Staff Senate
November 21, 1996

Absent: Ronnie Logan, Mike Rhodes, and Vernon Spence

Excused: Charlie Black, Steve Canaday, Pat Green, Hazel Haywood, Russell Hunt, Helen Johnson, and Maurice Williams

  1. The meeting was called to order and roll was called.
  2. The minutes for the October meeting were approved as written.
  3. Committee reports:
  4. Finance Committee:
    There has been no definite word on our budget.
    Election Committee:
    Nothing to report.
    Issues/Review Committee:
    The non-exempt leave issue is still being addressed. The issue of university keys not being returned was raised. There are mechanisms in place to insure that regular employees return keys when they leave the University's employ. It's unclear if they aren't being followed universally, or the problem is more one of getting keys back from student employees, where there is no such mechanism in place.
    Ad-Hoc Bylaws Committee:
    Nothing to report.
    Standing Committee Reports:
    Traffic and Parking (Jim Lippy): Ground breaking on the new parking garage won't start until October 1997 at the earliest. The senate then discussed handicap parking issues and abuses.
  5. Old Business: Charlotte Knowles indicated that policy restricting the salary for current employees being promoted or moving into new positions would be addressed in the Mercer study, and wishes to wait until the study is complete before addressing this issue.
  6. New Business: There was much discussion about the outsourcing of 23 university employees which took place November 1st. The majority of the staff have strong feelings about the manner in which it was handled. The primary areas of concern were:
    1. The whole process was kept secret until it was implemented.
      • IT advisory committees and policy council were not consulted for their input. There was no consensus building or "buy-in" from any affected groups. This seems counter to the goals for those groups.
      • The open and honest atmosphere of trust which the current administration had sought to foster has been tarnished.
    2. There was an apparent lack of consideration for the employees involved.
      • No consideration is evident for employees nearing retirement. There was no provision for SCT to reimburse the University for their salary and benefits while they remained on the payroll as was done with the bookstore outsourcing contract with Barnes & Noble.
      • Employees were totally left out of the process. Contrast this with the bookstore where employees were part of the bid process and were informed seven months prior to the outsourcing.
    It's clear that staff morale University-wide has been hurt, not so much by the outsourcing itself, but by the way it was done. It sets a bad precedent for the future, and the intangible benefit of job security is no longer perceived by many of the staff. The Senate requested President Lippy write a letter to University President Rawlins representing our views and feelings on the issue. Because so many wished to provide additional input to this letter, a meeting was scheduled for 10AM Friday, November 22, for any senators interested in discussing it further.
  7. President's Remarks:
    • Mary Ann Camp has organized a committee to oversee what charitable organizations may solicit funds on campus, and requests three staff members for it.
    • Karen Thurmond and Paul Stanford have turned in their Senate resignations. Paul is one of those outsourced, and was welcomed to attend future meetings.
    • Administrative Retreat Highlights
      • The Mercer study is on track, with the exempt positions completed here and back at Mercer for review. The nonexempt positions will be finished in December. There will be an appeals process for those wishing to contest the findings once they're distributed.
      • The university is seeking to increase the Technology Access Fee (TAF) from $15 to $50/semester. The University of Tennessee currently has a $100/semester fee.
      • Presentations on budget, enrollment, and retention were given. If our enrollment remains low next year, our budget will probably be cut the year after that by the state.
      • All full-time employees are required to view a video on Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity and sign that they have done so by the end of January.
  8. The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is scheduled for December 19, 1996.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Harry Flowers
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