University Council Minutes

March 20, 2000

Present: Ben Dixon, Eileen Hitchingham, Jerry Niles (for Janet Johnson), Paul Knox, David Ford (for Peggy Meszaros), Carole Nickerson, Kim O'Rourke, John Eaton (for Len Peters), Jennie Reilly, Minnis Ridenour, Mode Johnson (for Ray Smoot), Rich Sorensen, Charles Steger, Malcolm McPherson (for Bill Stephenson), Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Kay Heidbreder, Mitzi Vernon, Julia Beamish, Irene Leech, Terry Herdman, Sean Blackburn, Jay Sullivan, Richard Bambach, Skip Fuhrman, Paul Metz, Tim Pratt, John Hillison, John Randolph, Rebecca Crittenden, Pat Devens, Suzanne Murrmann, John Seiler, Bernard Feldman, Anita Haney, James Martin, Delbert Jones, Tomoya Ochinero, Shawn Breck, Drew Lichtenberger, Kylie Felps (for Taj Mahon-Haft), Aaron McClung,

Absent: Bob Bates, Erv Blythe, Greg Brown, Landrum Cross, Peter Eyre, Cindy Harrison, Joe Hunnings, Kamal Rojiani, Deborah Mayo, Eliza Tse, Sam Hicks, Pete Martens, Rodney Gaines, Jovette Gadson, Donna Cassell, Ben Poe, Kimberly DeGuise, Mike Whipple, Laurie Steneck, Peter Zippelius

Guests: Ron Daniel, Leon Geyer, Melissa Smarr

  1. Adoption of Agenda

    A motion was made and seconded to adopt the agenda. The motion carried.

  2. Announcement of approval and posting of Council Minutes of February 21, 2000

    Dr. Steger noted that the minutes from the February 21, 2000, 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. Announcement from the President

    Dr. Steger called on Minnis Ridenour to give an update on the 2000 General Assembly Session. Mr. Ridenour shared a summary of the recommendations that came out of the two money committees, were sent to the conference committee and were acted on by the conference committee, which means this should be our actual appropriations unless the Governor vetoes and this is not expected to happen. Mr. Ridenour reviewed with Council members actions on higher education issues and funding which included: Faculty Salary Increases - 4.4% for teaching and research faculty to bring us to the 60th percentile statewide; Classified Salary Increases - 3.25%; Critical Operating Needs - $1.25 million per year to address critical staffing needs, departmental operating budgets, fixed costs, library materials, and ADA issues related to enrollment growth during the 1990's; Program Funding - $500,000 per year for the Alexandria Research Institute, $750,000 per year for Instructional Division, and $500,000 to support the Plan to Serve Virginia Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resources and related activities in the Extension and Research program; Technology Competitiveness Grants Program - $13 million in General Fund with a matching $13 million in nongeneral fund appropriations, all in the second year, to support research activities; Equipment Trust Fund - Virginia Tech will receive $15.9 million, $1.33 million more than the current biennium. The Equipment Trust Fund program will grow from the current $79.7 million to $99.1 million for 2000-02; Student Financial Aid - Virginia Tech will receive $739,000 in additional undergraduate support in 2000-01, out of an allocation of $2.2 million. Student financial aid for Virginia Tech will be $11.1 million for 2000-01; Distance Learning - language is provided to support the expansion of distance learning programs for Virginia Tech, in terms of a more favorable business and operating environment for courses delivered to locations outside Virginia; Statewide Virtual Library - VIVA will receive an additional $1.2 million in 2000-01 and $1.5 million in 2001-02. The VIVA budget is currently $2,735,000 per year; Deferred Compensation - the recently enacted deferred compensation match for 403(b) plans will increase to $20 per pay period, as compared to the current $10, effective July 1; Institutional Performance Agreements - language calling for the development of Institutional Performance Agreements is included in the Act.

    Mr. Ridenour also gave a review of the funding for Capital Outlay Projects that includes funding for maintenance reserve; upper quad phase II; health, safety and accessibility; chemistry/physics phase II; microelectronics laboratories; and, multipurpose livestock arena. The University also received nongeneral fund authorizations to move forward with a number of nongeneral fund projects, including the Alumni Center/Conference Center/Hotel project and some athletics projects.

    The university will also seek funding from the Tobacco Commission allocations in regard to the Bioinformatics Initiative. If approved the University would receive funds for the following: construction of a $21.9 million facility; construction of $1.9 million in greenhouses; establishment of an ongoing Educational and General research program using $9.7 million of tobacco funds; nongeneral fund authorization of $5.8 million to seek funding for and donations of scientific and research equipment for the new facility and its faculty. There will be 114 new research positions when fully staffed.

    Mr. Ridenour responded to a question regarding what is needed for adequate base funding. He responded there are about 2400 students for which we have not received state tax payer monies. If fully funded, this would be about $16 million and would include operating, staff positions, and faculty positions. Virginia Tech would need $15-$20 million to bring us up to the level needed for the average of our benchmarks. Mr. Ridenour is optimistic we will get some funding in the next biennium.

  4. New Business

    First Reading

    Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies Resolution 1999-2000B, Resolution to Revise the Constitution of the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Honor System. Chair Jay Sullivan presented this resolution for first reading. A copy of the Constitution of the Virginia Tech Honor System noting changes and new language was distributed to Council members present. Chair Sullivan commented that the purpose is to streamline the Undergraduate Honor System Constitution. The changes will allow cases to be handled in a more timely manner, reduce the length of time for appeals from one year to thirty days, and make the document more readable.

  5. On-going Business

    Second Reading

    Commission on Outreach Resolution 1999-2000A, Resolution Regarding Change in membership (to include Director of the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement as an ex-officio member). Chair Irene Leech presented this resolution for second reading. The resolution was moved, seconded and approved unanimously.

    Commission on Outreach Resolution 1999-2000B, Resolution Regarding Change in membership (to include Director of the Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning as an ex-officio member). Chair Irene Leech presented this resolution for second reading. The resolution was moved, seconded and approved unanimously.

    Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

  6. Announcements

    Ms. Carole Nickerson, Executive Assistant to the President, was asked to clarify quorum. She noted that our Constitution, Article 12, Section 1, says "The latest edition of Sturgis' Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, subject to special rules as may be adopted by the University Council, shall govern the procedures of the University Council, University Commissions, University Advisory Councils, University Standing Committees, and other committees and boards." Ms. Nickerson then referenced Sturgis that states "Parliamentary law fixes the quorum at the majority of the members unless an organization states something different. This quorum requirement is often too high and most groups have a more realistic provision. The number required for a quorum should be small enough to ensure that one will usually be present but large enough to protect the organization against decisions being made by a small minority of the members. A simple majority is half plus one. If a quorum is present, a majority of those voting, which is often a small proportion of the total membership, has the right to make decisions for the organization. Since this is true, rigid requirements for notifying all members of meetings should be observed." If people cannot attend a meeting, it is important to send a representative with a proxy to protect against the smaller number making policy decisions for the larger group. A question was raised in regard to an organization with an odd number of members. Following discussion Ms. Nickerson offered to investigate further if desired and invited those with additional concerns to contact her by e-mail. In the meantime, she will consult additional parliamentary sources.

  7. Adjournment

    Dr. Steger adjourned the meeting at 3:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole Nickerson
Executive Assistant to the President


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