Officers attending: Russ Marcks, President; Pam Chambers, Vice President; Fred Thomas, Secretary
Senators attending: Cindy Beckett, Susan Callender, Frank Clay, Forrest Cope, Roxann DeLaet, Rick Jurus, Kenneth Melendez, Bob Reas, Ellen Rosengarten, Mike Smith
Not attending: George Hageman
Others attending: Jerry Kinskey, William LeJeune, Laurel Mayer, Jim Puthoff
Russ called the meeting to order at 2:37 in room 6142.
1. Minutes from Feb. 20, 2002
Russ suggested a change in wording to item 3.1 of the draft minutes. The minutes were approved with that change incorporated.
2.1. Pam announced that the FITs team will be meeting Feb. 28th.
2.2. Pam said that she has been working with the Honor Code committee but is unable to continue in that role because of a time conflict. She also noted that there are issues that still need to be considered, including a concern expressed by some faculty that an Honor Code (as opposed to a Code of Conduct) may not be appropriate for an open-enrollment institution such as Sinclair. Ken Melendez is also a member of the committee, but Dona Fletcher has asked that two Senators be included. Ellen expressed her willingness to serve on the committee. Since several Senators had not yet arrived, Russ will make an additional request for volunteers and then make the appointment.
2.3. Pam said that the proposed Sinclair email policy has been returned after examination by the College attorney, and should be ready for review at the next Senate meeting.
3. Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Russ and Bob introduced Jerry Kinskey, who was Vice President in 1969 when the Assembly Constitution and Bylaws were written. Bob said that there is less confusion on the question of membership in the Assembly than some people think, since the Handbook clarifies the Constitution. He asked Jerry to describe the origins of the Constitution.
Jerry said that the Constitution was developed in response to accreditation requirements regarding self-governance. At the time, the only full-time faculty were tenured or tenure-track and they were the only group intended to have membership in the Assembly. There was discussion at the time about the possibility of librarians or other professional staff being included, and the writers decided not to do so.
Russ and Fred asked what Jerry and Jim recalled about the later time when adjuncts began to make up a significant part of the faculty. Neither was sufficiently involved in Senate at that time to recall details, but Jim Puthoff emphasized his belief that the intent has always been to include only tenured and tenure-track faculty as members of Assembly.
Russ reiterated his strong opinion that allowing ACFs or Special Adjuncts to vote on any proposed amendment regarding their membership in Assembly would be a great disservice to tenure-track faculty and would seriously damage Senate's credibility with both faculty and the administration. If they are allowed to vote, the administration and the Board of Trustees will view it as an illegal vote and will not honor the results.
Fred asked for clarification on the basis for Russ's statement about the views of the administration and the Board. Russ replied it has already happened with regard to last year's vote, and he asked Pam to explain further. Pam said that she had talked with the President, the Provost and the Vice President for Instruction and that she and Russ had been told the vote would not be honored if ACFs are allowed to vote.
Russ asked Cindy and Fred to explain their proposal, and Cindy emphasized that she and Fred had come together from very different perspectives to develop a single proposed process, which they distributed. The proposed process would begin with an opinion poll (not a vote) of all full-time faculty (tenure-track, ACF and special adjunct), conducted in an extended, open meeting of the Assembly. Once it has a reliable measure of the opinions held by faculty, Senate will propose a revision to the Constitution in accordance with those opinions. Cindy distributed two motions proposed by Fred and her under which (a) Senate would abide by the current interpretation as determined in the opinion poll until the Constitution is changed, and (b) Senate would propose a single Constitutional amendment in agreement with the wishes of the faculty.
Jerry expressed concern that the proposed poll would favor ACFs, since they are more likely to participate in the poll than are tenure-track faculty. Forrest noted that the poll would give Senators concrete data that is not currently available.
Russ stated that the results of the opinion poll could not be used as a basis for allowing ACFs or special adjuncts to vote. Russ favored a formal faculty vote (rather than an opinion poll) to determine the interpretation of the Constitution either as including only tenure-track faculty or as also including ACFs and special adjuncts. The vote would require a simple majority to pass, rather than the two-thirds majority required for a Constitutional amendment. Only tenure-track faculty would be allowed to vote.
Fred contended that the issue of current voting membership is an open question, and summarized key decisions made two years ago about the eligibility of an adjunct to file a grievance. He said that the Dean ruled the person was not a member of Assembly and therefore could not file a grievance. The Vice President for Instruction then decided that only the Assembly could resolve the question of membership. The Faculty Grievance Committee next determined that the adjunct was a member of Assembly at least for the purpose of filing a grievance. Fred argued that if these intelligent authorities looking very seriously at this issue could not agree, then the current definition of Assembly membership is not at all clear.
Pam emphasized that the administration wants closure on this question, and that any changes to be incorporated in the Handbook for next year must go to the Board in time for its June meeting. Cindy agreed with the need to achieve a clear, written decision in a timely manner.
Forest emphasized the need to educate faculty on the questions before having any vote. Russ distributed a draft set of "pro and con" considerations from the Personnel Committee that could be used as part of the educational process. Ellen and Russ expressed reservations about the accuracy and usefulness of the list for this purpose.
After further discussion, Susan made a motion that within two weeks Senate conduct an interpretation survey based on the draft opinion poll. The poll will be conducted over a two-day period, staffed by Senators and Senate officers. Tenure-track, ACF and special adjuncts will all be encouraged to participate, and the opinions of each group will be tabulated separately. This poll is for purposed of data collection only. The results will not constitute any official action. The motion was seconded by Roxann and passed unanimously.
Cindy and Fred agreed to take the lead in making arrangements for conducting the opinion poll. Russ and Pam agreed to obtain an official list of faculty currently in the three categories from the VPI's office.
The meeting recessed briefly at 4:00 and reconvened in the Senate office to allow another group to use room 6142
Discussion continued about ways of educating faculty in preparation for the opinion poll and about the procedures for conducting the poll. Senate agreed that the poll will be conducted Wednesday, March 13, and Thursday, March 14, from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day. If possible, the poll will be conducted in one of the rooms adjacent to the Tartan Marketplace.
The Senate meeting normally scheduled for March 13 will be cancelled so Senators can participate in staffing the poll. Senate will meet March 20th (during finals week) to decide on the next steps with regard to a Constitutional amendment.
4. Senate Priorities
5. Open Forum
The meeting adjourned at 4:20.
Submitted by Fred Thomas
Approved by Senate Mar. 6, 2002