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April 21, 1994

  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

  Staff Senate

 

  Minutes of the Regular Meeting

  Thursday, April 21, 1994

  Room 102 - Phase II, Veterinary Medicine

 

  Senators Present:  Carolyn Alls, Pat Ballard, Les Fuller, Leslie

  Graham, Betty Greene, Patty Hall, Richard Lovegrove, Don Massie,

  Sherilyn McConnell, Bhaba Misra, Diane Patty, Mary Pennington,

  Carlile Price, Peggy Rasnick, Wyatt Sasser, Lynne Schaefermeyer,

  Widget Shannon, Chuck Shorter, Elaine Southworth, Charlie Stott,

  Tony Sutphin, Sarah Wheeler, Deb Williams.

 

  Alternates Present:  Betsy Davis Jones for Buddy Shaver, Brenda

  Husser for Lorrie Sumpter

 

 

  Call to Order

 

  Meeting was called to order at 5:38 pm.

 

 

  Approval of Minutes

 

  Under "Alternates Present," Cindy Harrison's name should be removed

  and placed under "Guests."

 

 

  University Councils, Commissions, Committee Reports

 

  Communications Committee met April 6 - They discussed Earv

  Blythe's address to the Senate.  They questioned whether we need

  to follow-up with questions or concerns that affect staff, such

  as training, computer access, university licensing committee

  activity, etc.

 

  Policies and Issues - Committee did not meet, meeting has been

  changed to May 3, scheduled jointly with Staff Association

  Officers.  The subcommittee that was directed to develop a

  proposal to address inclement weather policy met with Spencer

  Hall.  They have the proposal ready to submit to Policies and

  Issues Committee.

 

  Nominations and Elections -  Senator Massie conducted balloting

  to elect officers and fill vacancies on university councils,

  commissions, and committees.

 

 

  Old Business

 

  Blue Cross/Blue Shield Changes and Notification Delay - Senator

  Lovegrove reported that letters have been written, revised, and

  reviewed by Senators Stott, McConnell, and Sutphin.  Once the

  letter is finalized, it will be sent to Mr. Edwards and his

  supervisor.  Senator Sutphin commented that it was nice that we

  received the newest information in advance of the changes.

 

 

  Mediation training - Senator Sutphin and Senator Holliman have a

  copy of the state mediation handbook for senate.  They are

  now qualified to mediate at other institutions, along with Virginia

  Tech employees Doug Martin and Susan Webb.

 

  Senator Sasser requested clarification of the purpose of this

  training.  Senator Sutphin stated that it was for conflict

  resolution,  for those involved to come together in a non-hostile

  environment and listen to both sides. The hope is to get

  both parties to sign a contract agreeing to certain conditions

  acceptable to both.  Any reasonable issue can be

  mediated.  This can speed up resolution of conflicts and, it is hoped,

  obviates the need for the formal grievance process in some cases.  The

  university is looking at adding a mediation center.  Mediators from

  Virginia Tech will not mediate at this university, but will travel to

  other institutions. Mediators from other institutions will mediate at

  Tech.

 

  Senator Holliman added that the intention is to get things taken

  care of before they get to be a grievance.  Both parties have to

  agree to try mediation.  There is no cost to the department

  involved, except for travel expenses if you have to relocate for

  mediation.

 

  Senator Wheeler questioned if you have to accept the mediators'

  opinion.  Senator Holliman responded that the mediator does not

  make a decision, he just facilitates in helping the parties find a

  solution.

 

  College of Education restructuring - Senator Pennington stated that

  there have been articles in the Spectrum and Collegiate Times.  The

  college still is putting out a newsletter; let her know if you wish to

  receive it.  The dean of the college also has distributed his

  preliminary report. The college is canceling about five programs.  One

  program is moving from the College of Education to another college.

  Eight faculty members are preparing to go other places, and several

  faculty members are interested in an early retirement buyout.  They

  will be losing five-and-a-half full-time staff positions.  All this

  will be spaced out over a three-year period. People remain upbeat, and

  it is possible that they won't have to use lay-off procedures.

 

 

  New Business

 

  Revised Benefits Committee - Senator Stott reported that the Employee

  Benefits Committee has had only one staff member, so University Council

  is changing the Bylaws.  Previously, there were more ex-officio

  administrators than there were committee members.  The charge of the

  Committee will remain the same and it will report to the Commission on

  Classified Staff Affairs and the Commission on Faculty Affairs. The

  membership will be three staff members nominated or elected by Staff

  Senate, one nominated by the Commission on Classified Staff Affairs,

  three members nominated or elected by Faculty Senate, one nominated or

  elected by Commission on Faculty Affairs, and one from the Commission

  on Administrative and Professional Faculty.  The chair will be

  elected from the non ex-officio members.  All will serve three-year

  terms.  There will be no students on the committee at this time

  pending the outcome of President Clinton's health-care reform

  legislation. All these changes will take effect in the fall.

 

  UVa visit - Early in April President McConnell and Senator Stott

  went to UVa and visited with 15 staff members there.  Their staff

  discovered that they had formed individual organizations similar

  to ours, but none of these small groups realized how many other

  small groups there were on campus.  They have strong support from

  their administration and they will proceed to a universitywide

  elected representative body.  They have been invited to come to

  one of our senate meetings to observe.  President McConnell

  said she would like to see a statewide senate executive body.

 

  Meeting with President Torgersen - President McConnell and

  Senator Stott met with President Torgersen and discussed a number

  of concerns that covered leadership and management, employee

  involvement, restructuring of the Benefits Committee, communications,

  need for involvement and participation, and the rewards system.

  He indicated a willingness and desire to meet with senate

  officers on a regular basis.  They shared with him a copy of the

  CSAC final report.  He was enthusiastic and said that he would see what

  he could do to support us.

 

  EO/AA office has a new director, Elyzabeth Holford, who is a lawyer

  and comes to the position from the College of Education.  She has

  volunteered to meet with us.  Motion was made to have her meet

  with us, possibly at the May meeting.  The motion was seconded and

  carried.  Senator Holliman added that Holford was involved in

  the Women's Network.

 

  VCU was here for a visit a couple of months ago.  They have since

  presented their proposal for an organization similar to ours to their

  president and he has given them his encouragement and support, both

  verbal and financial.

 

  Senator Shannon asked what has happened to the smoking policy revision.

  She also wondered why there is no more smoking in Burruss Hall.

  President McConnell stated that it was banned because several employees

  in Burruss had brought doctor's notes blaming their health problems on

  second-hand smoke.

 

  Senator Wheeler asked about the status of a committee that had been

  looking at allowing people to take classes on an audit basis instead of

  for a grade.  President McConnell told her to consult the Policies and

  Issues Committee.  Senator Williams stated that she thought that Clara

  Cox dealt with some of that last year.

 

  Senator Sutphin reported that the issue over taking more than nine

  credit hours per year is resolved; you can do anything you want to

  after 5 p.m. as long as it is not a conflict of interest.

 

  Senator Stott attended a health-care forum recently.  He had sent a

  profs message to senators telling them that if they had questions or

  issues, they should call the 800 number in Richmond. Senator Stott then

  received a letter listing dates of health-care forums.  The letter was

  received approximately three days before the forum was to take place,

  and said that the forums were limited to only those who had called

  ahead.  Ann Spencer called Carolyn Graves, Benefits Administration

  Manager, and requested that the forum be opened to more than just those

  who had called.  They opened it up slightly.  Approximately 20 people

  showed up and spoke.

 

  If you have questions or comments, the address is Health Benefit

  Procurement Project, Department of Personnel and Training, 101 North

  14th St., Richmond, VA  23219.  They would like to have the comments by

  May 15th.  General consensus was that UBS should be thrown out of

  the system because of the lack of service and the kind of

  treatment people received over mental health concerns.

  Another issue is confusion is over the referral numbers and where

  the responsibility lies.  Senator Hall stated that BC/BS told her

  that it was her responsibility to make sure the correct referral

  numbers are entered.  Also discussed was the mishandling of

  claims.  A question was raised as to why there are not more

  provisions for preventative medicine.  More and better

  communication is needed.

 

  Senator Holliman stated that when she talked to the state task force to

  make changes to the grievance procedure, there was no one from western

  Virginia on the task force.  She has since been appointed to the task

  force.  The legislation must be passed again in 1995 to take effect.

  She welcomes any concerns or questions so that she may pass them along

  at future meetings.

 

  President McConnell has received several telephone calls and

  profs messages concerning the anonymous letters many people

  received about A/P faculty positions.  If interested, she

  will fax or send a copy of information about employment policies

  and categories of A/P faculty positions.  She does not know what

  the intent of the letter was.

 

  Senator Patty asked about the purpose or advantage in having A/P

  faculty. President McConnell stated that in some cases you can convert

  a staff position to an A/P faculty position.  Department heads are

  instructional positions, deans are A/P faculty positions.  A/P faculty

  have no tenure and they are subject to notice of non-reappointment,

  which requires a full 12-month notice.  If you are classified employee

  they can hand you the "pink slip" and you have 16 days to vacate.

  President McConnell read the following from the Faculty Handbook:

  "Administrative faculty perform work directly related to

  management of the activities of the institution, the department,

  or subdivision.  Incumbents in these positions exercise

  discretion and independent judgement and generally direct the

  work of others.  Qualifications for administrative faculty

  positions include an advanced degree or training and work

  experience at a level which equates to an advanced degree.

  Performance of duties and responsibilities associated with this

  category more than 50% of the contractual time.  Regular exercise

  of discretionary actions and a reporting relationship, normally

  no lower than three levels below the President.  In general, the

  vice presidents and deans and their immediate staff, are

  designated as administrative faculty.  Also, directors of major

  administrative units reporting to the vice president are

  categorized as administrative faculty.  Heads and chairs of

  academic departments are categorized as instructional faculty.

  These policies do not apply to academic departmental

  administrators.  Professional faculty positions are normally

  limited to librarians, counselors, extension agents, coaches,

  physicians, and other professional positions servicing education,

  public service, research, athletic, medical, student affairs, and

  development functions and activities."

 

  Basically, A/P faculty members are staffers with advanced

  degrees and/or experience working in jobs that need more flexibility

  than normally given in a classified position description.  All A/P

  faculty have written job descriptions.  These positions can be

  proposed at any level in the institution.  The comment about

  people being targeted for dismissal through this process is

  false, and is not the intent of the A/P faculty designation.  It was

  the consensus that the person who wrote the anonymous letter was

  misinformed.

 

  President McConnell received a profs message about the Johnson

  Student Center Bookstore being burglarized.  There was no sign of

  forcible entry.  Nine people worked there; two were full-time

  staff, the others were full-time students. Three of the employees had

  keys and were encouraged to take polygraph tests, which they

  passed.  The locks have not been changed for at least three years.

  The Bookstore decided to lay all of them off.  At last report,

  the six without keys had not been called back to work.  An article

  in the Collegiate Times implied that the employees had been laid

  off the week of spring break so that they could close the

  Bookstore and conduct an investigation, when in fact the

  Bookstore was open the entire week.  The person who sent the

  profs message asked if the senate had any information or ideas

  for recourse for the employees.  Since the bookstore is an

  auxiliary it does not fall under Virginia Tech policies.  It was

  suggested that these employees contact agencies that deal with these

  types of grievance procedures, such as the ACLU.  The consensus

  of the senate is that there really isn't much we can do for them,

  but Senator Williams will draft a letter for President McConnell

  to suggest some alternatives and to let them know that we are

  concerned.

 

  Senator Massie announced the results of the elections as follows:

  President - Charlie Stott; Vice President - Wyatt Sasser;

  Secretary - Valerie Myers; Parliamentarian - Bhaba Misra;

  Commission on Classified Staff Affairs - Marge Dellers, Chuck

  Shorter, Tony Sutphin; non-senator classified staff member from

  the academic area to serve on Commission on Classified Staff

  Affairs -  Betty Greene; non-senator classified staff member from

  the administrative area to serve on Commission on Classified

  Staff Affairs - Wanda Garrison; Commission on Faculty Affairs -

  Jamie Evans; Commission on Public Service and Extension - Deb

  Williams; Commission on Student Affairs - Judy Davis; Commission

  on University Support - Richard Lovegrove; Intellectual

  Properties Committee - Tom Hergert, Steve Shaffer; EO/AA Committee

  - Richard Hayman, Susan Truelove, and Deborah Young.

 

 

  Meeting adjourned at 7:02.

 

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