University Council Minutes

April 20, 1998
3:00 p.m.

Present: Dave Stetler (for Bob Bates), Landrum Cross, Eileen Hitchingham, Mary Ann Lewis (for Janet Johnson), Bob Schubert (for Paul Knox), Peggy Meszaros, Carole Nickerson, Len Peters, Minnis Ridenour, Jean Eversole (for Ray Smoot), Hap Bonham (for Rich Sorensen), Janis Grubb (for Charles Steger), Andy Swiger, Robert Brown, Kelli Campbell (for Raphael Castillejo), Terry Herdman, Ben Poe, Bob Parsons (for Cosby Rogers), Larry Shumsky, Richard Bambach, Norm Marriott, Deborah Mayo, Paul Metz, John Jacobson (for Kevin Pelzer), Eliza Tse, Frank Gwazdauskas, John Randolph, GM Simmons, Jr. (for Bob Benoit), David de Wolf, John Seiler, Rosemary Goss, Bernard Feldman, David Taylor (for Tom Head), Terry Lawrence, Nancy Phillips, Ningling Wang, Joel Donahue, Jody Olson, Beth Reinhard (for Tekisha Everette), Clyde Harris (for Natalie Wilson), Drew Lichtenberger, Moya Toohey

Absent: Erv Blythe, Greg Brown, Peter Eyre, Elyzabeth Holford, Bill Stephenson, Tom Tillar, Paul Torgersen, Sigrid Gustafson, Charles Lytton, Terry Swecker, James Yardley, Kay Burke, Gerri Johns, Curtis Lynch, Peggy Rasnick, Marilyn Norstedt, Rajiv Khosla

Guests: Pat Hyer, David Ford, Wanda Hankins Dean, Karen Torgersen

  1. Adoption of Agenda

    A motion was made and seconded to adopt the agenda as distributed. The motion passed.

  2. Announcement of approval and posting of Council Minutes of April 6, 1998

    Provost Meszaros noted that the minutes of the April 6, 1998, University Council meeting have been voted on and approved electronically. Once voted upon, University Council minutes can be publicly accessed on the Governance Information System on the WEB.

  3. New Business

    First Reading
    Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies
    Resolution 1997-98D - Policy on Independent and Special Study Courses

    Dr. Robert Brown presented the Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, Resolution 1997-98D, Policy on Independent and Special Study Courses for first reading. Dr. Brown reported that the work in regard to liberalizing the use of special studies and independent studies started last year. He reviewed with Council the proposed resolution. A question was raised as to the number of survey results returned regarding this resolution. Response: the specific programs queried were masters programs that required a total of 30 hours, there are about 10 programs, and there was a response from all programs. How many students are affected by this policy? Response: this issue was pursued from the point of view of what was reasonable, and not number of students affected. This resolution will be presented for second reading at the May 4 University Council meeting.

  4. Ongoing Business

    1. Second Reading
      Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies
      Resolution 1997-98C - Expansion of Admissions Criteria for Students from Other than Accredited Schools

      Dr. Bob Parsons, representing Dr. Cosby Rogers as Chair of the Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies, moved the approval of second reading of the Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies Resolution 1997-98C, Expansion of Admissions Criteria for Students from Other than Accredited Schools; it was seconded. A concern was raised in regard to changes discussed at the April 6 University Council meeting that do not appear on the resolution. Carole Nickerson, with support from Wanda Dean and others, explained that first reading material proceeds to second reading intact. If suggestions made at the first reading discussion are to be incorporated, that action takes place in the form of amendments, friendly or otherwise, at second reading. Following discussion, a friendly amendment was offered and seconded to substitute the "documentation requirement" that is currently proposed with the following: application for admission, transcripts, grades, ACT and/or SAT scores, standardized test results, and SAT IIs to include math, writing and a third of their choice. The friendly amendment was accepted by Bob Parsons, representing Cosby Rogers as chair of CUS&P. It was suggested to set a minimal set of requirements, track the students admitted to determine if these requirements are sufficient and make provisions at the end of a year or two if necessary. In response to a question regarding requirements for international students, Karen Torgersen reported that this resolution does not apply to international students, but does apply to students only from other than accredited institutions. It was suggested that this resolution be returned to the Commission for consideration of the suggested amendments. In response, a concern was expressed that there is not enough time for additional review this year and therefore another year will be entered without a way to help these students. Council agreed we should proceed to get something out we can test. The friendly amendment was voted on and passed unanimously. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to accept the resolution with the friendly amendment. Provost Meszaros noted that we have the Admissions Criteria for Students from Other than Accredited Schools with an understanding that it will be tracked over time and if necessary brought back to University Council for further modification.

      Second Reading
      Commission on Student Affairs
      Resolution 1997-98A - Revisions to the University Policies for Student Life Code of Conduct

      Ms. Kelli Campbell, Vice Chair of Commission on Student Affairs, moved the approval of second reading of the Commission on Student Affairs Resolution 1997-98A, Revisions to the University Policies for Student Life Code of Conduct for first reading; it was seconded. Carole Nickerson noted that Jerry Cain, University General Counsel, was present to answer questions about wording that is legal and constitutional. In response to a question regarding changes suggested at April 6 Council meeting, it was noted that first reading is for presentation and discussion and second reading is for amendment and action. Landrum Cross addressed Council with a summary of the proposed resolution. An issue arose fall semester regarding the balance between free speech and hostile speech and what we could do within the judicial system regarding this issue. President Torgersen requested a task force be put together to study our policies and how they could either be inappropriately applied or just not clear. This task force recommended some changes to the University Policies in the undergraduate Hokie Handbook. There were four recommendations, three of which could be handled administratively with editorial rewriting. The only one that involves a change in student life policies is the one presented in this resolution. The purpose is to clarify expectations in terms of abusive and threatening behavior. Wording in the old policy which used "feel uncomfortable" is not enforceable in a harassment situation. This resolution is an attempt to clarify what can be done and to remove inappropriate language that was promising we would do things that constitutionally in terms of free speech we could not do. Suggestions from Council from April 6 meeting have been reviewed by Kay Heidbreder and Jerry Cain. In response to a comment regarding acts against one's self, it was noted that under "Battery: The use of physical force against an individual," the term "individual" can be interpreted to include the "self." It is not considered advisable to have language that deals with emotional difficulties handled in legalistic, judicial processes. The resolution was voted on and passed unanimously.

    2. Council approved a packet of commission minutes comprised of:

      Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies, March 23, 1998, presented by Bob Parsons for Cosby Rogers.

      Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, March 4, 1998, presented by Robert Brown. It was re-emphasized that first names only should not be used in minutes.

      Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, March 18, 1998, presented by Robert Brown.

      Commission on Student Affairs, April 2, 1998, presented by Kelli Campbell for Raphael Castillejo.

  5. Announcements

    Paul Metz shared that the Library has launched this year's Serials Cancellation Project and encouraged individuals to share the notices and offer suggestions in regard to the 1800 titles being reviewed. Some titles will be converted to electronic format.

    Peggy Meszaros commented on the most recent Governor's action which will reduce the merit pool of dollars for faculty salaries. President Torgersen has been speaking with legislators and others regarding this issue. The Presidents will be discussing this issue via phone tomorrow. Every effort is being made to obtain support to bring back the merit pool money that the legislature approved. The Governor's proposal is $27 million for salaries for the state, $4.8 million for Virginia Tech, which will move faculty salaries from 5.8% to 4.1%. In response to a question, Minnis Ridenour commented that he is not aware of any constitutional questions raised. The budget bill has been signed and this is a new piece of legislation as a House/Senate bill the Governor is introducing to the special session for Wednesday that would make an amendment to the existing bill that has been signed.

    Carole Nickerson shared information about the progress of the search for the new Vice President for Multicultural Affairs. Four candidates are scheduled to visit campus between Wednesday, April 22 and Friday, May 8. It is fortunate that we have an exceptionally strong and large pool of applicants. Information is being disseminated via electronic mail concerning the interview schedule. Commission chairs will be meeting with each candidate at special events. Council members were encouraged to participate in one or some of the planned events to meet the candidates. Evaluation forms will be available.

  6. Adjournment at 4:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President


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