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Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate » October 3, 2002

Faculty Senate Minutes

2002 No. 579
October 3, 2002
 

For All Faculty

The regular monthly meeting of the Faculty Senate was called to order on October 3 in the LaSells Stewart Center by President Nancy Rosenberger.


Meeting Summary

  • Action Item: Faculty Panels for Hearing Election [Motion 02–579–01 through 03]

  • Special Reports: Chancellor Richard Jarvis and PERS

  • Committee Report: Faculty Senate Elections

  • New Business: None



Roll Call

Members Absent With Representation:
Barker, J. McGuire; Boggess, K. Carpenter; Collier, F. Prahl; Dollar, T. Goodnow; Gomez, P. Miles; Pegau, B. Hales; and S. Shaw, L. Cramer.

Members Absent Without Representation:
Baggott, Beatty, Bontrager, Boyce, Braker, Breen, Caughey, Coakley, Davis-White Eyes, De Carolis, Deschesne, Douglas, Filip, Gross, Hackel, Hamm, Howell, Jennings, Jones, Li, Lomax, Majeski, McDaniel, Mundt, Pisias, Sanderson, Scott, D. Shaw, Stang, Trujillo, Winner, and Yim.

Faculty Senate Officers, Ex-Officios and Staff Present:
N. Rosenberger, Senate President; B. Sorte, Senate President-Elect; H. Sayre, Immediate Past Senate President; R. Iltis, Parliamentarian; Ex-officios: B. Burns, D. Edge, J. Lundy, J. Nishihara, and M. Prucha; and V. Nunnemaker, Senate Staff.

Guests of the Senate:
G. Beach, B. Becker, P. Broadus, S. Francis, B. Lunch, M. Merickel, B. Osborne, S. Randhawa, G. Tiedeman; K. Williamson, and D. Zottola.


ACTION ITEM

Faculty Panels for Hearing Election

Prior to voting, President Rosenberger clarified that Professional Faculty are eligible to be elected and to appeal to the Faculty Panels for Hearing. The results of balloting (motion 02-579-01) during the Senate meeting are as follows:
Primary Members: Sally Bowman, Eda Davis-Butts, Bart Eleveld, Rod Harter, Maureen Healy, Yuji Hiratsuka, Douglas E. Johnson, Jay Noller, Ed Scott, and John Simonsen
Alternate Members: Mohammad Azizian, Andrew Bluhm, John Caputo, Javier Cervantes, Sara Eklund, Viki Freeman, Janet Morandi, Jodi Nelson, Lisa Parker, and Charles Sears


COMMITTEE REPORT

Faculty Senate Elections

Henry Sayre, Bylaws and Nominations Committee Chair, outlined the nomination process for President-Elect, Interinstitutional Faculty Senate Senator and Executive Committee and announced that he is accepting nominations for these positions until October 8.


SPECIAL REPORTS

Report from the Chancellor

Chancellor Richard Jarvis addressed the Faculty Senate and provided a snapshot of his activities and observations since he began in the position. He noted there is a great need to re-engage the state and its stakeholders.

He sees the following as challenges in the system:

  1. Resources - OUS Budget cuts in the '01-'03 biennium so far equal $50 million, or 6% of the base appropriation, which translates to 3,000 students being denied access. An additional cut of $2 million has been made with another $25 million on the table if the income tax surcharge is defeated in January. Potentially the total cuts could reach 10% or $78 million. The primary objective is to retain the $25 million to the system.

  2. Determine Demand - Jarvis anticipates that the student demand will top 100,000 by 2010 in a high growth situation.

  3. Pressures - There are also pressures on quality and competitiveness: all campuses are over-enrolled, many students are enrolled beyond the state funding level (7,000 across the system) that results in increasing class sizes, reductions in course sections, and longer time to graduation.

    To keep up with the student demand, OUS would need to add one campus the size of OSU during the next six years. At the same time that enrollment is increasing, OUS is falling behind in state support, i.e., from 88% of the national average index in 1999 to less than 74%.

  4. Ratings - The State of Oregon's affordability rating has dropped from a 'D' to an 'F' in terms of need-based support against family income.

  5. Gaps to Close - Faculty salaries, unfunded enrollment, deferred maintenance, and a weak-performing economy.

  6. Links to Economic Development - There is a need for OUS to link economic development opportunities.

Pieces to the solution include:

  1. Engaging all partners fully; increasing state tax support; either increase student tuition or cut programs deeply; and increase institutional efficiency.

  2. Improving quality with more student-centered teaching and services through a research-based enterprise and strengthening the public mission of service to society and economy.

  3. Opening up barriers and pathways by creating a seamless K-20 experience for the student with multiple institutions and flexible modes of delivery, both on-campus and on-line.

  4. Persuading the State to empower the State Board with the flexibility to allow campuses to independently buy, hold, and sell property; purchase insurance; and retain interest earnings on all funds.

Chancellor Jarvis also feels needs the need to recalibrate the OUS vision to commit to progressing toward an enrollment capacity of 100,000 students.

To implement the above, over the next three biennia the state support must be increased to least 80-90% of the model to be close to peer institutions and student tuition must be affordable and predictable (currently tuition is high and aid is low). To accomplish this, there needs to be greater institutional efficiency, increased entrepreneurial efforts, and stake holders must be involved. There also needs to be a long-term commitment and a fair relationship with students, as well as being nationally competitive.

Jarvis asked faculty for their help in shaping his message to the legislature and to suggest to him what needs to be included to be successful.

Senator Obermiller, Agricultural Sciences, questioned whether interactive websites have been considered as a means of exchanging ideas. Jarvis indicated that suggestion will be implemented.

Senator Foster, Liberal Arts, asked what will happen when the income tax surcharge doesn't pass. Jarvis responded that he will be sending a message at the upcoming State Board meetings that the alternatives will be program cuts and substantial tuition increases. Potential cuts will be approached fairly and equitably. He indicated that OUS must "become more of the fabric of what this State believes in."

Jarvis responded 'wide open' when asked by Senator Doescher, Agricultural Sciences, what his thoughts were regarding changing the entire university system in Oregon. Jarvis felt that there are synergies to be capitalized on and that we need to determine what we can do that is value-added.

Senator Cloughesy, Forestry, questioned the role of certified programs. Jarvis responded that they are potentially very important, however, there must be a demand for the programs.


Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)

President-Elect Bruce Sorte provided a brief history of PERS and remarked that the House Speaker has appointed a working group to review the PERS issue. He also noted that, currently, 30-year retirees could potentially receive 108% of their average salary, however, most retire with 20-29 years of service and average 71% of their ending salary. The below draft resolution was presented for discussion and Sorte indicated that the Executive Committee will revise the draft for approval based on comments received:

Resolution to Restructure and Strengthen the Oregon
Public Employees Retirement System (PERS):

DRAFT

Whereas, A financially sound, stable, and successful retirement system is critical to recruit and retain public employees who have sufficient knowledge and experience to provide high quality service to Oregonians; and:

Whereas, Critical policy and operational adjustments are essential to maintain the long term financial sustainability and public support for the PERS; and:

Whereas, An effective retirement system helps to assure that public employees will be financially able during retirement to be regular volunteers and contributors to their communities; and:

Whereas, An important role of government is to serve as a model in all its actions and specifically in this case to provide an adequate, fair and secure retirement for its employees; and:

Whereas, The current structure and principles of the PERS including;

  • holding the Fund in trust for PERS members and protecting the Fund from diversion to other users;

  • achieving and maintaining an actuarially sound funding policy for PERS benefits authorized by the Legislature;

  • taking no actions that violate member's legal rights to benefits;

  • administering the System in the best interest of all the members;

  • advising the Legislature so that it may fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to System members;

  • monitoring the work of the Oregon Investment Council in investment of the Public Employees Retirement Fund;

  • considering the entire PERS membership when making decisions remain fundamentally relevant and necessary to assure public employees' futures while doing so within a manageable cost; now, therefore be it


Resolved, That the Oregon State University Faculty Senate guarantee an adequate though not inappropriate level of retirement benefits paid from public resources both in terms of minimum [60-65] and maximum [80-85] percentages of the last year's salary or a minimum amount based on percentage of median income, whichever is greater.

2. That actuarial tables be adjusted regularly [every five years].

3. That the rate of return on retirees' accounts be indexed [20 time period] and regularly [quarterly] adjusted to adequately reflect the PERS rate of return in the long term.

4. That an adequate reserve fund [two years] be maintained to continue payments to retirees based on the long-term rate of return without using the General Fund to support any PERS expenditures when the economy lags and/or state revenues decline.

5. That the same quality of retirement benefits [Return Tier Two to Tier One] be provided to all public employees.

6. That retirees be offered the option to continue benefiting from PERS during retirement by choosing a variable payment option [increasing as a person ages].

7. That public employees are assured a certain projection of retirement benefits [at least five years out].

This resolution is necessarily general due to the complexity of the PERS. However, the OSU Faculty Senate remains committed to finding a fair and resilient solution. The solution must meet the State's contractual and ethical obligations to Oregon's dedicated public employees and recognize the market realities of compensation packages, which rely on retirement benefits, to approach some level of competitiveness for quality employees. Equally important, the solution must demonstrate respect and appreciation for and deserve the necessary support from Oregonians and their legislative representatives.

DRAFT

Senator Landau asked what the purpose of the resolution was. Sorte responded that the purpose is to provide a moderate solution to the current concerns of the Legislature, other than abolishing PERS or going to a Tier 3. He argued that the resolution is for those in Tier 2 who shouldn't be there, to have the ability to recruit good employees, and to allow retirees to be contributing members of society. This is an opportunity to put OSU on the Legislature's radar screen.

Senator Coblentz, Agricultural Sciences, was opposed to setting maximum caps on retirement earnings. Senator Pearson, Science, agreed with Senator Coblentz and felt it was perhaps non-sensical to put a cap on retirement benefits.

Senator Driscoll, Extension, noted that the OSU Faculty Senate cannot guarantee retirement benefits, as noted in the resolution. Sorte changed the reference to PERS.

Senator Farber, Liberal Arts, felt that many at the lowest salary level will be hurt the most by the 85% cap. The cap would compound the exploitation of those at lower salary levels and felt that percentages are not applicable. Sorte indicated that there may need to be some dollar floor included.

Senator Gray, Home Economics and Education, felt that she was not able to vote on this resolution, given the amount of specificity involved and the short amount of time allowed to be educated on the subject. Sorte indicated that the resolution could become more general and it will be revised to possibly contain several options.

Senator Landau requested that information be disseminated indicating how the proposed resolution compares to what we have now and how faculty retirement dollars compare to other universities. Sorte will prepare comparisons.

Senator Oriard, Liberal Arts, felt that numbers one and five get to the spirit of the resolution and are attractive to the Legislature. He questioned how many would be affected by the 85% cap and how many years would it take to kick in.

Senator deGeus, Associated, expressed nervousness regarding specificity in the resolution. She questioned whether the Executive Committee considered whether a defined benefit plan is worthy vs. a defined contribution. Need to determine what it is inherently about PERS that we want to keep. Sorte indicated he could use her help in restructuring the resolution to be less specific.

Senator Weber, Agricultural Sciences, questioned whether Senators are being asked what a public retirement system should look like or, if the resolution was implemented, would it be in place next year. Sorte responded that the specificity was included since there was interest in having specifics sooner so they could be studied. Rosenberger added that the Executive Committee felt that this would be something that would be implemented, not that it's the ideal system.

Senator Ellinwood, Engineering, was uncomfortable with the minimum and maximum ranges since there are many classified employees whose salaries are considerably lower than professors. Sorte indicated that the resolution may be re-ordered to take this concern into consideration.

Senators were asked to talk with colleagues and caucus with their constituents regarding the PERS resolution.


INFORMATION ITEMS

-- Faculty Senate Fall Elections
-- Faculty Senate meeting dates through June 2003


REPORT FROM & DIALOG WITH THE FACULTY SENATE PRESIDENT

President Rosenberger reported that a topic of discussion at the Executive Committee retreat was how to get more open, inclusive and better-informed discussions in the Senate. Some of the suggestions were to: distribute information to Senators as early as possible; use more caucuses; encourage more consultation with constituents; give adequate information, with pros and cons if possible; and have the president send Senators e-mail messages with key issues and elements in preparation of the Senate discussion. New issues can either be introduced via the Executive Committee or under New Business during Senate meetings, however, this occurs at the end of the meeting when there is little time for consideration.

OSU-2007 Schedule - Core Planning Team reports will come forward on either October 23 or November 15 and proposals will be posted to the web; the engagement period with campus groups will be until November 30 or December 15, depending on when reports were submitted; the Senate will discuss recommendations on November 7 and December 5, and there will be a Faculty Forum to discuss recommendations on November 21; the Core Planning Teams will incorporate feedback and addend engagement reports; final reports are due to the OSU-2007 Steering Committee by either December 20 or January 10; final reports are due to the Provost by February 3; and President Risser will make decisions on the recommendations between February 10 and 17.

Budget Cuts - Permanent cuts include: $1 million to Engineering; $750,000 to Education and General Funds (E&G) of graduate cells. If the income tax surcharge is not passed in January 2003, OSU would experience additional cuts of $8.2 million to E&G funds and $3.4 million to State-wides. If all of these cuts are implemented, it would equal almost a 10% cut to the original 2001-03 budget allocation.

Political Expression - A public employee may not, while on the job during working hours, promote or oppose election petitions, candidates or ballot measures. No person may require a public employee to do so.

Things to keep in mind:

    o Working hours are defined as 8:00-5:00 Monday through Friday, with noon-1:00 for lunch.
    o Twelve-month faculty may take official leave during work time to engage in political activities.
    o You are encouraged to keep records to verify that you have used off duty time or official leave when engaging in political expression.
    o Do not ever use university e-mail, phone, or equipment for political purposes.
Things you can do during work include: wearing political buttons; preparing and distributing impartial written material, or making impartial presentations; advising employees of possible effects of a measure; or expressing your personal political views.

President-Elect Sorte made the following suggestions: use a personal cell phone instead of university phones between noon-1:00 PM; record leave on your MicroSoft calendar; and refer to your Senator position when talking with legislators - you are elected to represent other faculty.


NEW BUSINESS

There was no new business.


Meeting was adjourned at 4:58 PM.

Respectfully submitted:

Vickie Nunnemaker
Faculty Senate Staff