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April 29, 2002

Senate holds last meeting of 2001-02

By Michael Terrazas


Bridget Riordan opened the year’s final University Senate meeting, held April 23 in the Woodruff Library’s Jones Room, with a presentation on student alcohol use and conduct violations.

Riordan cited a study by a Harvard researcher claiming that 43 percent of college students are “binge drinkers” (defined as consuming five or more drinks at one sitting), and she estimated that, from anecdotal evidence, as much as 80 percent of underage Emory students have fake IDs showing them to be over 21. However, Riordan said, recent changes to Dooley’s Ball and close work with University fraternities have resulted in fewer alcohol-related health and behavior problems at student functions.

Next, the Senate opened the floor for discussion of the recently announced changes to the University benefits plan. On hand were Judith Miller, John Boli and Robert Agnew, representing an ad hoc group of Emory College faculty studying the benefits issue. Miller said the group is working on a series of charts explaining how the benefits changes will affect various constituencies such as retirees.

President Bill Chace asked about the structure of the Senate, specifically about the role of the fringe benefits committee, which in March issued a report on benefits that Chace said figured heavily in the administration’s final decision. Miller and Boli thanked Sid Stein, who chairs the committee, but said the ad hoc group is a more grassroots effort, citing the open letter it circulated around campus earlier this month and presented to the administration with nearly 1,000 signatures in support.

Alice Miller, vice president for Human Resources, said she would work with the ad hoc group to provide whatever data they request. Chace said the University would make available any data regarding budget and finances except for specific information on personal compensation.

Chairs of the Senate’s committees then presented year-ending reports. Highlights included:

Safety and security (Paula Bechtler): Examining pedestrian traffic across Clifton Road, specifically between the nursing and public health schools and the 1525 Building, and between WHSCAB and Children’s Healthcare, and how safety can be improved.

Athletic policy (Ruth Pagel): Lobbying for renovations to the P.E. Center roof, and examining student financial aid issues that have come to light after conversations with Emory varsity athletics coaches.

Campus development (Ray DuVarney): Reviewing design and construction plans for capital projects, including the renovation of Candler Library and the Yerkes parking deck and neuroscience building. DuVarney also announced he is stepping down after seven years as committee chair.

Environmental policy (Don Shure): Enhancing an already strong relationship with planners and project managers in Facilities Management. Shure said the committee “voted its conscience” when it failed to approve the Yerkes parking deck, but he acknowledged the lack of alternatives and conceded the project will move forward.

Fringe benefits (Stein): Aside from studying proposed benefits plan changes, examining issues such as the restructuring of Emory Healthcare, long-term care insurance, legal changes regarding retirement plans and future revisions to EmoryCare and EmoryChoice.

Honorary degrees (Judy Raggi Moore): Researching and presenting honorary degree candidates, as well as improving communication processes. Raggi Moore praised a new student honorary degrees committee created within the Student Government Association.

Library policy (Steve Strange): Participating in design planning for the Candler Library renovation and studying the issue of shelf space in the Woodruff Library stacks. Next spring the library will install moveable shelves floor by floor, which will require the removal of each floor’s holdings to a temporary storage space. Same-day access to relocated materials could be provided, according to Joan Gotwals, vice provost and director of University Libraries.

Traffic and parking (Kim Turner): Studying the option of tying parking rate structures to vehicle size (there is insufficient support to move forward on this, Turner said) and addressing the parking appeals process. Turner also moved the committee’s name be changed to “Parking and Transportation,” and the change was approved by unanimous vote.

Following committee reports, past-president Frank Vandall (sitting in for newly installed President William Branch, who could not attend) installed Susan Lee as Senate secretary.

The University Senate will reconvene in the fall.

If you have a question or concern for University Senate, e-mail William Branch at