March 23, 2009


A. State of the University Budget.

Mr. Kevin Hegarty (vice president and chief financial officer) gave a PowerPoint presentation titled “University Operating Budget and Related Topics,” which is included in Appendix A. Vice President Hegarty said the purpose of his presentation was to share a simplified version of UT Austin’s budget so Council members could gain an increased understanding of the three main segments and some of the other factors related to the budget. Of UT Austin’s almost $2.1 billion budget, slightly over half is directed toward the academic core that covers the basic education of UT students and is derived primarily from tuition and general revenue. About one-third of the budget falls in the academic enhancement segment, which comes primarily from research and to a lesser extent from gifts. The third component involves the self-supporting or auxiliary units, which must generate their own funds to operate; the largest of these are athletics, housing and food, and continuing education. Vice President Hegarty presented more detailed information about the sources and uses of funds in the academic core segment and discussed the symbiotic relationship that exists between decreased general revenue funding from the state and the need for increased tuition. He also presented data supporting the finding that deregulation of tuition has produced a moderating effect on the total cost to attend UT Austin and said he felt the process had become much more transparent since deregulation had been enacted.

With regard to the financial stability, Vice President Hegarty said UT Austin is in better shape than many other institutions due to its strong cash position, demand for its services, and the relative positive economic outlook for the state. He commented that the chief financial officers of many institutions, including some of the private, prestigious ones, are concerned daily about their cash positions and their ability to make payrolls; he was pleased that this was not something that was true here at UT Austin. To illustrate the extent of diminishing state support, he compared the portion of UT Austin’s academic budget that came from state general revenue funds in 1975-76 with that for 2008-09. Over this 33-year period, state support had fallen from 83% of the total academic budget to only 31%. Lastly, he explained the flow of funds from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) to the Available University Fund (AUF) and how the AUF is split between UT Austin and Texas A&M. The result is that UT Austin receives approximately 30% of the total AUF from the PUF.

B. Report of the Committee to Nominate Faculty Members for Appointment to the Intercollegiate Athletics Councils for Men and for Women and to the University Co-op Board of Directors (D 6887-6888).

Chair Hillis presented the following panels of nominees that had been selected by the Faculty Council Executive Committee from nominations submitted by members of the General Faculty.

Panel of faculty nominees for possible appointment in 2009 for a four-year term to the Intercollegiate Athletics Council for Men:
Alan K. Cline, professor, computer sciences
Diana M. DiNitto, professor, school of social work
Miguel Ferguson, associate professor, school of social work
Warren A. Hunt, professor, department of computer sciences
Tasha S. Philpot, associate professor, department of government

Panel of faculty nominees for possible appointment in 2009 for a four-year term to the Intercollegiate Athletics Council for Women:
Karrol A. Kitt, associate professor, human ecology
Tessie Jo Moon, professor, mechanical engineering
Thomas G. Palaima, professor, classics
Barbara W. White, dean, social work
Marjorie C. Woods, associate professor, English

Panel of faculty nominees for possible appointment in 2009 for a four-year term to the University Co-op Board of Directors:
Minette E. Drumwright, associate professor, advertising
Robert Freeman, professor, music
Robert H. Wilson, professor, LBJ school

Chair Hillis called for a separate vote on each of the panels of nominees after determining there were no additional nominations from the floor. Each of the three panels received unanimous approval by the Faculty Council by a voice vote and were forwarded to President Powers for his consideration.

C. Report from the Staff Council Ad Hoc Committee on the Ombudsperson Issue.

Ms. Erin Waneck (committee chair and ex officio staff council chair) gave a presentation explaining the need for a Staff Ombudsperson and asking that the Faculty Council consider approving a resolution in support of the creation of such a position. The information she presented closely paralleled that included in her PowerPoint; therefore, readers are directed to review the PowerPoint, which is attached in Appendix B. Only a few comments not addressed in the PowerPoint are included here.

Ms. Waneck explained that her awareness of the need for a Staff Ombudsperson grew from her service as chair of the Staff Council for three terms where she ended up as a de facto ombudsperson; as a result, her quest to gain approval for such a position had now been underway for three years. She emphasized that UT’s staff members generally perceive this as an equity issue since the students and faculty already have their respective ombudspersons in place. She also said there was concern about the fairness of the following personnel practice at UT Austin, which she described as follows:
Currently, if an employee goes to file a grievance against a supervisor or manager, that grievance goes to the employee’s personnel file, and it follows them from job to job. There’s no record of that grievance in the manager’s file, so if you have a revolving door of employees leaving, and they’re filing grievances against the same supervisor, there’s absolutely no record of that at all. That’s a problem for us.
Ms. Waneck said she would submit a copy of the resolution approved by Student Government supporting the creation of a Staff Ombudsperson position to Debbie Roberts in the Office of the General Faculty and Faculty Council so it would be available for interested Council members to review. Chair Hillis asked if Ms. Waneck would be submitting a draft resolution for Council consideration or if she was expecting the Faculty Council Executive Committee to prepare one. Chair Hillis indicated he would meet with Ms. Waneck to develop a plan for the preparation of a resolution.

D. Resolution to Adopt a Bicycle Friendly Policy on the UT Campus (D 6889).

Professor Gordon S. Novak (computer sciences and Parking and Traffic Policies Committee chair) introduced the following resolution that had been approved and submitted for Council consideration by his committee:
UT should adopt the following policy: It is the policy of UT that planning and construction of facilities on the UT campus shall include the provision of safe, usable and reasonable bicycle routes to and within campus, without obstacles inhibiting bicycle use, and providing adequate bicycle parking. The facilities should inform bicyclists that they must yield to pedestrians.

It is the intention that "usable and reasonable" includes:

1. Dismount zones should be considered only after all other alternatives have been explored. A dismount zone should be limited in distance and should only be used if other options for safe and effective pedestrian and bicycle intersections are infeasible. Where possible, UT will provide parallel bicycle routes to allow cyclists to travel around pedestrian-only areas.
2. Bike routes shall involve no detours that are long or uphill. Cyclists should not have to detour more than 100 meters on each end, compared to a direct route. A detour should not require a cyclist to climb a significant hill.
3. Bike routes shall be based on actual traffic and go where people want to go, i.e., there must be reasonable bike routes to and within the heart of campus where most of the traffic is.
Professor Novak gave a PowerPoint presentation that included the committee’s comprehensive rationale for why the resolution should be approved; readers are directed to review the PowerPoint, which is attached in Appendix C, for the details of his presentation.

Professor Gretchen Ritter (government and women’s and gender studies) asked the following two questions:
(1) Had there been any effort to work with the city of Austin to develop bike routes leading to campus?
(2) What was Professor Novak’s definition of adequate bicycle parking on campus?

Professor Novak responded that he had occasional contact with personnel at the city but not regular contact. He had heard that there were plans to make Nueces a bike corridor down to the river, and there had been a bike lane installed on Speedway. He said the operational definition of the necessity for new bicycle racks was determined when there were “bicycles chained to every pole in sight.” However, he thought there were a number of racks available on campus and noted that individuals with high value bikes can rent lockers inside the parking garages for additional protection.

Since there were no further questions or discussion, Chair Hillis called for the vote, and the resolution unanimously passed by voice vote.

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