UNH Faculty Senate

Summary Minutes from 22 March, 2004

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UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
2003/04 FACULTY SENATE

MARCH 22, 2004 - MINUTES SUMMARY


I. Roll - The following senators were absent: Baldwin, Black, Burger, Calculator, Emison, Gutman, Herold, Miller, Niesse, and Savage. Excused were Broussard, Mennel, Pescosolido, Shea and Slomba. Guests were President Hart and Pat Gormley.

II. Communications with the president - The president thanked the faculty senators for completing the diversity statement. The study circles on diversity have also completed their work and will report next week. In addition, meetings have been held with Fred Ross and other members of the NAACP, in order to encourage their involvement. The university web site will soon be modified to include information about these initiatives, and additional discussions will be held about recruitment, retention and financial aid.

The president has recently received a report from the university's Athletic Advisory Committee. UNH has been named one of the top twenty-five division-one universities in the United States. Athletic teams help build community when they do well. However, funding for athletics is a difficult issue. The president said that a university-wide dialogue should be held about the role of athletics.

A professor asked what the rationale was for the procedures used in the recent COLSA dean search, and the president replied that the provost will soon give more information about that to the faculty in COLSA. The provost consulted with many faculty members and felt that the appointment should be made without delay, so that the COLSA programmatic review could be conducted under the new dean. Bill Trumble, the current COLSA Associate Dean for Research, will become the COLSA dean on April 1.

III. Communications from the chair - The senate chair announced that the Student Senate speaker, the student body president, and the student body vice president have been invited to attend the April 5 Faculty Senate meeting as observers during the presentations by the president, the provost, and the report from the Task Force on Academic Expectations and Student Behavior.

IV. Minutes - The minutes of the previous Faculty Senate meeting were approved unanimously.

V. Proposed draft of the UNH Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment Policy - Pat Gormley, Special Assistant to the President for Affirmative Action, said that she had sent out the two current policies and a draft of the proposed policy and that she would like input on the draft. The USNH Policy Manual has the 1996 version of the policy and is on line centrally, while the 1997 version is in pamphlet form and is on line at the Affirmative Action Office website. The two versions need to be made the same and to comply with changes in the law. The draft also attempts to improve clarity, enhance the examples, and incorporate both discrimination and harassment. The draft includes the new protected category of "gender identity or expression", which comprises transgender and similar issues. The draft also lists outside agencies which deal with issues related to the policy. In order to comply with current legal requirements, the draft says that employees must report sexual harassment of a student by an employee, even if the student requested confidentiality when discussing the matter. Confidentiality is needed in the SHARP Program, Health Services, and the Counseling Center. Although faculty have a responsibility to report sexual harassment of a student by an employee, the matter would be handled in a confidential, need-to-know manner when reported.

The draft has a statement of commitment and support and a statement of responsibility and also covers disability, including learning disabilities. This draft explains the informal complaint process, which is used in most instances. Issues of academic freedom are handled on a case-by-case basis, so that faculty can teach while providing reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities. A professor complimented the draft and requested inclusion of an example of the procedures to be taken when a complainant feels harassed by the supervisor, department chair or dean. If necessary the complainant could go directly to Pat Gormley or the Human Resources Office.

A faculty member asked how early in the process the accused would be notified. Pat Gormley said that the accused is notified very quickly if the formal complaint process is activated. Most complaints are handled informally, often in a low-key manner. The supervisor may talk to the employee about better ways to deal with certain situations, and in such a case the complainant might not be named. However, if written records or suspensions are involved, the established procedures in the Human Resources Policy are followed. A faculty member said that he had heard about an accusation of racial discrimination in grading where the dean changed a grade without notifying the instructor. Pat Gormley responded that, in her experience, the Affirmative Action Office would work with the dean and that the faculty member is always notified. If concerns remain about the example cited, they could be brought to the provost's attention. The Affirmative Action Office handles about twenty-five to thirty cases of discrimination or harassment per year, of which only one or two go through the formal process. In addition, complaints against students are handled in another manner, as described in the Student's Rights and Responsibilities booklet.

Pat Gormley asked that senators and their colleagues examine the draft policy posted at http://www.unh.edu/affirmativeaction/policies.htm and send input to pat.gormley@unh.edu. She would like to finalize the policy by the end of this semester or early next fall. Later in the meeting after Pat Gormley had left, a professor asked what protections exist in university policy for those accused of discrimination or harassment. Would faculty get legal representation, trial by peers, and other standard legal protections? The Agenda Committee will consider whether to ask the Professional Standards Committee to review this matter.

VI. Research and Public Service Committee report - On behalf of the Research and Public Service Committee, Grant Cioffi moved that the senate accept the committee's report; and Barbara Krysiak seconded the motion. The proposal to elevate EOS to a formal university institute will be further revised, in an effort to address faculty concerns. The senate chair said that the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee will review the institute proposal and that the senate's Agenda Committee will then consider how the Faculty Senate should review the matter. Regarding a faculty service award, John Aber suggested working with the University Awards Committee to develop the award criteria and possible funding. Lastly, the Research and Public Service Committee believes that there is no need to have an award for outstanding faculty senator. The motion to accept the committee's report passed unanimously.

VII. Campus Planning Committee report - Udo Schlentrich said that the committee was charged with following any plans for change in the university's transportation policy, traffic patterns, and parking spaces, tracking the Master Plan development and implementation, and tracking compliance with accessibility for the handicapped. The committee believes that excellent and necessary work has taken place on the Campus Master Plan. While the committee approves of the bulk of the plan, the committee would like the planners to investigate a number of items for further study. The faculty union contract has addressed some parking issues, for example restricting student parking in B lot. Faculty are concerned about the difficulty of parking, traffic congestion, and traffic noise. Some professors express concern that a large parking garage would exacerbate traffic congestion and noise nearby. The university should consider doing a feasibility study of a people-mover system instead, like the rail system in Disneyland. As a start, some students are gathering data on this issue as a class project.

The committee supports additional undergraduate, graduate and student family housing but would prefer that the housing be built not in several clusters but in one self-contained, traffic-free village within walking distance of the transportation system and with childcare, recreation, a laundry center, and a co-op store. For junior faculty, the university should study the possibility of subsidized housing via a private/public housing partnership agreement using UNH land near campus. The committee proposes that the university consider adding a large building for student recreation such as concerts and dances outside of town but near public transportation. Also, additional laboratory space for the Hospitality Department and the Thompson Culinary Program should be provided in the New England Center.

The committee further recommends that, whenever funding is obtained and projects are planned for inception, the administration should inform the senate's Campus Planning Committee about proposed project budgets and development dates. Planners should also implement the Gantt chart process regarding the projects' order and interdependence. In addition, major concerns from the town of Durham should be documented and made available for review. An economic and environmental impact study should be done to evaluate the planned traffic and road system and its alternatives. The Campus Planning Committee recommends that the Campus Master Plan be approved pending review of the above issues. The senate committee's report will be sent to the senators on email, and faculty are asked to review the issues and send input to Udo Schlentrich.

A professor said that, while this committee report seems to indicate that traffic is the biggest issue, actually the most important issue for faculty is convenient parking. Another professor asked how additional housing would affect the town and its school system. There should be a dialogue between the town master planners and those for the university.

VIII. Adjournment - The Faculty Senate meeting was adjourned.
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