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1227


DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY


Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of March 19, 2001.


<signed>

John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty



MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF

March 19, 2001

The sixth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2000-2001 was held in Room 212 of the Main Building on Monday, March 19, 2001, at 2:15

ATTENDANCE.

Present: Mark I. Alpert, Anthony P. Ambler, Efraim P. Armendariz, Matthew J. Bailey, Brigitte L. Bauer, Gerard H. Béhague, Douglas G. Biow, David G. Bogard, Dean A. Bredeson, Cindy L. Carlson, Richard A. Cherwitz, Michael J. Churgin, Richard L. Cleary, Michael B. Clement, Patricia L. Clubb,1 Donald G. Davis, Patrick J. Davis, John D. Dollard, Minette E. Drumwright, John R. Durbin, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Nell H. Gottlieb, Lita A. Guerra, Marvin L. Hackert, Von Matthew (Matt) Hammond, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, Judith A. Jellison, Arlen W. Johnson, Elizabeth L. Keating, Ward W. Keeler, Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, Stefan M. Kostka, David A. Laude, William S. Livingston, Laura E. Luthy, David R. Maidment, Margaret N. Maxey, Francis L. Miksa, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Alba A. Ortiz, Bruce P. Palka, Theodore E. Pfeifer, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Linda E. Reichl, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Daron K. Roberts, Victoria Rodriguez, David J. Saltman, Robert N. Schmidt, Cynthia W. Shelmerdine, Joel F. Sherzer, Mark R. V. Southern, Michael P. Starbird, Salomon A. Stavchansky, Paul Randall (Randy) Thompson, James W. Vick,1 John W. Walthall, James R. Yates, Katy B. Zarolia.

Absent: Christopher O. Adejumo, Katherine M. Arens (excused), Neal E. Armstrong (excused), Victor L. Arnold, Joyce L. Banks, Joel W. Barlow, Phillip J. Barrish, Harold W. Billings (excused), Lynn E. Blais, Daniel A. Bonevac (excused), Dana L. Cloud (excused), Desley A. Deacon, Edwin Dorn, Larry R. Faulkner (excused), Shelley F. Fishkin, G. Charles Franklin, Robert Freeman, Dorie J. Gilbert (excused), Barbara J. Harlow, Thomas M. Hatfield, Sharon D. Horner (excused), Sharon H. Justice (excused), Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Kerry A. Kinney, Richard W. Lariviere, Steven W. Leslie, Katheryn Coveley Maguire (excused), Glenn Y. Masada (excused),2 Robert G. May (excused), Gregory R. Murphy, Thomas G. Palaima (excused), Elmira Popova, Johnnie D. Ray, Andrew M. Riggsby, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Roberta I. Shaffer, Lawrence W. Speck, Laura T. Starks (excused), Ben G. Streetman, Teresa A. Sullivan, Janice S. Todd, Daniel A. Updegrove, N. Bruce Walker, Ellen A. Wartella, Barbara W. White (excused).




Voting Members:
53
present,
22
absent,
75
total.
Non-Voting Members:
11
present,
23
absent,
34
total.
Total Members:
64
present,
45
absent,
109
total.


1Corrected attendance record on June 21, 2001.
2Corrected "excused" absence on April 17, 2001.


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I. REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

There were no questions about the written report (D 1197-1200).

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

The minutes of the Faculty Council Meeting of February 19, 2001 (D 1192-1196), were approved by voice vote.

III. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.

A. Comments by the President.

The President was in Brazil on University business. In his absence, Provost Ekland-Olson read a statement, reproduced in the appendix to these minutes, on events relating to the Justice for All anti-abortion exhibit, which was discussed at the February 19 meeting of the Council (D 1193 and 1195-1196).

B. Questions to the President.

In response to the president's statement, Gerard Béhague (music) asked whether an allegation of excessive force that had been made was an internal affair within the UTPD. Vice President Patricia Clubb said it was, since there had been no formal charge of excessive force. This was followed by a series of further statements and questions by Béhague, Clubb, Lucia Gilbert (provost's office), Salomon Stavchansky (pharmacy), Brian Doherty (English, not a member of the Council), Michael Churgin (law), Donald Davis (library and information science), Paul (Randy) Thompson (student government), and Virginia Raymond (student, not a member of the Council). Mia Carter (English, not a member of the Council) then talked about events at the exhibition as they related to her. Carter ended by saying she felt that she had been singled out because she was a black woman.

The Council then approved the following motion, which had been introduced by Churgin: "The Faculty Council requests the administration to investigate the allegation that Professor Mia Carter was singled out by the campus police during the demonstrations concerning the display on the Gregory Gym mall."

IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

Chair Patrick Davis (pharmacy) said that he and Martha Hilley (music, past chair of the Council) were working with the provost on the mediation process being created as a substitute for the Council's recommendation to appoint a faculty ombudsperson. He also reported on the work of the UT System Faculty Advisory Council.

V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.

Chair elect Bruce Palka (mathematics) urged members to attend the annual joint meeting of the Faculty Council and the Texas A&M Faculty Senate. [The meeting was held at the University Club on the UT Campus on March 26. John Opperman, director of budget and planning in the Office of the Governor, spoke to the group about Governor Perry's perspective on higher education and about higher education initiatives and plans for funding. Ray Rodrigues, coordinator of the UT System initiative on accountability, also spoke and answered questions. Graduate education was discussed in a session led by John (Rick) Giardino, dean of the graduate school at Texas A&M, and John Dollard, associate dean of the graduate school at the University.]

VI. SPECIAL ORDERS — None.


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VII. PETITIONS — None.

VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS — None.

A. Proposal to Create a Two-Day Fall Break (D 1122).

This proposal was introduced at the February 19 meeting by Stefan Kostka (music), on behalf of the University's Calendar Committee. Most of the arguments for and against the proposal were stated at that meeting. (See D 1194 for a report of that discussion.)

On March 19, Dean Mary Ann Rankin (natural sciences) presented a more detailed analysis of the problems the change would create for many lab courses. Others speaking against the proposal were Francis Miksa (library and information science), Melvin Oakes (physics), Marvin Hackert (chemistry and biochemistry), David Laude (chemistry and biochemistry), Salomon Stavchansky, and Gerard Béhague.1

Speaking in favor were Daron Roberts (student government), Randy Thompson, and Jarrad Toussant (student). Others speaking on the issue were Cynthia Shelmerdine (classics), Donald Davis, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza (English), Matt Hammond (student government), Mark Alpert (marketing), and Bruce Palka.

There was some sentiment for creating a fall break, perhaps for all of Thanksgiving week, by some other means. However, any such change would seem to involve classes on Labor Day, which some members opposed because it is the first staff holiday after July 4. An amendment proposed by Roberts, to hold classes on Labor Day, in addition to the two new days as proposed, and take off the week of Thanksgiving, was defeated.

In the final vote, the main motion was defeated.

B. Proposal to Increase Student Involvement in the Hiring Process of Tenure-Track Faculty - Revised (D 1189-1191).

This item was also discussed at the February 19 meeting (D 1194-1195). Based partly on that, the proposal had been modified from its original form (D 1123-1124) to that found in D 1189-1191.

On March 19 the debate began with statements from Katy Zarolia and John Walthall (cabinet of college councils) in support of the proposal. Cindy Carlson (educational psychology) favored student involvement, but introduced an amendment to delete the references to college councils, which she thought made the proposal too restrictive. Walthall spoke against the amendment, and Rankin and Travis Metcalf (graduate assembly) spoke for it. Alpert thought it important that representatives come from the department concerned, and not just from the same college or school. The secretary said that because of the importance of the issues being considered he thought it was important to know if a quorum was present; a count showed there was. The amendment was approved by voice vote.

Richmond-Garza, Michael Starbird (mathematics), Richard Cleary (architecture), Zarolia, and Walthall spoke in favor of the main motion. Stavchansky and the secretary spoke against, and Robert Schmidt (theatre and dance) spoke against because he thought there were other appropriate avenues for student input. A motion by the secretary to table the main motion failed by a voice vote. At the end of the discussion, before a vote, it was determined that there was not a quorum (33 were present, with 38 required for a quorum). The item will be taken up again at the Council's meeting on April 16.


1 Corrected misspelling of Gerard Béhague's first name on April 16, 2001.


1230


IX. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES — None.

X. NEW BUSINESS.

A.

Review of Degrees (D 1188).

Postponed.

B. Tuition Remission for Graduate Research Assistants (D 1202-1203).

Postponed.

   
XI. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS — None.

XII. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR — None.

XIII. ADJOURNMENT.

The meeting adjourned at 3:55 P.M.




Distributed through the Faculty Council web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on April 12, 2001. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.



1231


 

APPENDIX

Statement to the Faculty Council
March 19, 2001

Larry R, Faulkner, President
University of Texas at Austin

On this occasion, I believe that it is important for me to comment on circumstances and events connected with the recent display on the plaza in front of Gregory Gym. I regret that I cannot offer these remarks in person; however I have a long-standing commitment to participate at an international conference important to our Latin American connections. Accordingly, I am asking Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson to read this statement on my behalf. It is also being made available in written form to you and to the public.

Permission to mount the display was requested several weeks beforehand by a registered student organization. Because it was physically much larger than could have been accommodated on the West Mall, the student organization asked to use the Main Mall. Their request was denied in the office of the Dean of Students, and it was denied again upon appeal to the Vice President for Student Affairs. It was denied a third time when appeal was made to me.  The basis for denial in all three instances was that the Dean of Students does not schedule exhibits such as this on the Main Mall.  This is in keeping with authority granted that office under applicable University rules for use of campus facilities by registered student organizations.  At that point, the leadership of the student organization shifted their request to focus on areas other than the West Mall where the University does permit physical displays. In the wake of the closure of Speedway, the University has, in fact, been offering the resulting pedestrian space as an alternative to the West Mall. In addition, some student organizations had previously been allowed to use the Gregory Gym Plaza for displays.

I will not go into the details surrounding the requests and demands made by the student organization and the responses from the University, except to say that the student leadership had engaged counsel and many of their communications were of a legal nature. Because of this turn, the General Counsel of the UT System was consulted. The decisions that were ultimately made concerning permission for the display were those understood to be required by our institutional obligations under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

This episode has highlighted several areas where our policies and broader understandings are much less than secure. Here are some of the more important questions that people have raised:

  1. Does the University have the right to restrict displays on the basis of content when it is deemed offensive in particular ways by members of our community? If so, what would be the basis for decision?

  2. Does the University have the right to limit displays in scale? If so, what would be allowed, and how would the limitations be communicated?

  3. Is it appropriate to continue to use the Gregory Gym Plaza as a site for displays sponsored by student organizations?

  4. What attributes constitute co-sponsorship by an outside organization, which is not permitted under the Regents' Rules?

  5. Is our policy on amplified sound well enough understood? Should we consider changing it?

  6. Are policies on enforcement of campus rules that are applicable to students also applicable to faculty and staff?

Only one of these questions has an easy answer. It is very clear that our policy on amplified sound is not well understood. The rule was adopted many years ago to limit disturbances to active teaching in classrooms and to the quiet scholarship proceeding in offices, libraries, and other places on the campus. It is not presently clear


1232


whether the freedom to use amplified sound during the lunch period should extend outside the three recognized rally areas  on the West Mall,  the Union Patio, and the East Mall bus circle.

The most difficult of the questions are those concerning regulation of content. It is certainly true that much, perhaps nearly all, of our community felt that the particular display at issue here went beyond civil bounds. I agree. But whether it went beyond permissible bounds is not just a legal question for our academic community, where freedom of expression is a treasured value. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that a sizable fraction of our community has been or will be offended by some form of expression. There is great peril in venturing to shield ourselves from offense. Speaking personally and officially, I would move to modify our historic tolerance only with the greatest care.

But this period does highlight our need for greater clarity of policy in several areas. Given the questions that I have listed, and still others related, I agree that it is appropriate, even necessary, for the University community to reexamine its policies. Toward that end, Vice President Vick has created a special committee chaired by Dean Sharon Justice to consider the student-related policies bearing on questions like those identified above. I invite the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility to consider the issues in parallel with and in collaboration with the Sharon Justice Committee. And I invite the Faculty Council Executive Committee to maintain a continuing interest in the work of both committees, with the intention of testing the need for legislation in this body bearing on the questions at issue.

The display on Gregory Gym Plaza gave rise to extraordinary passion on both sides' passion such that a continuing, strong presence of police was required. At one point, events escalated to the point where a scuffle occurred and one of our faculty members, Professor Mia Carter, was injured. I am personally sorry that matters evolved as they did and that Professor Carter, or anyone else, suffered injury of any kind. I do not know all of the details that led to this incident. No one may ever know all of them. What I do know is that it is not in keeping with the idea of a university that our members should be physically harmed. The University Police serve with great difficulty in such situations, and in my experience, they are dedicated to protecting our academic society 's values and its safety. Their most immediate need is for greater clarity concerning our expectations in situations such as that encountered in this case.  Whatever institutional fault exists does not belong to them.

Although I am not present, Provost Ekland-Olson, Vice President Ohlendorf, and Vice President Clubb are with you now as is Cheryl Wood, the representative from the Office of the Dean of Students. All of them have some knowledge of the relevant events and issues and are available to address questions.

I appreciate your interest in the health of our community and your attention now.