Trustees Appoint New Counsel for Legal Affairs

George H. Buchanan, an attorney with extensive public sector experience who is currently president of a multimillion dollar corporate foundation, has been appointed University Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs by the SUNY Board of Trustees

"George Buchanan's broad and substantial experience in both the corporate world and the public sector will be very helpful to the State University in this important position, advising the Trustees and university administrators on matters of law," said Trustees Chairman Thomas F. Egan.

President of the multimillion dollar Union Carbide Foundation and manager of corporate/public affairs since 1994, Buchanan was a national spokesperson for Union Carbide on education issues, including company involvement with local education reform.

Prior to his employment in the corporate world, Buchanan served the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission from 1978 to 1985 as Administrative Law Judge and Assistant Counsel.

Interim President for Potsdam

John W. Kalas, who has a distinguished 23-year record as an administrator of academic and economic development programs for SUNY, has been appointed interim president of the College at Potsdam by the Board of Trustees.

Former Interim Potsdam President Jean A. Scott has resigned from that position to resume her responsibilities as vice president for enrollment and student services, and to be considered as a candidate for the permanent position.

Kalas is currently associate provost for engineering and technical programs at SUNY System Administration in Albany.

New First-Time Enrollment Record

The number of full-time entering freshmen at SUNY campuses surged nearly 6 percent over the previous year's freshmen class, according to data presented to the Board of Trustees at the Board's regular monthly meeting on Oct. 28 in Albany.

"This fall's entering freshmen class of 57,882 full-time students represents the largest growth in nearly 10 years (5.9 percent), and the third largest annual growth in more than 25 years," said Vice Chancellor for University Relations Scott W. Steffey, in reviewing the preliminary data with the Trustees.

These preliminary figures show that the State-operated campuses improved to 26,719 full-time freshmen. The community colleges did even better, with a full-time freshmen class of 31,135.

"Arguably, this is the strongest single-year increase in our history. The only other two years that recorded this level of increase had substantially larger graduating high school classes. In those years we had much lower yield rates," Steffey told the Trustees. "Most of the credit goes to the campuses, who are getting more targeted in their recruitment efforts. We are continuing to expand our marketing and enrollment objectives and initiatives"

Plans call for greater use of existing programs, as well as:

Proposed Chancellor Raise

The Board of Trustees adopted an amendment to the University Salary Plan providing for a new annual salary of $250,000 for the Chancellor of the State University and establishing a salary range for this position of $220,000 to $290,000. The amendment will be filed with the Senate Finance Committee, Assembly Ways and Means Committee and the Governor's Director of the Budget for a 60-day comment period.

"If we want top people, we must pay them appropriately," said trustee Paul Perez, chair of the Finance Committee. "Otherwise, we will lose those we have, and we will not be able to attract others. John Ryan is clearly the best, and his salary needs to reflect his talent and responsibility."

Mission Review

Now underway in the Office of the Provost is the Mission Review, which has its origins in the Board of Trustees 1995 plan Rethinking SUNY and the July report of the Task Force on Mission Review, A Template for Rethinking the State University of New York.

The work of the Task Force focused on the overall vision for the State University and the distinctive missions of the different sectors of the University. The Provost's initiative involves a campus-by-campus review and discussion of each institution's mission within the context of the University's overall mission.

According to Provost Peter D. Salins, the purpose of mission review is, first, "to encourage campus responsibility for higher levels of performance, distinctiveness, efficiency, effectiveness, and System-wide collaboration." Second, mission review will be a "cooperative and consensus-building process between System and campus staff" resulting in an understanding of the mission of each institution, "carried out with sensitivity to the needs and requirements of our institutions."

The Status of RAM

The RAM - Revenue Allocation Methodology - Committee has completed its preliminary report and last week submitted it to Brian T. Stenson, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business. Work is continuing on a comparison of State University costs to peer institutions, the appropriateness of recognizing geographical cost differences and adequate funding levels for research activity.

The report will be shared with the University community in the near future. It calls for campus retention of tuition and other revenue, a simplified, enrollment-based allocation model that recognizes different funding requirements for levels of instruction and groups of disciplines, performance-based resources and clean linkages of resources to campus missions.

New Paltz Furor

SUNY Trustee Candace de Russy on Nov. 6 called for the president of SUNY at New Paltz to step down after his campus sponsored a conference, "Revolting Behavior: The Challenges of Women's Sexual Freedom" on Oct. 31 - Nov.1.

The conference included workshops on female masturbation and sadomachicism, among other topics, and was called a "travesty of academic standards and processes," by de Russy. She called for the resignation of New Paltz President Roger Bowen, who gave the opening welcoming remarks at the conference.

On Wednesday, Gov. George Pataki told SUNY administrators to review the conference content and issue a report. He indicated that he believed the conference was largely a misues of taxpayers' dollars.

SUNY Chancellor John W. Ryan issued a prepared statement on Nov. 6, saying, "Academic freedom - the right to intellectually explore any subject in the pursuit of knowledge - is our most cherished value. With it comes great responsibility.

"It is our obligation to ensure the taxpayers of the State of New York and members of our University community that there will be no violation of their right to freedom of expression. We will respond to the request of the Governor, and determine the facts of the recent activities at New Paltz. We will do this in consultation with President Bowen of New Paltz, the chair of the college council, and others. After this review, we will have a further report and I will expect to have the initial findings within one week."