University Life Council

Minutes of Meeting

September 28, 2004

Arts and Sciences Building, Room 216

Present:   Karen Brown, Sumedha Tagare, Lisa Thompson, Dan Smith, Ben Shaw,
  Martin Hildebrand, Joanne Razzano, Bob Yagelski, Bill Reese, Jennifer Stromer-Galley,
  Candace Merbler, Kathryn Lowery, Roslyn Jefferson, Carl Martin, James Doellefeld,
  and Gwen Moore (Chair)

Meeting commenced at 3:30 p.m.

Chair’s Report

Chair Moore welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked members to introduce themselves.

Chair Moore distributed documentation to members: a copy of the Senate Charter as of 11/27/03; ULC Annual Report for 2003-2004; recommended members for ULC committees for 2004-2005; roster of ULC members for 2004-2005; and ULC’s new charge.

Chair Moore briefly mentioned the three committees (Health, Safety and Well-Being; Committee on Residential Life and Committee on Athletics) and the role the committees would play with the Council for this year which includes setting up meeting times, electing a chairperson for the Committee, submitting a monthly report to the Council about committee activities and reviewing and making policy recommendations related to their committee.

Policy on Suspension of Classes for Religious Holidays

Reviewing the policy on suspension of classes on religious holidays is a primary task and one the Senate asked ULC to review and make recommendations on this year. The concern is that the University is suspending only some religious holidays and not all religious holidays and thus ULC is charged with reviewing the entire policy on the suspension of classes for any religious holidays. Currently, the University recognizes most of the major Christian and Jewish holidays and last year a bill was presented to the Senate and a revised version was passed calling for the suspension of classes on the Muslim holidays for the 2004-2005 year.

An Ad hoc committee has been formed to address this issue. Members who will serve on this committee are: Dan Smith, Carl Martin, Karen Brown and Gwen Moore.

Pedestrian Safety

The Health, Safety and Well-Being Committee will once again examine the issues of pedestrian safety both on and off campus, including the concern that there are not enough sidewalks available to pedestrians.

ULC’s New Charge

Chair Moore referred to the ULC’s new charge as written in the handout:

Responsible for the quality of University life outside of the formal instruction program; initiate and develop policies concerning the overall health, safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff, including counseling, medical clinical services, financial aid, international student affairs, placement, residence living, student behavior and conduct, student government, athletics and recreation, and services and program for part-time and emeriti faculty; and policies on off-campus student life; appoints representatives to the Committee on University Community Relations; makes recommendations concerning the operations of University Auxiliary Services and other service providers.

She then opened the floor to questions, concerns and discussion about the Council’s charge.

M. Hildebrand expressed concern that the role the ULC might overlap with the roles of other University Councils. For example, the religious holiday task assigned to the ULC would affect the academic calendar and thus possibly affect another Council’s policy recommendations. Discussions among members indicated that this would be an issue but that the ULC would be reviewing policies and offering recommendations so any overlap would be additional information that could be useful at the decision making level.

D. Smith brought up the concern regarding certain areas the ULC was charged with that involved union contracts and therefore did not seem to be something that the ULC could examine. A specific area that was mentioned was the concerns over maternity and paternity leave. J. Stromer-Galley expressed her concerns regarding this area and indicated that the issue at hand currently, for faculty, was that departments on campus each handle maternity/paternity leave differently and there appears to be no agreed-upon guidelines in place that all departments could evenly follow regarding maternity/paternity leave. J. Stromer-Galley hopes that ULC could develop and submit guidelines for departments to follow.

W. Reese is interested in forming a committee to monitor benefits for emeriti faculty. Some concerns he wanted to address included issues with emeriti professors not being able to keep their mail slot in their departments and losing access to their on-campus offices.

One Ad hoc committee was formed to focus on the benefits and maternity/paternity leave issues. Members serving on this committee are: Jennifer Stromer-Galley, William Reese, Ben Shaw and Lisa Thompson.

Visitor Lot Parking Fee

The parking fee increase and changes to Visitor Lots has caused a rise in complaints from various individuals. V.P. Lowery explained that the new “pay as you enter” system has raised the cost of Visitor Lot parking to $7.00. Previously, the system was on an hourly basis with a maximum fee amounting to $3.50 so the fee hike is very noticeable. D. Smith raised the point that the lots close earlier as well.

J. Razzano of General Studies brought up the concern that some of the students conducting business with her office only need to park a very short period of time and the $7.00 fee is expensive for that short period of time.

V.P. Lowery mentioned that one of the problems with the old system is that students would park in the Visitor Lots and take up spaces so that when a legitimate visitor to the University tried to park there were no spaces available.  The increased fee and system appears to be a deterrent to students since the lots rarely appear to be full now. However, V.P. Lowery indicated that the situation was under review and that if there were any concerns, people could contact her or Parking Management directly.

Faculty Regalia Rentals, University policy on family leave and stopping tenure clock

Chair Moore moved these agenda items to a future meeting.

Approval of Committees

Chair Moore again briefly went over the duties of the Committees. Motion to approve the membership on the ULC Committees (and Ad hoc committees) was made, seconded and unanimously passed.

Remarks by Jim Doellefeld, Vice President for Student Affairs – 4:00 p.m.

Chair Moore welcomed Vice President Doellefeld and asked him to speak to the Council.

V.P. Doellefeld welcomed and thanked everyone for attending. He then reviewed the following items with the Council:

1.      Task Force on Fountain Day: V.P. Doellefeld discussed the Task Force established to review Fountain Day activities.  He also raised the issue of the motion passed last year to suspend classes the afternoon of Fountain Day 2005. In light of the events of Fountain Day 2004 he suggested the ULC may wish to revisit this issue at the next meeting.

2.      To assist with reviewing certain changes to Education Law 129-A, an Advisory Committee on Campus Safety and Security has been created. Co-Chairs of this committee are David McCaffrey and Candace Merbler.

  1. Dr. Peter Vellis is the new Medial Director of the University Health Center. He has recommended the University consider requiring mandatory health insurance for all enrolled students.  For students who are covered under their parents’ policy, they can submit a hard waiver indicating that they have health insurance and can be excused from paying the fee. SUNY-wide, approximately 30 percent of students have no health insurance coverage. Council members discussed the issues with parents’ policies, specifically that in order to continue coverage under a parents’ policy, the student must be a full-time, matriculated student and that for some students who were attending college part-time or were non-matriculated, the mandatory fee could be a problem. This led to a concern that a mandatory health insurance fee would drive students away from attending school.

V.P. Doellefeld provided some information concerning the health of students, explaining that the average college-age student is very healthy and typically visits the health centers at their campus for minor illnesses and pains. However, when a student is stricken with a serious illness, and they do not have health insurance, it can result in that student dropping out of college.

4.      V.P. Doellefeld announced Nancy Lauricella, professional staff member with the Office of Student Activities, as the new ULC recording secretary.

5.      V.P. Doellefeld also reported on an apparent increase in the incidence of DUI incidents on campus.  He will be receiving a report on DUI incidents in September and October 2004 and anticipates the number of DUI arrests in September 2004 will be more than the total of all of last year’s DUI arrests.

This led to a brief discussion regarding the “Party School” ranking by the Princeton Review. V.P. Doellefeld referred to President Ryan’s statement on this issue.

New Business

Chair Moore asked if anyone had any new business to discuss. J. Stromer-Galley inquired about the faculty parking lots and spaces being taken by students, in particular during the first few weeks of school. V.P. Lowery addressed her concerns, indicating that at least for the first week of school, Parking Management does offer amnesty to almost everyone given that people need time to acquire parking stickers. However, V.P. Lowery also pointed out that once that amnesty period is up, Parking Management is out in full force (day and evening) ticketing and enforcing posted parking policies. She is looking into getting more parking spots in the Office of Parking Management area since those spaces fill up quickly and there are not many of them.

Next Meeting is on October 20, 2004 at 3:30. Room location is to be determined.

Meeting was adjourned at 4:35 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Nancy Lauricella, Recording Secretary