Luther Coggin, Toni Crawford, O’Neal Douglas, Wilfredo Gonzalez, Steve Halverson, Ann Hicks, Wanyonyi Kendrick, Judith Solano, Bruce Taylor, Carol Thompson, Kevin Twomey, Jerry Watterson
Chair Thompson called the meeting to order and asked for a motion to approve the minutes. The motion was proffered by Trustee Gonzalez and seconded by Trustee Twomey. The minutes were approved unanimously.
Chair Thompson opened the floor for public comment. No comments were submitted.
Chair Thompson spoke of the inauguration ceremony, expressing particular appreciation of Dr. Allaire and his staff for their work on the event. She said public response to the inauguration had been extraordinarily positive, presenting exactly the right amount of pomp and circumstance without excess. She observed that everywhere she went in the community it seemed the inaugural proceedings were a topic of conversation. She said President Delaney’s speech had been a resounding success. Trustee Douglas added that Governor Bush had distributed the speech to other trustees as he was so impressed with the four commitments outlined by President Delaney: a commitment to excellence, a commitment to focus, a commitment to relevance, and a commitment to accountability. Chair Thompson confirmed this, stating that she had met with the Governor during the week, along with the other board chairs, and that the Governor had referenced the President’s speech and the UNF Board of Trustees during that meeting as well, remarking on their successful combination of accountability with flexibility and stating that such a combination was exactly what he’d hoped to see established at Florida’s public universities. Chair Thompson thanked UNF’s faculty, students, and staff for their input, stating how much it had helped the Board to outline and accomplish its goals.
Regarding the meeting with the Governor, Chair Thompson said the meeting gave the Governor an opportunity to speak personally with the chairs, discussing his hopes for the state education system and getting feedback from them as well. The chairs expressed their appreciation for the Governor and his staff for their handling of input from the boards and their positive perspective on the feedback received from the universities. The meeting also gave the chairs an opportunity to speak with each other and compare notes, highlighting the fact that improvements were not only at issue locally but also state wide. Chair Thompson remarked that the BOT planning session had been very helpful in terms of examining areas for improvement and said she hoped to continue the process through the rotating board, planning, and committee meetings currently scheduled.
President Delaney attributed the success of his inaugural address in large part to the trustees, stating that much of the language he had used for the speech was theirs, including the four commitments adopted as a foundation for the strategic plan, which were originally framed by Vice Chair Halverson. He said he had heard good things about the speech and the inauguration and added his own voice to Chair Thompson’s in thanking Dr. Allaire and his staff for a job well done.
President Delaney said it had been agreed that the technological research park for research and development would be sold to the university through the state. The eastern ridge of the property, all land west of the technology park, would be deeded to the university as well. The university would take over maintenance of the technology park land. President Delaney said the more money put into the park the better it would be for UNF.
As Janet Owen was in Tallahassee for the legislative session, President Delaney gave the legislative update. The President said he thought UNF would be in good shape in the Senate, though the House could cut 4 ½ percent from university allocations. He referred to the coming year as a “pinch me” year for PECO dollars, stating that it appeared funding for the social science building would be approved, as would the stadium and miscellaneous dollars for maintenance and the student union. President Delaney informed the group that the recommended tuition increase was 7 ½ percent at the undergraduate level. He said it looked like the legislature would support fully funding Bright Futures. Enrollment growth would be almost $2 million and matching gifts would make a major step forward as well.
In a discussion of the latest legislative proposal affecting tuition, President Delaney indicated that the Governor had spoken of tension between some universities and the Board of Governors and the Board of Education. The President was pleased to note that relations between UNF and those entities, and with the Governor’s office, were very good. He said the Governor hoped to limit subsidization of hours over 10 percent above the 120 required for the first bachelor’s degree. The Governor’s Office requested input on the legislation and UNF’s administration responded by raising some specific concerns regarding particular student populations. President Delaney said that the concerns raised by UNF were taken into account by the Board of Governors and the Governor’s Office and he expected the legislation to positively reflect those suggestions. He noted, however, that he believed the Governor was firm in his intent to limit the number of hours subsidized by state funds. Overall, he said he thought the legislative session could be quite good for UNF this year.
President Delaney said he had met with Steve Williamson, chair of the Faculty Association Strategic Planning Committee, and believed he was interested in the strategic plan. He said he expected heavy faculty involvement.
Chair Thompson observed that the university was well represented by Janet Owen. She said Ms. Owen prepared her well for meetings thus it was very easy for her to understand what was happening and participate more effectively. She said it was clear to her when she attended meetings how well prepared UNF’s staff were by Ms. Owen. President Delaney agreed and said that Ms. Owen had also remarked on how well UNF was represented by Chair Thompson.
Committee Chair Hicks said the inauguration had been a topic of discussion at the last meeting and spoke of the committee’s pride in the inaugural proceedings.
Trustee Hicks said that Communication and Visual Arts was an enormous discipline and it seemed the two should be separated, which would allow Communication to be accredited and Visual Arts to take a position as an individual department. She added that the cost of the separation was minimal, $20,000 at most. She said Provost Kline and Dean Workman were available if there were any further questions and asked if they had anything they would like to add. Provost Kline said she had given the heart of the argument and he had nothing further; Dean Workman agreed. There were no questions. Chair Thompson called for a vote. All trustees voted in favor of the separation.
Committee Chair Hicks said the second issue for discussion was free speech, which had been brought before the Board in previously. She asked Karen Stone to elaborate. Ms. Stone said a variety of models for dealing with demonstrations and free speech were examined. Initially, UNF had designated free speech areas. That policy had met with no resistance in a review committee consisting of faculty, staff, and students. However, there were some public concerns so the committee readdressed the policy. Ms. Stone said she felt the newest policy was much more open, so the reexamination of the policy had been very productive. The latest policy only required an approval process for large gatherings or demonstrations. She said the process would be expedited as much as possible, but arrangements for such things as law enforcement and traffic control had to be considered when planning for larger demonstrations. The University of Florida model was used to develop the policy. Ms. Judy Clausen added that the campus was now considered an open campus but there were some areas where space must be reserved in advance and prior notice was required for large groups. Otherwise no advance notice was necessary.
Trustee Twomey said that he wished to verify that, while freedom of speech was protected, procedures were in place should demonstrations become unruly or unsafe. Ms. Stone indicated such procedures were in place. Trustee Watterson stated that he was very comfortable with the policy and felt the student body in general was pleased as well. He complimented the university administration for their work on the policy. Chair Thompson called the motion to a vote and it was approved unanimously.
Committee Chair Twomey asked Trustee Kendrick to discuss the Finance and Audit Committee report, humorously stating that it was a full and lively meeting though he had been out of the country and unable to attend it. He referred to one of President Delaney’s “top ten” given in his inaugural speech, “Don’t delude yourself into thinking you can solve the campus parking problem,” joking that he had been accused of being out of the country intentionally to avoid the parking item on the committee agenda. He complimented Trustee Kendrick on her handling of the meeting in his absence. He also mentioned that the minutes of the committee meeting reflected some very good discussion of the financial management process. He hoped to hold one or more meetings to prepare the committee for approval of the budget. Dean Serwatka added that the meetings would be noticed similarly to regular meetings but would include venues for feedback and questions to staff members. He encouraged all board members to participate. He said a meeting or conference call for the full Board might be required late in June in addition to the Finance and Audit Committee meeting in order to complete the budget by the deadline.
Committee Chair Twomey asked Vice President Shuman to go over the parking item before Trustee Kendrick discussed the audits. Ms. Shuman referred trustees to Attachment 6A-1, the financial model for parking through 2010. She indicated that the numbers had been through a committee of faculty, staff, and students prior to submission to her office for recommendation to the President. It was estimated that a garage would be needed by September 2008, thus the figures represented the increases necessary to meet that need. General parking would need to increase 8 ½ percent by 2010 in order to fund the garage. It was determined that it would be preferable to increase to those rates gradually rather than a substantial raise in one year. Initially some increases would be higher as some designations were changed. For instance, garage parking was now defined as premium parking rather than general. Also, the daily parking permit would be increased from $2 to $3.
Another issue related to parking fees had to do with USPS employees. As the lowest paid classification, the largest complaint for these employees was that they began their day in the negative due to the cost of parking. Vice President Shuman said that many of the employees were represented by AFSCME. In negotiations with the union, one possibility on the table was a parking allowance of $50 to defray the cost of parking. The transportation stipend would allow employees to park for free in the outer lots. She said three town hall meetings had been held for employees to discuss the parking issue. Two hundred employees were present at the first forum. After the announcement of the possibility of the transportation stipend, thirty attended the second meeting and four attended the third, indicating that employees were content with the stipend offer.
Committee Chair Twomey proposed that the parking increases be accepted by the Board. Trustee Gonzalez had a question regarding funds collected for special event parking. President Delaney answered that such monies were added to the university parking fund; they did not go to those sponsoring the event. Trustee Gonzalez also asked if the State’s pre-paid college program covered parking. Ms. Stone replied that it did not. Trustee Watterson thanked President Delaney and Vice President Shuman for their efforts toward meeting students’ needs and ensuring discount parking for needy students. He noted that students were frustrated that parking rates continued to increase. He said parking was one of the first concerns listed when students were asked to name areas they would like to see improved. He stated that while he appreciated the significant efforts made to work with students’ parking concerns, as the student body representative, he would have to vote against the recommended increases because the students felt so strongly about the issue. Chair Thompson said she did not know of any campus, hospital or university, where parking was not an issue. She said that trustees would prefer not to have to charge for parking at all. Unfortunately, it was the only funding mechanism currently available. All of the trustees, with the exception of Trustee Watterson (as noted previously), voted in favor of the increases.
Trustee Kendrick discussed the three audit reports. The first report was the preliminary statewide audit, with six findings, one of which was applicable to UNF. The university replied to the finding and made some process changes. Trustee Kendrick said the committee was comfortable with it and she believed the auditor’s office was as well. There were no findings for the financial statement audit or the athletics audit. She asked if Vice President Shuman had anything to add to the report. Ms. Shuman commented that all of the audits were clean audits. Trustee Kendrick said another item discussed at the FAC had to do with ensuring that trustees had the information necessary to make sure that the university was moving forward. The FAC had also requested a scorecard of indicators to track the university’s progress.
Chair Thompson indicated that the next item of business was related to legislative issues and asked Trustee Solano to explain the item. Trustee Solano referred the Board to Attachment 7-1, stating that the resolution was essentially concerned with two issues: requiring out-of-state tuition for non-degree seeking students who were Florida citizens, and requiring out-of-state tuition for credit hours taken over 120. She said the faculty would like to go on record as opposing anything that would limit the education available to students. She said faculty were able to share the resolution with Chair Thompson, President Delaney, Provost Kline and the Chancellor’s office. The Chancellor asked Trustee Solano to get back with her if the resolution was passed, which she did. She said faculty felt they had been heard on the issue but also felt there should be continued discussion while the item was in legislation. She added that this was the first issue since the Board’s inception with which the faculty felt they needed support.
Chair Thompson said she thought Trustee Solano’s observations were accurate, stating that in this particular case the Governor and his staff did ask for input in advance. She reported that some of the issues Trustee Solano addressed had already been considered and written into the legislation. She agreed with Trustee Solano that the Board should be apprised of the situation, stating that the Board was doing its best to collect opinions and respond in way that would represent the tax payers and still make education available to the State’s citizens.
President Delaney reiterated that the Governor was fairly adamant that some part of the legislation be in place, though he had softened it by increasing the number of hours that could be taken over 120 and accepting that there were some programs that required more hours. However, philosophically the Governor believed there should be a limit to the number of non-degree seeking students subsidized by the State.
Trustee Watterson stated that though the students were happy with much of the budget, they were particularly upset about this legislation and hoped the Governor would reconsider this piece of the budget. He said students transferring from private to public universities were affected as well as other students and many students would be unable to afford to finish their education.
Trustee Gonzalez gave an example based on his own experience. He said he went from community college to the University of Puerto Rico and would have been penalized under the proposed system as he had to wait for his records to catch up and took 15 elective credits while he waited. He recalled that deans used to sit with students to come up with a program of study and every program had a different number of credits required for graduation. He wondered where the 120 credit requirement originated. Dean Serwatka replied that the State had determined that all degrees, with some exceptions such as engineering and nursing, had to meet the 120 credit requirement. He said the new legislation would enable students to take at least 15 percent over the 120 hours.
Chair Thompson informed the group that many of these issues had already been addressed by the Governor’s office. She said the goal was to get students through college in four years. She pointed out that many students were paying the same rate as undergraduate degree seeking students for six or seven years rather than four. Trustee Kendrick said that, as a naturalized citizen of the United States, she was blessed to be in a country that had open access to all students. She said she was delighted to be in a country where the subject was even open for debate. She asked if other states had a similar requirement. Provost Kline replied that he did not know of the requirement’s existence in other states but would check into the matter. He added that his concern about the new legislation was that it could discourage students from experimenting. While he agreed that it was important for students to get through college and graduate, he felt it was equally important that they be happy with the degree they obtained and the resulting career options. He said it was important for students to be suited to the careers for which they were educated and it could take some time for students to discover their aptitudes.
Trustee Solano wondered if there was data available on the numbers and percentages of students with more than 120 hours before graduation. She said she thought there might be more of a perception of students delaying entry into the workforce than an actuality. President Delaney replied that he wasn’t sure how much data was available but said she had posed an interesting question. He said that the State wanted to encourage students to make decisions on their degree early and planned to do so monetarily. While it would be nice if state universities could afford to have students take classes for purposes of enlightenment only, it was not possible at this time. The classes had to be available for degree seeking students. He said the Governor and the Board of Governors had decided upon the legislation but had shown a great deal of flexibility. He admitted that transfer students were a big issue and said he had a feeling the news would be discouraging rather than encouraging on that issue. However, he said, should the legislation pass, there would be an opportunity to reexamine it next year and problems or more data could be brought forward at that time.
Dean Serwatka added that George Perkins had prepared data on excess hours and was sending the information to Janet Owen so she could work on getting as many exceptions for the university as possible. Provost Kline noted that the number of students with more than 120 hours was quite an important number. He said thought the number was probably high, as he knew the percentage of students who changed their major was fairly high. Dean Serwatka stated that the university had the right to establish a surcharge for excess hours. The universities were penalized for excess hours as state support would not be forthcoming for those hours. President Delaney said it was not yet known which version of the legislation would prevail. He said Janet Owen was monitoring the situation and the university did have the ability to affect it.
President Delaney discussed another item the Governor was considering, incentives for targeted degrees such as nurses, teachers, and engineers. He observed that such incentives would allow the university to compensate for areas where revenue had been cut.
Chair Thompson said it was clear in Tallahassee that faculty were against the limitation of hours. She told Trustee Solano that she appreciated the faculty’s position, but sometimes the Board reluctantly voted in a different direction than the one taken by the faculty. She said she appreciated that neither the Board nor the faculty were surprised in these instances and was glad that both parties kept the avenues for information open. Trustee Taylor added that he thought a couple of key philosophical points discussed in the past were pertinent, particularly the relevance of students’ education. He said it was important to ensure that students had a well-grounded education. He felt that the problem with artificial caps on the number of program hours was the inability to balance such things as offering an arts background to students in nursing, etc. He felt it might be false economy to try to apply an overly limiting cap that would not allow for a broader education.
President Delaney discussed Item 8 on the agenda. At the last planning meeting, trustees talked about moving to quarterly meetings and planning meetings. They also discussed holding quarterly committee meetings with both committees meeting on the same date. President Delaney indicated the proposed calendar in the trustees’ packets, along with the calendar for the remainder of this year. He noted that a meeting might have to be scheduled for June in order to meet the deadline for the budget. The trustees agreed to review the calendars and vote on them at the next BOT meeting.
Trustees had also discussed having vice chair positions on the committees. President Delaney said the proposed change, along with some housekeeping issues, had been included in the bylaws. A vote would be required to change the bylaws. Chair Thompson asked Karen Stone about the section on public comment. She said that as the Board moved to handling more of the detail work at the committee level, it might make sense to allow for comments at the committee meetings so that the Board could feel comfortable that the committees had been advised by the pertinent comments. President Delaney agreed, stating that it was important for the Board to be open and transparent. Trustee Gonzalez suggested that people wishing to make public comment register previously and be given 5 minutes to address the Board. Those who did not register could be taken at the end of the day as time allowed. Karen Stone observed that the bylaws currently allowed three minutes per speaker for a total of fifteen minutes, but added that the rules could always be waived as the group saw fit. Trustee Twomey moved to approve the bylaws. Trustee Gonzalez seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously in favor of it.
Chair Thompson thanked everyone for their participation and adjourned the meeting
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