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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

 

Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of October 15, 2001.


<signed>

John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty



MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF

October 15, 2001


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

ATTENDANCE.

Present: Mark I. Alpert, Anthony P. Ambler, Katherine M. Arens, Joyce L. Banks, Gerard H. Béhague, Lynn E. Blais, David G. Bogard, Joanna M. Brooks, Kathryn E. Brown, Cindy I. Carlson, Michael J. Churgin, Dana L. Cloud, Donald G. Davis, Patrick J. Davis, Lesley A. Dean-Jones, Thomas W. Dison, John D. Dollard, Minette E. Drumwright, John R. Durbin, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Larry R. Faulkner, Alan W. Friedman, Omer R. Galle, Dorie J. Gilbert, John C. (Jack) Gilbert, Nell H. Gottlieb, Michael H. Granof, Lita A. Guerra, Marvin L. Hackert, Von Matthew (Matt) Hammond, Barbara J. Harlow, James L. Hill, Sharon D. Horner, Julie R. Irwin, Ward W. Keeler, Martin W. Kevorkian, Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, David R. Kracman, William S. Livingston, David R. Maidment, Glenn Y. Masada, Francis L. Miksa, Melvin E. L. Oakes, Thomas G. Palaima, Bruce P. Palka, Theodore E. Pfeifer, Esther L. Raizen, Linda E. Reichl, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Victoria Rodriguez, Juan M. Sanchez, Cynthia W. Shelmerdine, Mark R. V. Southern, Janet Staiger, Michael P. Starbird, Salomon A. Stavchansky, Janice S. Todd, Jarrad Allen Toussant, Frances Elizabeth Valdez, James W. Vick, N. Bruce Walker, Ellen A. Wartella, James R. Yates.

Absent: Efraim P. Armendariz, Neal E. Armstrong (excused), Victor L. Arnold (excused), Matthew J. Bailey, Brigitte L. Bauer (excused), Harold W. Billings, Douglas G. Biow, Daniel A. Bonevac (excused), Dean A. Bredeson (excused), Richard L. Cleary (excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Edwin Dorn, John D. Downing, Robert Freeman, Donald A.Hale (excused),* Thomas M. Hatfield, Judith A. Jellison (excused), Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Stefan M. Kostka (excused), Richard W. Lariviere, David A. Laude, Steven W. Leslie, Robert G. May, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Melissa L. Olive (excused), Alba A. Ortiz (excused), David M. Parichy, Elmira Popova, William C. Powers, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Johnnie D. Ray, Kevin Robnett, David J. Saltman (excused), Dolores Sands, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Teresa A. Sullivan, Daniel A. Updegrove, Mary F. Wheeler, Barbara W. White, Michael P. Young.

Voting Members:
53
present,
21
absent,
74
total.
Non-Voting Members:
11
present,
21
absent,
32
total.
Total Members:
64
present,
42
absent,
106
total.


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


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I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

There were no questions about the written report (D 1492-1496).

II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

A. The minutes of the special Faculty Council meeting of May 7, 2001, were approved by voice vote (D 1320-1321).

B. The minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of May 7, 2001, were approved by voice vote (D 1322-1334).

III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.

A.
Comments by the President.

President Faulkner said that, because of the events that had begun on September 11, the administration had been looking at all aspects of the way security was managed on the campus. This included the security of information systems, materials, special facilities, events, and research activities. He said the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, directed by Erle Janssen, was an office of very high proficiency and had a good grasp of security issues associated with various kinds of substances, including biological materials. He also said the campus police had been working extremely hard since September 11, often putting in 16-hour days per person during that period.

Faulkner reviewed some remarks from his State of the University Address concerning the University's endowment, which he said had been slightly misrepresented in the press. He said that UT Austin receives only about 45 percent of the UT System's two-thirds share of the income from the Permanent University Fund. That corresponds to an endowment of approximately $2.4 billion for UT Austin. The private endowment of UT Austin is now approximately $1.6 billion. Faulkner said he is setting a goal of increasing the private endowment by $1 billion, which, by the time the funds could be raised, would mean that the private endowment would match the public endowment. He stressed that this is in addition to the target set for the capital campaign, and would not be raised by the end of that campaign. He said the University could not maintain its standing and achieve its goals without that level of support.

In response to a question from Michael Churgin (law), the president said the figure of $1.6 billion for the private endowment included the amount held out side of UTEMPCO, which was about $0.2 billion.

B. Questions to the President.

1. From Barbara Harlow (English).

"Please discuss your (and/or the University's) policy and philosophy for dealing with 'dissent' on our campus. I raise this question in the immediate context of the extraordinary circumstances - local, national, international - catalyzed by the events of 11 September 2001, and out of a concern at your public response (in the Houston Chronicle) to the expression of political opinion and analysis by one of the University's faculty members. What can we - as faculty members of The University of Texas at Austin - anticipate from the institution's administrative officers as the nation perhaps proceeds on its path to 'war'?"

[Secretary's remark: The public response referred to was a letter which appeared on September 19, written in response to an editorial by Robert Jensen (speech


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  communication), which was published in the Houston Chronicle on September 14. The editorial and the letter are reproduced in appendices A and B to these minutes.]

Response from President Faulkner.

"The short answer is that the University's policy is what it has been for decades, which is to provide both staunch support for freedom of expression and an environment in which free expression can occur. Such support and such an environment have been realities here for a long time, and they will continue to be so.

"Events of last spring did raise a need for us to review some of our operational policies, and in response to those events, I asked several groups to examine relevant issues in particular areas. The report of the committee chaired by Dean Sharon Justice is one product of that activity. Upon the recommendation of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, I am acting now to appoint a task force to undertake a comprehensive examination of our policies and practices relating to free expression. Professor Douglas Laycock of the School of Law has consented to chair this group, which will begin work in January.

"Finally let me comment on matters connected with my published letter. In the wake of Professor Jensen's publication in the Houston Chronicle, his preceding comments on radio, and his subsequent television appearance on the Fox network, I received a flood of email messages, letters, and telephone calls, many measured and articulate, nearly all posing questions of me. Very often I was asked to define my personal views about Jensen's arguments and positions. I do not believe that I have the latitude simply to ignore inquiries from the people of this state about their university or about my views on a matter that is of high concern to them. I also do not believe that I can fabricate a response. Perhaps a private university president would have more freedom to avoid engagement.

"As president, I am obligated to do my best to maintain a spirit of community, but I am not obligated to any pretense that all ideas and all arguments have equal merit.

"My overriding obligation is to defend the University as an island of free debate and expression. I did what I thought was necessary in that direction. Please let me recall the closing two sentences in the published letter, which read as follows: 'But I also must defend the freedom granted to all citizens under the First Amendment. It is the bedrock of American liberty.' "

After the president's response, Professor Harlow said that she had submitted a letter to the president presenting background to her question, and she asked that the letter be included as part of the record. She then read the letter, which is reproduced in appendix C to these minutes.

The president replied, "I think I've made my response and I won't make any further response."

2. In response to a question from Gretchen Ritter (government, not a member of the Council), the president said he had been in contact with Senators Hutchinson and Gramm to express his strong opposition to a freeze on student visas, which had been proposed by some. He said the country's graduate programs, research programs, and programs of cultural exchange would be devastated by even a six-month moratorium on such visas.

IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

Council Chair Bruce Palka (mathematics) reported on issues being watched by the UT System Faculty Advisory Council (SYSFAC), including transfer credit, assessment/accountability, and compliance. He said that he and Patrick Davis (pharmacy, past chair of the Council) were UT Austin's regular representatives to SYSFAC for 2001-2002, and that, in addition, Martha Hilley


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  (music) was a special envoy because of her expertise on assessment and fields of study, which deals roughly with the transfer credit that students can get for courses in their major fields.

V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT — None.

VI. SPECIAL ORDERS — None.

VII. PETITIONS — None.

VIII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS — None.

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

X. NEW BUSINESS.

A. Resolution from the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (D 1497).

The resolution was introduced by Janet Staiger (radio-television-film), chair of the committee.

Dana Cloud (communication studies) said that she favored the resolution in general, but was concerned about the AAUP's statement that, as scholars and educational officers, teachers "should exercise appropriate restraint" when they speak and write as citizens. Who would define "appropriate restraint," she asked? She said that "a number of people in my own academic community and my own political community" felt that Professor Jensen's comments showed appropriate restraint, but that "President Faulkner's exercised much less restraint." She acknowledged that others would disagree.

Thomas Palaima (classics) spoke at some length about the resolution. He began by saying that he was opposed to changing the language of the AAUP statement as Professor Cloud had suggested. He felt Jensen had said many of the right things in his editorial, but thought that he should learn how to phrase them better; he added that "you just don't say certain things like that two or three days after a nationwide funeral." Palaima also said he found nothing wrong with the president's letter. He concluded by saying: "I think if we just tone down the emotional level of both letters, we get two appropriate plays of discourse. So I can sleep well at night being a colleague of both Bob Jensen and Larry Faulkner."

Robert Koons (philosophy) said that he opposed the resolution. He thought it showed a "certain presumptuousness" for the Faculty Council to give moral admonitions to the University community at large. He also was concerned that it did not address any specific incidents. He thought if it was intended to be applied to any specific example, then it should say so. Finally, he was concerned "about what will be perceived at least to be a kind of coercive niceness, and a sort of sensitivity police that's going to be sent out to assure that we don't injure anyone's feelings."

The resolution was then approved by voice vote.

XI. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS — None.

XII. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR — None.

XIII. ADJOURNMENT.

The meeting adjourned at 3:10 P.M.

Distributed through the Faculty Council web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on November 1, 2001. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.



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APPENDIX A

HoustonChronicle
Sept. 14, 2001

U.S. just as guilty of committing own violent acts
By ROBERT JENSEN

Sept. 11 was a day of sadness, anger and fear.

Like everyone in the United States and around the world, I shared the deep sadness at the deaths of thousands.

But as I listened to people around me talk, I realized the anger and fear I felt were very different, for my primary anger is directed at the leaders of this country and my fear is not only for the safety of Americans but for innocent civilians in other countries.

It should need not be said, but I will say it: The acts of terrorism that killed civilians in New York and Washington were reprehensible and indefensible; to try to defend them would be to abandon one's humanity. No matter what the motivation of the attackers, the method is beyond discussion.

But this act was no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism -- the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes -- that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime. For more than five decades throughout the Third World, the United States has deliberately targeted civilians or engaged in violence so indiscriminate that there is no other way to understand it except as terrorism. And it has supported similar acts of terrorism by client states.

If that statement seems outrageous, ask the people of Vietnam. Or Cambodia and Laos. Or Indonesia and East Timor. Or Chile. Or Central America. Or Iraq. Or Palestine. The list of countries and peoples who have felt the violence of this country is long. Vietnamese civilians bombed by the United States. Timorese civilians killed by a U.S. ally with U.S.-supplied weapons. Nicaraguan civilians killed by a U.S. proxy army of terrorists. Iraqi civilians killed by the deliberate bombing of an entire country's infrastructure.

So, my anger is directed not only at individuals who engineered the Sept. 11 tragedy, but at those who have held power in the United States and have engineered attacks on civilians every bit as tragic. That anger is compounded by hypocritical U.S. officials' talk of their commitment to higher ideals, as President Bush proclaimed "our resolve for justice and peace."

To the president, I can only say: The stilled voices of the millions killed in Southeast Asia, in Central America, in the Middle East as a direct result of U.S. policy are the evidence of our resolve for justice and peace.

Though that anger stayed with me off and on all day on Sept. 11, it quickly gave way to fear, but not the fear of "Where will the terrorists strike next?" which I heard voiced all around me. Instead, I almost immediately had to face the question: "When will the United States, without regard for civilian casualties, retaliate?" I wish the question were, "Will the United States retaliate?" But if history is a guide, it is a question only of when and where.

So, the question is which civilians will be unlucky enough to be in the way of the U.S. bombs and missiles that might be unleashed. The last time the United States responded to terrorism, the attack on its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, it was innocents in the Sudan and Afghanistan who were in the way. We were told that time around they hit only military targets, though the target in the Sudan turned out to be a pharmaceutical factory.

As I monitored television during the day on Tuesday, the talk of retaliation was in the air; in the voices of some of the national security "experts" there was a hunger for retaliation. Even the journalists couldn't resist; speculating on a military strike that might come, Peter Jennings of ABC News said, "The response is going to have to be massive," if it is to be effective.


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Let us not forget that a "massive response" will kill people, and if the pattern of past U.S. actions holds, it will kill innocents. Innocent people, just like the ones in the towers in New York and the ones on the airplanes that were hijacked. To borrow from President Bush, "mother and fathers, friends and neighbors" will surely die in a massive response.

If we are truly going to claim to be decent people, our tears must flow not only for those of our own country. People are people, and grief that is limited to those within a specific political boundary denies the humanity of others.

And if we are to be decent people, we all must demand of our government -- the government that a great man of peace, Martin Luther King Jr., once described as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" -- that the insanity stop here.

Jensen is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas in Austin.



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APPENDIX B

HoustonChronicle
Sept. 19, 2001


Jensen's words his own

In his Sept. 14 Outlook article "U.S. just as guilty of committing own violent acts," Robert Jensen was identified as holding a faculty appointment at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jensen made his remarks entirely in his capacity as a free citizen of the United States, writing and speaking under the protection of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

No aspect of his remarks is supported, condoned or officially recognized by The University of Texas at Austin. He does not speak in the University's name and may not speak in its name.

Using the same liberty, I convey my personal judgment that Jensen is not only misguided, but has become a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy.

Students must learn that there is a good deal of foolish opinion in the popular media and they must become skilled at recognizing and discounting it.

I, too, was disgusted by Jensen's article, but I also must defend his freedom to state his opinion. The First Amendment is the bedrock of American liberty.

Larry R. Faulkner, president The University of Texas at Austin



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APPENDIX C

20 September 2001

Dear President Faulkner,

I read with dismay the letter that you took it upon yourself to write to the Houston Chronicle in reply to Professor Robert Jensen's editorial published in that same paper on 12 September 2001. Your remarks reflect badly on the University's professed pursuit of excellence in critical thinking and educated public debate. Between the opening and closing sentences of your letter in which you include a perfunctory invocation of the First Amendment, you deliver yourself of an ad hominem invective against a member of our University community and a colleague. Under even the best of circumstances, such a public assault by a senior administrator against one of his/her faculty members is unwarranted. In our present circumstances, however, it is perhaps irresponsible and even potentially dangerous. As the United States prepares for war - described by some politicians as one that will be in significant part clandestine and covert and could result in untold civilian casualties, we watch as well the ominous threats of egregious curtailments of constitutional guarantees and civil liberties and the expansion of the powers of the executive branch of the government to prosecute its war without answerability either to its own citizens or to the international community. Furthermore, we are watching unfold across the country an exorbitant and deplorable series of ignorant hate crimes committed against Arab Americans, Muslims, and others taken - or mistaken - to resemble them. Your assault on Bob Jensen comes alarmingly close, I fear, to reproducing those same dangers - curtailment of civil liberties and scapegoating of individuals and groups -- as part of the public persona and intellectual engagement of the University. The University of Texas at Austin has a long, distinguished and honorable tradition of critical dissent and intellectual debate on the part of its faculty and students, and I would hope that you, as its President, and in this time of national loss and international crisis, will be able to represent that history rather than misrepresent the contributions of those of who teach and learn here.


Sincerely,
Barbara Harlow
Professor
Department of English