Minutes for October 3, 2016
The Faculty Senate of Eastern Kentucky University met on Monday, October 3, 2016 in the South Ballroom in the Keen Johnson Building. Senator O'Brien called the second meeting of the academic year to order at approximately 3:30 p.m.
The following members were absent:
|M. Benson*||B. Dyer||P. Bryden*^|
|A. Elnahas*^||D. Embury*^||T. Giles*|
|J. Palmer*^||D. Rothe*^||H. Taylor*|
* Indicates prior notification of absence to the Faculty Senate Secretary
^ ALT Molly McKinney attended for P. Bryden
^ ALT Ben Woodruff attended for A. Elnahas
^ SUB Donna Pitts attended for D. Embury
^ SUB Bob Brubaker attended for J. Palmer
^ ALT Kristie Blevins attended for D. Rothe
^ ALT Brad Marcum attended for D. Whalen
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The September 12, 2016 minutes were unanimously approved as written.
Senator O’Brien announced that the Information Technology Committee co-chairs Baggett and Smith have volunteered to help with the online polling for electronic voting and will sit at the head table to assist with that process.
Senator O’Brien thanked Senator Givens for her assistance in working with the committees on the open records requirements to ensure that the Senate is in compliance with federal law.
REPORT FROM THE PRESIDENT: Senator Benson
Senator Benson shared the following in his written statement to the Senate.
Last week I joined Council on Postsecondary Education President Bob King and other Kentucky higher education leaders in Frankfort to testify before the Budget Review Subcommittee on Education. We shared the casualties of the funding reductions that have saddled Kentucky’s colleges and universities with yearly burdens since 2008. Dr. King noted a 30 percent decrease in state funding for higher education in the last eight years, when adjusted for inflation. Sustaining these cuts year after year is only compounded by recent state mandates to increase pension fund contributions and the increased wage costs of new federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements. Add to these the rising costs of healthcare, utilities and other fixed expenses, and the stage is set for unprecedented financial challenges facing public higher education. Dr. King’s summary outlined 980 positions that have been eliminated in addition to dozens of program suspensions among Kentucky public institutions. With yet-to-be-determined performance-based funding on the horizon, it is our collective suspicion that these cuts could be just the beginning. There is no way to sugarcoat the dire financial reality our public institutions face.
Within Dr. King’s report were also enrollment numbers, and EKU was one of only two institutions that have not witnessed a significant drop off in students. And as was reported last week, EKU has also seen substantial increases and gains in our retention and graduation rates. It is evident we are not alone in facing these challenges but, as our peers have implemented broad cuts, we have worked here at EKU to make strategic changes that will meet our budget needs while also reducing redundancies and improving efficiencies to create a stronger University for our students, faculty and staff. Just as multiple factors have created the budget impact at EKU, multiple adjustments must be implemented to solve our financial challenges. It requires making tough decisions, making sacrifices and, most importantly, maintaining an open mind with a willingness to work together in the best interest of the EKU mission.
As you know, we are in the midst of Academic Program Review. It is certainly tough to consider ending programs that serve our students. In times of plenty we could offer a wide range of programs. Facing the daunting financial challenge of decreasing state revenue, with even larger cuts projected, we have to evaluate programs with closer attention to degree production and graduation rates. Those metrics have started this process and will guide us as we seek to preserve the viability of Eastern as a public higher education institution.
Yet another difficult change has come in the form of restructuring our health insurance plans. We realize changes to healthcare can cause a great deal of concern and anxiety, and this decision was not arrived at lightly. While we have been fortunate to be able to provide a rich benefit plan beyond that of most of our peers, it is important to understand that without adjustments, we would continue to add to the budget shortfall. The new benefit options still allow the University to offer a competitive benefits package that is more in line with our peer institutions and is still richer than a number of private and other public sector offerings. Our HR team has planned several opportunities for you to gain valuable information and education on the changes, and I hope you will take part in one of the many open enrollment sessions detailed at hr.eku.edu/insidelook/open-enrollment.
These changes are not easy. We could have chosen a less strategic path, resulting in budget decisions across the University and a significant loss of jobs. Because it is our people who make EKU great, we have made every effort to sweep vacant lines first and close retirement lines before looking for savings elsewhere. Our administrative team and the University Budget Review Committee have identified savings areas that would allow us to limit workforce reductions and minimize the impact on the student experience.
To date we have designated and implemented recurring budget adjustments in the areas below. These are line items highlighted from the full budget that is still yet to be finalized so this is a preliminary picture of where things stand. Please also note areas listed as estimates are subject to change.
|Academic Affairs Reduction in Force (5 positions)||307,571|
|Academic Affairs Retirement Transition (6 positions)||415,219|
|Academic Affairs Vacant Position Sweep (12 positions)||1,044,135|
|Academic Affairs – M&O Reduction (Various Areas)||112,575|
|Athletics Summer School Scholarships||200,000|
|Athletics Reduction in Force (5 positions)||211,603|
|Cell Phone Plan Reduction||200,000|
|Change in Part Time Benefits Eligibility (Estimate)||114,000|
|Close Somerset Campus & Regional Program Savings (3 positions)||200,000|
|Health Care Plan Savings (Estimated annual savings)||1,019,520|
|Office of the President Personnel Reduction (1 position)||102,000|
|Police Acceptance into Hazard Duty Retirement Plan||329,367|
|Shuttle Lease & Transportation Services||185,000|
|Student Success Reduction in Force (11 positions)||275,563|
Even with these reductions, we are still working to identify additional savings this fiscal year from areas across the University to address the $11.1 million budget impact we first communicated to the Campus Community in April. The items identified at that time included the following:
|4.5% base cut||=||$3.1 million recurring adjustment to base appropriation|
|KERS increase||=||$2.7 million|
|FLSA||=||$1.0 million (estimated)|
|Fixed & unavoidable costs||=||$1.5 million|
|Total:||$11.1 million (estimated)|
We must reconcile our budget by the December 5 Board meeting, or the needed cuts will be determined for us by the Board of Regents.
A Kentucky Supreme Court ruling last week called for the return of the 2% in cuts that had been withheld by executive order this spring. This amounts to $1.3 million in non-recurring funds for EKU. As a one-time payment, this unfortunately will not assist with future budget needs and will be applied to restore the contingency funds used to cover the immediate reduction to the 2015-16 budget. Other non-recurring budget adjustments include:
- a one-time budget reduction due to changes in the staff vacation accrual policy adding $1.15 million in projected savings for this year only.
- other one-time savings for the current year, estimated at $2.2 million, representing additional planned vacancies and unfilled faculty and staff positions university-wide not reflected in the recurring budget items in the table above.
- a transfer from Student Success/Housing of a one-time general fund contribution of $500,000 for this fiscal year.
Turning Point Technology Training. Jonathan Sikora, Professional Development & Academic Services Coordinator, provided a refresher session on the new electronic voting system. Anyone with issues on Turning Point Technology software should contact him at email@example.com.
LMS Evaluation Update. Senator O’Brien announced that the LMS process is now in the “sandboxing” stage which means that selected faculty can pull their classes into Canvas, Brightspace, and BlackBoard for comparison purposes.
Earlier today the committee heard a report from a UK faculty member on some of the challenges faced during the UK migration which should prove helpful with our own migration.
Health Care Benefits. Sarah Pitt, Chief Human Resources Officer, shared information on the new health care plans and announced the dates for upcoming open forums and the Benefits Expo. (SEE: Health Insurance FAQs, Employee Benefit Guide 2017, Benefits Forums/Expos Schedule)
The open forums will provide assistance for choosing which health care option best fits each individual’s needs as well as an overview of the new process for sign-ups through EKUDirect.
She also announced a new benefit for faculty and staff—free, on-campus screenings for hearing. In addition, a new wellness credit is available through HealthyYou! at EKU. More information will be available at the forums and Benefits Expo. Flu shots will also be available at the Benefits Expo.
Report from the Academic Budget Review Sub-Committee (Programs for Suspension). Senator Winslow moved to limit individual speaking times to five minutes, instead of the usual ten, for this meeting only, seconded by Senator Skubik-Peplaski. Motion carried. (YES = 49 votes NO = 12 votes ABSTAIN = 1 vote) (See Also: Individual Votes)
Senator Vice moved to support the recommendation to suspend the Comparative Humanities program, seconded by Skubik-Peplaski.
Senator Eser moved to table discussion and action until such time as Faculty Senate received a full report about proposed cuts on the non-academic side of the university from the Staff and Student Services Budget Review Sub-Committee, seconded by Senator Irvin. Motion carried. (YES = 43 votes NO = 12 votes ABSTAIN = 7 votes) (See Also: Individual Votes)
Senator Vice withdrew the remaining items until the November meeting.
That the Senate create a five-member standing committee of the Senate called the Board of Governors and charged with developing the policies and procedures for operation of the Faculty Center, formerly known as the Faculty Club or Faculty Lounge. The Board should be in place by December 1, 2016.
Senator O’Brien reminded that a second on the replacement motion is not required as it comes from committee.
Senator Carpenter moved to amend the language in the motion to state the following, seconded by Senator Winslow:
That the Board of Governors be reframed as an Advisory Board and given formal designation as a University Standing Committee, to be put in place by January 2017 with a focus on offering insight into ideal uses for the Faculty Center (with the official name yet to be chosen) to ensure an equitable schedule, including dedicated open times for the space, for all faculty.
And, that the Advisory Board will discuss wall decoration and an appropriate alcohol policy while also exploring options and potential uses of the adjacent Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
The amendment failed. (YES = 17 votes NO = 43 votes ABSTAIN= 2 votes) (See Also: Individual Votes)
Main motion carried. (YES = 46 votes NO = 8 votes ABSTAIN= 8 votes) (See Also: Individual Votes)
Posthumous Degree for Jaysa Len Goodpaster. Senator O’Brien noted that Registrar Tina Davis has confirmed that all degree requirements have been met.
Senator Vice moved approval, seconded by Senator Turner. Motion carried. (YES = 58 votes NO = 2 votes ABSTAIN= 1 vote) (See Also: Individual Votes)
Report from Council on Academic Affairs. Vice Provost Robinson presented the following for approval.
College of Education
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
- M.A. Education, Literacy P-12 Teacher Leader Endorsement - allow students to take ETL 806 or EME 865 as their capstone course
Department of Special Education
- MAEd Special Education – Teacher Leader Track, Option A: Learning and Behavior Disorders – Add a Response to Intervention option in MAEd Option A; Clarify catalog copy to highlight that Option A is advanced study in different areas of Special Education; Substitute SED 815 for SED 804 in LBD Option A; Update catalog to show prerequisites for Option B.
College of Health Sciences
Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
- M.S. Occupational Therapy - Add OTS 884 as a course option to existing courses to fulfill thesis requirement in the OT Program.
The following item was approved by the Council on Academic Affairs in April 2016, and reviewed by the Faculty Senate in May 2016. The proposal is being submitted to the Faculty Senate for a second read and vote on October 3, 2016.
- Graduating GPA Protocol Revision
Proposal: The institutional GPA will be the single determinate for graduation. Current practice requires students, staff, and advisors to check two separate GPAs for graduation eligibility.
Senator Ciocca moved approval of items 1-3, seconded by Senator Skubik-Peplaski. Motion carried. (YES = 53 votes NO = 2 votes ABSTAIN= 5 votes) (See Also: Individual Votes)
Senator Turner moved approval of item 4, seconded by Senator El-Amouri. Motion carried. (YES = 52 votes NO = 4 votes ABSTAIN= 5 votes) (See Also: Individual Votes)
Resolution on Non-Confidence Vote for Faculty Regent. Senator Eser moved support of the resolution (below), seconded by Senator Woodruff:
Whereas, the Faculty Regent elected by faculty to the position identifies with the university administration and does not necessarily view his role in the Board of Regents as that of representing and fighting for the interests of faculty;
Whereas, even though the Faculty Regent's first communication to faculty upon election (April 6, 2016) included a "promise to listen to faculty input and keep faculty informed as things develop," communications from him to the Faculty Senate and faculty in general have been very limited, especially considering the heightened concerns of faculty due to budget cuts, as total number of communications was six, including the thank you note;
Whereas, the first sign of ineffectiveness of the Faculty Regent was observed during the first Faculty Senate meeting he attended when there was a "spirited debate" about the university administration's cut of the Employee Tuition Waiver to 9 hours from 12 hours; while many Senators rose to speak against it, and it took a few motivated and vocal faculty to convince President Benson that such a decision was financially unsound and did serious damage to employee and faculty morale, our Faculty Regent joined the effort only after the fact instead of leading the effort;
Whereas, the Faculty Regent did not show leadership when discussions of the program review process started; for as early as his message to the faculty on June 17, 2016, it was apparent that he was in total agreement to how the university administration approached the process, despite strong opposition from the faculty that cuts to instruction should be considered last only after all other avenues were exhausted;
Whereas, while the discussions about potential health care cuts were ongoing during the summer months, faculty did not get a single communication from the Faculty Regent on the nature and extent of possible cuts; the first message about it was on a Sunday afternoon (September 11. 2016) the day before the Faculty Senate meeting at which he did not provide any signs of fighting to represent interests of faculty in the matters of health care cuts or the program review process;
Whereas, on September 21, 2016, during the special Board of Regents meeting which had cuts to health care plan as the only agenda item, the Faculty Regent not only voted for the draconian cuts which affect especially low income faculty the most, but also made the motion of acceptance of the proposal;
Whereas, at the conclusion of aforementioned special Board of Regents meeting the Faculty Regent informed the faculty who chose to speak their minds in front of the Board of Regents that "they should feel grateful that they were allowed to speak" as if being able to utter grievances is a privilege, not a right;
Whereas, the last communication to faculty by the Faculty Regent showed very clearly that he views us as "employees"; and while appearing to identify with the pain felt by said "employees", he warned us that things could have been worse, and maybe will be worse;
Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate adopt a resolution of non-confidence in the Faculty
Regent as he is unable/willing to represent effectively the faculty who elected him to his current position.
Motion carried. (YES = 30 votes NO = 18 votes ABSTAIN= 13 votes) (See Also: Individual Votes)
GENERAL & STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
REPORT FROM SENATE CHAIR: Senator O'Brien
Kudos to the committees that have scheduled and submitted meeting dates for the semester and year. The next task for committees will be the development of internal procedures for each committee (Standard Operating Procedures). Internal procedures will help committees anticipate work and schedule their time effectively.
Faculty Senate relies on Senators’ dedicated participation between meetings and robust involvement in meetings. As such it is imperative that all departments/units have elected alternates who can attend meetings when the elected representative is unable to do so. Thanks to Dr. John Settimi for his invitation to discuss the issue with the Chairs’ Steering Committee. Hopefully, the alternate shortfall will be rectified soon.
In the recent Board of Regents meeting, Senator O’Brien spoke for the Senate to voice concerns about the Health Benefit Package. In the Senate materials, Human Resources has provided a schedule of dates for open enrollment. Please attend and explore the options for your unique situations in the selection of benefit programs. HR has a very useful and constantly-evolving list of FAQs on their website hr.eku.edu/2017-health-care-benefits-and-information.
Athletics shared a PowerPoint with Senator O’Brien after a Joint Budget Committee presentation at the end of June. Because that initial report did not completely address questions posed by the ad-Hoc Academics and Athletics Task Force, Senators Carpenter and O’Brien met with the Athletic Director, Mr. Steve Lochmueller, and Mr. Matt Roan to discuss the committee report and to express the faculty’s need for further data. They readily shared additional data, which is included with the meeting materials. Dr. Sheila Pressley, the university’s Faculty Athletics Representative, and a representative from Athletics will be present at the November Senate meeting to further discuss the data.
AAUP has rescheduled Dr. Howard Bunsis’ presentation for Thursday, November 3rd.
REPORT FROM FACULTY REGENT: Senator Day
The Board of Regents met yesterday to discuss employee healthcare costs and their impact on the impending budget cuts. Several impassioned speakers outlined the pain being forced upon employees. Generally speaking, they weren’t wrong.
David McFaddin (Governmental Relations) reported that the governor intends to hold tight to his declaration that performance-based funding cuts would be applied to 25% of all state allocations to higher education. That is being seen as the floor for future negotiations, not the ceiling! What that means is EKU likely has an additional $16.1 million in cuts to look forward to within a couple of years. To put that into perspective; that would be a million dollars worse than twice the pain we are going through right now.
On health care issues, it was my opinion from reviewing the university proposal and attending data, that Families were receiving less help from the university across the board (which was confirmed by additional data the Board received from Barry Poynter yesterday morning), and that that group of approximately 306 EKU employees was getting hit hardest under the university’s proposal. When campus leaders argued for additional help for other groups (Employee Only, Employee +1...) at the $500 level (up from $450) we learned that this caused the savings to virtually disappear!
The Board had asked for $2 million in savings. The Administration returned with a proposal amounting to $1.2 million in savings. And in my estimation, as of yesterday morning, the university recommended program was going to pass.
That left me with a choice. I could either cast a symbolic vote - and lose - or, try to help out those faculty members on the Family plan. And that’s what I did.
I made the following argument to the Board:
Over the past three years, faculty leaders and university administration had been cooperating on a plan to improve the university. We had agreed upon, and were following a plan that included scheduled across-the-board and IPEP raises, in an effort to attract the most outstanding faculty we could find to work with our students. That plan had been progressing nicely until we were derailed by the present budget cuts.
We already had a solid benefits package – richer than our peers - and that went some distance in retaining faculty in the face of modest salaries. In a very real sense, it was those benefits that made underpaying us tolerable.
The budget reduction is now forcing the Board to find $7.4 million dollars. And it is my hope that we don’t find too much of it in the pockets of the faculty and staff.
But clearly, health insurance is one of many areas necessarily under review.
Many of you understand healthcare benefits better than I do. So it is my hope that you will agree with me that the proposal we are considering today tends to hit families the hardest – a bit too hard in my estimation. This seems particularly true for those families in the Economy plan where it appears premiums skyrocket by more than 300%.
The administration surely recognized this, because they looked at a range of options, including one that would supplement Families by $50 per month. This is the option I think we should pass. While it is true that this plan would only save the university $1 million as opposed to the proposed plan which saves $1.2 million, in my view, it is a better and perhaps fairer option for retaining faculty members with families.
I later moved to amend the university proposal as described above. The Board voted in the affirmative, unanimously. As a result, $200,000 was carved out of the projected savings and $50 per month was added to the university’s contribution to Family plans.
Shortly thereafter I received a few messages of disappointment, or worse, regarding my action. The central question seemed to be whether or not I was representing the best interest of the faculty. I understand the criticism and wish I could have done more. But I did the best I could.
The result of yesterday’s action is outlined below:
PPO 1000 Family Plan monthly premiums paid by employees would have been $1,013.61, but now it is $963.61 - lower by $50 per month or $600 over the year. Total annual cost to employees would have been $12,163.32, now it’s $11.563.32.
PPO 2000 Family Plan monthly premiums paid by employees would have been $545.44, but now it is $495.44 - lower by $50 per month or $600 over the year. Total annual cost to employees would have been $6,545.28, now it’s $5,945.28.
CDHP/HSA Family Plan monthly premiums paid by employees would have been $322.57, but now it is $272.57 - lower by $50 per month or $600 over the year. Total annual cost to employees would have been $3,870.84, now it’s $3,270.84.
In December the Board is looking for a recommendation from President Benson to address the remaining budget cuts.
Senator Day shared an additional handout containing several charts which provides a clearer picture of the budget situation.
PROVOST REPORT: Senator Vice
Senator Vice shared the following highlights from Academic Affairs:
- 4th-Week Report
Overall 4th-Week Report participation rates continue to hover around 80 percent for all CRNs, and participation was 81 percent for 090-200 level courses. Several departments reported at or above 90 percent, with two areas achieving a 100 percent participation rate.
Several EKU programs have undergone evaluation by program accreditations and have been re-accredited this year. The following programs were re-accredited in 2016:
Program Accrediting Agency Social Work (Bachelor's) Council on Social Work Education Construction Management (BS) American Council for Construction Education Associate Degree Nursing Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
Kentucky Board of Nursing
Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Kentucky Board of Nursing Fire Protection & Safety Engineering Technology (BS) Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology
- Model School Report Card Scores
Congratulations to Model Laboratory School for their 2015-16 Kentucky School Report Card:
- Model Laboratory High School is classified as a School of Distinction/High Progress School ranking 9th overall.
- The High School improved the score 11.6 points, distinguishing them as the 4th highest on the list of high schools with the biggest gains.
- Model Laboratory Middle School is classified as a School of Distinction/High Progress School, ranking 4th in overall performance in the state of Kentucky.
- Assurance of Learning Day
Thanks to all faculty who have embraced Assurance of Learning Day as an opportunity to assess your programs and enhance student learning outcomes. Many departments also focused part of the day toward ensuring updated data in TracDat which is essential to planning and assessment at EKU.
- Campus Safety Summit
September was National Campus Safety Awareness Month. On September 23, EKU and the Council on Postsecondary Education co-sponsored Kentucky’s first Campus Safety Summit for leadership and staff charged with ensuring safety on Kentucky’s public and private college campuses. Over 100 attendees represented 20 colleges and universities throughout the state.
- 2016/17 Academic Administrator Evaluation Schedule
In accordance with the policy for the Annual Evaluation of Academic Administrators (4.8.1P), academic deans will undergo the following evaluation process for 2016/17:
Year One-Cycle (Self Evaluation) Year Two-Cycle (Self Evaluation) Dean Victor Kappeler, CJS Dean Betina Gardner, Libraries Dean Tom Otieno, COS (Interim) Dean Jerry Pogatshnik, Graduate School & AVP for Research Dean Sherry Powers, COE Dean Deborah Whitehouse, CHS Dean Sara Zeigler, CLASS (Interim) Year Three (Comprehensive) Dean Tom Erekson, CBT
Below are several important dates for calendars:
- Friday, October 14, 2016 – Annual Planning and Progress Reports (Academic Programs) due via TracDat. Updating TracDat for our SACSCOC visit is critical
- Monday, October 17, 2016 – Programs’ Annual Institutional Effectiveness Reports due to IE
- Monday, October 24, 2016 – Board of Regents’ Quarterly Meeting.
- Monday, November 28, 2016 – eXplorance Blue Survey Distribution. (Contact Dr. Tanlee Wasson with questions.)
- Monday, December 5, 2016 – Board of Regents’ Special Meeting.
- Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Please update Faculty Profiles and Data in Digital Measures.
- February 21-23, 2017 – SACS-COC On-Site Accreditation Visit.
REPORT FROM STUDENT GOVERNMENT: Collin Potter
Mr. Potter shared the following in his written report to Senate:
- The SGA workshop, “Diversity and Inclusion on a College Campus” was successful with over 50 students in attendance.
- SGA will be hosting a forum titled “The Future of EKU and You” on October 12 at 6:30 pm on O’Donnell Auditorium in the Whitlock Building
- SGA will be hosting a workshop in November. The topic of this event will be scholarships.
- SGA Social media has merged, please follow the following accounts to keep up with the organization:
- Facebook: EKU SGA (@ekusga)
- Twitter: @EKU_SGA
- Instagram: @eku_sga
Upcoming Student Activities events:
- October 7th- Finding Dory on the IM fields
- October 8th- Family Weekend Tailgate
- October 13th-Kins Cultural Dinner and Kinky Boots Showing
- October 20th- Colonel Corn Roast
- October 21ST- Captain America: Civil War (Ravine)
- October 22nd- Homecoming tailgate
- October 28th- The Purge: Election Year (hopeful to have Scream on the Green)
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS:
Academic Quality Committee. Senator Howell announced that the committee meets at 2:30pm in Walnut Hall, Keen Johnson prior to the Senate meetings.
As part of their charge, the committee has invited SGA President Collin Potter to attend the next meeting on November 7th. The committee also plans to invite the president and the provost to a future meeting.
Budget Committee. Senator Eser announced that the next meeting will be on Friday at 1pm to discuss the health care plans and also to review the detailed analysis of program suspensions provided by the Provost office.
Elections & University Nominations Committee. Senator Mason announced that the committee will meet on Monday, October 10 at 3pm.
Rights and Responsibilities Committee. Senator Mason announced that their next meeting will be on October 10 at 1pm.
Rules Committee. Senator Skubik-Peplaski announced that committee meets on the third Monday of the month at 9:30am.
Faculty Welfare Committee. Senator Mullaney moved to support the resolution on changes to health care benefits (see below). Senator O’Brien reminded that as the resolution comes from committee a second is not required.
Whereas, the Faculty Senate Welfare Committee, as per the EKU faculty handbook, “shall be available as an advisory agency to the President of the University and/or Provost of the University on those matters relating to compensation and benefits for the faculty-at-large;” and
Whereas, neither the Committee, nor the Faculty Senate, nor the faculty at large has had a genuine role in formation of budgetary and benefits policy beyond the opportunity to react to proposed plan changes, administrative claims to the contrary notwithstanding; and
Whereas, the proposed changes in healthcare insurance represent premium increases for faculty and staff of anywhere from 200 to more than 400 percent, depending on plan chosen – for example, the premium will increase from $41.09 to $170.62 per month for a single employee remaining on the “standard plan” and will increase from $472.54 to $963.61 per month for a family remaining on the “standard plan;” and
Whereas these increases constitute a severe hardship for faculty, to the point where many will have to choose between financial solvency and undertaking unwarranted healthcare risks; and
Whereas EKU staff, who generally earn incomes of 25 to 50 percent of faculty earnings, will face an insurmountable challenge in paying these increased costs; and
Whereas resolving budgetary problems by placing the largest burden on those who earn the least income and are most financially vulnerable represents a grievous moral and ethical lapse, particularly for a public university that has defined itself as a champion of first-generation college students who come from lower-income backgrounds; and
Whereas these proposed changes have already lowered faculty and staff morale and have caused excellent faculty to seek employment elsewhere, and will render efforts to recruit new faculty extremely difficult; and
Whereas these effects are also in irreconcilable conflict with the EKU Strategic Plan, entitled “Make No Little Plans: A Vision for 2020,” particularly Strategic Initiative 1.1, “Invest in Our Faculty,” and strategy 1.1.5, “Recruit and retain faculty who are highly qualified in their discipline and demonstrate excellence in teaching”; therefore:
Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate rejects the changes in health insurance payments accepted by the Board of Regents on September 21, 2016; and
Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate returns the proposal to university administration for reformulation, this time with full participation by the Faculty Senate Welfare Committee, the Faculty Senate as a whole, and faculty and staff at large.
Motion carried. (YES = 50 votes NO = 4 votes ABSTAIN= 6 votes) (See Also: Individual Votes)
Senator Mullaney stated that while it is understood that health care benefits have already been determined for 2017-2018 and officially approved by the Board of Regents, the resolution was proposed to ensure that the Faculty Senate Welfare Committee, speaking on behalf of all faculty, has a more active role in the decision-making process on health care benefits in the future.
AD HOC COMMITTEES:
Athletics and Academics. Senator Carpenter reported that the committee plans to meet with the Athletic Director soon to share their report and ask for additional data.
The committee will present their research, as was presented to the Senate in May, to the university community on Monday, October 10, 3:30-5pm, Library Auditorium and again on Tuesday, October 11, 3:30-5pm, O’Donnell Auditorium.
The next committee meeting will be on October 24 at 4pm in the Noel Studio Conference Room.
Legislative Forum. Senator Hunter announced that preliminary discussions about the forum have begun with David McFaddin, Vice President for Government Relations.
Senate Transparency. Senator Givens thanked all the committees for their assistance in bringing the Senate in compliance with current open records processes.
Senator Vice moved to adjourn at approximately 5:20pm.
You will need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in installed on your computer in order to view and print a hard copy of the minutes.