Feb. 8, 1999
Volume 51, No. 19
Issues in progress:
After convening the meeting Jan. 26 in the Carlos Museum reception hall, Senate President Virgil Brown introduced Provost Rebecca Chopp. Chopp explained the two committees recently formed to guide the development of Emory West, and she announced that Chancellor Billy Frye will chair a committee to plan Emory's "academic millenium celebration," a symposium on reconciliation scheduled for the spring of 2000.
President Bill Chace reported that the Emory Charter Day celebration Jan. 25 went extremely well, and he thanked the Senate members involved in organizing the event. Remarking that the flag on the Quad just outside the meeting room was still flying at half-mast, Chace said the recent death of General Counsel Joe Crooks will result in a reevaluation of the University's legal representation. Chace said he will commission a group to assess the legal office and determine what form the office should take, how large it should be, and which matters the University should handle in-house and which should be outsourced.
Jack Gilbert briefed the Senate on the CONTACT survey being done on campus to measure campus attitudes and identify Emory traditions. He invited Senate members to answer either e-mailed surveys Chace sent out over the all-campus list-serv or fill out the form posted on the internal home page.
Sid Stein said the fringe benefits committee, after considering an Employee Council resolution recommending the University extend its retirement fund matching contributions policy to employees over the age of 21--the current cutoff age is 26--decided to recommend the resolution be brought before the full Senate. The University's policy, which is in accordance with federal law, has been in existence since 1986. Stein said the committee did a study and determined that lowering the cutoff age to 21 would result in an approximate $435,000 cost to the fringe benefit pool.
Much discussion ensued over this issue. Chopp reminded the Senate that the stock market is not performing as well as it has in the recent past, that the University is in a period of "extremely curtailed growth," and that such an increase to the benefit pool would have to be paid for out of some other area in the budget, including possibly scholarship funds and/or endowment growth.
Alice Miller, vice president for Human Resources, said Emory's policy "could be perceived as discriminatory [toward younger employees], but at the end of the day it's a business decision." Miller added that the turnover rate for employees from 21 to 26 years of age is roughly three times that of employees as a whole. Jeff Rosenweig said it is a contradiction for the University to encourage its employees to prepare financially for the future and then deny certain employees the full means to do so. Finally the Senate decided to temporarily suspend discussion of the issue and take it up again at the next meeting.
John Magnotta of the traffic and parking committee, pursuant to a request from the Senate last semester, distributed copies of updates on the MARTA study of transportation alternatives in the Emory area. "But all this could be moot," Magnotta noted, "now that we have a new governor," referring to Gov. Roy Barnes' making regional transportation issues a priority of his administration.
Finally the ad hoc committee for Emory Village issues recommended the Senate choose a representative to attend meetings Chace holds regularly with Village merchants, neighborhood and student representatives and other parties. The Senate voted to do so, and Brown solicited volunteers.
The next Senate meeting is Feb. 23 at 3:15 at The Carter Center.
President's Commission on the Status of Minorities
Commission chair David Patton called the January meeting of the President's Commission on the Status of Minorities to order with information on the follow-up to last fall's symposium "Honoring Our Vision." On Jan. 27, the commission hosted an interactive conference titled "Why Can't We Talk About Race?" Colleges and universities across the country participated in the event, part of the "Racial Legacies and Learning: An American Dialogue" program sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Emory was chosen as one of the institutions having a live line to the discussion held in Washington, D.C., at which President Bill Clinton addressed the participants. The University will receive videotapes of the conference and discussion to keep the open dialogue going.
Commission members then discussed Emory's admissions policies, noting that local and early admission students previously have not been invited to Emory's visitation week. While those invited come on a "first come, first served" basis, often those not invited are unaware the activities are also open to them. The PCSM decided to invite a representative of the Admission Office to attend a meeting and discuss this policy.
After discussing budget requests and issues, the group addressed the nomination of new members to the commission. February is the month for new appointments and letters of nomination are needed as soon as possible. Nominations should be sent to David Patton, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Law School, G317 Gambrell Hall or <dpatton@law. emory.edu>.
The next PCSM meeting is scheduled for Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. in 400 Administration Building.