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University Assembly Meeting, November 17, 2010

University Assembly Meeting
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
4:30 6:00 p.m.
316 Day Hall

I. Call to Order

C. Walcott called the meeting to order at 4:35 p.m.

Roll was taken via sign-in sheet.
Voting Members Present: R. Ataya, A. Brokman, W. Candell, C. Cunha, J. Feldman, E. Cortens, E. Strong, M. Walsh, J. Blair, N. LaCelle, L. Lawrence, W. Ghiorse, E. Loew, C. Walcott, R. Wayne
Voting Members Absent: G. Yorgakaros, K. Baier, M. Hatch, H. Howland
Non-voting Members Absent: B. McKinney, A. Craig, N. Evensen
Also In Attendance: A. Epstein, A. O’Donnell, Y. Zhang

II. Approval of the Minutes from October 27, 2010

E. Cortens suggested changing “sponsors found the amendment friendly” to “sponsors were in agreement.” Also, he corrected a comment to say the committee structure was similar to that of the US Senate, not the Faculty Senate.

J. Blair wanted the minutes to fully reflect what he said about Bright Horizon not falling below an acceptable threshold. (The suggested changes have since been incorporated into the 10/27 minutes.)

W. Ghiorse moved the minutes. E. Loew seconded. The minutes were approved.

III. Sustainability Resolution by M. Walsh

M. Walsh said he was hoping this would be completed by March. He wanted the UA and the Sustainability Committee to be a stakeholder in this imagery process. The current effort is to achieve similar branding.

R. Wayne asked about the committees’ involvement in this. M. Walsh said this has been discussed with many committees.

E. Strong said this going to happen regardless of what the UA does, but the UA should be onboard.

J. Blair said the branding is regulated and we should add a clause about its use.

L. Lawrence asked if this would apply to the Medical College in Qatar. M. Walsh said if Qatar wanted to use it, they could. L. Lawrence said he didn’t think Qatar had any sustainability programs. M. Walsh said he will contact the relevant people and find out.

By a vote of 13–0−1, the resolution was passed.

IV. Bailey Conservatory Resolution by R. Wayne

R. Wayne gave some information about the conservatory and its possible demolition. E. Cortens asked why the demolition was going to happen so quickly and why no one had heard about it before now. R. Wayne said he thought some decisions had been made behind closed doors. C. Cunha suggested there be a “whereas” clause to include a reference to the conservatory’s functions as a research tool. W. Ghiorse agreed and noted it was a beautiful and special location.

There was some discussion about the budget to restore/rehabilitate the conservatory, which is also used as a teaching tool.

V. Charter: Resolution moving Oct. 27th draft

a. Authority in “Academic Matters” — R. Wayne

E. Strong said we cannot vote on this resolution at this meeting but could at least start the discussion. He moved the resolution. C. Walcott seconded.

R. Wayne said it is important to include “academic matters” in the charter, otherwise we could not even discuss the Bailey Conservatory issue. E. Loew said listing it in the charter does not change the fact we have no authority over academic matters, which is the responsibility of the Faculty Senate. E. Cortens noted the charter said “including but not limited to.” We can still comment on academics-related things. C. Walcott said he thought putting something we have no authority over in our charter would weaken the whole document.

J. Blair said for the biology curriculum issue earlier in the semester, we were not objecting to the curriculum issue itself, but how the curriculum decision was arrived at, i.e. whether or not it was through the proper channels.

J. Feldman agreed with E. Loew but said he doesn’t see any drawbacks to having it written in the charter.

J. Blair and E. Cortens agreed that whether or not “academic matters” is written in the charter does not make a difference over whether or not UA has authority over it.

L. Lawrence said we can write it in and if it’s not supposed to be there, legal counsel can take it out later.

There was a vote on whether or not academic matter should be included in the charter. By a vote of 3–8−3, it was decided that “academic matters” would not be included in the charter.

E. Cortens clarified even though he voted against putting it in the charter, he is still very much in favor of bringing forward academic-related issues.

E. Strong described the charter draft process. Currently, the draft has a membership breakdown of 4–4−4–2 plus the 4 chairs from the constituent assemblies.

There was some discussion about the member removal policy. There currently isn’t any policy in the draft regarding member absences, but members may be removed by a 2/3 majority vote. C. Cunha specified that the executive committee would have a member from each constituency. R. Ataya asked if the vote for removal can be brought up at the same meeting, the answer was yes.

A. Epstein said Tommy Bruce suggested that for policy proposal, there should be a public notice at least a week in advance and the hearing should be made public. J. Blair expressed concern about the language regarding “public record.” E. Cortens said the way we handled the childcare issue earlier this fall was a model for how things can be.

There was some discussion on the pros and cons of public hearings and if any binding language should be put in the charter or the by-laws. C. Walcott said this may be more appropriate in the by-laws. J. Blair agreed.

There was a straw vote for the charter draft. There was no significant objection to the draft as it stands now.

VI. By-laws: Committee Structure and Membership

E. Strong explained the two models for committee structure: more committees with narrower scopes or fewer committees with broader scopes. The committees can have their own ad-hoc committees. Campus Safety Committee and Codes and Judicial Committee will remain the same.

M. Walsh asked who on the UA was not serving as a liaison to any committee; many members indicated they were not. He said reducing the number of committees would make it easier for people with multiple commitments already. We can get about 3 members on each mega committee and staff the rest of the committee with elected members of the constituent assemblies. C. Walcott said this seems to argue for fewer committees since we don’t have enough members for that many committees. He then said they hope to have a draft of the by-laws by the next meeting.

R. Wayne said the childcare committee works great and shouldn’t be dissolved. He said he felt childcare was too big an issue for an ad-hoc committee to handle. E. Cortens said one specific committee may work great, but is the model more effective as a whole than the fewer-committees model?

C. Cunha said she is in favor of the more-committees model because people are not going to join a broad-scope committee just for the specific cause they are interested in.

C. Walcott asked for a straw vote. There were 5 people in favor of fewer, bigger committees and 7 people in favor of more, smaller committees.

E. Cortens said we need effective committees with lots of communication. The way to get that is fewer committees with more back-and-forth.

N. LaCelle said for the broader committees, special expert witnesses can be invited to provide specific information about specific issues.

E. Cortens mentioned there are changes with the Cornell Council of the Arts. He will send an email about it later.

VII. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 6:02 p.m.

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