22, No. 16, March 20, 2003
passed by the Urbana-Champaign Senate March 17 aim to enhance benefits
for university employees.
Senators unanimously supported a resolution urging university administration
to work collaboratively with faculty on developing benefits "that
fall within the top third of those offered by peer institutions."
The resolution said that benefits are equally as important as salaries
and should increase proportionally; however, administration has focused
primarily on salary issues, and the university is now "near the
bottom of benefits in comparison to peer institutions."
A second resolution passed by the Senate urged administration to provide
employees with full insurance coverage for contraceptives. According
to the resolution, the university’s health plans violate the Pregnancy
Discrimination Act (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) because they
exclude contraceptive coverage. The Senate resolution urges Central
Management Services to negotiate coverage with its insurance carriers.
Barclay Jones, chair of the Senate Committee on the Budget, presented
a statement concerning the university’s FY04 and FY05 budgets
and long-term revenue enhancements. The statement lauded the chancellor
and the provost for involving all constituencies in the budgeting and
administrative restructuring process but emphasized the importance of
faculty involvement and long-range planning.
"The current crisis and a theme of shared sacrifice would benefit
from faculty buy-in," the statement said. "This would include
improved communication and more faculty involvement in deliberative
task forces. In this way we could create an optimum system configuration
and structure for long-term stability and strength of the campus and
"Some of you will be involved in the committees," Jones said.
"I encourage you to give this your highest priority, and we’ll
hope to be able to address in the short term the things that have to
be done. But clearly we are very concerned that the actions we take
today will potentially impact us dramatically in the future. We need
to keep that focus in mind."
Provost Richard Herman, who chaired the meeting in Chancellor Nancy
Cantor’s absence, said, "We are moving on a very fast track
to try and achieve these economies in a consensual way with considerable
involvement from all segments of the community. These are not easy times.
But one thing I can promise you is it is possible to come out of this
better, and we will work to ensure the very values that brought us to
this day and ensure the academic mission of this institution and all
that makes it excellent."
In other business:
- Senators discussed
committee reports about revisions to a proposed policy on severe sanctions
other than dismissal for cause and on proposed alternatives to dissection
in undergraduate courses.
Janice Juraska, professor of psychology, suggested providing more
detail in the Timetable so students would understand the definition
of dissection as it pertains to particular courses. "Dissection
sometimes implies things that are a lot worse than what they are,"
Juraska said, adding that some students might be averse to certain
courses if the actual dissection requirements in those courses are
not defined. Thomas Anastasio, professor of molecular and integrative
physiology, said that the draft policy might be misinterpreted as
indicating that alternatives to dissection would be available in all
curricula and suggested revisions indicating curricula in which dissection
experience is an integral component, such as medicine and veterinary
science. The chairs said their committees would consider senators’
input and would present the revised, final proposals at the April
- Bruce Wicks,
chair of the Senate Committee on the Library, presented recommendations
concerning scholarly communications and electronic publishing, which
included provisions encouraging faculty to "pressure" publishers
to contain the costs of scholarly journals. The report indicated that
certain publishers are inflating journal prices, particularly in the
fields of science and engineering, beyond affordability for the library.
Nick Burbules, professor of education, objected to the wording of
the recommendations stating, "Saying ‘bringing pressure
to bear’ sounds like to me we are going to boycott or threaten
to cancel subscriptions." The amended recommendations passed
by the Senate stated that faculty and the library would "communicate
concerns" to publishers and that the Senate would encourage faculty
to "facilitate such communication."
U-C Senate passes two resolutions
to enhance employee benefits
Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
(217) 244-1072; email@example.com