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April 15, 1993

              VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY

                                 STAFF SENATE

 

 

                        MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING

                           THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 1993

                   ROOM 102 - PHASE II - VETERINARY MEDICINE

 

 

 

 

  SENATORS PRESENT:  Bill Aliff, Carolyn Alls, Pat Ballard, Joyce Bohr, Clara

  Cox, Marge Dellers, Betty Greene, Julie Hancock, Linda Haney, Jane

  Harrison, Eileen Keeney, Margie Lawrence, Don Massie, Sherry McConnell,

  Bhaba Misra, Diane Patty, Rocky Price, Peggy Rasnick, Kathy Reynolds, Wyatt

  Sasser, Buddy Shaver, Barbara Shelor, Charlie Stott, Tony Sutphin, Sherri

  Turner, Sarah Wheeler

 

  ALTERNATES IN ATTENDANCE:  Mary Ann Johnson for Kathy Eschenmann, Lisa

  Jansen for Charlie Gills, Joyce Smith for Carlile Price, Lola Yelverton for

  Widget Shannon, Lynne Schaefermeyer for Bill Ranck, Valerie Myers

 

  GUESTS:  Netta Eisler, SPECTRUM; Linda Woodard, Robin Ball, Kathy Worner,

  Janice Scarrette from Personnel Services;  Shauna Bishop from University

  Relations

 

 

 

 

  CALL TO ORDER

 

  The meeting was called to order at 5:35 p.m. by President McConnell, who

  welcomed senators, alternates, and guests.

 

 

  ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

  President McConnell announced that the agenda would be reordered and that

  Shauna Bishop and Joyce Smith would discuss Staff Appreciation Day and then

  Linda Woodard would make a presentation on sexual harrassment.

 

  Shauna Bishop stated the First Annual Staff Appreciation Day is scheduled

  for May 12, 1993, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.  All wage and salaried staff report

  to their regular place of work and will be excused to attend the events at

  mid-morning.  The time may not be substituted for leave.  All employees are

  encouraged to attend.  The Drillfield will be the center of festivities,

  with two bands providing live entertainment.  The picnic is scheduled 11:30

  a.m. - 1:30 p.m.  Bring lawn chairs, frizbees, etc.  Two tours are sched-

  uled.  Since seating on the busses is limited, interested parties must reg-

  ister.  Tickets are transferable for those unable to make the tour.  Casual

  business clothing is encouraged.  The day reflects appreciation for staff

  from the administration.  Senators should poll their local organizations to

  learn how many will attend in an effort to assure adequate food.  In case

  of rain the Squires' Ballroom will house the bands and food.

 

  Alternate Schaefermeyer asked if the event would be held annually and if so

  she asked that another date be looked at because of the cleanup that must

  take place the week after students leave.  Joyce Smith said she did antic-

  ipate this would be a yearly function and she would share comments with the

  planning committee.

 

 

  APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

  The minutes of the March 18, 1993, Staff Senate meeting were approved with

  the following corrections:  Correct Ms. Spencers' title to Associate Vice

  President throughout the body of the article.  There was some confusion

  about Senator Phillips' statement under the Parking/Transportation Commit-

  tee report about parking "fines" supporting the bonds that pave the lots.

  Senator Phillips felt the statement was correct as reflected in the March

  18 minutes but suggested checking with Parking Services.  Parking fines and

  fees all go to the university, where Parking Services receives a portion of

  those monies for it's operating budget as well as funds for bike paths, lot

  improvements, signage, and other projects.  Therefore the statement was

  correct as stated, just not all inclusive.  Senator Greene asked that the

  humor regarding Senator Cox being difficult be removed.

 

 

  President McConnell introduced Linda Woodard, Robin Ball, Janet Scarrette,

  and Kathy Worner from Personnel Services, who spoke on sexual harrassment

  on campus.

 

  Ms. Woodard informed the group there are many questions concerning what ac-

  tually constitutes sexual harrassment.  Handouts were distributed to all

  senators.  Ms. Woodard said the military is conducting one of the strongest

  training programs in the country.  Sexual harrassment poses some serious

  issues for industries and organizations.  It has an impact on morale and

  productivity;  not only is it unethical but it has serious legal risks as

  well.  Sexual harrassment is any comment or gesture that is unwelcome and

  not returned.  The fact it takes place in the work environment makes it an

  organizational issue.  The employee has a responsibility to let the

  offender know in subtle instances.  In gross instances the employee has

  less of a responsibility.  There is generally only a question in subtle

  cases.  Senator Sutphin asked about actions if a co-worker is being

  harrassed by another.  Ms. Ball responded there have been several questions

  about those instances.  The victim should express their offense, and yes,

  it is harrassment.  If you think sexual harrassment is occurring, you may

  call the Equal Opportunity Office and make an informal complaint or ask

  questions.  When an issue is brought to the attention of the university, it

  must act, sometimes by simply helping the employee address the problem

  themselves.  Help is sometimes in the form of explaining how to inform the

  offender that his/her actions are offensive.  Often, employees are coached

  on how to deal with harrassment to prevent formal complaints.  Personnel

  Services will stay in touch to make sure the problem has improved.  If it

  does not, Personnel Services will talk to the supervisor for the employee.

 

  Senator Williams asked if this was all done outside the grievance proce-

  dure.  Ms. Ball said yes, formal complaints go to the Equal Employment Of-

  fice.  In 1992 there were two formal and two informal complaints.

  Personnel Services received four or five informal questions from staff.

 

  Ms. Woodard said the low numbers may indicate employees feel too uncomfort-

  able to check avenues available to them, or some supervisors may have be-

  come educated enough on the subject to handle it themselves.  Senator

  Ballard asked if informal complaints are kept confidential.  The answer was

  yes, but at a certain point complaints must become formal to ascertain all

  the facts.  Most of the time Personnel Services gives advice on how best to

  handle the situation.  Joking may be a departmental problem and might be

  handled by handouts or a talk to the whole department.  The individual is

  asked what is best to resolve these types of problems and who they would be

  most comfortable talking with.

 

  Senator Ballard said she imagined employees would find the formal route

  very tough when it came time to sign their name on the dotted line.  The

  group added it felt that was why most are handled informally and noted dis-

  appointment that people tolerate sexual harrassment because the formal com-

  plaint process is painful.  Senator Williams added the formal complaint is

  important because the defendant should have a right to face the accuser;

  there are times when charges are false.  Ms. Woodard stated the rights of

  the accused are protected with the formal complaint.  Also, discipline

  actions are spelled out carefully.  President McConnell asked if a mech-

  anism or red flag notes excessive turnover under one supervisor.  Ms. Ball

  added there is no systematic way and even the exit review fails to address

  this information.  Personnel Services hopes to have a mechanism in place

  with the new automated system being developed.  Many employees take the

  safe route and do not make any accusations.  President McConnell asked if

  an individual will not come forward, can someone else.  Ms. Ball suggested

  you offer to go with them to Personnel Services.  If you found out by over-

  hearing, it is still their responsibility to come forward.  Once it is

  known, the individual has an obligation to notify the university.  Many

  people just leave their jobs.  Personnel Services has several videos avail-

  able to offer role models.

 

  Senator Sasser asked if supervisors who are handling the problem among

  their employees should notify Personnel Services about instances.  There is

  no responsibility for supervisors to notify the department about a problem

  that has been dealt with successfully.  Personnel Services would like to

  know the scope of the problem and to make sure the action taken is consist-

  ent.  It would be beneficial to have a file to identify repeated patterns.

 

  A senator posed the question what should be done if sexual harrassment is

  only suspected.  Ms. Woodard suggested talking to the recipient about the

  abuse and calling Ms. Ball or Ms. Scarrette.  It is also possible to be

  harrassed by students or customers.  Supervisors have a responsibility to

  see that this does not happen.  Senator Sasser asked if a couple involved

  in a relationship break up, causing an emotional situation, does this con-

  stitute harrassment.  Ms. Woodard answered that sexual harrassment is inap-

  propriate even if there has been a prior relationship.  If it hinders their

  job, it is harrassment.  The policy is listed on the mainframe system.  Ms.

  Woodard said to call her office with additional questions.  She recommended

  a book,  SEXUAL HARRASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE, by Susan Webb.

 

 

  SENATE COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

  *COMMUNICATIONS--Senator Cox, chair, reported the committee met with Ms.

  Woodard and others from Personnel Services to discuss the formation of a

  team of literacy volunteers.  The decision was made to work toward better

  communications on campus to make employees aware of available assistance in

  Personnel Services with completing forms.  She said an attempt would be

  made by Personnel Services to emphasize the need to share information.

  Personnel Services also will notify Staff Senate when paperwork is required

  from staff so the senators can take the information back to their staff as-

  sociations.

 

  *ELECTIONS AND NOMINATIONS--Senator Greene reported for Senator Phillips,

  chair, that the committee recently met and discussed the proposed amendment

  to the Staff Senate Constitution about the replacement of senators on uni-

  versity councils, commissions, and committees in mid-year.  Senator Rasnick

  will present the resolution for second reading at Senate meeting.

 

  Senator Patty will conduct the nominations procedure for vacancies on uni-

  versity council, commissions, and committees.  The committee will take

  names from the recently created data base and will accept nominations from

  the floor at Senate meeting.  The committee discussed the importance of

  making sure senators had talked with nominees prior to placing names in

  nomination, and that nominees would need to forward biographical informa-

  tion to the committee within one week of being nominated.  The committee

  discussed the election procedure to be held at Senate meeting in May.

 

  *LONG RANGE BUDGET AND PLANNING--Senator Ballard, chair, reported that As-

  sistant Provost Pat Hyer met recently with the committee and that Laurie

  Martinson will be the guest speaker at the next committee meeting.

 

  *POLICIES AND ISSUES--Senator Greene reported for Senator Murray, chair,

  that the committee recently met and discussed the inclement weather policy

  and the Phase II Report.

 

 

 

  UNIVERSITY COUNCIL, COMMISSIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

  *UNIVERSITY COUNCIL--Senator Cox said the only issue pertinent to staff was

  a presentation by a graduate student leader calling for faculty/staff park-

  ing privileges for graduate students.  She said the graduate student ac-

  cused the Parking and Transportation Committee of being unwilling to work

  with students.  Senator Cox suggested that receiving a "no" answer does not

  indicate unwillingness to work with students.  She said President McComas

  will appoint a committee from University Council to study the issue.

 

  *ADVISORY COUNCIL-HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY --Senator Aliff

  reported the council had not met.

 

  *STRATEGIC BUDGETING AND PLANNING--President McConnell reported the commit-

  tee discussed tuition, fees, salary increases, and promotions.

 

  *COMMISSION ON CLASSIFIED STAFF AFFAIRS--Vice President Stott announced the

  postponement of the communiciations forum until fall to allow more time for

  planning and to identify topics for discussion.

 

  Vice President Stott said the commission has been discussing ways to recog-

  nize classified staff service to the university and the possibility of in-

  cluding a statement of service in performance evaluations to encourage

  staff participation in different kinds of direct service, not just partic-

  ipation in governance activities.  He reported that there have been adverse

  evaluations because of participation in shared governance, which he said

  defeats the purpose of shared governance.  The commission is working on a

  draft statement that could be included in performance evaluations plans to

  indicate that shared governance is an educational process.  Supervisors

  would see up front that participation in shared governance is approved and

  expected.  The commission is discussing ways to recognize support staff who

  fill in while their staff participate in shared governance activities.  The

  commission will seek voluntary units to implement the elements of the

  statement in performance descriptions on a trial basis for one year before

  considering any recommendations that become available on a university-wide

  basis.

 

  *COMMISSION ON FACULTY AFFAIRS--Alternate Smith announced that minutes of

  the March meeting were included in the mailing with the April Staff Senate

  meeting minutes.

 

  *COMMISSION ON GRADUATE STUDIES AND POLICIES--Senator Haney told senators

  there were no staff issues discussed at the last meeting.  At the April

  meeting the committee will discuss discontinuance of Lexus/Nexus database

  on the mainframe.  The library will contact users.

 

  *COMMISSION ON RESEARCH--Senator Rasnick told senators that minutes of se-

  veral meetings were on the front table.  She reported that Dr. Janet

  Johnson, chair of the Intellectual Properties Committee, spoke to the com-

  mission at the April meeting and reported that the IPC reviewed 32 disclo-

  sures, 28 were referred to CIT and 3 were referred to sponsors, one has

  been retained by VTIP.  Dwight Shelton of the Controller's Office discussed

  indirect costs and audits.

 

  *COMMISSION ON UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES AND POLICIES and SCHEDULING AND REGIS-

  TRATION COMMITTEE--Senator Wheeler reported that the Commission for Under-

  graduate Studies appointed a committee to realign the committees reporting

  to CUS.  Senator Wheeler distributed copies of the Commission on Undergrad-

  uate Studies report for 1992-93.

 

  Senator Wheeler distributed a copy of the Scheduling and Registration Com-

  mittee report of 1992-93 and announced that the calendar for 1994-95

  cleared.  This committee will become defunct in the fall due to restructur-

 

  ing of committees that report to the Commission on Undergraduate Studies

  and Policies.

 

  *COMMISSION ON UNIVERSITY SUPPORT--Senator Sasser stated that the commis-

  sion will send back to Staff Senate the issue of the mail confidentiality

  policy.  Staff Senate recently forwarded the issue to the commission and

  the commission wants clarification on several questions to determine if

  this is a major problem or if it is an isolated problem.  The commission

  elected it's chair for next year.  The next meeting will be in the fall.

 

  *EO/AA COMMITTEE--President McConnell reported that the committee had not

  met.

 

  *PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE--Senator Ballard announced that

  copies of the March meeting minutes were on the front table.  She reported

  that there will be different parking decals next year, and the regulations

  book will be finalized and distributed in the near future.  The committee

  will discuss the graduate parking issue at the next meeting.

 

  *VIRGINIA TECH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES COMMITTEE-- Senator Sasser announced

  that patents and new technology are confidential and that members of the

  committee are not allowed to discuss business conducted at the meetings.

  Senator Sasser was asked to talk with the chair of the committee to deter-

  mine if any information can be made public and reported to senators.

 

  FACULTY SENATE LIAISON--Senator Rasnick reported that Faculty Senate re-

  cently held elections for vacancies on university councils, commissions,

  and committees.

 

 

  OLD BUSINESS

 

  *ELECTIONS AND NOMINATIONS--Senator Patty distributed a list of classified

  staff vacancies on university councils, commissions, and committees and

  stated that the Elections and Nominations Committee plans to take names

  from the recently created data base and would also accept nominations from

  Senate floor.  She reminded senators that nominations would be accepted

  only if a nominee has agreed in advance to be nominated.  She also stated

  that senators making nominations should ask nominees to forward a brief bi-

  ographical statement to include tenure at Virginia Tech and participation

  in classified staff activities.  Nominations will be accepted through Fri-

  day, April 22, and senators were instructed to forward nominations and the

  biographical statements to Senator Patty at STAFF3@VM1.

 

  Senator Patty reminded senators that the document mailed to local associ-

  ations last fall by the Elections and Nominations Committee provided a de-

  scription of all councils, commissions, and committees.  She stated that

  the mailout secured about 56 names of staff interested in serving on coun-

  cils, commissions, and committees.

 

  In preparation for nominations for Staff Senate officers, the current Sen-

  ate officers gave a brief description of their responsibilities as offi-

  cers.

 

  Nominations from the floor for Senate officers for next year were taken.

  Betty Greene was nominated for Parliamentarian, Valerie Myers was nominated

  for Secretary, Charlie Stott was nominated for Vice President, and Sheri

  McConnell was nominated for President.

 

  Nominations were then taken from the floor for vacancies on 14 councils,

  commissions, and committees.

 

  Senator Patty stated that the Elections and Nominations Committee will fi-

  nalize the ballot, and elections will be held at the May Senate meeting.

 

 

  *RESOLUTION SECOND READING--Senator Rasnick of the Elections and Nomi-

  nations Committee asked for discussion on the resolution, which was pre-

  sented in March.  The resolution provides for an amendment to the Staff

  Senate Constitution to allow a senator to remain on a university council,

  commission, or committee in the event the senator transfers to another lo-

  cal association.

 

  After much discussion, President McConnell asked Vice President Stott to

  contact Larry Moore to determine the policy for replacing a senator in the

  event of a transfer to another local association.  Senators agreed that the

  resolution should be discussed again in May after Vice President Stott has

  an opportunity to talk with Dr. Moore.

 

 

  NEW BUSINESS

 

  *INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY--Vice President Stott read a statement expressing

  appreciation for staff who worked during the March blizzard.

 

  There was much discussion about application of the university's leave pol-

  icy to Tuesday, March 16.  Several senators expressed their local associ-

  ations' concerns about the "misapplication" of the leave policy for March

  16.  The consensus among senators was that the release of information on

  how March 16 would be handled on leave reports was ill timed because clas-

  sified staff had to wait until the last minute to complete monthly leave

  reports.  Senators in general felt that this was a controversial issue

  among classified staff, and they discussed several ideas for expressing

  staff concern about use of leave for March 16.   Due to a lack of quorum,

  no motions were completed.

 

  *PHASE II DISCUSSION--President McConnell announced that the discussion

  which was to be led by Senator Murray would be postponed due to Senator

  Murray's absence.

 

 

  OTHER BUSINESS

 

  Senator Cox distributed a copy of a resolution concerning participation in

  governance by professional and administrative faculty.  She asked Staff

  Senate to go on record of supporting representation of administrative and

  professional faculty on university councils, commissions, and committees

  and the creation of a Commission on Administrative and Professional Faculty

  Affairs.  Due to lack of quorum, the motion was not finalized.

 

  Senator Misra asked that the floor be re-opened for additional discussion

  of the inclement weather policy.  Due to lack of quorum, a motion to re-

  open the discussion failed.  In exercising executive power, President

  McConnell stated that Senate Executive Board will write the administration

  to offer suggestions and alternative ways to handle inclement weather

  leave.

 

  Senator Sasser raised the issue of a lack of quorum near the end of Senate

  meetings.  After some discussion, the general consensus was that senators

  should stay for the duration of the meetings and if they are unable to at-

  tend or stay for the entire meeting that they should ask an alternate to

  attend.

 

  Senator Williams suggested that senators report council, commission, and

  committee issues only if there is something that impacts classified staff.

  Otherwise, senators should provide copies of minutes for senators to read

  outside of Senate meetings.

 

  The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

 

 

 

  Barbara Hise Shelor

  Secretary

 

  and

 

  Diane Patty

  Acting Secretary

 

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