Professor Brown: Calvin, there you are. Today is a day of speechmaking. It won't always be this way. But we have the privilege of hearing from Calvin Cunningham, President of Student Government. Did I say that right? You want to say Student Body President? Mr. Cunningham. Right. Professor Brown: Thank you very much. Mr. Cunningham: Thank you.
Professor Lensing, Professor Brown, Chancellor Hooker, and members of the Faculty Council, I appreciate the opportunity to come before you today and speak. I have a handful of issues that I'd like to touch on, three of which very briefly, two of which I'd like to spend a little bit more time on. So I'll give you these comments probably in the same way that I'd like to run this semester. I'll tell you what I'm going to say, say it, and then tell you what I just said. I'd like to mention the Institution's self-study report, particularly as it relates to curriculum reform. I'd like to mention our undergraduate honor court, which is charged with upholding standards of honor here. I'd like to mention accessed information technology. I'd also like to cover two more substantive issues at this point, and that is, one, a new updated alcohol policy, which I'm going to introduce to you and which should be a subject for public discussion over the next couple of weeks. And I'd also like to mention our most recent, most contentious, tuition discussions. First of all, it's my hope, and the Chancellor mentioned this, and I was encouraged Professor Brown mentioned it as well, that over the course of this next year, we can open discussions for the first time in fifteen years about the status of our General Education curriculum. That is with an eye on looking at how it's gotten to where it's gotten, how we can shape it and craft it, make sure that it's achieving the objectives that we asked it to achieve. I believe that, at least in my understanding, the curriculum has evolved and gotten to the position that it's in now in large part piecemeal, a little addition here and a little addition there. So I've read this document very closely, it's dense at times, very helpful at times, and it encourages the community to look at the curriculum, and I'd like to offer student encouragement and working with the faculty in evaluating, again, how we got to where we are, whether we can shape that for the better.
Another point, the honor court, something that I'd like to return to over the course of this next semester. It's my firm belief that we have a system that works, but we have a lot of people who don't have faith in that system. And I'd like to open discussions as to why. I have to appoint all the members of the undergraduate court as Student Body President. They have to be approved by the Student Congress, which, incidentally, if you think this meeting goes a long time, that one is just terrible. I appoint those people, and I'm not involved in their training, I'm not involved in their selection. The Court does that. It's a self-perpetuating system. And so my question to them is do you truly believe that you are holding this responsibility and that you're doing the right things with it? Do you have faith, the members of Court have faith, that you're upholding honor and doing the right thing and making the right decisions? And they all say, yes. Of course they do, but they very much believe in the responsibility that they uphold. And so I would like to open dialogue with the faculty and also with the graduate students and professional students that are involved in the classroom, about what it is with this system that's broken down, so that we can charge it again, so it'll work, so questions will cease to arise in regards to whether this is a system that works. Because I believe that it works, and the members that Student Government, the student members that make the system work truly have faith that it does.
A third topic, which I'll be returning to in October is an issue of information technology. That is, the state just invested very heavily in the information superhighway, connecting our libraries all across the UNC system. And one thing that students find is are the faculty using this, is this a way that we can enhance our education, the quality of our education? And I think by and large the answer to that is yes. I mean that's the trend, that's where we're going to be in 20 years, and we're going to be doing a lot more with information technologies. But right now students don't have the entrance ramps to this information superhighway. Just this last week for the first time we now have access to 24-hour computer facilities in the undergraduate library]. Putting that information technology into the students' hands through the residence halls and through other computer labs and the faculty's employment of that information technology are, I think, that's the discussion that I'd like to open. We do have very limited resources. It's a question of how we prioritize those resources, much as the Chancellor says. And I think that it's time that we look 20 years down the road. I read, I guess, an editorial or a comment in The Daily Tar Heel just a few days ago about 8000 new E-mail accounts which opened on the system right at the beginning of the year, and some encouragement that faculty not use E-mail to transmit coursework and to communicate with students. But I don't think that's correct. True, we have a system right now that has trouble handling all the load that's on it. But the answer is not to avoid the technology. The answer is to embrace the technology, prioritize the resources, to make it work for us.
Now, a fourth topic which is going to be particularly timely today. I see that the photocopying machine must still be running. I'm bringing to you and introducing for discussion, not at this meeting, but over the course of the next few weeks, a new alcohol policy which the students have been involved with, a handful of administrators, in rewriting over the course of this summer. Now this goes straight to the heart of the question of intellectual climate, in my mind, on this campus. And I think students by and large reacted very adversely to some of the comments made in this document last spring about intellectual climate and what we could do to stimulate intellectual climate. Now this policy represents an updating of a 1986 policy that right now still says you can drink if you're 18. So, in part what the policy does is University policy in conformity with state law and what our practice has been. But it introduces two novel ideas. It's my desire that the faculty can give a constructive feedback on exactly what it is about intellectual climate and the role that alcohol plays that we can do through a policy. What is it that we can do? And so let me -- first of all, students have a very limited access to resources. We have student fee money that we allocate through Student Congress. Graduate and Professional Student Federation Senate has access to student fee money. That money, in my opinion, is for the purpose of programming intellectual programming, attracting speakers, bringing them to this campus. And it's not for the purposes of purchasing alcohol. Now that is currently the practice. But I don't think that we should do that anymore. And I think that student fee money that we employ in student government should be used to stimulate intellectual climate. It's my desire, I campaigned on prioritizing that money to enhance intellectual environment, and now I'm recommending that that's exactly what the money be used for. The second thing that's novel about this policy -- This is an institution, has tremendous resources with respect to how we educate people. We have a tremendous Center for Alcohol Studies. And yet that information is not transferred to students on this very campus about alcohol. And so what we desire to do is to not have a law-and-order policy that cracks down on everybody that opens a beer on the campus, but which educates people in violation of the policy about the adverse effects of alcohol. And I've recommended that we do that through the Student Health, and develop a program through Student Health whereby students can be referred to an educational program. And I think a combination of those two recommendations, we can implement a new policy that will do something to address alcohol and its role in the intellectual climate. Now the format of that discussion -- I'd like to take a couple of weeks. The policy, hopefully, the old policy and the new policy, should hopefully be here before the end of this meeting, and we'll put them on the chair. This is the first time that the policy has been introduced to the public for discussion. It was my desire that we introduce it for public debate, for campus debate, because it gives the faculty an opportunity to go back to this document and say, "What is it about intellectual climate and the role that alcohol plays in that that is particularly acute?" We would like an articulation. Students, I think, would like an articulation of those points. So, I'm inviting comment from the faculty and from the student community and other constituencies, and then we'll wrap that document up and send it on its way and make it official. So, I introduce that to you today and hope that we can have some good constructive public discussion about it.
Now, finally, I'd like to mention the issue of this tuition debate because the Chancellor said that trustees are anguished. I suggest that that might be a euphemism for the position I'm in. I'm not just anguished, I'm probably embattled, because if you've seen comments, I'm probably the lone student standing up right now saying I think faculty's needs are critical, I think that the Library's needs are critical, and that in the grand scheme of balancing costs and benefits that we should stand an adjustment. Now we had yesterday at the Board meeting, at which I serve as an ex officio member, a great deal of discussion. So I'd like to say exactly what the student interest in this tuition debate is. And, in a sense, draw a line in the sand, if you will, about what I think it's going to take to make what is a truly just a shoddy piece of legislation something strong, implementable, and for the better. Now first of all, and this goes back to the comment that Professor Gooder just made, about graduate students. Their culture is completely different from the culture in which I live and which undergraduates live. And this is not a priority for them at all. Their stipends have not budged in ten years, they do not have access to health insurance that's paid for by the state, and truly are working overtime to make ends meet. Now I read this legislation, and I think President Spangler has indicated this legislation should be read, that we can exempt populations. And so the first line I'd like to draw is that I do not think that this tuition should be applied to graduate students and professional students at all. [applause] Thank you. I'm sure if the graduate students were here, they would be overjoyed.
Now the second critical piece of the puzzle in my mind and one that, my cabinet of about 35 or 40 folks discussed this, and they support the concept that in the balance of the costs and the benefits we could use a tuition adjustment. Their concern, and my concern, and I think every undergraduate's concern, is that we put the resources, we must earmark 35% for financial aid. Now I understand that that covers need in the system now. But it doesn't do anything to address new need that will arise as a result of implementing this policy. And so the second suggestion that I have, the second line that I'm drawing, is that we don't need 35% in financial aid, we need 40%. And I think at a minimum that will accommodate for new need coming on line as a result. Now, that's obviously slowing chipping away at the faculty salary increase that's supposed to be the bulk of this plan. It's my belief that, though, that the students' pocketbooks have got to be the first and foremost concern with respect to how we pull this off. The faculty need is critical. I've been intensely frustrated over the last two years in which I have joined with Professor Peacock and other members of the faculty in Raleigh trying to get those competitive faculty salary increases. And it just hasn't happened. Over the last ten years I think we've seen a slow erosion of the faculty salary base. So I really believe that the Institution's quality is contingent on getting some of these resources to bolster the faculty base and to bolster the libraries, which, yesterday I was shocked to hear that we had cancelled 4400 periodicals in the last ten years in order to keep our library rankings up, so that we can continue to buy books. So it's my hope that we can direct the money to the faculty, and the argument has always been to get faculty into the first quintile against peer institutions. I think that's exactly where the money should go, to address faculty who are not competitive relative to the peers, and they're competitive in their departments, and that we can put faculty into the first quintile of the AAUP rankings, and have competitive faculty salaries here at this Institution. Ultimately, this is the Legislature's responsibility. It is. And it's been frustrating that they have not produced. And so I don't think that this is good financing of faculty, and it's not good financing of the libraries, but I'm frustrated personally, with having been over there and tried to articulate our case. And I think others are as well. And the students that I speak to are willing to do the sort of balance between the cost and the benefits that's necessary, and that is, raising tuition, not this semester and not next semester, but phased in over time, so that we can maximize the sort of benefits to the faculty salary base without hurting students. We've got to budget for it. And I think that it's a realistic proposal. I think it's a pragmatic near-term solution, but it's never going to be a substitute for the type of advocacy that we've got to do over in Raleigh, to the Legislature that supplies our money in the first place. So I appreciate you listening to my comments on the tuition issue, and the comments on the other issues, and hope that we can have some constructive discussion. Let me also add that I think that, while it's been said that the tuition debate has been divisive, I think it has, but it's allowed us an opportunity to look at ourselves as an Institution, and it's allowed ourselves to assess some of our critical needs, and to that extent, I think it's been a healthy debate and will continue to be a healthy debate. I hope that we can have a satisfactory resolution of the thing and I probably wish that more than anybody. [chuckles] I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to speak to you today. I appreciate Professor Brown for putting me on the agenda. I'd be happy to answer any questions that you have. If not, I look forward to having a very, very constructive year working with the faculty.
Professor Craig Calhoun (Sociology; Interim Dean of the Graduate School): I'm extremely impressed by your courageous leadership, and I hope the courage is rewarded with something other than flying bullets, Calvin. I want to ask why you group together graduate and professional students. Something that disturbed me a good deal in the discussion at the Board of Trustees meeting was the failure to make a clear distinction between graduate and professional students, and I think with regard to finances, with regard to other aspects of funding, their educations, Ph.D. and M.A. students are in very different situations from M.D., J.D., DD.S., M.B.A., and D.Pharm, Pharm.D.(?) students. And really there isn't the same compelling reason to exempt those students in the professional degree programs that there is to exempt graduate students, including those graduate students in professional schools. Mr. Cunningham: Well, let me say first of all the Graduate and Professional Student Federation has been one of those bugs in my ear over the course of the last few weeks. It has particularly helped me understand exactly what the situation is for graduate assistants, research assistants, and teaching assistants, which is at the heart of exactly what I think needs to be addressed with an exemption from this policy, so I know that the legislation differentiates those professional degree programs, and that's not exactly what I intended to be speaking to. I intended to be speaking to particularly the needs of Teaching Assistants, RAs, and GAs. Professor Calhoun: Those are, generally speaking, graduate students and not professional students. Mr. Cunningham: I'm continuing to learn, too. Thank you. I appreciate it. Please.
Professor Paul Farel (Physiology): I think that, I attended the Board of Trustees meeting yesterday and listened to Chancellor Hooker and your talk today. And I'm struck how limited all of our knowledge is about the vastness of the University. That some Ph.D. students, particularly those in Health Affairs, have their stipends paid by University, by research grants from the federal government, training grants. And so they're not in the same position as are, say, graduate students in English, I would suppose. So I wouldn't even want to clump all Ph.D. students together. Also I'd like to mention the fact that the, I just learned today, that the money raised from the proposed tuition increase would go to Academic Affairs versus Health Affairs at a ratio of about 3:1, and that while we're attempting to raise Academic Affairs salary to the first quintile, I know that very highly rated basic science departments in the Medical School are now in the middle of the third quintile in the country. So, that while, even if this proposal goes through, to increase faculty salaries on the basis of increasing tuition, it doesn't begin to address the faculty salary problems in the University, and you shouldn't see it as anything more than a very tentative initial first step. Mr. Cunningham: By way of further explaining exactly what that point is, there are far more students in Academic Affairs than they are in Health Affairs, and for that reason, it would generate more revenue on the different sides of that vast legislative divide in Academic Affairs than Health Affairs. Thanks.
Professor Bayne: I appreciate all your comments and your interest in trying to increase faculty salaries in one area. Just a follow-up on the same comment. There's a great complexity in the system as far as Ph.D. students, professional students, whatever. The faculty is so incredibly diverse in what their responsibilities are, and the reward systems that are possible, but I would really like to see in the next year or two is the development of some options for faculty, incentive packages that are over and above whatever the salary is, to allow them to increase or supplement their salary in new and creative ways. These systems already exist in other states, and they're taking major advantage of it in terms of rewarding people for grants and contracts and special participation and work outside the normal university system, whatever. If we would be able to take advantage of that, and the Legislature would allow us to do that in a routine way, we could increase our relative salaries to richer levels, but we need to go to sell packages of options to the Legislature and not just argue for a small percentage here and a small percentage there. We'd like to see sort of a grand solution that's forward looking and may go to the next ten or fifteen years rather than complain. All these little tiny battles, so we just sort of, you know, take the pittance and then go on to the next battle. We appreciate your support but I just think that we need a bigger answer for success. Mr. Cunningham: I could not agree more and I haven't seen any answers coming out of Raleigh in a while, and that's part of my frustration on this issue, and part of my desire to do something about it. Are there other questions? Thank you. I appreciate it again. Thanks. [applause]
Professor Brown: Thank you, Calvin. We do appreciate what a hard place you're in right now. We appreciate it.
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