STAFF SENATE MEETING MINUTES October 19, 2011
President Kristie Galy presided over the October 19, 2011, Staff Senate meeting held at Peabody Hall, Room 225, on the LSU Campus at 10:30 a.m.
P Torres, Donna (’12)
P Exner, Patti (’13)
P Chaney, Carolyn (’13)
Pr Dixon, Evelyn (’13)
P Matkovic, Igor (’14)
P Carruth, Holly (’12)
P Chiasson, Denise (’12)
Pr Fields, Tim (’12)
P Frazier, James (’12)
Pr Kimball, Lynn (’12)
P Thibodeaux, Seth (’12)
P Verma, Lisa (’12)
P Galy, Kristie (’13)
P Guillory, Michael (’13)
Pr Landry, Carolyn (’13)
P Thomas, Joseph (’13)
P Winchell, Blake (’13)
P David, Emmett (’14)
P Gothreaux, Chad (’14)
P Millican, Tammy (’14)
P Moreau, Scott (’14)
P Perkins, Julie (’14)
P Heil, Mark (’12)
P Adedeji, Funmilayo (’13)
P Pierce, Renee (’13)
Pr Sirman, Karen (’13)
P Love, Donna (’14)
Pr Brown, Ruby (’12)
Pr Cooley, Judith (’13)
A Magee, Betty (’13)
P Collins, Judy (’14)
A - Indicates Absent
P - Indicates Present
Pr - Indicates Proxy
Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Jack Hamilton
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Galy at 10:30 a.m.
There was a quorum with seven proxies noted.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Senator Carruth led the Pledge of Allegiance.
President Galy introduced guest: Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Jack Hamilton with Academic Affairs who will be speaking during the meeting today.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – September 21, 2011, Staff Senate Meeting
Page 9, Paragraph 2, line 9 reads: about well are we should read: about where we are
Page 9, Paragraph 2, line 11 reads: institution. should read: institution?
Page 9, Paragraph 2, line 27 reads: if their successful should read: if they are successful
Page 14, Paragraph 3, line 4 reads: facebook should read: Facebook
Page 14, Paragraph 4, line 7 reads: facebook should read: Facebook
Page 16, Paragraph 5, line 2 reads: Flu shots should read: flu shots
A motion to accept the minutes as amended was made by President-Elect Gothreaux. The motion, seconded by Past-President Verma, carried.
President Galy reported that on September 24, she and Past-President Verma attended the State-wide Faculty Governance Summit in Alexandria, Louisiana. There were about 20-25 faculty representatives from all campuses and all systems in attendance. One of the highlights of the morning was Gubernatorial Candidate Tara Hollis who came to speak to the group. After lunch, Past-President Verma and Galy made a plea to the faculty representatives that we are asking for their help to establish a State-wide Staff Governance Group much like theirs. There are several universities without staff representation and some who have very little representation. They are interested in creating a group to help the staff with by-laws, constitution, etc.
Galy reported that on September 27, she attended the Provost’s Breakfast where the Registrar’s office gave a presentation on their student tracking system. This is an effort to retain our students and increase graduation rates.
Galy reported that on September 30, the Staff Senate once again participated in Fall Fest. We handed out more than 700 sno-balls. We ran out of syrup pretty early, so next year we will get an extra gallon of syrup. Galy thanked all of the Senators who volunteered.
Galy reported that on October 3, she attended the Faculty Senate Meeting. Galy gave them an update on what is going on with LSU Staff Senate including, Holiday on Campus, Scholarships, Fall Fest and asked for their help with the formation of the staff statewide governance group.
Galy reported that on October 6, the Executive Committee met and discussed the initiatives from the committees. Galy will need these as soon as possible to provide an update for the Provost and the Chancellor. Galy reminded Committee Chairs to begin scheduling their Committee Meetings as that is where the bulk of our work is done. Please get your meeting dates to Melonie Holden so she can attend and provide support. We discussed the newsletter, the Staff Senate Facebook page, Fall Fest, and upcoming guest speakers. The Staff Senate Facebook page is being done as a profile page instead of a page that friends can like. We also discussed external communications and as a reminder to all Senators, all communications must be approved by the President and the Executive Committee before being sent out to recipients.
Galy reported that on October 10, she convened the Communications committee. The new website, the newsletter, and the Staff Senate Facebook page were discussed. The newsletter will be distributed in November possible the week of Thanksgiving.
Galy reported that on October 17, she attended the Chancellor’s Executive Staff Meeting. Joe Alleva, Vice Chancellor of Athletics said that last month, the publicity the university is getting is very positive and if you are not aware, the LSU Tiger Football Team is #1 in the BCS polls! Also, he mentioned that the Foundation Fund set up for Alfred Blue on the football team whose family house was destroyed in a fire a few weeks ago has $80,000 in donations. Galy is very excited to see the support for the Blue Family. Galy discussed Fall Fest, Holiday on Campus (which the Chancellor said has free hot dogs and is a great event), Scholarships and our Lunch and Learn scheduled on October 24, 2011.
President Galy reported that the Communications Meeting was held on October 10, 2011. The committee discussed the articles being submitted for the fall Staff Senate newsletter. Senator Love mentioned that if the newsletter is distributed the week of Thanksgiving it may get lost in the shuffle of things. President Galy suggested that the newsletter may be distributed the week before to help with that concern.
Senator Thibodeaux reported that the Professional Committee met on October 14, 2011. The committee discussed the lack of new hires on a list that he received from Human Resource Management. Senator Love noticed that the list did not capture the entire year so when the list was regenerated, it showed a lot of new hires. The committee decided to move forth with the New staff Reception and suggested that Senators reach out to those new staff to invite them to the reception. There are various departments who have participated in the past who will be invited to participate again this year to showcase services offered on campus. The New Staff Reception will be held on November 9, 2011, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Atchafalaya Room in the Union with refreshments being served. The committee also discussed the Lunch and Learn scheduled on Monday, October 24, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. in the Lawton Room in the LSU Football Stadium which all should have received an invitation through a broadcast message. There will be a brief presentation from Nikki Caldwell, the new Women’s Basketball Coach with a tour from Verge Ausberry, Senior Associate Athletic Director to follow.
Holiday on Campus
Past-President Verma reported that the Holiday on Campus committee met on October 26, 2011, the report was attached to the meeting packet. There are only a few members who have been attending the committee meetings and we still needed a committee member to coordinate the decorations and the refreshments. Past-President Verma and Melonie Holden decided to help with the decorations since we know what decorations we have stored. We still need help with refreshments. The committee has received the approved caterer vendor list from Purchasing and the donor letter was sent to those who are approved to provide food on LSU campus. There are a few restaurants who have given in the past who are not on the list and the committee will suggest adding them as a vendor if they are still interested in donating. Verma encouraged Senators to please consider donating leftover Halloween candy or purchasing at least two bags on sale which will be needed for the goodie bags that are given to the children who attend the event. Holiday on Campus will be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at University Recreation.
GUEST SPEAKER – Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Jack Hamilton with Academic Affairs
Staff Senate President Galy thanked Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Jack Hamilton for coming to speak to the Staff Senate regarding the budget situation at LSU.
Provost Hamilton opened the floor for questions. Senator Torres mentioned the Graduate Assistant Tuition Fringe Benefit that is getting ready to be announced. “For a number of years, the university has researched the feasibility of charging tuition, if a graduate assistant is paid on a sponsored agreement or some type of gift account. The issue has come up as to why is the university picking up the full cost of tuition and the portion of fringe benefits that are paid for graduate assistants. Because, these funds, I don’t know if everyone realizes, come from the F&A Rebate, so as more of those funds are used for graduate assistant tuition remission and fringe benefit, that’s less funds that are available to the research enterprise to be reinvested in research, bringing in research faculty or renovating labs, the ability to cost share to buy new equipment. So in the next few days, a letter will go out advising that beginning with proposals effective January 1, the expectation is for any graduate assistant stipend that is paid from a sponsored agreement, the proposal should also include 31% charge for the tuition remission and 3% for fringe benefits.”
Q: So, the current graduate assistants on any sponsored agreements who apply prior to January 1 will not be included?
A: “Correct. We don’t want to wreak havoc in the research environment in having to re-budget, because, you know, when you resubmit these proposals with this budget that, as I (Sen. Torres) explain to people all the time, when you read that LSU gets a $30 million dollar grant, we don’t get a check for $30 million dollars; we get the ability to spend that amount of money in the categories we were budgeted in. So we’re not going to ask for any of the awards to be re-budgeted for proposals going forward. For graduate assistants that are paid on gift accounts, effective of July 1, 2012, those gift accounts will bear the cost of those fringe benefits.”
Provost Hamilton mentioned that beginning last year when we went through all of the budget scenarios which haven’t stopped, obviously, since we still don’t know where we’re going to come out next year at this time, we started making lots of little changes for things that needed to be fixed and this is one of those things that almost every university does. “If you get a grant and contract, you should be paying for the graduate students’ benefits. We’ve done some other things as well. It’s one of the benefits of both the financial problems that we have right now that we can go and fix some things because of the level of urgency, some researchers aren’t going to like this because it’s a new way of doing things, and some will say okay I’m not going to get graduate students, but in a year or two they’re going to get graduate students because they need the graduate students, so it’ll work out – and then we’ll be in a better place later on because we’re doing best practices and it’s important for the staff members and people like that to help us get this done and work out a plan to make it work. We’re also going to charge the Ag Center, so they can start paying its fair share, which I look forward to.” Senator David mentioned Capital Outlay, we have three academic buildings: the Band Hall, the Business School, and the Annex all coming online with the anticipated opening and moving in with the Band Hall this month and then moving forward with the Annex and the Business School which meets our agenda for lab space and the Annex which helps us at the Business School for the additional 150,000 square feet when they vacate Patrick F. Taylor Hall which brings us to a planning effort which we’re moving forward with. Hamilton mentioned in the Capital Outlay, “we have Chemical Engineering, an approved project which was supposed to be a 50/50 match for fundraising for the College of Engineering, Chemical Engineering. Then you have the Patrick F. Taylor Hall which has about 45,000 square feet which is going to be vacated by the Business School for their new building. So, we’re moving into an effort for the College of Engineering to program and master plan a complex which is a very large project when you pull Chemical Engineering. The Patrick F. Taylor Capital Outlay, is roughly $100 million, so, what I’m leading to is, with that, the College of Engineering is looking at a faculty growth of a 150 new faculty employees. That’s future growth, 15 years added as we look at these plans. So with that, I’ll tell the story and open it up for questions – that is a 50/50 match which is the same business model we used for the business school, which is a very large chuck of change for the state and for us in fundraising. The long-term of this is going to be a sequenced construction which would include an addition onto Electrical Engineering, 115,000 square feet addition to the west side of Patrick F. Taylor Hall, and an addition to the front of Patrick F. Taylor Hall, and renovations inside of Patrick F. Taylor Hall – very huge for the university in long-term student grant writing and for faculty and staff in our research.”
Q; “Will some of that, I guess with that new construction, fall under La Grad Act 2 and some of the provisions were given on that?”
A: “No, because it’s a 50/50 match. The product has to be self-generated completely.”
Provost Hamilton mentioned the La Grad Act, in November we will be at architectural selection for the Field House and Career Services. “Those two projects, we are going to receive although we are not going to be able to accelerate that and let us take advantage of that. I’ll give you an example. We just finished a project – two projects actually – for Athletics which fell right in those lines. One was the window replacement on North Stadium, we designed it in house, went perfectly smooth, Facility Plan was happy; they had little management, dollars they had to put to it, or time and we just opened bids on the South Stadium waterproofing and seat replacement project, a $1.2 million dollar project. And, we’re under budget, designed in house, so we are realizing some of those time savings now. We’re also starting to look at, on the construction project, the fact that we need a plan going forward because we have to have the projects ready to go at the same time that we issue bonds so that we don’t fall into the same situation that the state has; we might have issued bonds, but we really aren’t quite finished with final design or there’s still some changes we want. So, we’ve been working together within units at Financial and Accounting Services to come up with a timeline for the life of a constructing project, coming from the concept of the design phase to issuing the bonds to construction. So, La Grad Act 2 has really made us look at the way we do business and see what we can do to make it better. La Grad Act 2 is a big step forward; we can get everything we want, and there are still a few things we need to go after, but it was really wonderful. And you know, it wouldn’t have happened without the Flagship Coalition on the outside, working to help us. If it had not been for the Flagship Coalition, we would have had $8 more million dollars that we would have had to take out of academic programs. They stepped in and saved us at the last minute. So, that group is working on our behalf. Sometimes I hear concerns about this group and I’m baffled. I don’t get this argument that they are somehow manipulating us. On the other hand, we can look at all the things they’ve done for us, and we should be very grateful for that, for their continuing to work for us. Absolutely, we’ve got some other things going on but they are advocating for us. The Flagship Coalition intervened to get us $8 million dollars which required that some of the units in the system actually had to give up some money, which is tough for them, but well-deserved. So obviously, everything we do isn’t in their advantage but certainly La Grad Act 2 is.”
Q: “Do you have any updates on the La Grad Act 2 as far as some performance objectives and some performance measures that we must meet? One of the things that I was thinking of is that I’m not sure if I’ve heard an update in a while about Sandra McGuire’s group and the retention committee and what they’re doing.”
A; “We’re making progress, and our numbers are up a little – our graduation numbers are up a little bit now, which is good, and we’ve done some things that should help our retention numbers. It wasn’t my idea to put Sandra in that job, that was Eric Monday’s idea which was a terrific idea; it really has had a benefit, she’s very good at what she does and she’s done some things in ways that I have told her I wouldn’t do. It turns out she was right, so congratulations for her.”
Hamilton mentioned one of the things he realized early on, is that one of the priorities for his office, for his time in this office, had to be graduation rates. “And you can talk all you want about if there are a lot of things of campus that are important, but we don’t get the graduation rates up, the cost to us from a public relations view and also from a practical dollar and sense point of view is huge. We can make even greater strides, so we’ve got to work on retention and graduation; that’s a very big priority. We’re going to have to develop a culture on this campus – although we’ve made some progress in this regard – we’re going to go have to develop a culture that gets faculty to recognize the importance of retention. I think staff recognizes it better than faculty – but some faculty and staff recognize it. We’ve got to get rolling, and we’ve got to get these students to where we don’t give them an A to get out but we’ve got to be focused on students graduating.”
Q: “At what point do we submit our suggestions for our performance measures?”
A: There’s sort of two levels, we’ve got strategic plans in many cases that colleges have their own graduation targets, but just putting out a graduation target and expecting it to be the same for five years is crazy. For example, if we’re going to create this new college – which we are – we’re going to have to change targets; and if somebody did really well last year, you’re not going to tell them they have to do 20% better, but you need to. I’ll give you a good example. We made a bad decision last year in terms of the amount of money we cut scholarships from music. We cut them too much; music also didn’t make good decisions with the money they had left. It was a combination of two things, but I’m not putting the blame on their shoulders entirely. We actually went too far with the cuts we made and we regret that. In the end, I’m the one who made that decision, so I’m sorry about it. So, we’ve got to fix that. Well, we can’t go and tell music that things have changed; their numbers went way down. We have to go and get them a realistic number. So, year to year, we’re going to have to make adjustments, and we’re going to do that with music and with others as well. So, every year as far as he’s concerned (a new Provost will have to decide) but these need to be revisited and you need to ask questions and decide what’s best. You can’t just have a wooden process that doesn’t reflect changing circumstances. Hamilton mentioned reorganization. He has been very gratified that the steps we’ve taken on reorganization have been met with such constructive responses. We all know in the last couple of years there have been lots of ideas for reorganization and people have gotten all stirred up and we made people miserable and that we haven’t gotten much done except we moved math – He guesses that’s all we did. So to give you a little bit of background, when we got to the summer and he knew, he had a pretty good idea what the numbers were going to look like, he couldn’t do anything until the Board of Supervisors had met and decided what they were going to do. Hamilton wanted to get the final result and see whether we got our money or whether we didn’t get our money. Then he looked at all of the reorganization plans and we had quite a number of things we would have done if there had been a big cut. So he met with the budget committee and they worked very hard, you know we had a lot of conversations, Hamilton put a lot of time into thinking what should we do. Should we wait to see if there’s a mid-year cut, and if there’s a mid-year cut we can make some changes or should we do something now? The more Hamilton thought, the more he felt that the watch word needed to be stability; we need to stabilize the university. This university has gone through an awful period of invasive treatment (like a patient) and we’ve got units that have been hurt, and several are sitting there wondering what is going to happen to them, because we still don’t know what the budget situation is. So finally he decided and talked it over with the budget committee, and in the end this is the kind of decision that the Provost has to do right? Because in the end, he is the one that has to talk about it and defend it and although now that the work’s underway, people are reporting on it and telling him what’s going on and if it goes wrong, it’s his fault. Hamilton decided, first of all, that if we were going to do something, we should do it right away and the reason for that is if we did it and there were a mid-year budget cut, that means we’d only have 4 or 5 months to get it done, and then he would be gone. So Hamilton thought, you know, if we’re going to do this, he wanted to make sure it gets done and it gets done right and it isn’t just slapped together and then some new Provost comes in faced with some huge mess and then every debate starts over again; and that’s just not good. Hamilton has been very concerned that there are so many people on this campus that haven’t known what their future is and that this is meant to help solve that problem, not meant to aggravate it. You know, it’s just not good to be wondering day to day what you’re going to be like. You just need to put people out of their misery. So the first thing he thought was okay if we’re going to do something, we should do it now. The second thing he concluded was that were not going to do everything that was on the list, because some of the things on the list he didn’t think should be done. We’d do them if we had a terrible budget cut, but he didn’t think they needed to be done. There’s some things on the list that actually should be done, but if he took on too many then the problem is he may not get any of them done and so that’s a problem, because you know you get so many things you’re trying to fight for and they’re too many battles, and in the end, it just gets to be the mess. So he and the Budget Committee focused on two things; Computer Engineering and Computer Science, and they’re a good example of the stability issue. Computer Science is a good department – by some rankings, a very, very good department but they’ve lost some very important heavy hitters. The kind of investment that we have to make in that unit to get it back up and running is huge and, right now, any new money we have needs to go for pay raises; we have to get pay raises around here. So, we’re not making any investments; there is not one unit on this campus, He doesn’t think that there’s been one time in the time he’s been in this job where someone’s come in and said I’m going to give you money for it, with the exception maybe of a couple of thousand dollars for retention and recruitment, but he means we just aren’t doing that. And so, to put that kind of money in Computer Science doesn’t make sense. Computer Engineering is a good unit, but it could be better. So the solution is to put them together in one unit, one strong unit. We’ll save a little bit of money but we can also go out and make a really large impact. It’s not like we’re inventing a new model; there are places like Berkley that have a unit like this. So, it’s not like we bring shame on the university the way, frankly, we brought shame on our selves, for good reason and he understands it, by eliminating some of those languages. That he thinks was shameful, but this seems to me defensible, more defensible. So, that’s under way. The second issue was to create a college, a yet unnamed college, but a college that would bring together a lot of social services. Now that was driven by several different issues. One was Social Work and Library Science is hanging out there and they’re too small. So that, in good times, it’s okay; they don’t get much in the way of resources because the Dean comes in, it’s a Dean with ten people on the faculty – he means, no Provost pays attention to a Dean with ten people on the faculty. It’s just not important when you compare it to big colleges. Library Science doesn’t even get salary savings. Because, first of all, they have to have one out of ten leave and the chances of that happening…so they never have salary savings, so they have to supplement a little bit. But anyway, in this environment, they’ve been cautiously worried about what is going to happen to them and very vulnerable, and, you know, the Chancellor at one point was going to get rid of Library Science, so that of course made them feel particularly vulnerable. So, one reason to bring them into a new college is it gives them stability, and it actually is going to stabilize them and give them a bigger environment where there are economies of scale to help them up. The other part is Education and Kinesiology are good, but Hamilton believes that a larger college where they can – turning Education into a school and Kinesiology into a school, so we’d have a whole range of schools in one place. He thinks that is actually going to make those two schools, previously departments, into stronger units when you put the whole thing together. It’s going to then create a school that has a huge impact because what it does every day impacts people in the state. Engineering can be good; it’s very important; it’s an engine for development and all the rest. We have to have engineering; it’s an excellent college. But it doesn’t help everybody materially every day on Main Street. But people go to Libraries, and they need Social Services and Social Work and Education. Most people have kids or grandchildren who go to school and they want them to have a good education. When you put it together, all those pieces together, its political impact should be enormous. The most powerful Dean on this campus should be Gaines, because no matter what happens, his college is the last to go. If you get rid of Mass Communications, if you get rid of Engineering, if you get rid of Business, you’ve got to have the History and English programs. You may only end up being a Community College when you get them, but you have to have those programs. So Gains is powerful, Business is powerful because they bring in a lot of money, Engineering is powerful for obvious reasons, Science is powerful because it has grants and contracts. But this new college should be every bit as powerful as they are, because it’s going to represent a big constituency. Now the last group of people we’re bringing in are from the College of Agriculture. If you just step back and think about it, it’s preposterous that K through 3 is in Agriculture. How did that happen? It just doesn’t make any sense at all for K through 3 to be there. When you put all those together, you will have in that college more graduate students than any other college on this campus, which means, again, in a time that we want to raise graduate student numbers, that’s a great place to do it. The final thing is FCCS – Family, Child, Consumer Science. They work a lot with Social Work, but there was one – some serendipitous things that have happened here. And one of the serendipitous things is it turned out that we were going to move FCCS over to Education, probably I guess. But we find out that they’re really close with Social Work and we can put them with social, add faculty to Social Work so now it’s bigger, and they bring with them a degree, which means that now Social Work has an undergraduate degree – that’s huge. Because they’re not going to get a BS in Social Work, that’s not going to happen because of the politics trying to get Sociology – you know, that’s not going to happen today, maybe someday it might, but it’s not going to happen now. But now, we really add to Social Work in a major way. FCCS people get people who are more doctorate students, and Social Work get undergraduates. We can really build on that. In fact, on the day that he found out that this was a possibility, it was a great day. Hamilton means he thought know we’re really getting something done that’s positive, and over in Agricultural was not where they belonged. So, you know, it’s not a simple – it’s not just one thing that drove that reorganization; it’s a combination of things, but the end result is good and he has been very gratified at the way people have dealt with this. They’ve really embraced it and actually several people in units come to us privately and said they want to be in this college. None of them have made the case that warrants it, but that’s a good sign. It takes a while for things to sort out, but he thinks it’s on balance. It’s a very good change, and frankly he’s proud with the academic community with being so enthusiastic about it and he thinks our community now has to be to make it work the best we can for everybody.
Senator Exner commented that even though there’s a search committee for the next Provost, it would be nice to have the current Provost stay on for the first year of implementation of the new college. Hamilton mentioned he will tell him that, but he thinks he’ll say he’s busy. That’s nice of you to say. Hamilton appreciates that.
Q: You mentioned new money for raises. Is there a plan?
A: Well, he and Eric Monday talk about it all the time. We don’t have the money right now, and you know, first of all we’ve got to figure out whether there’s going to be a mid-year cut. We’re going to get back on our feet. Hamilton’s concern is we get back on our feet that obviously it does damage to people who are not getting raises and we lose staff and faculty who go elsewhere. It’s going to happen. There was a time, you know, back in the early 90s when everything was going to hell and there were no raises and we went through a lot and then all of the sudden, there was this one time that the raises were ridiculous. The average was 12% or something and then you were able to differentiate them and give them – better people got higher raises, which is the way it should be. We can catch up, and we did, and we will. But it’s asking a lot of people who don’t know when that’s going to happen to be patient, and we need to start doing this as quickly as possible. But the answer is he’s not telling you we know how much or when it’s going to happen, but he can tell us that it is the most important thing.
It was mentioned so when that begins, that draft out of crafts and talented people, they see three years not knowing four years and if we have a raise coming, they begun to ask it. So these are trained people with 20 years’ experience who start to jump out of this world to the private world, thinking they can make more money but its short term and they don’t know but to lose on the facility side is an institutional loss, because then we have somebody who knows these units and the way we work.
Q: When do these two points hit each other, because it will happen in that construction road? It will draw them out when we make an investment in these people for ten or twenty years.
A: Right, I understand. It’s good that the economy is improving. We can’t expect things to get better here until they get better there, but of course that’s the problem: they can go and with faculty, you know, he hears this: Oh well, everybody’s in trouble. The faculty can’t go anywhere. But that’s not true. Faculty can go. They do go; Computer Science is a good example. Three fabulous people left, including the chair. We’ll get our chance again.
Q: What’s the possibility of a one-time payment? Back in the 90s when everything was so awful, there was a one-time payment made to employees of a thousand and twenty-two dollars and eighty-four cents.
A: You know, this is my conservative background – most people think I’m a Communist, but actually in some ways, and I prefer – I’m a very conservative Communist, in one sense. Certainly there’d be some cases where you have to be creative and you can’t – everybody can’t just be under austerity all the time. In times like this, it’s not good – I’m not in favor of steps that are not long-term solutions. Now you could argue – and that’s why he’d be willing to entertain this, and Hamilton certainly wants to talk to Eric Monday about it before we talk to the Chancellor. But you could argue that it is a long-term solution because it keeps people happy, and so forth.
It was mentioned just recently with school starting, there are 80 people in my unit and I’ve had this revolving door of my daycare and after school doubled. Our health insurance is getting ready to increase. Hamilton mentioned that’s a good point. Maybe what we ought to be doing is for people who are under a certain salary, although he can see how that gets to be an issue. But, that’s a really powerful example that you can visualize what it means about real people, and that’s what important. But here’s his theory, he doesn’t like the idea of furloughs. Because as soon as you have a furlough, it just means that made people have pain, but you didn’t solve any problem, because next year if you get new money, it’s just to make sure they don’t get a furlough and maybe as cold-blooded as this sounds, he thinks you’re better off reducing the size of your staff if that’s what you have to do and then taking care of those people that are there, rather than constantly being in the situation where everybody is trying to get back where they were. The problem with the One Thousand is – but he will take your point and he’d be glad to talk to Eric Monday about this – the problem with the One Thousand if you didn’t really get a pay raise, if you were making $20,000 a year, you’re not making 21,000, so next year if you get 21, you didn’t really get a raise; you just got what you got last year. So his feeling is its better – if we have to start downsizing, then we downsize. We get to where we need to be at our foundation, we take care of those people, as soon as we can get them raises, we get them raises, and if we can get them more raises, we get them more raises, and we work very hard to get them up. But we – this is my non-Communist part – you just don’t have everybody out there treated shabbily forever. Now he recognizes you’re not talking about shabby treatment; you’re talking about giving them a supplement. But maybe he can vain to you at least the way his concern is about that. But he also takes your point. He’ll talk to Eric Monday about it.
Q: I have a two-part question. The graduate school – I know they’re doing some reorganization there. Are there plans to dismantle the graduate school?
A: Like get rid of it? Nope.
Q: The other question is: are there plans to ever have a graduate recruitment office on campus very similar to undergraduate recruitment?
A: He doesn’t know the answer to that question, but he knows what you’re really asking. What does he think of the graduate school?
Q: No, well yes and no. I’m wondering if they’re going to be there, because they do an awful lot for us and if any of that is going to be transferred to other departments.
A: Right, so he thinks the people here who interact with the graduate school know one of the things he tried to do is move responsibilities and authority from the graduate school – and money – to the colleges, because he thinks that’s where it belongs. It doesn’t mean that the graduate school shouldn’t exist, although he has entertained the idea of getting rid of it. But he decided not to, and the reason he decided not to was that he was persuaded it had functions that needed to be carried out and also that it would send a very bad signal – like we don’t have graduate education anymore and that’s probably not the best thing. Hamilton sticks to his guns in thinking that the graduate school had way more – they were making decisions that that they shouldn’t be making like every year you had to go and ask for $3,000 for each graduate in enhancement – you know that’s stupid. Just give people the money and they either use it well or you take it away from them later. The same thing with graduate faculty status, there once was a guy who won 8 Pulitzer Prizes who didn’t have a Ph.D., but he had 8 Pulitzer Prizes. We have a professional master’s degree. Graduate faculty status – the graduate, somebody or other, told me he couldn’t teach graduate classes, couldn’t teach masters classes. That’s the stupidest thing he has ever heard. It’s a professional masters and he has to go over and explain why. It needs to be in the colleges where they know these decisions. If they can be entrusted to educate undergraduates, then he guesses they can be entrusted to educate graduate students. Hamilton thinks there are things they need to do in terms of helping with recruitment and he thinks that’s one of the issues. He also thinks there are some things they can due in terms of the monitoring – you know they have to make sure the dissertations are in the same format, put together the graduate committees, they need to have an outside person on them. There needs to be somebody who speaks up for graduate education on campus and is an apostle for that, and he think that’s an important thing to do. So, there are a variety of things Hamilton thinks need to be done and there are some fellowships and so forth that need to be responsible for, because they span the whole university. So, what he wants to get done now – we’ve done some of the mechanical things, and you may know he’s also created a Reduction Committee that got rid of some of the stupid rules. But the next thing is now we want to get that staff, help that staff, become recognized that they have one goal in life: to provide a service. They’re not there to supervise. They’re there to provide a service. Doesn’t mean that they can’t see things are wrong and bring them to the attention of people who need to do it, but their job there is to provide a service and that’s what we need to get them to do. So, we need to work with them to help see if everybody is doing the right job, that is that they’re in the right kind of job, and if we’re doing things the right way and in that process, he thinks there are some things that they can help with enormously. Now how we get there is what we have to figure out. Hamilton doesn’t dislike the Graduate School, but he think the time has come for the colleges to behave like colleges and be responsible and take the consequences if they don’t for their work, that’s what needs to happen. The Graduate School needs to be there, not to be the whip, but to be a service agency; that’s what he wants to get done before he leaves. Hamilton knows we have some kinks too, but we knew that would happen, because now Deans have to actually face the fact and say sorry, you’re not going to teach graduate classes. Some Deans’ department chairs aren’t going to relish that, but that’s what they’ve got to do.
Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Jack Hamilton thanked the Staff Senate for being able to speak today.
President Galy mentioned that Senator Sirman reported that she attended the Campus Communicators meeting on October 6, 2011 which was included in the meeting packet for review.
Benefit of the Month
Senator Torres announced that the Benefit of the Month is a reminder that it is now Open Enrollment for the calendar year benefits. It is a good time to look at your flexible spending accounts which provides a credit card for members to use. Torres mentioned that you can use your flexible spending money early if needed. For instance if you have a procedure that needs to be done early in the year and all of your money has not been payroll deducted yet, you can still use those funds before they have been collected. It’s a tax savings to you. The credit card makes it very easy all you have to do is submit your receipts. The child care has to be current to deduct for reimbursement but is a tax deferred expense.
Staff Senate Gift Fund
President Galy reminded everyone to please donate to the Staff Senate Gift Fund which is used for flowers or donations upon death of a current or former Senator, a wedding of a current Senator, newly welcomed babies of a current Senator, and retirement of a current or former Senator.
Committee Meeting Schedules
President Galy encouraged Chairs to begin setting their schedules and forward those to Melonie Holden as she attends for additional support. Galy mentioned that she will attend as many meetings as she can as well.
Lunch & Learn
President Galy encouraged everyone to attend the Lunch & Learn scheduled on Monday, October 24, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. in the Lawton Room in the LSU Football Stadium.
Staff Senator Welcomes a Baby Boy
President Galy announced that Senator Adedeji welcomed a baby boy to his family. The Staff Senate provided him with a gift.
Staff Senator’s Wedding
President Galy announced that Senator Kimball is not with us today as she is on her honeymoon. She was married on October 15, 2011.
Staff Senator Birthdays
President Galy announced that Senator Ruby Brown celebrated her birthday on October 8, Senator Judy Cooley celebrated her birthday on October 11, and Senator Joseph Thomas will celebrate his birthday on October 31. “Happy Birthday”
MOTION TO ADJOURN – With there being no more business, Past-President Verma moved to adjourn. The motion, seconded by Senator Carruth, carried. The meeting adjourned before noon.
Blake Winchell, Secretary