University at Albany - State University of New York

2003-04 University Senate

Minutes of May 3, 2004



Present:          J. Acker, D. Armstrong, D. Bernnard, E. Bričre, H. Charalambous, R. Collier,

                        F. Cornet, S. Faerman, S. Friedman, R. Geer, R. Gibson, R. Hoyt, M. Jerison,

S. B. Kim, W. Lanford, R. Lawson, S. Levine, S. Lubensky, A. Lyons,

C. MacDonald, S. Maloney, G. Marschke, T. Maxwell, D. McCaffrey, L. McNutt, G. Moore, J. Mumpower, J. Pipkin, M. Pryse, R. M. Range, C. Santiago, J. Savitt,

                        H. Scheck, L. Schell, D. Shub, L. Snyder, G. Spitze, T. Turner, L. Videka

                        D. Wagner, J. Wick-Pelletier, E. Wulfert


Guests:           M. Butler, S. Mahan, C. Martin, A. Radkowski-Lee, G. Stevens, and representatives from the Muslim Student Association


Senate Chair Pryse entertained a motion made by Professor Lawrence Snyder to place a resolution on the agenda. The motion was approved; resolution number 0304-08R regarding the Patriot Act will be placed under new business on the agenda.


Minutes:  The minutes of April 19, 2004 were approved.


University Faculty Senate Report - presented by Senator Richard Collier:  Assessment was the main item at the last University Faculty Senate meeting.  A modified version of the resolution was proposed and approved, which included amendments as follows:


§         further clarification of cost issues,

§         making the General Education Assessment Review Group (GEAR) the review body,

§         requiring GEAR standards of math and writing to be reviewed by campus faculty who teach the courses

§         postponing the “critical thinking” assessment until it is defined.


Chair’s Report:  No report.


President’s Report - presented by Interim President John R. Ryan:




§         Group 1 deposits are at 37.8%, our goal is at least 38%

§         Freshmen deposits are at 1,733, which is up from last year

§         203 Presidential Scholars, 25 of whom are Frederick Douglass Scholars

§         130 College Scholars

§         63 Achievement Scholars, out-of-state Group 1 students

§         International admissions are down, but there is a decline nationwide due primarily to the restrictions imposed after 9/11.  Presidents from many institutions are working hard with Washington officials to improve the process of entry for foreign students.


Budget – The budget is not yet finalized, President Ryan is confident that UAlbany will do well in the construction portion of the budget, but unfortunately the system-wide formula used by SUNY clearly disadvantaged us versus other university centers.  In particular, Buffalo, and Stony Brook each were allotted approximately one hundred million dollars more than UAlbany by SUNY System Administration.


College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering:  President Ryan, referring to the EPC Resolution forming the Ad hoc University-wide Governance Committee, urged members to accept the new College and to work over the summer to be able to bring positive recommendations forth in the fall.


Council Reports:


CPCA - Glenna Spitze, Chair:  No report


GAC - Hara Charalambous, Chair:  GAC will present a bill under New Business today.


UAC - Joan Savitt, Chair:  


§         UAC has one bill today which responds to the Senate's request that it study applied electives.

§         UAC has approved changes in the accounting program, which will make it conform to mandates from within the profession.

§         UAC approved changes to the faculty initiated ISP major - making it simpler to track.

§         UAC approved changes in the SSW major in recognition of the fact that UAlbany’s Human Diversity requirement overlapped a departmental one.

§         A committee including this year's and next year's UAC members will begin meeting this summer to study advisement issues.  The results of this committee's work will be shared with UAC and other interested parties.  It is expected that a plan taking effect the summer of 2005 will be in place next spring.


RES - Lynn Videka, Chair:  RES is continuing the Senate charge to review the SNN research program, specifically safety in the program.  A report is not ready for this meeting; one will be available on the Senate website before the end of the year.  The IRB subcommittee is continuing to meet and the Researcher Liaison Committee will continue to work over the summer.


EPC – Edelgard Wulfert, Chair: 


§         Muslim Holiday Bill:  The Muslim Holiday request was brought to EPC because it involves the school calendar.  EPC had a lengthy discussion and voted against the request, which should not be construed as disrespect of Muslim students.  There were practical issues involved, such as implications of adding two additional days to the school calendar, which would result in the semester beginning by August 25th.  Beginning the semester that early would hinder the maintenance issues on campus between the summer session and the fall session, which has significant implications.  There would be additional costs to students involved; all students would have to come to school a week before the usual start time.  Another significant issue is that there are students in other religions that will request time off to celebrate or recognize their holy days. 


EPC members discussed that an alternative to the bill could be such as faculty not scheduling exams on the Muslim holy days, and to allow Muslim students time off on an individual basis. 


The bill is sponsored by ULC and further discussion will take place during ULC’s report.


§         College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE):   According to the memo from President Ryan, the SUNY Board of Trustees passed a resolution on April 20, 2004 stating that the CNSE will be established with an autonomous faculty governance structure.  The Board of Trustees further resolved that an autonomous governance structure be created and that the College creates its own bylaws.  President Ryan contacted EPC and communicated that there is support for the College from outside and within the UAlbany.  That distributed models of faculty governance do exist, even with the SUNY system and that the nanosciences faculty are calling for an autonomous administrative and academic structure, the latter consisting of a fully independent academic senate with a distributed university-wide academic governance.  President Ryan forwarded his recommendation to the Board of Trustees endorsing that the college be established, and that CNSE have a degree of autonomy in academic governance in the areas of curriculum, academic standing and appeals, tenure and promotion, and research.  He also recommended that university-wide policies should govern the campus in overarching areas.  These overarching areas include faculty appointments, sponsored, enrollment, and budget.  In light of the Board of Trustees’ resolution, President Ryan has asked EPC to consider the College autonomy in the areas of curriculum, academic standing and appeals, tenure and promotion and research.  He has requested that EPC provide him with advice on these areas so there is compliance with the resolution. 


§         Ad hoc University-wide Governance Committee:  On behalf of EPC, Professor Wulfert introduced a proposal to develop an Ad hoc University-wide Governance Committee and a motion was made to adopt the steps specified in the document below:






1.        That an ad hoc governance committee of the University Senate be created to examine the interaction of the University Senate governance structure with the faculty governance structures of the individual schools and colleges.


2.        That the Committee membership be nominated by the existing subcommittee on governance and elections of the Senate Executive Committee, in consultation with EPC, and be ratified by the Senate.


3.        That the Committee be comprised of at least six teaching faculty distributed from the various schools and colleges, one professional faculty member and one graduate student.


4.        That the Committee be charged with investigating alternative governance models and potential consequences of delegating increased autonomy in decisions about graduate curriculum, graduate academic standing, promotion and continuing appointment, and research programs to the schools and colleges while maintaining a university-wide Faculty governance structure for overarching policy, assessment, and appeal issues in these areas.


5.        That the Committee make specific recommendations to the Senate for changes in the University Senate Charter and Faculty Bylaws, if any, by October 1, 2004, and that the committee be disbanded in the fall of 2004, unless extended by the Senate.


6.        That these recommendations enumerate which of the Faculty responsibilities of Bylaws Article I, Section 2.2, and of the charges of the Senate Councils specified in the Bylaws and charter shall be devolved to the individual schools and colleges, with the remaining retained to the Faculty and to the Senate.


7.        That the Committee provide suggestions for ways in which individual school and college bylaws could be modified by their faculty to facilitate the interaction with University Faculty governance or to be consistent with a revised University-wide structure.


8.        That the Committee throughout the process communicate and collaborate with the chairs or their representatives from the Governance Council, CPCA and GAC, and representatives of the deans and faculty bodies of the individual schools and colleges.




In response to the resolution of the Board of Trustees approving the creation of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and to the requests of the faculty of the School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering for more efficient and flexible organization, Interim President Ryan has recommended that increased autonomy be given to schools and colleges in the areas of graduate curriculum, academic standing and appeals, tenure and promotion, and research.  This is recognized as an opportunity to investigate and streamline the interaction between existing school and college governance bodies and university Faculty governance and to explicitly address the linkage between school and college and university Faculty Bylaws, which in many cases is lacking.


Extensive discussion of the proposal included the dynamics of the Senate approving the motion. There was a friendly amendment made and accepted to ratify the approval of the proposal by email ballot. 


In discussion of the committee membership, it was suggested that an undergraduate student should be included in the committee, as this will eventually affect undergraduate life.   After some discussion, it was suggested to remove the word “graduate” from number 3 of the proposal and it would read “one student.” 


The process for tenure and promotion cases for faculty at CNSE until October 1, 2004 was discussed; it was noted that there is no known case that will be expected for tenure between now and then.


In number 2 of the proposal regarding nominating members, it was suggested that instead of “in consultation with EPC” it should read “in collaboration with EPC” because the Senate will ratify the committee membership.


Chair Pryse noted that in number 8 of the proposal, Research should have been included.


Vote on the motion:  the vote includes that the work on establishing a committee begins and that the charge comes from the Senate.  That the committee is charged with points 2 through 8.   One opposed, three abstained, the motion passed.


LISC – Professor David Wagner, Chair: 


§         LISC has a resolution that went to the CAS council proposing for open source computing as default for all University affairs.  The proposal is currently with the IT Policy Committee and a report is not expected until the fall. 

§         IT Services is setting up two committees, one for IT policy concerns and one to work on wireless communication on campus.  CIO Christine Haile has asked for an LISC member to be appointed to each of these committees.

§         The resolution on affordable electronic access to journals will be presented today; it was tabled the last time it was presented at Senate so it could be forwarded to faculty as a whole.  There were about ten responses from faculty to the resolution.


CAFE - Professor Donna Armstrong, Chair:  CAFE discussed the draft resolution to Affirm and Uphold Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the University at Albany that Professor Snyder brought to it.  CAFE supports it; it will be presented under “New Business.”


CERS – Professor Edelgard Wulfert, Chair:  CERS has met and will continue to meet over summer.


Governance Council – No report.


ULC – Professor Gwendolyn Moore, Chair:  ULC completed work on the resolution for Pedestrian Safety 0304-07R, and Senate Bill No. 0304-28 for Muslim Holidays, that will be introduced under “New Business.”  


Old Business:


Resolution Number 0304-06R Albany Faculty Action Needed to Secure Access to Journals at an Affordable Price for SUNY Faculty and Students, introduced by LISC:   Dean Butler, Libraries, clarified that a vote for this resolution will enable UAlbany to continue to have access to electronic copies for any journals that people request.  She added that since the last Senate meeting she received correspondence from Cary Hatch, SUNY Administration Library Services, who is one of the SUNY representatives negotiating with Elsevier.  He reported that Elsevier rejected SUNY’s request to lower the total price, but is willing to maintain or expand the level of access with more favorable terms.  The resolution passed unanimously.


New Business: 


0304-07R Resolution Concerning Pedestrian Safety, introduced by ULC:  There was discussion on this resolution and friendly amendments were accepted indicating that the reference to on “campus” should real “all three campuses” since it pertains to all three campuses, and that it should be clear in the last paragraph that transportation should be interpreted as “by bicycle, foot or public transportation.”  The resolution with its amendments passed unanimously with no abstentions.


Bill Number 0304-26, Definitions of Undergraduate Credit, introduced by UAC:  Professor Savitt introduced the bill.  The bill passed unanimously with no abstentions.


Bill Number 0304-24, Campus Distribution Policy for Newspapers and Other News Periodicals, introduced by CAFE:  Professor Armstrong introduced the bill.  The bill passed unanimously with no abstentions.


Bill Number 0304-25, Campus Policy on Freedom of Expression, introduced by CAFE:   Professor Armstrong introduced the bill and mentioned highlights of the bill, such as calling for an office to deal with constitutional rights on campus to be designated by the President, and allowing for a limited forum.  A limited forum would “…support spontaneous expressions and free speech of members of the University community.”  The bill further states that “Such expressions may be permitted by the University, without prior reservation, only in such area or areas as may be designated by the University and subject to regulations governing such activities...”  After a lengthy discussion about spontaneous expressions occurring during class sessions and the conflicts that may arise from such spontaneous expressions, the bill passed 18 to two, with seven abstentions.


Bill Number 0304-27, Proposal to Establish a Master of Science (M.S.) Program in Applied Chemistry, introduced by GAC:   Professor Charalambous introduced the bill and it passed unanimously.


Bill Number 0304-28, Suspension of Classes in Recognition of and Respect for Muslim Religious Holidays, introduced by ULC:  Professor Moore introduced the bill.  Members of the Muslim Student Organization were present and spoke on behalf of the bill.


Discussion of the bill included the very substantial costs to the University for the procedure of suspending classes, the effect it has on scheduling, and that approval of this bill might lead to students in other religions requesting time off for now unrecognized holy days.


Professor MacDonald proposed an amendment that the Senate agrees to reconsider Muslim Holy Days along with a variety of other religious holidays.  There was a motion made to refer it back to council for comprehensive discussion.  There was further discussion on the bill and another motion was made to accept the suspension of classes in recognition of Muslim Holidays for the 2004-05 Academic Year (November 14, 2004 and January 21, 2005) while the resolution is returned for comprehensive discussion.  Fifteen were in favor, eight opposed and three abstained.  The motion passed; the bill will be enforced for one year and sent back to council for consideration thereafter.  Chair Pryse charged Council Chair Professor Moore to convey it back to next year’s council chair for discussion.


Bill Number 0304-29, Dissolution of the Department of Classics, introduced by EPC:  Professor Wulfert introduced the bill and it passed with two abstentions.


0304-08R Resolution on the Patriot Act, introduced by Professor Snyder:  Professor Snyder indicated that CAFE reviewed the resolution and recommends it as a way to protect the University.  The resolution was adapted from the New York City resolution.  All were in favor of passing the resolution with one abstention.




The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jayne VanDenburgh, Recorder