Emory Report
November 29, 2004
Volume 57, Number 13


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November 29, 2004
Faculty Council hears early FY06 budget plans

BY Michael Terrazas

Chair-elect Mike Rogers opened the Nov. 16 Faculty Council meeting, held in 400 Administration, by making a second call for nominations for the 2006 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. Rogers said he had received nine nominations, mostly from Emory College and the School of Medicine, and ideally he would prefer more variety in the individuals nominated. Deadline for nominations is Dec. 1, and anyone may make a nomination (send to rogers@learnlink.emory.edu).

Senior Vice Provost Charlotte Johnson gave the council a preliminary snapshot of the fiscal 2006 budget. As the University’s financial planners are still in the early stages of the budget process, Johnson’s presentation focused on financial assumptions and priorities, accompanied by a set of numbers that she said are almost certain to change as the process moves forward. Right now, budget planners are projecting a 5 percent decrease in endowment income for FY06; this number would be greater, Johnson said, if not for an adjustment in Emory’s capital matching program. The University reduced the capital match from 0.5 to 0.375 percent, meaning 4.375 percent (out of a 4.75 percent spending rate) will go toward the operating budget.

Holding to Emory’s determination for a more rigorous pay-for-performance program, the FY06 budget will include a 3 percent salary program, Johnson said. She added that a comprehensive budget review revealed the need to adjust Emory’s internal allocation methodology; the hospitals have been paying more than their share of administrative costs. The allocation formula will be simplified and shifted to place more of the burden on schools, but Johnson said the University will find resources to “keep the schools’ academic budgets whole” while making this shift.

Rich Metters, who leads a council group that reviewed the early budget model before the meeting, said two main concerns are evident: health care costs continue to increase sharply, and the endowment’s concentration in Coca-Cola stock keeps it tied to the stock’s recent troubles.

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to a wide-ranging discussion of distinct but related issues: the revision of Emory’s discriminatory harassment (DH) policy and a perceived need for uniform faculty grievance procedures. Political science’s Rick Doner, who could not attend the meeting, submitted a detailed commentary on the DH revision, and council coordinator Stacia Brown compiled a summary of ombudsman resources available at Emory’s peer institutions.

In summary, Doner’s analysis proposed a department-based alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism that would basically serve as an intermediate step for complaints before being brought to more formal bodies such as the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs. The ADR process would offer a mediation option between disputing parties and would be conducted by faculty who would need to be kept current in dispute-resolution training.

The ombudsman review showed that several peer institutions have such offices to serve as safe resources for individuals (faculty, staff and students) who have grievances. Harvard, Princeton, MIT, CalTech, Stanford, Penn, Columbia and Cornell all have such offices serving the entire institution. Other universities have offices serving individual schools and/or constituencies.

The council’s discussion of these issues covered a range of topics, from Emory’s legal obligations in harassment-related situations, to the climates and resources in individual schools, to members’ experiences at other institutions, to the continuing tension between a functioning DH policy and the University’s commitment to academic freedom.

President Jim Wagner said, during his time at Johns Hopkins, the university opened an ombudsman office, but the initiative was not successful. However, at Case Western Reserve, the university adopted a grievance-resolution process that was woven into governance mechanisms of the university, not unlike the system of precedents in the U.S. legal system.

College Dean Bobby Paul, who is co-chairing the DH revision committee, said it’s helpful to approach the issue with an end result in mind, rather than being focused on negative behavior that must be “regulated.” “First,” Paul said, “you have to understand the positive goal you’re trying to achieve.”

The next Faculty Council meeting will be held Jan. 18 at 3:15 p.m. in 400 Administration.

If you have a question or concern for Faculty Council, e-mail Chair Susan Strocchia at susan.strocchia@emory.edu.