UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 11 September, 2000




I. Roll - The following Faculty Senate members were absent: Bornstein, Conroy, Denis, Draper, Halstead, McCann, Mills, Russell, Tucker, and VonDamm. Absent as work to rule were: Carr, Christie, Hall, Krysiak, Planalp, Simpson, Slomba, and Stine. Excused were Hiller, Macieski and Trowbridge.

II. Moment of silence - There was a moment of silence in honor of Professor Bob Connors who passed away early this summer, and President Leitzel spoke of the great loss to the university and to his family and said that the university's writing lab will be dedicated to his memory. A professor announced that members of the university community are invited to meet on September 16 and 17 for a barn raising in his memory.

III. Communications with the president - The president said that this year's freshman class is a strong one both in numbers and in academic quality, with significantly better SAT scores than last year. The applicant pool was fifteen percent higher than last year. There are thirty-five new tenure-track faculty and three new deans plus one new acting dean. In addition, we have a new chancellor, Steve Reno, who will be on the UNH campus this Wednesday to meet with students, researchers and the Faculty Senate's Agenda Committee. Currently the total enrollment is close to that of the 1998 academic year. Residence halls are crowded, because there are a large number of freshmen this year and also because more upper classmen than usual want to live on campus. The university plans to build another residence hall and dining facility.

Regarding collective bargaining, the president said that during the summer the negotiators first met on non-salary issues, then on medical benefits, and then on salaries. She said that there is still distance between the positions but that many of the issues have been closed. A meeting with the fact finder is set for October, if the informal negotiations have not born fruit by then. The president will give a state-of-the-university address on September 19 at 12:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Building. Private fund raising is going well, and the ratio of the endowment to total expenses is getting better. State appropriations are flat and not growing with inflation. External grants and contracts have grown very fast, and endowed professorships and chairs have been added. More articles about the university are appearing in the national media.

IV. Senate chair and vice chair and quorum issues - The Agenda Committee has nominated for senate chair Jerry Finn, who was elected in May as senate vice chair and has been the acting chair of the senate several months since the death of Bob Connors, and for senate vice chair Dan Reid. Nominations may also be made from the floor. A professor said that, prior to any vote, a quorum should be defined as more than half of the senate seats, even if no senator has been named to that seat. Other faculty members responded that a quorum is more than half of the elected senators. A professor said that he is in favor of the slate for senate chair and vice chair but would prefer to defer the vote until the next senate meeting, with the understanding that the acting chair and acting vice chair would continue in that capacity until the election vote is taken.

Another senator read from the senate constitution, that a quorum consists of "a majority of the voting members". The acting chair agreed, saying that, if a department elects a senator who chooses not to come, that person counts when computing a quorum; but if a department does not elect a senator, the empty seat does not count for a quorum. Traditionally some small departments listed in the senate constitution have combined and had one senator and one senate vote between the two departments. A professor said that the United States senate is made up of senators and not states and that therefore our quorum should be defined by the number of elected senators.

Another faculty member said that we should get away from business as usual and adjourn the Faculty Senate, since the faculty have been working without a contract for so long. The acting chair replied that as an AAUP member he supports work to rule but that faculty governance is an essential faculty function and needs to be done so that faculty can have a strong say in important decisions, which will be made with or without faculty participation. A professor said that he is in favor of the slate and that the senate should continue to meet but only to work on issues of importance to the faculty rather than to the administration. Another professor agreed and added that we can make no assumptions as to why a department has decided not to elect a senator and that therefore the quorum should be more than half of the persons who have been elected senator.

A faculty member said that we should ask the Agenda Committee to make a proposal at the next meeting, about how to define a quorum. The former chair said that in the past we have used the number of elected senators, in computing a quorum; and other senators said that we should continue as we have in the past. According to that definition, we have a quorum now. A professor said that Jerry Finn was elected by the senate as vice chair and that, in the absence of the chair, he is required to act as chair. The acting chair ruled that a quorum exists, based on precedence. The question was called and a vote taken on a motion that a quorum exists now, since twenty-five senators are present. The motion passed with eighteen ayes, four nays, and two abstentions. The chair does not vote except on ties.

A motion was made and seconded, to delay the vote on chair and vice chair until the next senate meeting in two weeks. That motion passed with twenty-two ayes, one nay and one abstention.

V. Communications from the acting chair - The Agenda Committee has prepared the committee membership list and suggested charges for the standing committees. Committees set their own agenda and schedule. The committees may choose how to prioritize the charges and what other charges should be added or substituted.

The University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee had been created by the Faculty Senate. The Agenda Committee proposes that Dan Beller-McKenna fill the seat formerly occupied by Bob Connors, that Ellen Fitzpatrick fill the seat formerly occupied by Gregg McMahon, and that Jeff Klenotic be the member from UNH-Manchester. These proposed members have agreed to serve. There will be a vote on these membership changes at the next senate meeting.

The acting chair announced that the vice president for academic affairs has proposed changes in faculty nomenclature, and the senate might review this issue at a later date. Also, later in the year a referendum on the Faculty Senate will be organized.

The Agenda Committee has put together a motion on senate procedures, because the committee thought that it does not serve the senate well to craft motions on the floor of the senate. Although most motions should be reviewed by a senate committee, an urgent motion could be voted on immediately if the senate thinks that is best. The person that proposed the motion could give input to the committee reviewing the motion. Any motion that the committee presents to the senate could be amended from the floor, but this would be less common due to the prior preparation.

The acting chair announced that the senate standing committees could meet at this time to elect a chair and decide on the date of the next committee meeting. A professor said that each committee should meet to decide if there are issues of importance to faculty, that the committee should deal with.

VI. Adjournment - Today's meeting was adjourned.

Click HERE to return to the main Faculty Senate Minutes page.