Faculty Senate 07-08

Minutes of the Faculty Senate meeting               November 14, 2007

 

The regular meeting of the 2007-2008 Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by President LouAnn Simpson.  The following senators were present for all or part of the meeting.  Allen, Conley, DeLaet, Dore, Esposito, Harvey, Houle, Keefer, Nelson, Reincke, Sanders, Saylor, Simpson, Swilky, Torry, Vandegrift, Vitha, Walker

Absent: Bohorquez, Parsa, Younger

 

The October 2007 minutes were accepted.

 

Report from President Maxwell

President Maxwell gave an update from the Planning Council. There were seven subcommittees created which will report back to the full Council after six weeks of study. The group is using the Vision 2020 document as a discussion focal point. He is striving to bring to closure yet this semester the planning process. He noted the challenge will be in prioritizing many quality objectives for Drake’s future.

 

The Board of Trustees approved the working proposal for the next capital campaign.  The current working goal is in the range of 200-250 million dollars. This is the quiet phase of the campaign where limited publicity happens but many personal contacts are being made. A steering committee is being formed.

 

Senator Swilky asked if there was available a breakdown of what is expected to be added to the endowment via this campaign.  President Maxwell indicated that even though the last campaign effort was approximately 65% in deferred gifts, he and other Drake officials have indicated that this campaign is projected to contain only 30-35% in deferred gifts.  He continued that he had thought it was difficult to raise money for endowment since it was not “sexy”.  To date, he has been pleasantly surprised as the endowment is explained as a giving mechanism which provides access to students and support for faculty.

 

Report from Provost Troyer

No report was made since the Provost is off campus due to University business.

 

Report from President Simpson

--No Student Senate report today.

--President Simpson gave a Campus Council update.  The group is meeting weekly and has been discussing the Student Handbook.  The Council decided to broaden their discussion to other documents which contain policies and procedures.  Sue Wright, Vanessa Macro, Sentwali Bakari and Margie Davidson have been invited to attend an upcoming Campus Council meeting.  The goal being to gain an understanding of what content previously been distributed via paper copy and what may be upcoming different communication practices for faculty, staff and student policies and procedures.  President Simpson expects the Student Handbook revision topic to come back to Senate during the Spring 2008 semester.

 

Unfinished Business – none presented

 

New Business

Senator DeLaet opened the discussion item concerning Drake’s investment in Sudan.  She offered as background that several faculty brought up the topic after Mr. Nicholas Kristof presented the Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture in late September 2007.  The faculty wondered what role Drake did or did not have in firms making investments in Sudan.

 

After bringing the topic to Faculty Senate Executive Committee, a meeting was arranged with Vice President Payseur. There were two documents distributed to Senators which Ms. Payseur provided. These documents were also made available to the Board of Trustee Finance Committee in September 2007.  One document is from the Drake investment mangers listed holdings per major fund which did or did not have Sudanese involvement. The other document, three pages, described Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). The latest Board Finance Committee meeting included a brief mention on this investment issue.

 

It was reported to Senate from the Business & Finance office that less than 1% of Drake’s endowment funds have Sudanese holdings. Also, there is “a little” in mutual funds.

 

Senator DeLaet indicated that SRI is related to but not equal to corporate investments in Sudan. Mr. Dan Alexander was recognized and added that public pressure has helped encourage companies to divest questionable holdings.

 

Senator Nelson indicated there has been strong student reaction to the Bucksbaum Lecture and he sees divestment as consistent with Drake’s mission statement.

 

There was a general discussion of what social principles Drake may be currently using with its endowment investing. President Maxwell indicated that he was not versant with all the specifics, but knew that tobacco firms are avoided. Senator Reincke indicated that from her past knowledge, Drake does perform some socially responsible screening.  It was reported that Vice President Payseur seemed willing to have the topic of divestment go forward to the Board of Trustees.

 

Concerns were raised as to the need for a reasonable bottom line return and would our divestment be the most effective way to impact Sudan.  One of the documents mentions a course of action of getting the best possible return and then using the earned funds to directly affect the issue or individuals involved.

 

Senator Allen stated she was pleased that the issue has come to Senate. She stated her position that it shows the integrity of the institution and perhaps a bit smaller return would be a small price to pay for investing in Drake’s integrity. Senator Allen asked if a resolution or motion was already prepared for Senate action. The reply was that there was interest in having a discussion first which may include discussing the most effective way to engage the Board.

 

President Maxwell indicated that he could see value to having an open discussion with the Board rather than putting something on the table without also having discussions.

 

President Simpson reminded the body of the ‘themed’ luncheons which the Board has had in the past couple of years. President Maxwell indicated interest in this idea as this could serve as an opportunity for general education and discussion before the Finance Committee meeting. The following discussion included mentions of various other businesses, political entities and education institutions which have announced divestment.  Ideas for approaching the issues included gaining permission to present part of the Mr. Kristof’s lecture or utilize current YouTube segments on the topic of Darfur. 

 

President Maxwell indicated that the Board receives a packet of information for each Board meeting approximately ten days ahead of the meeting.  The suggestion was made to perhaps include an informational CD or DVD concerning the Darfur situation in this mailing.

 

Several Senators supported the idea and asked when might this go forward and would the Student voice be included.  The reply indicated that the April 2008 Board of Trustee meeting will be held locally and this would be the best presentation time. It was mentioned that student leadership has discussed the Sudanese issue. 

 

Senators speculated about whether to present to the Board one combined resolution from multiple bodies or creating one resolution which is then endorsed by other campus governing bodies (Student Senate and All Staff Council).

 

Based on the discussion, the Executive Committee would present an agenda item in the near future and coordinate with Student Senate and Campus Council.

 

President Maxwell would communicate to Board Chair James Hubbell the Senate’s interest in the topic.

 

Faculty Senate adjourned at 4:45 p.m.  Nancy Geiger, Secretary