Governing Body for Staff at the University of Kansas

Staff Senate 9/20/17


Staff Senate Minutes

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017

Noon - 1:30 p.m.

The Commons, Spooner Hall

Rules of Engagement

Be on time

Be respectful

Ask questions

State your name for the Senate before initiating conversation

Meeting is recorded

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by President Brian Moss at 12:02 p.m.

The Commons
Emily Ryan, director of The Commons, shared information about the space and about Spooner Hall, the oldest continuously used academic structure on campus. The Commons’ purpose is to bring people together from across campus through workshops, events, presentations and more for interdisciplinary exploration and connections. 

Approval of Minutes – Aug. 16, 2017

Motion: To approve the Aug. 16, 2017 Staff Senate minutes. Motion made by Chris Wallace. Motion seconded by Todd Carpenter second. Moss noted a brief correction in the President’s Report regarding USS and UPS council comments to the Chancellor. Motion passed.


President – Brian Moss

Housekeeping details were addressed, including mention of the Staff Senate photo planned at the meeting’s conclusion, as well as distribution of folders for any Senators requiring them. Moss mentioned the Staff Senate SharePoint site and that efforts were underway to bring it up-to-date.

USS and UPS councils are reporting to the Kansas Board of Regents as this meeting gets underway. The UPS report will include a thank you to KBOR for continuing to allow the UPS to report directly to the body and gently reminding KBOR that staff costs associated with working for the university (insurance, etc.) have been going up higher than any wage adjustments, as well as a brief comment about continued concerns about concealed carry on campus, including concerns about how it impacts recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff. UPS planned to share similar concerns about insurance costs and requirements. In regard to an update from University Senate, there has been a concern this year about how accommodations are handled at the university. Student Senate has a senator who is deaf and blind and requires tactile signage, which is expensive; while the Student Senate was able to absorb a $10,000 charge last year their budget this year will not absorb such a cost. Their short-term concern is how to fund it; their longer-term concern is how to fund similar accommodations going forward. From accommodation conversations arising at University Senate, many accommodation charges go to a department level; University Senate has passed a resolution to bring the issue more attention as it’s felt it is the university’s responsibility to make sure accommodations can be met. Ola Faucher of Human Resources said there is a central fund that is essentially for construction related to accommodation needs, but that there can be budgetary implications at the department level due to accommodation needs. From a faculty/staff accommodation perspective, Faucher said there have been times the Provost’s office has been approached in situations where a department could not adequately fund an accommodation. Emily Gullickson asked about accommodation at events; Faucher said that two offices on campus (the ADA Resource Center for Equity and Accessibility and Academic Achievement and Access Center) hope to meet campus needs for event accommodation; campus leaders planning events could certainly contact those offices during event planning to see what might be possible or available for particular events. Moss reminded Staff Senate that the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion calendar managed through the Office of the Provost has an option to add events to Gmail calendars through an import, for reminders of important DEI events on campus. Starting next Wednesday Moss and Michelle Ginavan Hayes have regularly monthly meetings scheduled with the Provost; if members of Staff Senate have any items they’d like to suggest for those monthly discussions they should let Moss or Hayes know.

 Treasurer – Susan Shaw

The Staff Senate starting balance is $4,702.

Diversity and Inclusion – position vacant

The position is vacant, and the chair position will be discussed during the Elections Committee report. Jeff Severin, who had been serving as the committee’s secretary, reported that the committee met yesterday with Jennifer Hamer, vice provost for Diversity and Equity, who shared information about the current landscape, how the committee could support ongoing efforts, etc. She offered to attend future committee meetings to continue the dialogue. The committee spent time discussing additional areas its members might want to focus on; the meeting had good turnout and Severin indicated the group was in a good position to begin making some positive impacts.

Elections – Andy Jackson

There are open three positions in the Research, Operations and Support categories. Communications have been sent to work to fill those positions. Regarding the chair for the Diversity and Inclusion committee, Staff Senate code says those interested should submit a statement and the President and a representative from the office of Diversity and Equity will vet submissions and bring names to the full Staff Senate for a vote. Moss said there was one self-nominee, Jeff Severin; Moss spoke with Precious Porras with the office of Diversity and Equity and she was very much in favor of the nominee. Severin said in his statement he had indicated he was interested in continuing the work of the committee and that as a member of the committee he feels it is positioned well to take action. Social justice has always been part of the mission of the office he directs, the Center for Sustainability, and he was a part of the first social justice fellows program. Those opportunities have provided transformational experiences for him in regard to self-education. His statement addressed that as a white cisgender heterosexual male he recognizes that he would come to the chair position from a place of privilege, but that he also realizes that his privilege allows him the energy to dedicate to the chair position, whereas others who might want to be chair might not have the energy to dedicate to the position because their energy is being spent getting through and navigating each day. Severin feels it is his responsibility to put available energy into addressing structural racism and issues on campus and working with people of all identities to adjust processes and procedures for equity purposes and he is open to a potential co-chair who represents identities different from his. Robert Waller made a motion to accept the recommendation/self-nomination that was vetted by Moss and Porras, Chris Wallace seconded the motion. The motion carried. Waller said that if Severin’s words and philosophy expressed were authentic that he thanked him, and said privilege is hard to recognize and for Severin to do so publicly was appreciated. Moss said there is a possibility for a co-chair, potentially one who does not have to serve on Staff senate, and Moss said he would provide more information about a potential co-chair at a later date.

Legislative Affairs – Robert Waller

There were technical difficulties at the beginning of the last committee meeting; the group continues to work on proposals related to tuition assistance for spouses and dependents. The committee has reached out to enrollment management, but there remain concerns about potential revenue implications based on a tuition waiver system, as well as the institution’s ability to track dependents and spouses and their interest in or participation with a tuition waiver process. The committee continues to believe a waiver system will be revenue neutral for KU; they envision that if there is an empty seat in the course that having a dependent or a spouse use that seat isn’t taking any money from KU, as the seat would have been empty of a rate-paying student. They also continue to work through how the process would work if someone using an empty seat needed to be bumped by someone who could use the seat and pay.

The committee was tasked with updating Staff Senate code verbiage as it relates to the Technology Officer and the Diversity and Inclusion chair. Submitted to the Staff Senate for consideration in regard to the Technology Officer is:

Section 6. Technology Officer

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.

Tenure in this position is contingent upon continued service as a senator. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment by the President and confirmation by majority vote at the next Senate meeting, with the person confirmed serving the remainder of the unexpired term.

Chris Wallace made the motion for the changes to be approved. Robert Waller seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Submitted to the Staff Senate for consideration in regard to the Diversity and Inclusion is:

Section 2. Standing Committee Chairs

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 chair of each standing committee shall arrange and preside over committee meetings, and make written reports of committee activities at all Senate and Executive Committee meetings. The chair of each standing committee shall also submit an annual report to the Senate President due no later than the April meeting of the Senate.

Tenure in these positions is contingent upon continued service as a senator. Vacancies, including those resulting from a chair’s Senate term expiring prior to their term as chair, shall be filled by majority vote at the next Senate meeting, with the person elected serving out the remainder of the unexpired term.

Chris Wallace made the motion for the changes to be approved. Robert Waller seconded the motion. Severin said that having just submitted a statement for the position, such refinement and additional definition to the process is appreciated and will be good going forward. The motion carried.

Personnel Affairs – Annette Delaney

The committee met yesterday. Members have been working on a virtual handbook and noted that since the last time the committee met there have been improvements to the KU search engine, making some staff-related information easier to find. There was discussion about online chat features and if there was a possibility for using a chat feature on some KU webpage for questions/answers/communication. The committee plans to learn more about what might be possible in regard to a KU chat or an information link built into the shell of the KU website, though some mentioned that Marketing Communications might need to be involved. Also, there could be financial implications if a help disk ticket model were to be pursued. Some wondered if potentially KU Info could serve as a resource. Delaney indicated the committee would continue to investigate. There was a brief conversation about how to disseminate information to all staff and how large mass email messages are managed by the university. HR does have a newsletter and potential announcements might be included there, according to Faucher. Delaney reported on a non-Staff Senate ad hoc committee that was reviewing insurance coverage related to weapons and employed faculty/staff; it was concluded that faculty and staff are covered by existing insurance policies.

Professional Development – Abby Ehling

The committee has a meeting scheduled next Tuesday at 1 p.m. Gullickson asked about the guidelines for the professional development funds and if information was consistently available on the Staff Senate website about the general availability of funds managed by the committee. Ehling said that she also recognized there was limited standard information about the professional development funds and that she hoped to develop something that could remain published about the funds, with updates as needed for specific applications as needed. Moss suggested that all Staff Senate committee chairs be given access to the Staff Senate Outlook calendar so they could post regular meetings there so all could have visibility to other committee meetings for scheduling purposes. Andy Jackson said he’d provide information to committee chairs.

Public Relations – Chris Wallace

There was no report. Moss indicated he wants there to be a Staff Senate newsletter sometime this fall.

Waller asked if the PR committee and any sites it maintains could be a place for more university-wide information to be shared; the group had a discussion about overall communications at the university. Moss asked committee chairs to think of a few things they would like to include in any upcoming communications, in whatever format those communications might take.

HRM – Ola Faucher

The professional development policy for which Staff Senate feedback was provided is ready to be posted to the policy library. A recent administrative workshop attended by some Staff Senate members went very well. In regard to October open enrollment for benefits, everyone has to do it this year, or they will be defaulted to a new plan; you will not be defaulted to your previous plan. Even if you have no changes to your enrollment you must take action. Faucher encouraged staff to go to meetings, listen to webinars, etc., to be informed and to be sure to take action during open enrollment. An announcement from the state recently about a 2.5% wage adjustment ended up not applying to KU or KBOR schools. Moss asked if the Pepsi scholarship will continue in the same amount. Faucher said yes, from what she’s learned. More information should be available from the Financial Aid & Scholarships webpage. Moss reminded the group that central HR will no longer be doing automatic time approval on behalf of supervisors who might not have approved reported time during the payroll process, or on behalf of employees who might have neglected to report time. Clint Johnston asked if dual reporting of time for Facilities employees was still necessary; the answer was yes, there is still the main payroll time reporting system as well as one used by Facilities to track work done by specific individuals on specific projects or in specific buildings. The group wondered what happened if, since there is no longer an automatic backup, what happens if a supervisor does not approve time? If this happens, employees will not be paid. If a supervisor approves time late, there is a process for a supplemental payroll process off cycle, with employees being paid later. Numerous senators asked what happens if supervisors continually do not approve time; Faucher said HR would expect the next-level supervisors to take action. Andrea Pitt asked what happens if time isn’t available for supervisors to approve during supervisor working hours; Faucher said if it is because of a systems issue the time job will be run again, but there could be times when supervisors will need to approve time while they are not working to ensure employees’ time gets approved during the necessary periods. Faucher reminded the Staff Senate that payroll deadlines are set by the state, as they issue the actual paychecks and money distribution, and that KU deadlines have to be backed into the state’s timeline.

Faculty – Kirk McClure

There was no report

Student – new student to be named

Gullickson mentioned there a number of issues current impacting students, including DACA, the Lawrence High School sit-in and events in St. Louis and at Georgia Tech.

Unfinished Business

No unfinished business

New Business
No new business

Call to Adjourn

Motion: To adjourn, at 1:13 p.m. Motion made by Chris Wallace. Motion seconded by Greg Smith. Motion passed.

Staff Senate and Staff Senate Executive Committee photographs were taken at the conclusion of the meeting

Upcoming Meeting Schedule

Executive Committee

Wednesday, Oct. 11, Noon - 1:30 p.m., Alcove G, Kansas Union

Full Senate

Wednesday, Oct. 18, Noon – 1:30 p.m., Malott Room, Kansas Union

Senators excused from September 2017 meeting: Keah Cunningham; Debora Deering; Kirk McClure (faculty); Peggy Robinson; Jane Tuttle.

Senators absent or not signed in from September 2017 meeting: Sean Festag; Jenny Flinders; Bethany Gross; Swathi Pallagurla.


Click to join our staff group page

Find us on Facebook

Staff Senate Calendar

KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times