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November 4, 2002

Senate briefed on Faculty-Staff Assistance Program

By Michael Terrazas

President William Branch opened the Oct. 29 University Senate meeting in Woodruff Library’s Jones Room by speaking about his plans for the year. He proposed that the University could be moving toward a “stakeholder” model in which decisions are made through a consensus of Emory’s constituents.

President-elect John Snarey announced that the 2003 Distinguished Faculty Lecture will be given by public health’s Claire Sterk on March 27, 2003. He added that nominations are being solicited for the 2003–04 lecturer.

Michelle Smith, director of corporate relations, addressed the Senate about the 2003 EmoryGives campaign. This year’s focus is on partnerships, Smith said, adding that Emory has partnered with the American Heart Association and Parisian department stores (see story).

In his remarks, interim Provost Woody Hunter said the working group charged with managing Emory’s cost containment project has submitted its raw data to Ways and Means and is refining its information into a report (see story). In other matters, Hunter reported on the activity of the Emory College dean search committee (see story), and he said the search for a new vice provost for international affairs is nearing completion.

Paula Gomes addressed the Senate on the charge and focus of the newly renamed Faculty-Staff Assistance Program (FSAP), which she directs. One of her goals is to increase faculty use of the program, she said, and she hoped Senate members would inform their constituents of the program’s three areas of expertise: behavioral health, organizational dynamics and health, and health promotion and wellness.

Gomes said FSAP’s services are available both to employees and immediate family members, and she said a newly formed advisory committee of 20 faculty and staff are helping the program expand its visibility and activity across campus.

In his remarks, President Bill Chace repeated the wish he expressed at the previous week’s Faculty Council meeting: for University faculty to take the initiative in channeling the strong emotions of students regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the possible U.S. invasion of Iraq. Other campuses have watched as relatively minor situations turned into “conflagrations,” Chace said, and the best way for Emory to avoid this is by bringing the issues out into the open for explication and dialogue. The University has a head start, he said, as several panel discussions and guest speakers have been brought to campus in the past year, and he hoped the intellectual activity would continue and even increase.

Employee Council President Cheryl Bowie briefed the Senate on the group’s 11th town hall meeting with Chace, which was held Sept. 25. Questions at the meeting centered around the University’s pre-employment drug screening policy, the question of whether Emory pays a “living wage” to its lowest-earning employees, the fringe benefits discussion of last spring and the development of emergency evacuation plans for the campus.

In new business, Mark McLeod of the Counseling Center asked Senate members for suggestions on how to get the best and widest faculty sample for a survey on perceptions of student mental health issues.

Mike Rogers from Oxford raised a question about UnumProvident, which is the provider for Emory’s new long-term care policy. Sidney Stein, chair of the fringe benefits committee, said recent negative media reports about the company’s handling of claims should not apply to Emory clients. Stein also added that, while the company is legally prohibited by Georgia law to extend long-term care benefits to same-sex domestic partners, those individuals can apply directly to UnumProvident (rather than go through their partners) for coverage at a rate comparable to Emory’s group rate.

Finally, Tim Bryson announced that a new group is seeking to raise awareness of the many streams that flow through the Emory campus by leading a campaign to officially name the streams. More information about this project will be published in an upcoming Emory Report.

The next University Senate meeting will be held Nov. 26 at 3:15 p.m. in the Jones Room.

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