University Life Council
Minutes of Meeting
October 20, 2004
Lecture Center Room 31J
Present: Karen Brown, Sumedha Tagare, Lisa Thompson, Dan Smith, Ben Shaw, Martin Hildebrand, Joanne Razzano, Michael Christakis, Bill Reese, Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Kathryn Lowery, Roslyn Jefferson, John Murphy, Carl Martin, James Doellefeld, and Gwen Moore (Chair)
Guests: Bill Hedberg (Provost’s Office) and Dr. Pete Vellis (University Health Center)
Meeting commenced at 3:30 p.m.
Chair Moore welcomed everyone to the meeting and requested approval on the minutes from September 28 meeting. Minutes were approved with minor corrections.
Chair Moore set dates for remaining ULC meetings: Thursday, November 18 and Monday, December 13, both at 3:30 with location to be determined.
Chair Moore introduced Dr. Peter Vellis, Director of the University Health Center, to speak about mandatory health insurance for all students.
Student Health Insurance – 3:35 p.m.
Dr. Vellis provided some information regarding health insurance for college students. Approximately one-quarter to one-third of college students do not have health insurance that will cover them for serious illnesses.
The goal is to protect students. With a mandatory health insurance program, students who become seriously ill may be able to avoid the high cost associated with treating the illness and be more motivated to stay in school. Students who are covered on their parents’ policy can submit a hard waiver proving they are covered.
Students will share the cost (i.e. co-pays) and be covered for up to $25,000 per condition/per year. The fee would be approximately $800 annually for full-time students. On the UAlbany campus, only about 10-15 percent of students attend part-time and the bulk of uninsured are full-time students. Prescription drug coverage, with co-pays, will be provided but dental and vision coverage will not.
Dr. Vellis distributed documentation for the committee members’ review: American College Health Association Guidelines for Standards for Student Health Insurance/Benefits Program; a benefits comparison of other SUNY schools; and the Request for Proposal (RFP) for Universal Health Insurance Coverage for the UAlbany Student Body.
Dan Smith expressed concern regarding students who are covered by their parents’ health insurance policies. If a student is covered under the parent, submits a hard-waiver but at some point during the semester, the parent loses their job and health insurance, would the student be eligible to receive a pro-rated rate for insurance and if the health insurance fee be covered under financial aid.
Dr. Vellis explained that COBRA would provide a grace period for a temporary extension of health insurance benefits and that the health insurance fee could be covered under financial aid.
Martin Hildebrand inquired about year round coverage and if a student would be able to continue coverage after graduation. Chair Moore asked if there was an age limit for coverage and Jennifer Stromer-Galley also raised the question as to whether students can sign-up for insurance for just one semester.
Dr. Vellis stated that it would be year round coverage and again referred to COBRA benefits for a student who has graduated. There would be no age limit as long as the individual is a student. Additionally, there may also be the possibility of family coverage. Students will be able to sign-up for insurance by semester with the semesters breaking down to fall, spring and summer.
M. Hildebrand asked about the Student Association’s position regarding the mandatory health insurance fee and Dr. Vellis stated that conversations have happened with the Student Association regarding the fee and that SA supports it as long as it is affordable for students. John Murphy stated that the Student Health Advisory Committee has reviewed the mandatory health insurance initiative and endorsed it.
Dr. Vellis hopes to implement this program next year. There is also the possibility that the entire SUNY system will buy-in to an insurance plan.
A motion to support the mandatory health insurance program was made and seconded with the provision that if SUNY sends out RFPs that the committee review it. Motion, with provision, was unanimously passed.
Revised Student Code of Conduct – 3:57 p.m.
John Murphy, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of Judicial Affairs, reviewed the University’s Community Rights & Responsibilities, the handbook for student code of conduct. There were numerous updates and improvements made to the 2004-2007 edition.
Changes are as follows:
Gambling device would include slots and roulette wheels. A question was asked regarding groups that wanted to take a trip to a casino and if that would be violating the code of conduct and promoting gambling. J. Murphy stated that most likely this would not be considered to be promoting on-campus gambling.
Section VIII previously included levels of sanctions (Level I, II and III) but that was found to be more confusing than clarifying so it was removed. An update to the "Note" portion was added into Section VIII to specifically address: hazing; driving while intoxicated; hate/bias related crimes or incidents; and possessing, using or distributing alcohol.
Included in the sanctions is the requirement that parents be notified about certain offenses if the student is under the age of 21.
A question was asked regarding when students receive a copy of the Community Rights & Responsibilities. J. Murphy explained that students receive the code of conduct in the fall, in their rooms. This year students were required to confirm they had received/reviewed the code of conduct when they initially signed on to the "My UAlbany" system.
At the conclusion of J. Murphy’s review, committee members commented that the updated Community Rights & Responsibilities was "very thorough" and "excellent".
V.P. Doellefeld inquired as to how many students had been suspended for violating the Community Rights and Responsibilities. J. Murphy stated that 21 students had been suspended, one student had been expelled, 13 students removed from residence and 6 were reassigned to a different residence hall.
Elaborating on that, J. Murphy explained some of the ramifications of these actions. A dismissal or suspension from the University will go on a transcript as a disciplinary action and the student may also forfeit tuition and fees. If a student is removed from residence, they may forfeit up to $4000 in room costs.
Joanne Razzano asked if the Albany Student Press newspaper might be involved in getting the word out about judicial issues and J. Murphy may talk to the editor about doing a piece on DUIs.
An issue was raised regarding the recourse night custodial staff have in dealing with inebriated students on campus. J. Murphy explained that any faculty or staff person can ask a student for identification (as long as they identify themselves as a University staff person). Therefore, night custodial staff can ask the student for appropriate identification and contact UPD.
If the student does not comply, and the incident occurs on a Quad, the staff person should go to the Quad Information Office to make a report. They should also inform their supervisor and file complaint in writing about the incident. Staff can also follow-up via the judicial system.
A motion to support the changes to the code of conduct was made, seconded and unanimously passed.
Chair Moore moved these reports to a future meeting.
Visitor Parking Fees – 4:25 p.m.
V.P. Lowery introduced Bill Hedberg, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, who is working with Parking Management and University departments to address the issue of the visitor parking lot fees.
B. Hedberg distributed a discussion draft on "UAlbany Visitor Parking for Fall 2004".
The new $7.00 flat fee has been unintentionally problematic, particularly for those who are parking to attend events that are low-cost or no-cost. To address this issue, B. Hedberg has been consulting with groups that have these types of events such as, the Performing Arts Center, The Writer’s Institute and the Art Museum, and making adjustments to the visitor parking lot system for the events.
B. Hedberg is impressed with the responsiveness of Parking Management staff in working with him on these issues and acknowledged that this is a work in progress. He is trying to be alert to complaints and wants to preserve the pay-as-you-enter system and the $7.00 parking fee but also hopes for a policy that will encourage attendance at events. V.P. Lowery stressed that the goal of the visitor lots parking fee is about enforcement and to provide the best service possible.
Karen Brown was concerned about parking for the visitors who attend the numerous symposiums that the University Library hosts. It was recommended that the Library purchase parking pass booklets and provide Parking Management with at least 14 days notice about the events.
A question was asked regarding service people who park to fix equipment for various University departments. V.P. Lowery will research that issue.
Committee members offered suggestions such as relocating parking meters into Visitor Lot I, offering deeper discounts for departments that purchase a book of parking passes, all-day or four-hour parking passes, or a visitor sign-in system with Parking Management.
B. Hedberg pointed out that the new visitor lot arrangement provides a friendly and positive experience because the visitor has face-to-face contact with University staff immediately upon entry to the lot.
New Business – 4:45 p.m.
Chair Moore invited V.P. Doellefeld to speak about the campus evacuation plan.
V.P. Doellefeld indicated that an emergency management protocol was being developed by Vice Presidents Lowery and Doellefeld; Vincent Franconere, Environmental Health and Safety; Frank Wiley, University Police Department; and Dr. Peter Vellis, University Health Center.
It was suggested that the ULC invite V. Franconere and F. Wiley to speak at a future meeting.
V.P. Doellefeld stated that a likely scenario requiring a campus evacuation would be an electrical problem, ice storm or a serious illness and that if the campus had to close due to a terrorism issue, it would be by order of the Governor.
J. Razzano inquired about an update on the list of University Fire Marshals. V. Franconere is the appropriate individual to answer that question and V.P. Lowery will follow-up with him.
All remaining agenda items were moved to a future meeting.
Next Meeting is on November 18 at 3:30. Room location is to be determined.
Meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
Nancy Lauricella, Recording Secretary