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12/10/14 UIUC Policy Committee Summary

    Present:  Abbas Aminmansour, Joseph Finnerty, Harry Hilton, Lewis Hopkins, Harry Liebersohn, David O’Brien, Robert Parker, John Prussing, Art Robinson, Leslie Struble, Donald Uchtmann, H. F. Williamson, Hadi Esfahani (guest)

    The meeting began at about 12:08 p.m.

    President’s Report

    1. Introductions.  Hilton welcomed Hadi Esfahani and had the members of the Committee introduce themselves.
    2. Review of the Minutes for November 12, 2014 Meeting of Policy Committee.  The minutes were approved.
    3. Review of 2014-2015 Spring Schedule of Policy Committee meetings.  Williamson reported on his survey of preferences regarding the day of the week for the meetings.  The results indicated that Wednesdays would continue to be the day of the meeting.  Thus the meetings will be in 211 Illini Union on:  January 21 (third Wednesday; instruction begins January 20; King Holiday is January 19); February 18, March 18 (third Wednesday; spring vacation starts March 21); April 15; May 6 (first Wednesday, last day of instruction.  NOTE:  The Annual Meeting will be May 12 if held on the Tuesday of final exam week.
    4. Remarks from the President.  Hilton reported that he is waiting for replies concerning when we might meet with President Easter and when the relevant individuals will be free for the Promotion and Tenure Workshop. 

    Action Items

    1. Actions by Chapter regarding Provost Communication 27:   Shared Governance for Academic Units.  A number of questions were raised about the content of the Communication. At some points, the recommendations seemed not to take into account the difference between departments where the EO is a Chairman vs. those were the EO is the Head.  It was not clear whether unit bylaws could specify grievance procures for students.  It was agreed that Hilton would draft a letter to the Provost for review by the Policy Committee indicating our support for having issued this Communication and that we would offer to help review the document and to help implement the guidelines listed.  
    2. Actions being taken that affect faculty-staff benefits.  There was a brief discussion of the status of the case challenging SB 1 (overturned at the lower court level; being expedited for review by the Illinois Supreme Court) and of the program to refund the overpayments of health insurance premium;
    3. Actions Regarding the Salaita Case.  The report from the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (CAFT) is expected to be completed by the end of the semester and sent to the President and the Senate Executive Committee (SEC).  There was a lengthy discussion of how the SEC had acted and would most likely proceed on this issue.  The discussion included the concerns that many had about how the Chancellor handled the issues last summer.  It was agreed that the Chapter should be ready to response rapidly on this issue once the CAFT report was made public. A subcommittee of Aminmansour, Hilton, and Hopkins was established to draft a “rapid” response on the issue.
    4. Actions of the Senate. 
      • Review of Statutes.  Hilton summarized how the USSP has proposed to review the eight parts of this major revision.  The first two were reviewed at the December 8 Senate meeting.
      • Senate Review Committee.  Aminmansour noted that the recommendations from the committee would be presented to the Senate early in the spring semester.  One proposal will be that retired faculty would no longer be eligible for seats assigned to departments.  Instead, there would be a separate group of retired faculty as members of the Senate.
    5. Membership on Policy Committee.  Parker asked how to proceed if he knew of an individual indicated an interest in joining the Policy Committee.  Hilton asked that the he or Williamson be contacted in such a case.