have to survey all of these to see which ones our buildings fit in, because NIH wants to do things for the biomedical research.
Chair Martin wanted to know if there is a list of projects submitted that are shovel ready. He stated that the university allegedly prepared a list of shovel ready projects.
Lomax stated that she was not involved in that at all.
Chair Martin stated that Vice Chancellor Leffler is one of the people who said such a thing existed and we have asked multiple times and are not getting the information. If we knew what those projects on the list were that would be useful.
Lomax stated that ready to go projects are really things that you probably already have the architectural plan approved. One example that I know of is like CVM already has the plans to rehabilitate their feeder.
Chair Martin stated that all this stimulus talk really has little to nothing to do with the cuts that we are facing and that is a real struggle. You hear all this talk of pots of money when you have to decide which faculty you are going to lay off, what support staff you are going to lay off, and anyone who has done research two years might get a project started -- and then what? --, so there is a lot of these questions that still are out there. I would encourage us all to think about what are some of those questions that might be helpful to take to the next level as this discussion continues.
6. Old Business: Second Reading—Emeritus Faculty Status and Involvement
P0L095.20.02 Emeritus Faculty Status Involvement
Senator Franke presented the document for second reading.
There was some word smithing and discussion on the document. The motion passed unanimously to approve the resolution/revised policy.
7. Issues of Concern/New Business
Chair Martin read the following issue of concern from Senator Ambaras, which seems to show that the library for the past decade has reduced the number of subject specialists, and government document librarians in reference services. Perhaps the reductions are justified because of access to electronic databases and/or defining our shifting students and faculty needs. However, the faculty are concerned and would like to see the rationale behind the library decisions.
Chair Martin stated that he sent the issue of concern to the Director of Libraries for her to respond.
Secretary Kellner suggested that the Senate invite Vice Provost Nutter to a meeting to talk about the general impact on the library.
Chair Martin stated that he would discuss it at the Executive Committee.
Chair Martin read another issue of concern that was raise--what about this K12 versus everybody else being part of education.
Chair Martin stated that he thinks we all understand that the K-12 is mandated education and that is different from university, although some people are implying that university -- if not mandated -- is effectively necessary [to the state], so that begins to raise a question whether we really should have a mandated/non-mandated differentiation. So in the paper we saw the 2% cut [K-12] issue and in the Governor’s speech last night there was the statement that we are not going to cut education. There was the statement that in fact, we are going to increase the funding of students, so all of those things make you ask questions about this funny definition. We didn’t get the information, but Terri did suggest that nobody quite knows with the state stabilization fund, how education will be defined. She said that the state stabilization money is largely for education, but it is not delineated whether this will be for K12, community college, university or what, so that is the question. What Senator Ristaino suggested to me was potentially -- should we craft some kind of a resolution or statement that might be of importance to pass as a resolution saying, let’s adopt a policy. If we do such a thing, whom would we want to address it to? Some like the suggestion that maybe crafting a statement to President Bowles at the system level. I think potentially trying to say, don’t give us a 2% cut, I think potentially the better avenue would be trying to make a statement with respect to the definitions in the state’s stabilization.
Senator Ristaino stated that she was taken aback with the idea that we are not part of the public education in the state because we are major players. “I think we should argue that we are an important component of public education in the state and have been so for numerous years and argue that our cut should be equitable.”
Senator Headen stated if you do that, does that mean we should be cut less or they should be cut more. How do you handle that?
Senator Ristaino stated that she was thinking we should be cut less. Should the Research I Institutions be cut less than the others?
Senator Kiwanuka-Tondo stated that the President in his address to the Congress recently stated that he would love to promote university education to bring that [attendance] figure to 50%, so this is probably where we would support this idea and bring it out to the President of the Administration who wants to make sure that we achieve this.
Senator Kocurek asked, is there -- continuing with that thought -- some tie-in of that goal to enrollment increase money, either adjusting or increasing it. Somehow tying that particular target number to more revenue for the universities [would help us] even though [there may be a] cut. This is, by the way, the difference between [us and] K-12, and why there is a non-distinction/distinction because we are also a part of education. I think to address it is important, but the approach, that might be an interesting model to look at the increase accessibility and enrollment funding.
Chair Martin stated that there are so many details that if you track down any one line of details you are missing about ten other lines of details, so if we do anything like this. If you go into too much detail, it is not going to carry any weight and really the idea is getting us to think definitionally that K-12 is really not that much different from other levels of education, particularly today.
Senator Williams stated that it [K-12] is the only education that most of the people in this state are going to get and it is impolitic on our part to be the first ones to whine. Nobody else has complained about this, except us, and you don’t have to go too far outside of Raleigh to find out what the perception of the average North Carolina taxpayer is regarding faculty. We may be part of education, but there comes a time, particular with the situations the way that they are now, that there might be prudent on our part to say, we are all in this together and we can absorb that.
Senator Hergeth stated that he agrees that the best way forward is to say that we talked about increases and enrollment -- how can we do that and is there additional funding? I think that addressing the distinction between K-12 and other public education is fighting windmills because the distinction is probably made because K-12 has hidden federal funding and we don’t have that federal funding or wherever it comes from, but the distinction of what part gets cut is a political one. K-12 needs the money from the state. It is something that may get some people elected and because we are all public education then politically it is separated.
Senator Williams stated that we are not public education. That is a distinction that is important because the public funds K-12 and they only fund 46% of us and in Chapel Hill they fund even less. We are increasingly private education i.e., the state only provides 46% of our operating budget, which means the majority of the money we spend doesn’t come from the public.
Chair Martin disagreed. He stated that contracts and grants are still public. I think there is a diversity of opinions. There is a difference, I think, in part about addressing cuts versus addressing how we might go after this part of the state part of the stimulus plan. As I would see it, those are two different things. Are you not seeing it that way? We were told that the state [has] stimulus money, [but] we don’t totally have a definition of how that can be spent. Do you see addressing that issue as the same whining?
Senator Williams stated that you do it where it’s not public.
Senator Poling stated that his wife has been teaching history for thirty years and he just learned that they are definitely projecting going to classroom sizes of 40 next year, so I think you have to think about what’s going on. K-12 is the only public education for many people in the state, so he agrees with Senator Williams.
Former Chair Wahl stated that about ten years ago a similar question came up and the main overriding issue here is state supported versus state assisted. The K-12 are state supported. We are definitely getting less and less state assistance. I don’t see anything that would come as a benefit to the university by our wrestling over who got what percentage of a cut at this desperate time and I’m also aware of the work that was done by Bill Friday and successors in trying to keep the university system separate from the rest of the education system, so that there is much less available for the guidance of the General Assembly. I think we have everything to gain by being quiet and nothing to gain by making noise.
Senator Carver stated that it is Beverly Purdue’s responsibility to educate K-12. Erskine Bowles and others are responsible for this university system and with K-12 they don’t have a way to raise tuition. They don’t have any outlets other than the tax money whereas we have the grants. We have the tuition that we can raise and so there is a big difference and I think we should leave it alone.
Senator Auerbach agreed.
Chair Martin stated that he would write to President Bowles to find out the status of this state’s money and how the arguments are being made to the big part of education.
The meeting adjourned at 5:05 p.m.