March 11, 2003 –Faculty Senate minutes



Senate Members Present:  Anderson, Andrews (for Bliss), Brownbridge, Cardinal (for Muscato) Caster, Coker (for Grim), Ferraris, Fung, Haberman, Holmquist, Hoobler, Jensen, Kelly, Lincicium, McConnell (via DT), Poston, Rhoads, Shay, Tarter, Trevino, VanSteeter, Winningham, Zygmont, Conn


At 3:36 p.m. the meeting was called to order.


Minutes from last meeting were approved.


The representatives of the Social Science Division made a motion to add the item on the possible war on Iraq and the Senate's reaction to it under New Business. This motion was seconded and passed with 11 votes in favor of it, 8 opposed, and 1 abstaining.


Senate President Caster reported on the meeting of the Commencement Committee from earlier that day. Ideas for a good Commencement speaker are solicited and should be sent to the Chair of the Commencement Committee Solveig Holmquist, especially in view of the limited funds available.


President Conn's report opened with the grim news that the budget shortfall continues to get larger and Western Oregon University will be forced to continue to downsize for the coming biennium in an effort to bridge the 4-5 million dollars per year gap. Already letters for 15-20 staff members have been sent out indicating that their positions are being eliminated. There is also the possibility of some adjunct positions being lost. Six different scenarios were distributed. The major possibilities explored were to make up shortfalls by some combination of tuition increases, elimination of the tuition plateau, and cuts to operating funds. Scenario #5, which is designed to cover a $4 million shortfall with a tuition increase of 20% for residents and 7-14% for nonresidents, along with $1.6 million in budget cuts, while maintaining a tuition plateau, was the one submitted to the Board of Higher Education.


There were discussions about what the other OUS universities have done to compensate for their budget cuts. The approaches appear to vary significantly, but most of them involve significant tuition raises and additional surcharges.


ASWOU president Gregg Magnus was not present.


Solveig Holmquist gave a report on the IFS meeting of Feb 7-8. 2003. She reported on the presentation of Sen. Peter Courtney (D, president of the Oregon Senate), who painted a bleak picture of the financial situation in the coming biennium. She also talked about Rep. Lane Shetterly (R, Dalles)'s presentation, who said that we need to rebuild the entire infrastructure and might consider imposing a sales tax to gain more revenue streams.


The following day, President Conn spoke about WOU and proposed a change to semesters. This was well-received, but it was decided that it is not completely feasible at the moment.


Old Business: After a long and laborious discussion, there was a motion made by Sen. Kelly to send the proposal regarding the reduction of LACC hours in the Bachelor's of Music program back to committee, with the stipulation that the LACC hours requirement be reduced to a minimum of 40 hours (with no more than 43) in the BM program. The committee will decide on the exact composition of those hours. This motion passed with 10 in favor, 9 opposed, and 1 abstention.


New Business: Sen. Shay distributed a letter to the Faculty Senate containing a draft of a potential resolution expressing concern about the possible war with Iraq and a desire to pursue vigorously every alternative to war.  She proposed that the senators take the letter back to their divisions, debate it, and have the divisions formulate positions on how faculty senate should proceed with this issue.


A motion to adjourn was approved around 5:30 p.m.