Governing Body for Staff at the University of Kansas

Staff Senate Executive Meeting 9/13/17

Executive Committee Minutes

Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017

Noon-1:30 p.m.

Watson Library, Room 302

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by President Brian Moss at noon.

Approval of Minutes – Aug. 9, 2017

Motion: To approve the Aug. 9, 2017 Executive Committee minutes, with no corrections needed. Motion made by Chris Wallace. Motion seconded by Michelle Ginavan Hayes. Motion passed.



President – Brian Moss

There are two applicants for the chair of the Diversity and Inclusion committee, both of whom indicate they’d like to serve as co-chairs. The two are Jeff Severin, currently serving as the committee’s secretary, and Melody Henning. Moss has spoken with Precious Porras, director of the office of multicultural affairs, as required by Staff Senate code, who concurs both are individually appropriate as chairs and would make a good team as co-chairs. Names will go forward to the full Staff Senate as code requires a vote. The chair/s would serve out the remainder of the previous chair’s term, so the chair process will need to repeat with other chair elections with the AY 2018-2019 Staff Senate. Moss thanked everyone who had submitted year-end committee reports for AY 2016-2017 and said year-end committee reports should be submitted eventually to Kathy Reed in Governance. An issue of who should be responsible for accommodations has been identified via University Senate and Student after a specific instance. A student senator requires tactile accommodations due to deafness and blindness; they were a student senator last academic year and are a student senator again this year. Last year Student Senate was charged $10,000 for the accommodations (interpreters need to come from Kansas City and Student Senate meetings are outside of normal work hours, etc., contributing to the expense) and Student Senate was able to find the funds to pay, but this year they are challenged to identify funds to pay for the expense. The issue has been brought to University Governance. The question includes just who should be/is responsible for paying for accommodations at the university? If they are required by law and if the university ultimately is legally responsible, should be money for accommodations come from a central unit administratively, or should it come from individual units? If there were centrally available funds, where do the various senates fall/would they be able to request those funds for accommodations related to the senate? Staff Senate, for example, doesn’t have a budget that would come even close to meeting a $10,000 bill for an accommodation. Robert Waller asked if there was a pending bill, and when does that bill come due? Kirk McClure indicated it has been provided to Kathy Reed in Governance. Waller asked if there was anything in university code anywhere regarding senates or clubs and what happens if one of those can’t pay a bill? Who signed the contract? Are contracts the responsibility of the group or the university? The group indicated they believed the AAAC (Academic Achievement and Access Center) in this instance receives the bill and provides it to the Student Senate. Andy Jackson wondered if the Provost needed to be presented with the idea of a general senates fund in case something similar were to happen to another senate in the future. McClure indicated a number of governance bodies were identifying the need to university administration. Moss thanked Leland Wilson, the Staff Senate IT  officer, for updating the Staff Senate professional development page to indicate that fund availability isn’t closed for 2017 as a year but for the spring 2017 cycle. The incoming professional development chair Abby Ehling will request this academic year’s funds from the Provost’s office; in the past the Staff Senate has offered one round of funding in fall and one in spring, with an occasional third offering. Chris Wallace asked about an additional $500 that had in the past been available from Human Resources, but Michelle Ginavan Hayes said that money will no longer be available. She has a draft of the previous communication to the Provost and will provide that to Ehling and determine to whom it needs to be sent with recent staffing changes in that office. Monthly meetings beginning in September have been established with the Provost. Moss brought up the Staff Senate Sharepoint site and indicated information had been added about three years ago and reminded the Executive Committee that it could be a good repository for documentation, committee reports, etc. Ginavan Hayes is putting together the last of the Staff Senate binders for incoming senators for distribution next week. Moss mentioned the impending change regarding how central HR handles approval of time; as of Nov. 4 HR will no longer be doing backups of approval of time reported by staff but not yet approved by the supervisor at the time of the deadline. There is a concern about staff members not getting paid if their supervisors don’t approve time and HR no longer backs up the approval. Moss indicated he’d follow up with Ola Faucher, who was unable to attend the Executive Committee meeting. Ginavan Hayes said shared service centers were making an attempt to remind users about the central approval being eliminated. Annette Denning indicated there had been some pilot departments on campus, including IT, and added that supervisors can delegate time approval if needed. Andy Jackson indicated that from the IT pilot group perspective that most people have caught on; there was at least one time when a unit didn’t get paid because of a manger mistake. The Executive Committee hoped there would be only isolated incidents with the impending change. There was a reminder that Executive Committee reports can be high level as full reports will be presented at the full Staff Senate the following week.


Treasurer – Susan Shaw

Shaw was absent but had provided via email the Staff Senate beginning balance of $4,702.


Diversity & Inclusion Chair – vacant; update above.


Legislative Affairs – Robert Waller

Draft language has been developed for updates to the descripts of the Staff Senate IT officer and the Diversity and Inclusion chair. Amended text follows:

  •  Chairs of the standing committees shall be nominated and elected by the incoming Senate at the transition meeting in April, with the exception of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee chair.  Nominees for the Diversity and Inclusion chair will be asked to submit a statement regarding their qualifications and interest defining diversity, equity, and inclusion and their vision of its impact on University of Kansas campus.  , and Qualified nominees will be put forth by the president, in consultation with a representative from the office of Diversity and Equity, for election by the full Senate.  The chairs of each standing committees shall be elected to serve a two-year term. Officers are not eligible to be elected as chairs of standing committees.
  • The Technology Officer of the Senate shall facilitate the work of the Senate by providing support for technical work done within the committees. The Technology Officer shall also be responsible for assembling documentation of the use of technology within the Senate.Responsibilities would include monitoring, planning, coordinating installs, debug, maintenance, patching and upgrades, along with general support for the technology needs of the Senate.  The Technology Officer will adhere to all technical policies, framework, and administration of technological activities as outlined by the University of Kansas Information Technology Office.


Waller moved that the Executive Committee approve the changes to the Diversity & Inclusion chair description, and for the amendments be presented to the full Staff Senate next week. Denning seconded. None opposed. Waller moved that the Executive Committee approve the changes to the Technology Officer position, and for the amendments to be presented to the full Staff Senate next week. Chris Wallace seconded. None opposed. Regarding efforts for staff, spouse and dependent tuition assistance using a waiver process, there was a technical issue with a conference call and another date has been set for the committee. Waller has spoken with representatives from Enrollment Management and there are continuing concerns regarding the financial impact of potentially having a non-paying body in a seat, though the committee contends the seat would be empty anyway and their proposal is that staff, spouses or dependents simply be able to use that empty seat. A concern has additionally been raised about the timing of when a paying attendee could bump a non-paying one, and how those situations could or should be handled. The committee will continue to discuss the issues at its next meeting. Waller wondered if faculty could potentially set courses to protect seats for faculty/staff/dependents, but McClure indicated that department chairs, not individual faculty, set the seat requirements for courses. Waller also wondered about any potential use of audit processes and using existing processes within the Office of the University Registrar; Ehling pointed out that the only official auditing of courses is for senior citizens. Waller said there isn’t information readily available on how many current staff/dependents/spouses currently take courses and/or would be interested in utilizing a fee-waiver process; Ehling said perhaps there is some data available from the Coke (now Pepsi) scholarships from the past few years, for at least a baseline of data regarding dependents.

Professional Development Chair – Abby Ehling

Ehling said she’d begin working on the committee’s efforts regarding this academic year’s professional development funds. She asked if there was information about when other Staff Senate committees met so she could make sure she wasn’t scheduling meetings at the same time. Moss wondered if there was a good way to share calendars; Jackson said yes, either in Outlook or SharePoint. Jackson said all committee chairs could be given access to the Staff Senate calendar and all meetings could be placed there for visibility, etc.

Personnel Affairs Chair – Annette Delaney

A committee meeting is set for next Tuesday morning. A 2.5% salary increase was announced by the governor, but it appears to potentially impact a small number of employees, and it was noted there is a difference in what the university calls classified employees versus what the state of Kansas calls classified employees.


Public Relations Chair – Chris Wallace

The committee has nothing to report yet; Wallace will get meeting set up. He referenced his involvement with the USS Council, which will go to the Kansas Board of Regents meeting next Wednesday

Elections Chair – Andy Jackson

The committee will begin to meet closer to elections. There are 3 standing vacancies, once in operations, one in research and one in support. E-mails have been sent to senators in those areas for suggestions; Moss continues to work on identifying an operations senator; that open seat is one that has a term expiring in 2019.


HRM – Ola Faucher

Faucher was not at the meeting. Moss indicated four people on Staff Senate, including him, went to an HR training/overview of many topics. There was a brief discussion about the language related to non-appointments (“not in the best interest of the university”) and just what that means and/or how it can be appropriately defined or identified.


Faculty – Kirk McClure

McClure said a faculty member raised an issue of an accommodation related to concealed carry, leading to discussions about what accommodations can be made under what circumstances. It is likely that additional conversations will continue at University Senate, both in regard to potential accommodations but also policies regarding course changes related to concerns over concealed weapons in classrooms (courses being shifted arbitrarily to online, faculty not holding standard sessions face-to-face), etc.


Student – New student to be named for AY 2017-2018; Moss has asked for a name.


Unfinished Business - none


New Business - none

Call to Adjourn – Chris Wallace made the motion to adjourn at 1:10 p.m. Seconded by Michelle Ginavan Hayes. Motion passed.

Next Meeting Schedule


Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, 12:00 PM ‐ 1:30 PM, Kansas Union, Alcove G


Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, 12:00 PM ‐ 1:30 PM, The Commons, Spooner Hall

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