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Jump to New Business — Proposal from the Faculty Grievance Committee to Create an Office of the Faculty Ombudspersons (D 1700-1701)



Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of January 28, 2002.


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty


January 28, 2002

The fourth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2001-2002 was held in Room 212 of the Main Building on Monday, January 28, 2002, at 2:15 P.M.


Present: Mark I. Alpert, Katherine M. Arens, Neal E. Armstrong, Matthew J. Bailey, Joyce L. Banks, Glen S. Baum, Gerard H. BĂľhague, David G. Bogard, Dean A. Bredeson, Kathryn E. Brown, Cindy I. Carlson, Richard L. Cleary, Donald G. Davis, Patrick J. Davis, Lesley A. Dean-Jones, Thomas W. Dison, John R. Durbin, Larry R. Faulkner, Alan W. Friedman, John C. (Jack) Gilbert, Michael H. Granof, Lita A. Guerra, Marvin L. Hackert, Kevin P. Hegarty, James L. Hill, Sharon D. Horner, Julie R. Irwin, Judith A. Jellison, Ward W. Keeler, Karrol A. Kitt, Stefan M. Kostka, David R. Kracman, Steven W. Leslie, William S. Livingston, Glenn Y. Masada, Francis L. Miksa, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Melissa L. Olive, Alba A. Ortiz, Thomas G. Palaima, Bruce P. Palka, Esther L. Raizen, Linda E. Reichl, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Victoria Rodriguez, David J. Saltman, Juan M. Sanchez, Cynthia W. Shelmerdine, Janet Staiger, Michael P. Starbird, Teresa A. Sullivan, Frances Elizabeth Valdez, James W. Vick, James R. Yates.

Absent: Anthony P. Ambler (excused), Efraim P. Armendariz, Victor L. Arnold, Brigitte L. Bauer (excused), Harold W. Billings, Douglas G. Biow, Lynn E. Blais, Daniel A. Bonevac, Joanna M. Brooks (excused), Michael J. Churgin (excused), Dana L. Cloud (excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Andrew P. Dillon, John D. Dollard, Edwin Dorn, John D. Downing, Minette E. Drumwright, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Robert Freeman, Omer R. Galle (excused), Dorie J. Gilbert (excused), Nell H. Gottleib (excused), Donald A. Hale (excused),* Von Matthew (Matt) Hammond, Barbara J. Harlow (excused), Thomas M. Hatfield, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Martin W. Kevorkian, Robert C. Koons (excused), Richard W. Lariviere, David A. Laude (excused), David R. Maidment, Robert G. May, Patricia C. Ohlendorf (excused), David M. Parichy, Theodore E. Pfeifer, Elmira Popova, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Johnnie D. Ray, Kevin Robnett, Dolores Sands, Mark R. V. Southern (excused), Salomon A. Stavchansky (excused), Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Janice S. Todd (excused), Jarrad Allen Toussant, Daniel A. Updegrove, Phyllis Boyd Waelder, N. Bruce Walker, Ellen A. Wartella, Mary F. Wheeler, Barbara W. White, Michael P. Young.

Voting Members:
Non-Voting Members:
Total Members:

*Correction made on April 22, 2002, to reflect excused absence.



There were no questions about the written report (D 1656-1659).


A. The minutes of the Faculty Council meeting of December 10, 2001, were approved by voice vote (D 1660-1664).


A. Comments by the President.

President Faulkner introduced Kevin Hegarty, vice president and chief financial officer, who made a special report on the UT Austin budget picture and the need for a proposed new infrastructure fee. [Secretary's remark: After the January 28 meeting, and before the proposal was to be presented to the Board of Regents, the proposal went through several changes. One of those was a change in the name, from an "infrastructure fee" to an "infrastructure charge." The changes, as well as the ultimate action taken, are outside the scope of these minutes.]

Vice President Hegarty began by summarizing why current sources of revenue will not support the maintenance or enhancement of the University and its mission. (The supporting figures referred to below are in Appendix A of these minutes.)

Figure 1 shows a decline in state financial support. In the 1960s the real growth (allowing for inflation) in state support increased by 10.8%, while in the 1990s it decreased by 0.8%. Figure 2 shows that for other UT System academic institutions the real growth in the 1990s was 2.9%, and for statewide academic institutions, excluding UT Austin and Texas A&M, the real growth in the 1990s was 1.7%.

Figure 3 displays the resources available from appropriations plus tuition and fees, on a per-student basis, at six national leaders in public higher education, including UT Austin. For UT Austin, Available University Fund income is included in the total. These resources are those that support the core academic enterprise at each institution. The figure shows that both the total resources per student and the amount per student from state appropriations are notably less at UT Austin than at the other five institutions.

Vice President Hegarty said the University has been able to maintain itself as a leading institution by deferring plant maintenance, repair, and renovation; by increasing student fees; by granting below-market salary increases to faculty and staff; by expanding research grants and contracts; and by an increasing reliance on gifts and endowments.

Figure 4 shows how student fees have helped. Since 1990, there is a total gap of $702 million between the actual funding of the University from general revenue and the funding that would have been realized if UT Austin had received the average for higher education in Texas as a whole. Over that same period, UT Austin has instituted and collected $346 million in student fees.

The vice president then gave an overview of a six-year projection for the core university budget (which excludes research projects by grants and contracts, and budgets for auxiliary enterprises such as housing and food, parking, and intercollegiate athletics). He divided the core budget into three parts: essential operating budget, essential repair and renovation budget, and essential capital budget. He concentrated on the repair and renovation budget, which is related closely to the proposed new infrastructure fee. He pointed out that a large fraction of UT Austin's space was built in the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s, with a particularly large portion built in the '60s and '70s. The University is facing rising costs associated with the maintenance of facilities in their third to sixth decades, especially those entering their fourth and fifth decades.



The six-year projection for the core university budget exposes some of the consequences if the University does not obtain substantial additional funding. The consequences include a remaining deficit in the core operating budget, a failure to remain nationally competitive in faculty salaries, a reduction in services and programs, buildings deteriorated or vacated, cancellation or deferral of essential building and safety projects, a continuing failure to compete satisfactorily with staff salaries in the local market, an inability to reduce the student/faculty ratio, a shortage of start-up funds for new faculty, and an inability to introduce program initiatives to cope with a changing world.

Vice President Hegarty said the administration's immediate plans to meet these challenges had three components: the adoption of an infrastructure fee; aim for full recovery of indirect costs and a real growth of 1% or better in legislatively-appropriated funds in the next legislative session; and a continuation to address other possible sources of savings and revenue.

The plan for the proposed infrastructure fee, as presented at the meeting, follows:

  • Flat fee, charged for fall and spring semesters only, to all students beginning in FY 2002-03
  • FY 2002-03 proposed fee:
    • $230 per semester for students enrolled in 7 or more hours
    • $115 per semester for students enrolled in 1 to 6 hours
  • FY 2002-03 budget impact of $21.4 million, which would grow each year
  • Proposed uses:
    • Repair and renovation
    • Bonding for essential capital budget
    • Scholarships: TA/AI and graduate fellowship tuition benefits and 15% to cover costs for students in need

The proposal was to be presented to the members of the Board of Regents at their February meeting.

Following Vice President Hegarty's presentation, President Faulkner made some general comments about the budget and the University's future. He said that to project the University forward in a responsible way, and to participate among the leaders in higher education, the University would require $150 million in a combination of new recurring funding or recurring budget reductions over the next five years.

B. Questions to the President.

John C. Gilbert (chemistry and biochemistry) asked the president where the proposed infrastructure fee would place the University relative to its peer institutions, in terms of total cost to each student. The president said that UT Austin is somewhat below the mean of leading peer institutions now, and believed it would come closer to the mean at the end of five years.

President Faulkner also said that in putting a financial picture together "the object is not to terrorize you, or to make people feel desperate about the future." He said it is "to look in a clear-eyed way at what it will take for this institution to advance itself and to compete effectively on the national stage."


Chair Bruce Palka (mathematics) reminded members that President Faulkner would give a presentation of UT @ 2015 the following day. The presentation would cover possibilities and problems the University is likely to meet in the years to come.

The chair said the Faculty Council Executive Committee was considering possible action in response to the UT System's rejection of the University's Policy on Teaching Continuity and Restructured Faculty Workload upon the Birth or Adoption of a Child (D 938-940).








A. Resolution in Support of the Creation of an Infrastructure Fee at The University of Texas at Austin (D 1665). See Appendix B.

The resolution was introduced by Michael Granof (accounting), chair of the Faculty Budget Advisory Committee. He said that in response to student requests, the resolution asked that at least part of the student fees be directed toward aid, to assure that no student would be prevented from attending the University due to the proposed increase in fees.

There was no discussion, and the resolution was approved by voice vote without dissent.

B. Resolution in Support of International Studies at The University of Texas at Austin (D 1651).

This was introduced by Peter Hess (Germanic languages), chair of the International Programs and Studies Committee. He said that the resolution was motivated by the events of September 11, which had revealed that the nation is unprepared to deal with events of that magnitude. He said that because English has emerged as a global language, we have become so dependent on others speaking English that we have become unable to engage with foreigners in their native languages and unable to understand their cultures.

The Council approved an amendment introduced by Francis Miksa (library and information science) to replace, in the first sentence of the resolution, "producing informed global citizens" by "education that includes an awareness of global issues."

Professor Gilbert believed that an administrator could interpret the resolution as saying, among other things, that the Council was in favor of an increased foreign language requirement for undergraduates. Professor Hess said the committee had tried to avoid language that specific, and was trying to raise points for future debate.

Glenn Masada (mechanical engineering) said he was opposed to the resolution because it called for strengthening foreign language learning, international area studies, and experiences abroad. He believed many faculty members would consider those issues important, but not critical.

Cindy Carlson (educational psychology) said that although she supported international studies, she was opposed to the resolution. She would prefer something more specific, so the Council would know exactly what was being proposed.

Joyce Banks (graduate student assembly) said it was her understanding that the International Education Fee scholarship already covered some of the items in the resolution, and she feared endorsing the resolution would imply endorsement of an increase in that fee.


  Esther Raizen (Middle Eastern languages and cultures) said she supported a strengthening of international studies, but was concerned about the safety of students studying abroad. She mentioned specifically a decision by the University in recent months to cancel an exchange program with Israel. Professor Hess said the committee was also concerned with such issues and had been trying to address them. Professor Raizen said she could not support the resolution, because it ignored this important question.

James Yates (educational administration) believed that because the resolution dealt with curricular issues, such as foreign languages, it should be referred to the Educational Policy Committee.

Elizabeth Richmond-Garza (English) asked Professor Hess whether the intent was to be a curricular resolution or an articulation of opinion, policy, and guiding principles. Professor Hess said that it was meant to be the latter. In light of that, Professor Richmond-Garza said she would favor referring the resolution back to the International Programs and Studies Committee. Thomas Palaima (classics) agreed.

The secretary agreed that the resolution should not be referred to the Educational Policy Committee, but said he was surprised by the opposition to the resolution as it was. He had interpreted the resolution as being a statement of general feeling, and not one that was prescribing specific changes in policy or funding.

Professor Yates said he believed the language was too specific to allow for the secretary's interpretation. But he was convinced by others that it would be better to refer the resolution back to the original committee rather than the Educational Policy Committee. Thus, he withdrew his motion.

Professor Hess agreed to convey the Council's comments to his committee, and it was understood that some form of the resolution would be introduced at a later meeting. Professor Carlson urged the committee to aim for something that was more specific.

C. Proposal from the Faculty Grievance Committee to Create an Office of the Faculty Ombudspersons (D 1652-1655).

The proposal was introduced by Martha Hilley (music), chair of the Faculty Faculty Grievance Committee. She said a similar proposal (D&P 17040-17043) had been approved by the Council on May 20, 2000, but was not approved by the president. This new proposal was drafted by an ad hoc committee whose members were Alan Friedman (English), Julius G. Getman (law), David Nancarrow (theatre and dance), Alba Ortiz (special education), and Janet Staiger (radio-television-film), all but one of whom was a former chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee. This committee had met a number of times with the provost and appropriate members of his staff, and also with the secretary.

Professor Gilbert inquired about the exact nature of the appointment and the compensation, including salary and relief from teaching. Professor Friedman said the wording was the result of negotiations with the provost.

Professor Gilbert also asked about the relationship between the ombudsperson and the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution. He wondered if it would be possible to use that center until it was established clearly that an ombudsperson, as recommended in the proposal, was needed. Professor Hilley discussed the history and experience behind the proposal, and said she felt that it was important that faculty grievances be dealt with by a member of the faculty. Professor Staiger reinforced those comments.


  The secretary pursued the question raised by Professor Gilbert about the compensation, and said he doubted the load for the ombudsperson would be as heavy as the load for a department chairperson. Professor Ortiz said it was important that the compensation be sufficient to attract someone well qualified for the job, and said the level of compensation was intended to be flexible and subject to negotiation.

Michael Starbird (mathematics) said he opposed the proposal, because he believed there were more important uses for the funds, and we had heard earlier in the meeting about the financial problems the University now faces.

Professor Palaima said it was important the proposed position be sufficiently well supported to attract someone well qualified, but perhaps the proposal should be referred back to the committee to clarify what the cost would be.

Mark Alpert (marketing administration) said that, based on his experience on the Faculty Grievance Committee, he supported the resolution.

Linda Reichl (physics) said that she had also served on the Faculty Grievance Committee, and she supported the resolution strongly. She said we had heard earlier in the meeting about how much the University would need to spend on buildings, and she believed that the relatively small amount this proposal might cost could have a huge impact on improving the climate for faculty and students.

Professor Gilbert moved that, because of the dwindling number in attendance, the motion be tabled until the next meeting. That motion did not receive a second, so he asked if there was a quorum. There was not.




The meeting adjourned at 3:47 P.M.

Distributed through the Faculty Council web site ( on February 12, 2002. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.




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Michael H. Granof (professor, accounting) submitted the following resolution on behalf of the Faculty Budget Advisory Committee. The secretary has classified this resolution as general legislation. The Faculty Council will take action on the resolution at its meeting on January 28, 2002.


John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty



The Faculty Council endorses the administration's proposal to create an infrastructure fee to be charged to students beginning with the academic year 2002-2003.

Distributed through the Faculty Council web site ( on February 12, 2002. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.

We note that in the past decade The University of Texas revenues have decreased substantially when adjusted for the impact of inflation. Our level of state funding has lagged not only behind our peer institutions throughout the country, but also behind other colleges and universities within Texas. The consequences have been an inability of the University to

  • perform routine maintenance and renovation of classrooms, laboratories and other teaching facilities;
  • reduce the student-teacher ratio to below what is an unacceptably high level;
  • maintain a salary structure that enables us to attract and retain top-notch faculty and staff and keeps us competitive with other universities both within the United States and abroad.

We emphasize that even with the added fees, the tuition and fees charged to our students will be considerably lower than those charged by our peer institutions in other states. We further note that a portion of the fee will be used to cover the additional costs of students in need.

This fee increase will benefit not only the university-at-large, but the students in particular. The economic value of the students' education depends upon the present and future reputation of the institution from which they receive it. The University of Texas cannot expect to achieve its constitutionally mandated objective of becoming a university of the first-class without adequate financial resources.

This legislation was posted on the Faculty Council web site ( on January 23, 2002. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.