Senate Meeting of 4 February 2021

Chair J Reeder had several announcements:

>>        The Executive Committee has decided unilaterally not to hold even a virtual Recognition Ceremony for the new crop of retirees awarded Emeritus status by the Academic Senate in September. The SSU-ERFSA Board was not involved in this decision. In fact, the Board had expressed a desire to hold precisely such a virtual Recognition Ceremony on Friday, 5 March. But University personnel whose participation would have been necessary declined to participate.

>>        Things continue moving statewide on implementation of the new Ethnic Studies requirement, but there are minority voices that object to what’s happening.

>>        An announcement went out this week about priorities for administration of the vaccines the University has been allocated by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE).

>>        The Senate will be asked to authorize two posthumous degrees to students who died over the winter break.

President J Sakaki announced that

>>        This week is Lobby Week at the Capitol, but this year because of quarantine it is being conducted virtually.

>>        She recently attended the first meeting of the Board of Trustees under newly-installed Chancellor Castro.

>>        The Board has authorized SSU to increase its proportion of on-campus-housed students from the current 35% to 50%, once the pandemic has ended. Zinfandel, which is the oldest residence hall and rapidly deteriorating, will be replaced with dorms specifically designed for freshmen.

>>        The President announced that the search for the Athletic Director will be chaired by VP Mario Perez, Director of Development. Currently, Nicole Annaloro is serving in an Interim capacity. 

>>        Chief of Staff Jerlina Griffin-Desta has been designated additional duties and will now have an added title of VP for Diversity and Strategic Initiatives.

>>        The search for a permanent Provost to replace Lisa Vollendorf will take place this spring, while AVP Karen Muranski continues to perform these duties as Interim Provost. Composition will be determined shortly, but her chief of Staff Jerlina Griffin-Desta has been designated as Chair. [For the first 40 years of this institution’s existence it was traditional for Search Committees to select their own chairs. Then in approximately 2002 when Bernie Goldstein retired as Provost and a search began for his successor, who turned out to be Eduardo Ochoa, the then-President, a known autocrat, announced his decision to name his CFO as the Committee’s Chair. The faculty protested vigorously but to no avail. Perhaps it has now become traditional for the President to appoint Chairs of Search Committees.]

Interim Provost K Moranski had several announcements:

>>        The enrollment figure for the spring term is 7,225 FTE, which brings the average for the academic year down to 7,515 FTE.

>>        There were 25 applicants for sabbaticals for the 21-22 academic year, and 13 were granted.

>>        In response to complaints from faculty about the uselessness of some of the “training” videos they are compelled to watch, she responded that the Chancellor’s orders had to be followed. One Senator gave suggestions for passing the end-of-training tests with minimal effort.

Vice-Chair L Krier reported that the Structures & Functions Committee has decided to increase the membership of the University RTP membership from 5 to 7, and also to amend the Bylaws so that committee meetings can legally be held virtually.

CFO J Lopes is meeting with the Budget Advisory Committee regarding the AY 21-22 budget. Stimulus Funding from the federal government will ease some of our chronic shortfalls.

VP Student Affairs G Sawyer announced a CARE program that will improve counseling for students having Covid and mental health problems. He also announced a new “You at Sonoma” program for students, that will be a “one-stop-shop” for them to get counseling.

Provost Muranski gave a detailed presentation on the forthcoming (virtual) visit by a WASC team on 4-5 March. This is a “special” visit, about halfway from our last 8-year accreditation in 2017 until the next major evaluation in 2025, just to check on progress toward some goals they set for reforms.

Associated Students reported that their elections are coming up. They are proud to continue supporting some worthwhile student initiatives and programs such as JUMP, ASP, and the Children’s School. They are trying to fill open student positions on faculty-governance committees.

Statewide Senators announced that the CSU-ERFSA Foundation grant program is actually open to all faculty, active as well as retired.

The Senate is also considering a question that has been raised regarding whether Emeritus status can be revoked and if so under what circumstances. Also there is considerable variation statewide about the requirements for appointment to Emeritus status. [At Sonoma State we have traditionally believed that achieving tenure and serving 10 years is sufficient evidence of outstanding service, and that imposing additional requirements would be divisive.]

EPC is considering the inclusion in the Academic Calendar of a standing “fire week”, to accommodate interruptions due to disasters, as has occurred in three of the past four academic years. The theory is similar to the “snow days” built into many school calendars in colder parts of the country.

FSAC is discussing policies regarding Retreat Rights for administrators hired from off-campus. It is also continuing to work on revisions to the RTP policy.

>>        Submitted by Rick Luttmann, Senate Representative for SSU-ERFSA