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Summary Report for UIUC AAUP Policy Committee on September 17, 2007
Present: Abbas Aminmansour, Kenneth Andersen, Geneva Belford, Lynn Belford, Nick Burbules (guest), Connie Caveny, Michael Grossman, Lewis Hopkins, John Prussing, Arthur Robinson, Robert Spitze, Donald Uchtmann, H. F. Williamson
The meeting began at 12:15 p.m. with Donald Uchtmann presiding.
(1) Review of (a) Minutes for June 11, 2007, (b) the Summary Report for June 11, 2007, (c) Minutes for Officers’ Meeting on July 23, 2007.; and (d) Chapter President’s Report for Spring Semester 2007; and (e) Policy Committee Roster. These documents were approved with minor revisions.
(2) Request for Support for October 23 Forum on Politics in the Classroom. Uchtmann read a brief description of the Forum provided by Paul Diehl. We have been asked to be a sponsor of this Forum. No financial support would be required. A motion to approve this support was passed.
(3) Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund. There was a wide-ranging discussion of this issue beginning with Uchtmann asking Burbules to describe the actions which have been taken by the Senate Executive Committee (SEC).
- Burbules noted that once this item reached the attention of the SEC (and the Conference), after their inquiry to the Administration, a number of questions had been raised for which it was difficult to get answers. For example, they were not certain (a) whether this was an endowment or an academy or institute or something else and (b) why it was within the Foundation. Since it is associated with the UIUC campus, it is crucial that it be subject to academic review. A stipulation has been established that all of the Fund’s activities be approved by the Chancellor, but the SEC felt that more was needed. Thus, the SEC has proposed “the formation of an Advisory Committee to consult with the Chancellor on projects funded by this endowment.” (A copy of this proposal was included in the packet for the meeting). This will be an information item at the next Senate meeting. One goal of this committee will be to establish a standing committee for this purpose. Burbules concluded his “formal” remarks by stressing the importance that proper procedures for shared governance are followed in reviewing such proposals.
- It was noted later in the discussion that since this is a UIUC proposal, Hopkins stressed the importance of determining more exactly what the plans for the Fund’s future are. This could include examining a copy of the Fund Agreement. There is speculation about what the ultimate goal might be. For example, it could include the establishment of an institute (the Hoover Institute would be an example of such an enterprise) that could include a building, director, and resident scholars or fellows. Initially, there had been confusion about whether this was a campus or University endeavor. Since it has now been established as a UIUC proposal, President White is not expected to become directly involved at this time and will leave it to the campus administration.
- There were a number of concerns about the Fund itself. Grossman noted that it might be more appropriate that it not be within the Foundation especially if there are questions about whether this is a proper use of its non-profits status. Caveny noted that many of those on the Funds Board of Directors are major supporters of the University. On the one hand, it is important that the review of the Fund be handled appropriately so that they are not alienated. On the other hand, there is concern that support for the Fund might draw away funds from other campus enterprises that these donors intend for the University. There was a general concern about how the Foundation makes decisions about such issues as the Fund.
- There was strong agreement that it be made clear that the issues of academic freedom, accountability, and shared governance raised in considering the Fund are those that would be and have been raised with regard to all similar proposals. We should also be clear that there is nothing inherently wrong if there are plans to propose an Academy or similar unit since a number already exist on campus.
- The discussion concluded by considering what the steps we might take next with regard to the Fund. Several suggestions followed. Uchtmann accepted one that an ad hoc committee of three be established to consider the issue further. He appointed Andersen, Grossman, and Hopkins to monitor this item. Hopkins agreed to be the convener.
(4) Preparation for President White’s meeting with Policy Committee on October 8, 2007. Uchtmann reminded the Committee that we are meeting with the President beginning at 11 a.m. in the General Lounge (208 Illini Union) in conjunction with our next meeting on October 8, 2007. Uchtmann asked for ideas of what topics we feel it is important to discuss. He will give the President a preview of our concerns when he makes the final arrangements. Items which were suggested included asking for the President’s views on:
- the Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund and how the Foundation makes such policy choices as the Fund
- the role of outside funds in the financing of the University
- the ability of University administrators to influence the state legislature
- his role as the leader of higher education in Illinois
- his long-term goals for the University budget
- more particularly, how long can we continue to try to cover the budget through shifting funds and increasing tuition
- the status of the strategic plan
- the role of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
(5) Composition of Policy Committee and Continuing Chapter Committees for 2007-2008. Uchtmann circulated a handout of suggested committees to be approved. The proposed Policy Committee membership was approved along with the suggestion about additional individuals who would be asked to join. There was also approval of having the four continuing committees as well as the new Communications Committee. The handout indicated who would be chairing these committees as well as which individuals had indicated an interest in each.
(6) Preparation of Chapter’s Standing Rules. A subcommittee (Andersen and Williamson) will undertake this task as established in the revised Bylaws. It will begin with Andersen reviewing how similar organizations have set up these rules.
(7) Invitations to Campus Administrators to meet with Policy Committee. Uchtmann reported that the officers agreed that we should plan to have such a meeting in the spring semester. It was suggested that the first individual we contact should be the new Vice President for Academic Affairs. Uchtmann and Caveny will work on this invitation.