October 25, 2006 Joint Council Meeting

Minutes of the Joint Westchester/New York
Administrative/Staff Council Meeting



Wednesday, October 25, 2006



· The discussions that President Caputo had with both Administrative/Staff Councils were similar; however, New York did not submit questions in advance.


· The faculty members in attendance reviewed the 11 motions that were passed at the Joint Faculty Council meeting on October 20. The end result of President Caputo’s non-compliance with these motions will be a vote of no confidence, by the faculty, against the President and the Board of Trustees. The President and the Board will be given 30 days to “adequately respond” to the motions. The President has convened a special committee, which is comprised of 6 faculty members (3 from Westchester and 3 from New York) to discuss the motions.


· What weight does a vote of no confidence carry? Typically, the Board of Trustees enforces a vote of no confidence; however, because the Board is included in the vote, it would have to be enforced by a higher authority, the Board of Regents. The vote will carry more weight if all faculty, including those at the Law School, are committed to moving forward. There is no definite answer as to whether or not they are willing to commit.


· What would a vote of no confidence do to enrollment? No one knows for sure, but the question is should that stop the faculty from moving forward?


· The faculty representatives will update the Administrative/Staff Council at the end of the 30 days.


· The students have scheduled a meeting with President Caputo on November 10, 2006.


· A comment was made that faculty and staff can’t do much without the support of the students.


· The faculty has asked for the complete report by Maguire and Associates, not a “watered-down” version.


· What if the President and Board of Trustees declare a “financial emergency?” It would mean that there are insufficient funds to run the University. It would be relatively simple for the University to do; however, it would negatively affect our bond ratings, etc.


· The staff is committed to the University’s success, however, we don’t have the protection of tenure, what positive steps can we take?

q Continued communication.

q Stay united in the same goal – no confidence in the upper administration.

q Faculty is also concerned about job loss – tenure is not applicable if a financial emergency is declared.

q Emphasis should be on planning. We should be working on our plan for positive action steps that can be taken to improve the University’s financial outlook.

·/span> Perhaps we should follow Adelphi University’s course of action. The perception is that the Adelphi Board and President made similar (unsound) decisions. It was reported that Adelphi “took a hit” for 2 years, but has continued to improve since then. Did the staff and faculty offer to make concessions (“give backs”), for example, reduce tuition remission percentages, in order to improve the University’s finances? Further research is needed.


· A comment was made that we seem to be focusing on enrollment for fall 2007, but what happens beyond that?


· The latest enrollment figures came out yesterday. They do not look promising. This is not an “exclusive” report, however, so we should all be able to receive updated information.


· The Faculty Council representatives recently met with Chairman Bianco to discuss the President’s salary and compensation. Chairman Bianco did not provide much information; however, he is aware that the University must establish both short-term and long-term strategies to improve its financial outlook. The Board is not blind to the University’s problems.


· A comment was made that staff and faculty can post information, anonymously, to the following blog: www.paceacademe.blogspot.com. A comment was made that blogs are public information, they do not provide anonymity.


· A comment was made that we have to continue to think outside of the box. For example, offer fitness center membership for free to staff and faculty during this stressful time, revisit flex time, give students/faculty/staff $1,000 for every newly enrolled student that they bring to the University.


· A question was raised regarding which properties the University owns and which it leases. The consensus of the group was that the University owns Pleasantville, Briarcliff, 41 Park Row, One Pace Plaza, 106 Fulton Street, 5 floors of the Graduate Center, and the Law School


· After the faculty members departed, a question was raised regarding whether or not the Administrative/Staff Council membership assembled today should vote to support the faculty’s motions to the President and the Board of Trustees. The Council’s Constitution states that its purpose is to “make recommendations concerning University issues to the President.” The Administrative/Staff Council is not involved in governance, as is the Faculty Council. Instead, it was decided that the 2 Councils will continue to communicate regarding the concerns expressed during today’s meeting and that we will meet jointly, at least once per semester, going forward.