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Minutes of the Faculty Senate meeting                      February 17, 2010

The regular meeting of the 2009-2010 Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by President Houle. The following senators were present for all or part of the meeting: Chesnut, Clapham, Courard-Hauri, Cramer, DeWitt, Dore, Esposito, Gilbert, Houle, Klipec, Lyons, Mosser, Van Wyke, Walker

Absent: Bartschat, Cravero, Knepper, Koch, Petersen, Reincke, Vitha

Upon proper motion and vote, January 2010 minutes were accepted.

President Maxwell Report was out of town on University business, therefore no report was given.

Provost Renner Report

Provost Renner shared with the Senate a bit of the rationale and thought process that he has used when making decisions for closing the University and for cancelling class days.

He indicated that various faculty position searches are progressing positively.  When asked about the Spring 2010 enrollment numbers, a multiyear Fall to Spring Enrollment trends document was distributed.  The Provost indicated the Fall to Spring retention number is in range with previous years.

Senator Gilbert asked if the new Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO) who starts soon will be meeting with the Faculty Senate.  Provost Renner indicated that a reception is being planned for March 10th in the Dial Center, where her office is now located.


President Houle Report

President Houle indicated that the University Curriculum Committee may have for the March meeting a motion to revise its charge. During April 2010, the Drake Curriculum revision proposal is expected to come to the Senate. The Senate Executive Committee did discuss how to present the proposal and whether there should be a vote of the whole faculty. Currently the idea is to have a special Senate meeting, on April 7th.  The only agenda item will be the discussion of the revision proposal. President Houle requested comments and feedback concerning the proposed special meeting and Curriculum proposal presentation.

Ben Olson, Student Body President, gave a report. Their current Senate business mainly consists of their budgeting process for 22 organizations. Some students have traveled to conferences and felt these were good experiences.

Old Business

Senators Klipec and Courard-Hauri moved from the table motion 10-03  There was no dissent.

"RESOLVED:  That the Faculty Senate endorses the creation of a "public" interface for Drake University's iTunesU presence, so that Drake students, faculty, and staff will have the option to post resources for downloading by any and all iTunesU user(s) (as long as such posting complies with the appropriate Policy on Acceptable use of Computer Technology as established by the University)


Senator Gilbert spoke to the body mentioning his recent informational email. He believes that iTunes brings another avenue for getting Drake information out for many persons to access. Senator Klipec asked for clarification that any vote would only be on the original motion presented not any material distributed at the last meeting.  Senator Gilbert said yes. 

Provost Renner asked why this issue would be a faculty senate issue. Senator Gilbert highlighted the fact that iTunes has a broad academic impact. Where one faculty person could not open this access, the Senate endorsement would help the process. Senator Chesnut asked where Senate’s opinion would go. Senator Gilbert indicated that this motion would go to the CITO and the Campus Technology Committee.

The motion passed on a voice vote with three abstentions. (Klipec, Clapham, Mosser)


New Business

Senator Klipec and Cramer moved and second motion 10-07:

Political Activity Policy

Drake University fully supports the rights of individual faculty and staff to express their political opinions and to engage in election and campaign activity. Under federal law, however, a tax-exempt institution may not "participate in, or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office."

To ensure Drake’s status as a tax-exempt charitable organization is not jeopardized, the following applies to any “partisan political activity.”  “Partisan political activity” is the support of or opposition to a candidate for public office at the federal, state or local level even if the candidate is not affiliated with a political party.  

(1)   The name, seal, logo or other symbol of Drake University, its schools, colleges, departments or units may not be used for partisan political activity. This includes University letterhead.


(2)   No University property, including offices, telephones, copy machines, envelopes, web pages or equipment may be used for partisan political activity.  No University office, and no employee’s office, may be used for partisan political activity including as a return mailing address for the solicitation of funds for partisan political activity.


(3)   In political correspondence, including letters of opinion submitted to the media, the title of a faculty or staff member should be used only for identification and only when accompanied by a statement that the individual is speaking for her/himself and not as a representative of Drake University.


(4)   No University funds may be used to support or oppose a political candidate, including the making of campaign contributions.


(5)   No faculty or staff member may engage in partisan political activity in her/his capacity as a University employee during working hours. 


(6)   No University manager shall use his/her role as manager to encourage or require a subordinate employee to support or oppose any political candidate, party or political action committee. No office employee or other employee of Drake University should be asked to perform tasks in support of partisan political activity during regular working hours or in conjunction with his/her employment with Drake University.

Recognizing the role of the University in supporting and encouraging public discourse and debate, the University may allow its facilities to be used by political parties and/or candidates so long as (a) the facility is provided on the same terms as are applicable to non-political activities; and (b) the facility is available on an equal basis to any other candidate.  Accordingly, no preferential treatment to any candidate, party or cause is permitted. For more information on what constitutes an acceptable use of Drake facilities for this purpose contact the Director of Operations and Support Services. Any work or duties associated with the acceptable use of facilities as described above does not constitute “partisan political activity” for purposes of this policy.

Questions about this policy or whether a particular activity is permitted should be directed to the Director, Human Resources. Last updated: November 18, 2009


Provost Renner stated that Drake needs to maintain its non-profit status which requires that the University cannot take sides in a campaign. Drake must be seen as providing a fair forum for all issues and ideas. It is important to draw the distinction in the academy between doing analysis and presenting advocacy or endorsement for one candidate, stated Provost Renner. We cannot cross the line of telling someone how they should vote. Senator Courard-Hauri said he saw that as reasonable but did not see that spelled out well in the policy. He continued that he was worried what assignments he could give or what signature byline could be used when he submitted a letter to the editor.  The Provost stated that this was not meant to be restrictive. He mentioned that a letter to the editor signed as an individual is fine rather than signed as from the Drake faculty.


Senator Cramer indicated she was interested in seeing the federal rule itself. She did not see that the policy gave a clear distinction between the institution’s advocacy and the work of the faculty. She continued that the word ‘cause’ worried her. She stated that depending on the definition, her courses would be un-teachable. Senator Klipec recognized the need for some policy statement and he would support it in principle. He described the presented policy as too open ended, citing as one example “what might all be included in University property”. He wondered if the use of Drake email from home would qualify.  Provost Renner acknowledged the concerns and asked for help in getting a revised policy.  He stated the line which cannot be crossed is telling someone how they can vote.

While some Senators supported the principle and did not have interest in endangering Drake’s non-profit status, there were questions. Such as a) if other institutions’ policies had been reviewed, (the reply, not known), b) whether there was a current pressing case on this matter at Drake (the reply was no), and if there was a firm deadline concerning this policy (the reply was no).  Provost Renner stated that right now there is not a policy to tell a Drake employee to not break the law, which conforms to the non-profit status.

President Houle shared that Art Sanders presented concerns via email about the policy. Rachel Caufield was recognized and spoke against the policy. She believed it to be badly written and she would have concerns about her work when advising students groups. Provost Renner thought the student group advising would be exempted. Ms. Caufield asked why that was not stated.  Provost Renner cautioned that if a checklist of items were to be built, it would not cover all possibilities. He suggested the establishment of sound principles would follow the use of good judgment. There were Senators who were not interested in a checklist either yet were unclear as to the principles to be established.

A motion to table for revision was presented, seconded and passed on a voice vote without dissent.

Senator Klipec asked for the Art Sanders and Rachel Caufield documents to be distributed.  President Houle indicated he would send those emails to all Senators.

Provost Renner requested and accepted four faculty volunteers: Rachel Caufield, Renee Cramer, Bill Klipec and Laurie Dore. Senator Dore requested that University Counsel be alerted to preview any proposed policy.  Provost Renner thanked the Senator for her suggestion.


Upon proper motion and vote, the meeting ended at 4:27 p.m.