January 24th, 1994

  • Location: Great Hall
  • Time: 4:15 pm
  • Present: President Stephen Lewis; Deans Robert Bonner, Elizabeth McKinsey, Clement Shearer; Staffperson Ann Ness; Professors Clara Hardy, Richard Keiser, Stephen Strand, Cathy Yandell; Students Ruby Hou, Jason Hannan, Ben Johnson, Megan Spears, Sundar Srinivasan; Alumni Observer Duane Schrader, Trustee Observer Jack Eugster
  • Absent: Professor Deborah Appleman; Staffperson Martha Meier
  • Guests: Bess Dawson, Britta Iwen, Kent Crossley, Chris Youngquist, Jeanne Briggs, Joe Cardamone, Geoff Redmond, Emily Allison, Karen Griffith, Jason Wang, Paul Dickson, Andre Springborn, Jay Stetzel, Dan Schlanger, Nicole Yeftich, Greg Brown, Lisa Rolf, Christopher Czerwonka, Jay Mellstrom, Michelle Gross, Reed Busse, Ted Wyder, Andy Johnson, Sarah Ellen Johnson, Robert Valaas, Charles Zedlowski, Rachel Cook, Laura Cantor, Allison Laffen, Reuven Steinberg, Chris Snowbeck, Chad Ovel, Brett Chevaliere, Esm e Schwall, Robert Thompson, Jewelnel Davis, Diana Anderson, Judy Flinn
  • Secretary: Amii L. DeHarpporte
  • Keywords: biology building,CMC, construction, sexual assault

President Lewis called the meeting to order at 4:25 p.m. He introduced the new College Council Secretary, Amii DeHarpporte, and new member Professor Clara Hardy, who replaces Professor Chang-tai Hung. The minutes of the November 8th meeting, as recorded by member Stephen Lewis, were approved.

1. President's Report

President Lewis announced that ground will be broken for the new biology building next week, for which the construction bids have come in substantially under budget. The President noted this was also true of the CMC and Boliou projects, and that the overruns on the First Street project were only 1% of its budget.

As of December 31, all fund-raising efforts are up over last year, including capital gifts, planned gifts, and the Alumni Annual Fund, which increased by 21%. The fund raising rate is up to $9.5 million this year as compared with $6.5 million last year.

The President then reported that although Sexual Assault Support Services and the Sexual Harassment Resource Committee are discussing the issue of how RAs and PCs can best ensure that all incidents of sexual assault and harassment are investigated and adjudicated, he has no reason to believe there will be any recommended changes in the roles of RAs and PCs in the near future.

The President noted that the alcohol issue spawned questions concerning the role of the Committee on Student Life (CSL) and its relationship to the College Council and the Board of Trustees, as well as the line between policy decisions and administrative action. He commented that the change in the governance system two years ago allowed for two routes to bring an issue to the agenda of the Council: either through the President or through any five voting members of the Council. He noted that there are su fficient means through which to bring issues to the Council and that no substantial changes to the governance structure is needed, for it is how people go about using institutions that determine how effective they are.

He said he expects that any discussion of the alcohol policy as currently written would come to the Council through the CSL since it would serve as an amendment to the current policy adopted by the Council three years ago.

Ben Johnson responded to the President by questioning the definition of "policy." He noted that all College policy still passes through the Council, despite the recent change in the governance system, and went on to add that past College Councils have defined "policy" to include the pet policy and parking policy. He concluded that because the perview of what constitutes policy has been extremely broad, he believes an issue such as RA/PC reporting would constitute policy, especially since a 1983 Council meeting handled a provision on confidentiality as it related to the reporting of incidents of sexual harassment and assault by Sexual Harassment Advisors who were to be appointed by the President under the 1983 policy. Johnson noted that he had been assured that a change in reporting policy would not occur this year. He also said he felt that changes in the procedure for bringing items to the Council were unnecessary since five members could bring an issue to the Council agenda and there are five students on the Council. Johnson asked for a statement from Dean Bonner concerning the future of the alcohol policy and suggested the drafting of a statement on what constitutes a policy and what does not.

President Lewis clarified that only some issues that are being discussed about alcohol constitute policy matters. Dean Bonner stated that at the last CSL meeting the Committee decided they would determine as a committee which issues they believe need to be heard before Council. He continued that he does not intend to impede the proper movement of issues from the CSL to the Council when the CSL thinks they have a policy proposal.

2. Committee Reports

Budget Committee:

Dean Shearer passed out the preliminary budget for 1994-1995. The first estimate showed a $2 million deficit, largely due to increases in requests for financial aid, utilities, staffing, and computer facilities and a significant loss of grant money. He stated that the major question in formulating the budget will be the appropriate increase in the financial aid appropriations. He expressed uneasiness in taking large risks by reducing the financial aid budget because it affects the composition of the en tering class. He noted that requests for staffing and computer facilities will have to be reduced, and said he expects that the Budget Committee will return a balanced budget to the Council in February. Dean Shearer also discussed the need for long-term planning and prioritizing in order to maximize the resources of the College.

In response to a question by Ann Ness, Dean Shearer stated that he invited exempt and non-exempt faculty to discuss faculty compensation. In response to a suggestion by Professor Steve Strand, the Dean agreed that the Budget Committee should try to involve the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee in its deliberations about financial aid.

Professor Rich Keiser questioned how the Budget Committee had arrived at the proposed 10.2% increase in the financial aid budget rather than the requested 19.2%. Dean Shearer responded that the number is a hypothetical one that takes into consideration last spring's change in the financial aid policy, though he expressed hesitation again about taking such a risk with the financial aid budget.

President Lewis added that it is necessary to bring down the rate of increase of the financial aid budget because the 19.2% rate of growth is unsustainable.

Student Judicial Code Subcommittee:

Dean Bonner handed out a sheet prepared by the Student Judicial Code Subcommittee that contained the proposed language of Article VI. B. 2. c, which would grant the Dean of Students discretion to decide whether to hear a case or to send it to the Judicial Hearing Board. He stated that the Subcommittee agreed it was a change that they could all support. The Subcommittee is in the process of discussing the changes with a broad audience. He expects that the proposal should be ready for action by the Counci l by February 28. He introduced several members of the Subcommittee who were present to answer questions. Subcommittee member Professor Julie Klassen noted that the language in this year's Student Handbook was a temporary solution that was put in place to await formal changes.

In response to several questions from Council members as well as from students uncomfortable about the amount of power the proposal would give the Dean of Students, President Lewis, Dean Bonner, and members of the Subcommittee clarified the following points. The Subcommittee settled on the current proposal because it satisfied both the Board of Trustees' mandate that the Dean bear ultimate responsibility for judicial complaints and upheld the rights of students to a fair hearing. An alternative proposal, supported by Jason Hannan, would have allowed either the accuser or the accused to request a hearing by the Hearing Board, but that proposal could not be worked out. The alternative proposal, it was decided by the Subcommittee, would not satisfy the Trustees' mandate nor would it serve as a check and balance since any recommendation made by the Hearing Board to the Dean could not be made public.

In considering the current proposal, the Subcommittee took into consideration the possibility that either the accuser's or the accused's desire to have the complaint heard by the Hearing Board could be motivated out of revenge, and that the Dean would be required to take the both party's wishes into consideration when making a decision. In response to a question from Ben Johnson, Dean Bonner stated that he would be inclined to bring a case to the Hearing Board if the facts in the case were unclear. It wa s further clarified that the presence of the Hearing Officer at all stages of the hearing process serves as a check on the Dean's power, as does the existence of the Judicial Appeals Board. The Appeals Board cannot decide upon cases dismissed by the Dean before a hearing, nor can it reverse a Dean's decision on the venue of the hearing, although it can hear appeals of decisions made after a hearing, whether the venue is a Dean's hearing or one before the Hearing Board. The Appeals Board has control over i ts proceedings and determines which witnesses, if any, to call. It was further pointed out that the Hearing Officer's position is not compromised by the proposed language. Ben Johnson also cautioned that he believes the Hearing Board is not as worthy of defense in reality as it may seem it is on paper. The President encouraged those concerned to continue discussion of the issue at the scheduled venues.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.