To open the Feb. 18 Faculty Council meeting, interim
Provost Woody Hunter updated the council on deliberations in preparing
the Educational and General budget for fiscal year 2004.
The Board of Trustees isn’t due to vote on the budget until
March—the University’s budget cycle was pushed back
a month this year to bring it more in line with that of Emory Healthcare—but
Hunter described the various cost drivers figuring into this year’s
Drawing the most discussion was Emory’s effort to provide
a “living wage” to its lowest paid employees.
In October 2000, Hunter said, Emory committed to using the federal
government’s poverty guideline in determining its minimum
pay rate, increasing the wage every year, from $6.20/hour in 1999
to $8.50 in 2003. However a local organization called the Atlanta
Living Wage Coalition has determined that the current living wage
in this city is $10.50, calculated as 130 percent of the federal
poverty level for a family of three.
Hunter speculated that fewer than 200 University employees are paid
at the lowest rate, so raising that rate in and of itself would
not be a major expense. The problem comes with the “compression”
effect such a move would have on salaries farther up the scale,
as questions of seniority and authority come into play. Once higher-grade
salaries start getting adjusted for the increases made to lower
rates, the costs begin to mount.
President Bill Chace asked for the council’s input into this
matter, given the University’s current financial constraints.
Council members’ opinions ranged from freezing the salaries
of full professors to doing nothing and letting the labor market
run its course.
Next on the agenda was an announcement from council chair William
Branch, who proposed establishing an ad hoc committee, the Committee
on the Future of the University, charged with working with the administration
and the Board of Trustees in setting Emory’s institutional
priorities. Saying such a body would have been of great benefit
to him when he arrived in 1994, Chace said the move would be a “gift”
to Emory’s next president. A motion to create the committee
passed unanimously, and Branch said he will begin determining how
to appoint its members.
Branch also announced that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will
speak at an open faculty forum on March 20 from 2:45–3:45
p.m. in Cannon Chapel. Carter had agreed to visit with the council,
and Branch said Carter’s staff felt an open meeting would
be most appropriate given current geopolitical events.
Such events led directly to the next agenda item, which was a report
from Jim Grimsley and Bruce Knauft on their efforts to involve faculty
in facilitating open and civil discussion of current events among
the student body and, indeed, the entire Emory community. As the
United States moves closer to war with Iraq, Grimsley and Knauft—in
close coordination with student groups and Campus Life—are
planning a “Classroom on the Quad” event, to be held
the day after any hostilities begin.
The idea is to set up loudspeakers on the Quad and encourage students,
faculty and staff to come together for a few hours to talk about
the war; faculty particularly with classes in session at the time
of the event will be asked to bring their students to the Quad.
Shunning the term “teach-in,” which recently was used
to describe more partisan events on other campuses, the event’s
planning team is making a concerted effort to involve people on
all sides of the issue, Grimsley said; a strict “no banners”
policy will be enforced, and organizers will advise speakers to
maintain a level of decorum in their addresses.
After a discussion about whether and how much to regulate free speech
at such an event, and to what degree the University should encourage
faculty to use class time to attend, the council unanimously passed
a resolution that said, in part, “While classes would not
officially be suspended, the council strongly encourages all students,
faculty and staff to attend.”
Chair-elect John Snarey announced that Claire Sterk, Charles Howard
Candler Professor of Behavioral Science and Health Education, will
deliver this year’s Distinguished Faculty lecture, March 20
at 4 p.m. in Winship Ballroom.
To close the meeting, Sharon Strocchia reported that the ad hoc
committee on communication has added a “governance”
link on the internal home page that gathers information on Emory’s
various governance groups. Strocchia also said that an online discussion
area for faculty is in the works; the effort is “piggybacking”
on a similar project being undertaken by the presidential search
The next Faculty Council meeting will be held Tuesday, March 18,
at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration.
have a question or concern for Faculty Council, contact chair William
Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org.