FACULTY WELFARE COMMITTEE
1997-1998 ACADEMIC YEAR
The Faculty Welfare Committee considered the following matters during the 1997-98 academic year:
1. In Spring 1997, the Equal Opportunity Programs had proposed changes to various University policies regarding sexual harassment. The Welfare Committee expressed concerns primarily regarding changes that would have doubled the permissible time for completion of an investigation and that would have deleted the parties from the list of persons given access to information gathered during an investigation. After discussions between the Committee and the Provost and University counsel over Summer 1997, the proposals were revised in a manner that addressed the Faculty concerns. Upon the recommendation of the Committee, the Faculty Senate endorsed the proposed changes as modified in Fall 1997.
2. In Fall 1997, the Committee received for comment a copy of the proposed Policy on Post-Tenure Review. The Committee submitted its comments to the Faculty Advisory Committee, expressing particular concern that the post-tenure review process be separate from the tenure revocation process and that an unfavorable review should not commence the revocation process or be evidence of grounds for revocation. The Committee also expressed concerns that post-tenure review not be equated with "re-tenuring" and concerns with the appeals process. The Faculty Advisory Committee formulated the final proposal that was approved by the Faculty in May 1998.
3. The Committee reviewed draft University policies regarding computing security, cost recovery, software licensing, and inventory control. After consultation with University computing interests, and some modification of the draft policies, the Committee submitted comments regarding the policies, which comments were endorsed by the faculty senate at its December 1997 meeting.
4. The Committee responded to faculty inquiry regarding copyright laws and their applicability to distance education. University counsel confirmed that current law imposes certain restrictions on use that may prove inconvenient to Faculty. The Committee urged the University to participate in any national lobbying to change the copyright provisions at issue.
5. The Committee surveyed the availability of first-choice parking for Faculty and was advised of University plans to rely increasingly upon perimeter parking lots with shuttle service to the central campus. The Parking Director was advised of some of the needs of faculty and urged to work closely with the Faculty Senate as plans for perimeter parking are developed. The informal position of the Committee is that any changes in parking should improve, not diminish, access to the campus.
6. Responding to concerns, particularly from female faculty, the Committee advised the University architect of the importance of ensuring adequate toilet facilities in all new or renovated construction.
7. The Committee actively monitored University plans regarding the USC Children's Center and met with the Provost on several occasions in an effort to keep the Center open in 1998-99. The Committee's position is that the University efforts should focus upon ensuring the availability of convenient, affordable child care for all minor dependents of Faculty. Those efforts will continue to be of concern in the year ahead.
8. The Committee began discussions regarding development of a new faculty computing policy committee that would work with the administration to ensure that hardware and software acquisition policy is not only cost-effective, but also meets the research and teaching needs of the Faculty. A number of constituencies have expressed concerns about problems in communicating between departments, about a lack of support for non-Windows users, and other similar issues. Discussions regarding the precise mission of any new faculty committee will continue in the year ahead.
9. The Committee met with benefits personnel to discuss the possibility of a cafeteria plan to cover certain costs that have been or may be moved to the Faculty. There are significant limitations on the types of benefits that can be included in a plan designed to provide a tax benefit. However, it may be possible, if the Faculty desired, to allocate a certain amount of money each year to faculty members, to be spent as the faculty member desired -- such as on child care, parking, etc. There would be no tax benefit to such a plan, however, and, without new funds allocations, it is not clear that any such plan would benefit the faculty. These discussions may continue in the year ahead, but no immediate plan is forthcoming.
10. The Committee also raised with benefits personnel the possibility of lobbying to include annual physicals as an option in the state health plan. University officials are willing to work to develop a proposal in that regard, but initial indications are that the costs of such coverage make approval of the change unlikely. The Committee may resume these discussions in the year ahead.
11. Proposed faculty manual changes regarding grievances and the University Tenure and Promotion Committee were circulated to and reviewed by the Committee. The changes were the work of the Faculty Advisory Committee.
12. Longer range work on salary compression issues remains on the Committee's agenda. Although the Committee discussed on several occasions an appropriate definition of "compression," little significant progress was made this year. The issue remains on the Committee's agenda for the year ahead.
Robert M. Wilcox
This page updated 25 August 1998 by the Office of the Faculty Senate,
and copyright 1998, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.