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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

FIRST REGULAR MEETING OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL FOR 2006-2007

The University of Texas at Austin
Monday, September 18, 2006
Main Building, Room 212
2:15 P.M.


ORDER OF BUSINESS


I. REPORT OF THE SECRETARY (D 4999-5010) — Sue Alexander Greninger.

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

A. Minutes of the Special Faculty Council Meeting of May 8, 2006 (D 4837-4838).

B. Minutes of the Regular Faculty Council Meeting of May 8, 2006 (D 4839-4848).

III. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT — William Powers Jr.

A. Comments by the President.

B. Questions to the President. (See Appendix.)

IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR— Linda L. Golden.

V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT — Douglas C. Burger.

VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS — None.

VII. NEW BUSINESS.

A. Community Oriented Policing (COPS) program — Officer Scott Hinderer, University Police Department.

VIII. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.

A. Motion from the Educational Policy Committee on Curricular Reform (D 5011-5019) — Archie Holmes (committee chair; associate professor, electrical and computer engineering).

IX. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.

A. Save the date for a holiday party at Professor Martha Hilley’s home on December 17, 2006.

B. UT@123 and Installation of UT President William Powers Jr., will be held Friday, September 29, 2006, at 3:30 p.m. at Bass Concert Hall.

C. Joint Meeting of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate and the UT Faculty Council will be held at UT on March 5, 2007.

D. Send comments and questions on the Educational Policy Committee Undergraduate Curricular Reform motion to tfcr@uts.cc.utexas.edu.

X. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR.

XI. ADJOURNMENT.


Sue A. Greninger, Secretary
The Faculty Council


Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on September 14, 2006. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.


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APPENDIX

August 31, 2006

Dear President Powers,

Since last February you said that I should not take a vow of silence, I have 3 sets of simple, related questions.

The first concerns policies connected with admissions and academic achievement.

The second concerns the leasing of sports sky boxes and their educational use.

The third concerns the values we take active steps to promote iconographically.

Answering these questions should not take much time. The simple facts can, I am sure, be easily gathered by staff. The first set might require a simple review of the academic files of some 2005-2006 athlete-students, and the second set a call to the leasing office of our NCAA Football program.

You may choose the option of answering them in writing to be 'read into' the minutes.  That way the questions and your answers do not have to take up  air time at the actual council meeting in September.

Thank you in advance for answering these questions. They will give us a good view of the priorities and educational standards that we are now using.

MY FIRST SET OF QUESTIONS IS:

(1a) In an article of July 10, 2006 (Austin American-Statesman  Ralph K. Haurwitz) we are informed that basketball coach Rick Barnes, whose salary was increased between $400,000-500,000 to $1.8 million for 2006-2007, is also eligible for academic performance bonuses, if his team does well academically.  It was reported on July 10 that "Barnes' academic award, if any, hasn't been calculated yet for this [2005-2006] year."

By now the calculations must have been made.

What were the criteria for this bonus and which ones were achieved this year?

How much money was paid out?

(1b) I discussed with Bruce Walker, director of admissions, what mechanisms were used to admit athlete-students whose academic profiles fall far below the average student body profile.

The men's basketball athlete-students for 2005-2006 were a clear example.

The average of their SAT scores was 873.

This is a staggering ca. 330-370 points below the range of average SAT's over the last ten years for all UT students (between 1205-1242).

(NOTE: The average for all students is already lowered by low athletics scores such as these!)

I assume that at least some of my colleagues share my concern as to whether it is in the best educational interests of students with such profiles to be pursuing degrees at UT Austin.

Students with such profiles, even if they were not distracted by the long practice hours and travel of 'Sweet Sixteen quality' basketball, would find UT difficult.

If they pull through by means of judicious course selection or by having batteries of tutors and academic overseers, they are not really getting the kind of education that serious academics want them to get.


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And this is not even to consider the effects that students with such academic profiles have on classroom dynamics and therefore on the quality of educational experience of other students.

Bruce Walker explained clearly that, in granting such 'exceptional admissions',  individual cases are examined and that there is a mechanism whereby even a non-athlete-student whose academic profile has weaknesses--we used the example of a talented musician or artist--may be admitted via a presidential scholarship.

Would you or Bruce Walker give us some good faith (and non-vague and non-anecdotal) figures for the following questions?

(1c) How many such presidential scholarships were given out to non-athlete-students in 2005-2006 and what were their average SAT scores?

(1d) How many athlete-students participating in major sports (men's football, baseball and basketball and women's basketball) in 2005-2006 were admitted with serious shortcomings (say SAT's below 1005)?

If you are unable to answer these questions, may I request that these statistics be researched and made available to the Faculty Council by the Standing Committees for Admissions and Registration and/or Educational Policy.

MY SECOND SET OF QUESTIONS IS:

On the Longhorns texassports.com commercial web site that is linked to the University of Texas at Austin educational web site, we read:

Football Stadium Suites: SOLD OUT FOR 2005-06 The Longhorn Foundation markets the 62 private stadium suites within Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (14 on the 8th floor of Belmont Hall on the stadium west side; 28 on the 9th floor and 24 on the 8th floor of Reese M. Rowling Hall on the stadium east side). Suites are leased for three, five or seven years. Lease prices are set by UT Athletics, and a significant portion of the annual costs for the suites is up to 80 percent tax deductible.

(2a) What are the current leasing rates of these sky boxes?

Patti Ohlendorf in discussing (February 8, 2006 Cox News Service Ralph K. Haurwitz) the current $150-million stadium expansion is quoted as saying, ""And there will be a portion - I think one floor - not yet finished out that will have some future university use."

(2b) Taking as a given that legal minds are precise with words and their implications, does this statement imply that most of the rest of the project, i.e., the sports component, is dedicated to non-university uses?

(2c) If so, then why is there an up-to-80% tax deduction for contributions to the sports programs as contributions to our educational institution?

BACKGROUND TO QUESTION 3:

It was reported in the Austin American-Statesman (John Maher, "Nine-foot Campbell Statue on the Way" August 16, 2006) that  "[a]ccording to the current University of Texas System Board of Regents rules, 'No gift of statuary depicting a living person shall be accepted by an institution, unless intended for display in a museum or for addition to the collection of works of art for display in a museum'"; but that San Antonio oilman James Nixon led a movement that "credits UT president emeritus Peter Flawn, vice president Patty Ohlendorf and former president Larry Faulkner with keeping the bureaucracy moving and getting the statue [of Earl Campbell] its place on campus."

So we will soon have on campus statues of:

1. confederate general Albert Sydney Johnston;

2. U.S. secy of war and president of the Confederate States Jefferson Davis;

3. Texas governor James Stephen Hogg;

4. U.S. president Woodrow Wilson;


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5. U.S. president George Washington;

6. civil rights leader Martin Luther King;

7. political leader and educator Barbara Jordan,

8. civil rights leader Cesar Chavez;

9. U.T. sports donor Joe Jamail;

10. U.T. football coach Darrel Royal;

11. U.T. football player Earl Campbell.

It is conspicuous here that the living figures on this list (the only exceptions to regental rules against statuary of living people?) are all sports figures (a donor, a coach and a player).

Likewise conspicuous among the statues of the dead is the absence of any human beings who are remembered primarily for exemplifying or championing the traditional values of scholarship and teaching, scientific and humanistic, at UT Austin.  (NOTE: Barbara Jordan's tenure at the LBJ School came after her retirement from the distinguished political career that made her famous.)

Simply put, the score here, as in so many other things at UT Austin, is UT sports 3, UT academics 0.

MY THIRD SET OF QUESTIONS THEN IS

(3a) Is it true that regental rules still prohibit statues of living humans?

(3b) If so, why or how were these particular exceptions made?

(3c) What message do these particular exceptions transmit about the priorities of (y)our institution?

(3d) What precedent did granting these exceptions set?

(3e) In the interests of some semblance, not of balance, which pragmatists among us realize is completely unrealistic, but of putting academics on the statuary scoreboard, would you support an initiative to identify one deceased and one still-living UT academic who would be worthy of memorializing in statuary at UT Austin?

(3f) If so, what do you think of the merits of former UT president Homer Price Rainey as a candidate for the deceased category? His conspicuous presidential courage in the 1930's and 40's in standing up for true educational values and the intellectual freedom of faculty against political and regental intervention has never seen its equal in the UT president's office before or after his tenure.

You and other members of UT Austin community might like to read the New Handbook of Texas entry on President Rainey, while you consider the merits of this proposal.

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/RR/fra54.html

(3g) If not, why not?

Thank you again.

Tom Palaima Classics FC member 2006-2008


  Updated 2013 October 18
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