Here is my May-Board-meeting-and-other-stuff blog post. :)
Board meeting, May 3
The Board meeting was eventful, for a number of reasons!
1. Closed session in am – the Board met and heard input from the chair/president of the Staff Senate, University Senate and SGA. It wouldn’t be fair to describe the survey results as representative of opinions of staff, faculty or students – the number of responders was very, very low for each group’s survey. Jann (and the other two) gave an oral report and offered some commentary, which the Board found to be extremely helpful.
2. Committee meetings – I attended the UKHealthcare Cmte meeting, the Academic Affairs Cmte meeting, and the Finance Cmte meeting. Finance was the most interesting to me – the Cmte heard from two Law students who spoke against the proposed increase in tuition for the College of Law. (Yea! for the new GR on appearances!) Both were very well spoken, and I appreciated their comments. There wasn’t much opportunity for non-cmte members to engage in discussion during the Finance Cmte, so most of it spilled out during the full Board meeting.
3. Board meeting – I was just tickled to hear the report on how many petitioners requested an appearance before the Board. J As far as routine business goes, and aside from the vote on the preferred presidential candidate, the items of most interest to me were FCR 4 (Proposed 2011-12 Tuition and Fees) and FCR 8 (Replace Video Boards at Stadium). (FCR = Finance Committee Report)
FCR 4 – it was pretty clear to me that the increased tuition is going to, in part, fund raises for us. During discussion, though, that correlation was downplayed. There were a number of elected and appointed trustees who voted against the tuition increase, due to a growing concern among some Board members that UK is beginning to be further out of reach for the Kentucky students who are in greatest need of a quality college education. I agree with that concern (yet voted for the tuition increase), and hope that incoming president Eli Capilouto will have some ideas on how to keep tuition affordable for Kentuckians.
FCR 8 – this started out as an internal loan of $3.1 million from UK to UK Athletics, for about a five-year period. To be blunt, this really, really irritated the faculty, and the executive body of their Senate (Senate Council) passed a formal resolution asking that the Board vote it down, and started a petition drive. Their united, proactive response made some national news outlets. Shortly thereafter (as in, about three days later), FCR 8 was revised so that Athletics would be using its own monies.
There was a question about how much money UK would have made on the loan to Athletics – I recall that it was about 1% more than what UK would regularly receive, about $150,000 or so. This would not be recurring, but a total over the duration of the loan. That amount of money would not come close to justifying the really, really bad public relations problems associated with UK loaning money for a scoreboard, when we haven’t received raises in three years.
What I think was the most important part of the FCR 8 discussion was that both elected and appointed trustees expressed concern that there was absolutely no specific information given about whether the investment in new scoreboards by Athletics was financially sound. (In the past, it was enough for someone to ask the Board for funding, and for trustees to be told that the expense was routine, necessary and appropriate.)
Trustees heard (during the Finance Cmte meeting, I think) that the existing boards are so out of date that there are problems finding replacement parts, and that the new boards would offer increased space for advertisements, thus bringing in more revenue. However, we were not provided with any information about the expected increase in revenues, life-expectancy of the new boards, etc. The Board Chair (Britt Brockman – really cool person to work with!) stated that he was hearing that Board members expected additional, detailed information about future financial transactions, and that he would direct the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration to prepare such information for Board members in the future. THAT is the most important part, in my opinion, of the discussion on FCR 8!
One thing we need to be aware of is the manner in which UK is dealing with its budget problems. The process overall is reasonable and a logical way to go about doing it –colleges/units are being asked to make cuts, as opposed to the President/Provost saying that everyone’s budget is being cut by X%. Units have an opportunity to make conscious choices about what to reduce and what not to reduce.
What this does, however, is push the decisions on reductions in force (I still think of them as just plain old “layoffs”) away from a centralized location, and down to the unit level. As a result, as units undergo restructuring and identify areas in which to cut budgets, there are “just one or two staff employees” who are laid off. But, we have to think about how many “just one or two staff employees” are being cut in total when you think about all 10,000+ of us at UK. I don’t know how many will be quietly laid off, and I hope it isn’t many. I hope even more that some budget cuts can be absorbed through leaving vacated positions vacant. (I do recognize what “and other duties as assigned” means to remaining staffers when an area loses a position.)
Incoming President Eli Capilouto
I remain very, very excited about our incoming president. I think he has the skill set to be a good fit here at UK, and I am looking forward to working with him.
Staff Appreciation Day & UK Fun Night, Sponsored by the Staff Senate
Staff Appreciation Day is this Thursday, May 19, from 10:30 am - 2 pm. All staff employees are welcome to attend – look for the UKnow email for more information!
UK Fun Night, an event for all faculty and staff and their families, is also on Thursday the 19th, from 6 – 9 pm at Commonwealth Stadium. The food and drinks, inflatables for the kids, live music and games are all free – come enjoy the fun!
Staff Senate Elections
Voting for the employee to represent you in the Staff Senate will run from Thursday, May 19 through Thursday, June 2 – please vote!
Best wishes, and please let me know what I can do to assist you and/or your colleagues! Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or by phone at 7-5872.