To begin the March 26 University Senate meeting, held in the Woodruff
Librarys Jones Room, President Bill Chace reminded members
of the upcoming Sam Nunn Policy Forum, to be held on campus April
57. Titled Commercialization of the Academy, the
forum will feature its namesake, former Georgia senator Sam Nunn,
along with former Harvard president Derek Bok, University of Georgia
Provost Karen Holbrook and other notable guests.
Nearly all of the rest of the meeting was devoted to a discussion
of the proposed changes to the Universitys employee benefits
package. First, George Benston, Harland Professor of Finance, Accounting
and Economics, presented a study hed done on endowment spending
using financial figures supplied to him by the Office of Finance
and the Treasurer. Using several percentage rates for endowment
spending from 4 percent to 6.5 percent, Benston said his analysis
shows an unspent balance on endowment spending from
19922001, the amount of which varied according to the different
rates of spending.
Interim Provost Woody Hunter said Benstons analysis did not
begin with the correct baseline of endowment capital, which Hunter
said accounted for the apparent unspent balance. Senate members
expressed a desire for Benston to repeat the analysis using accurate
figures supplied by the administration.
Next up, Sid Stein, chair of the Senates fringe benefits
committee, presented the committees analysis of the proposed
changes. Stein reiterated that his group felt its duty was not to
determine whether changes to benefits were warranted, but rather
to evaluate the proposed changes and suggest alternatives, where
appropriate. Briefly, the committees conclusions were:
supporting the imposition of a five-year cliff vesting period
on University matching contributions to retirement plans, but opposing
the proposal to cut the Universitys maximum contribution from
10 percent to 8 percent.
opposing both the current methodology to compute retiree
health insurance premiums and the proposed changes to University
contributions to retiree health benefits. Instead, the committee
proposed (a) reincluding retirees age 5564 in the expense
pool to determine health premiums for all employees; (b) changing
aggregate age plus years of service to determine eligibility for
retirement health benefits from 70 to 75; (c) informing individuals
who begin employment at Emory on or after Jan. 1, 2003, that the
University will not contribute to their retiree health benefits.
supporting the imposition of a graded Courtesy Scholarship
based on years of service, elimination of the double-tuition benefit
for hospital employees and instituting a flat 80 percent Courtesy
Scholarship for employees taking coursework themselves.
Further, Steins report suggested the University separate
itself from Emory Healthcare, freeing each entity to define its
own fringe benefit rates. It also suggested the University reduce
or eliminate its voluntary contributions to the VEBA (voluntary
employees benefits association) trust, which is set aside
to fund future liability for retiree health benefits.
After much discussion and two failed motions, the Senate moved
to transmit the fringe benefits committees report to the University
administration for consideration.
Bill McBride, former president of Employee Council, also moved
for the Senate to endorse a resolution passed last week by the faculty
of Emory College. The resolution calls upon the University to increase
funding through available resources to deal with current economic
shortfalls, rather than reduce employee benefits. The resolution
also calls upon Emory to launch an unprecedented capital campaign,
both to replenish any resources spent in the short term and also
to enhance the Universitys endowment in the long term. McBrides
motion passed by a vote of 95 with 10 abstentions.
In other business, the Senate approved five nominees from the honorary
degrees committee to receive honorary degrees at Commencement 2003;
the approved nominees now will be presented to the Board of Trustees,
which gives final approval. The Senate also elected theologys
John Snarey as president-elect and the colleges Susan Lee
as secretary for the 200203 academic year.
If you have a question or concern for University Senate, e-mail
President Frank Vandall at email@example.com.