Governing Body for Staff at the University of Kansas

Staff Senate Meeting 12/20/17

Staff Senate Minutes

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017

Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Malott Room, Kansas Union

Rules of Engagement

Be on time

Be respectful

Ask questions

State your name for the Senate before initiating conversation

Meeting is recorded


Approved: January 17, 2018

Call to Order

President Brian Moss called the meeting to order at 12:02 p.m.

Motion: To approve the Nov. 15, 2017 Staff Senate minutes. Motion made by Chris Wallace. Motion seconded by Todd Carpenter. Motion passed.



President – Brian Moss

Moss and the president-elect met Nov. 28 with Provost. The highlights included thanking her for the increased professional development funds; she confirmed that was an annual amount and would be provided going forward annually, and not a one-time allocation. Additionally, balances can be carried forward year to year. The two asked for copies of the KU common book to provide to employees of the month. Michael Wade Smith of the Provost’s office says we should have books by the January meeting and employees of the month will be invited. They continue to talk to the Provost about ways to thank staff or show appreciation that would be at low cost or no cost to the University, though some uncertainty remains due to changes in federal tax laws. If you have ideas for things, please let Moss know. There is a somewhat firm date for a Staff Senate appreciation event at noon on Wednesday, March 28, at The Outlook; it won’t interfere with the regular meeting but would be at the same time as regular meetings are held; please pencil that in on calendars. Faculty Senate has indicated many faculty are not completing the sexual harassment training; there was an email from the Provost about the training; please make sure you have taken the training. Please encourage folks in your units to complete the training. There was a UPS Council conference call with counterparts at other Regents institutions and they are working on ideas for the January report to the Kansas Board of Regents. The group would like to find a line between expressing concerns but not to appear to be complaining or being too whiney. Moss is working on cleaning up the Staff Senate email box and is organizing content into folders.  Congratulations to Jennifer Ananda for being elected to the city commission; she will be sworn in Jan. 8.

Treasurer – Susan Shaw



There was no charge related to paper for the newsletter.


Diversity and Inclusion – Jeff Severin/Michelle Wilson

The committee met yesterday and talked about the online training modules that have come for review from Dr. Hamer’s office; some comments were from faculty about terminology and one module some felt it was heavy with faculty examples and not really focused on staff. Cody Case is taking feedback as they determine the content of the diversity, equity and inclusion modules. As a committee they have developed subcommittees. One focuses on collaboration with other groups. Regarding committee members having an established presence on all Staff Senate committees, there is a member on all. Another subcommittee is working to develop relationships with counterparts on campus. The committee is looking at a way to educate departments about how to push out/communicate events. Cody Case keeps the D&I calendar on and the group is trying to determine how to push department events to that calendar so it’s an ongoing update. Regarding Staff Senate training, they’re in the process of developing an annual training program, and would need to do one in fall and one in spring – it could include Safe Zone, Social Justice 101 and bystander training. The committee had a question about if we require training of all elected staff senate members? Robert Waller said it potentially could be added to code. There is an MLK event planned for Jan. 15.


Elections – Andy Jackson

Jackson provided a report for the meeting; Moss read the provided report:

Elections Committee meeting set for Jan 3rd from 2-3pm in room 213 Price Computing Center

Reminder that in the February Staff Senate meeting we will be asking for nominations for President Elect

Roadmap for next few months (a more detailed roadmap to come):

KU Staff Census via HR to determine number of senators in each category

Nominate president elect candidates at staff senate meeting to place on ballot


Staff Senate elections

Emails will be sent out calling for nominations to Staff Senate, as well as outlining the finished timeline for the elections

Legislative Affairs – Robert Waller

Waller had no additional report but will present later the tuition proposal. There is no Dec. 28 committee meeting.


Personnel Affairs – Annette Delaney

Delaney was ill, but Moss said the group is looking at ways to do a virtual handbook; Delaney is focused on the search functions on the website as it is a compilation of a number of different websites and some unit sites can have different search results and there can be many old pages that return search results. Moss is trying for a page, perhaps off of Staff Senate, with perhaps top 10 perks or things to know about for new staff. This wouldn’t be an exhaustive list, but could raise awareness and could provide a list of needed resources. Ola Faucher of HRM said there will be three policies headed to the committee to review soon. The Provost emailed yesterday about situations where faculty and graduate students might be travelling together to a conference, and is there a need for a policy to say they should not lodge together; it is more faculty focused but Moss indicated it was felt the policy should say faculty and staff and not just faculty.


Professional Development – Abby Ehling

There were 19 applicants for the professional development fund and people have been notified of the awards. There were 11 awards and each received $300. Ehling hopes to get it an application posted soon for spring awards with a deadline toward end of January. She plans to propose a three time period award period and then money could be used throughout the year. There will be a spring award with travel through the end of June; it’s hoped those applications could post soon. It’s anticipated there will be more applicants for spring awards. There is a committee meeting today and they’ll begin working on the Mini Wheat State tour.  


Public Relations – position vacant

The chair is vacant, but Moss asked if Mary Murphy and Deb Deering would consider being co-chairs as they’ve been essentially acting as co-chairs and recently published the Staff Senate newsletter. Mary Murphy indicated they’d likely be open to that. During the January meeting Moss will make a more formal nomination of Mary Murphy and Deb Deering. He asked that it be put that on the Executive Committee meeting agenda next month, too. Any Staff Senate member is welcome.


HRM – Ola Faucher

HR will no longer do face-to-face new employee training; it will all be online now. If you haven’t used 2017 discretionary holiday, do so by Dec. 30. Waller asked if it had to be used or requested; it’s used, or you lose it. It was asked if new employees would get emails about the online training. Yes, they will be provided with a website for orientation. Moss asked what the training was; Faucher said right now it’s mostly PowerPoint but a Phase II for the project it’s hoped to make it more jazzy. There’s basic benefits information and some choice points where you can go look at campus resources, etc. It’s a shorter version with basics and then making choices about other places you might want to look at. It will be available to anyone, even longer term employees. Moss said he might use some of the information for the Personnel Committee.


Faculty – Kirk McClure

Two major reports from the Planning and Resources committee have been highly critical of money spent on the university’s air fleet and consulting; reports have been sent to the Provost and Chancellor for their comments as a matter of courtesy. Those responses are being viewed as non-responses, essentially. The Chancellor said that the air fleet had been looked at in 2012 and the topic was done. But, some feel there is a problem brewing in that the response shows tax money is covering the fleet in its entirety, which is being taken to mean that that includes recruitment flights for athletics. McClure could seek Staff Senate input on views on consultants. Administrative leadership is still trying to decide when and how to respond regarding the consultant issue. McClure worries that there is little value in pursuing what could be viewed as battles that have already been lost but to focus instead on what actions are beneficial going forward. He’d suggest the Staff Senate know the information better than anyone else. Staff side bore the brunt of the changes of the prior administration. Leadership is looking to students, staff and faculty asking about what issues we should collectively be trying to fight? We need input. All of 2018 will probably be “fight” between governance and the administration. Contact him individually via email or speak to Hayes or Moss to let them know your input; the goal is to get down to the list of things we can and should raise a fight about as a concerted body. Effective change in response to the reports has to come in the spring, beyond that point we’ll have lost the clout. McClure will be at the January Staff Senate meeting, but another faculty member will attend in February, March and April and he will return in May and throughout the summer. Deb Deering is on the Planning and Resources committee and she said if it’s viewed that the committee’s efforts need to change that the charges need to be looked at. Regarding consulting, there were lots of contracts there were not allowed to see. The charges could really need to change; the committee was doing the due diligence according to the charges. Deering said they dealt with legal counsel who told them not to sign disclosure papers as they could personally be sued. Therefore the consulting firm said they could provide the information after they redacted the necessary information which would not provide what was needed. Waller asked who decides the scope of the Planning and Resources committee and if this an issue where the scope should have been more broad, or was the scope set by a prior committee? McClure said that leadership in governance are very happy with the work of the committee, though the administration seems upset. The nondisclosure statement is troubling as we’re a public institution and this is an investigative committee; it goes against everything we think of as shared governance to not share information. The charges are being reexamined and the president has taken on maybe refiguring committees. It could be going forward that there may be fewer, more targeted committees. It could be with a different administration (Provost) that information might be more readily and easily shared. Do we say some of the problems are behind us? We need to say what issues going forward are important; McClure wonders if the air fleet is one of those issues. Moss said he’d forward the response from the Chancellor’s office for background. SenEx meets again mid-January to discuss. Provide any feedback.


Student – lost to class scheduling; Moss will begin the effort to get another student.


Unfinished Business

There is a penciled in gathering for Staff Senate at noon on March 28 at The Outlook, the Chancellor’s residence


New Business

Deb Deering – when the old Staff Senate was in place we created a supervisor evaluation; it was blessed and went through many channels. But it never got implemented and disappeared. We as employees get evaluated but our supervisors or evaluators don’t get evaluated. The project was elaborate, but it never got implemented. People are trying to figure out what happened to it, why was it not done, many would like it? Faucher said there was a pilot in the library and it went away after that. Faucher said she wasn’t sure what happened. Moss asked if we should pick up the topic? Waller asked for documentation, because Staff Fellows is looking at more broad report of staff/university/etc. Faucher said it didn’t make it to the institutional level. Does Kathy Reed have it? The automated evaluation tool does have the ability to do 360 evaluation; a few units have expressed interest in it and they’ve done a few small tests but nobody has stepped up to say they really want it, so there is a systems capability of a different approach. Chris Wallace said the project was 5 or 6 years ago when it was Support Staff Senate, before his presidency. Waller said the climate survey suggest the 360s would be welcome. Faucher said there would be a need to discuss supervisor feedback vs. evaluation, which was a philosophical issue that was wrestled with before. Information might be in archived files. Moss said he’d ask the HR director at the libraries to see if he’s got information. Moss asked if there were concerns about backlash, if staff provided negative supervisor feedback? Deering said it would be paper and anonymous so they didn’t have to worry about retaliation. Wallace said he thinks that’s why it might have stopped, for supervisors with 1 employee, etc., where it would quickly become obvious who provided the feedback. Faucher said the model before was feedback and not evaluation.



Robert Waller - tuition assistance proposal 

Waller thanked the committee for their efforts and presented a PowerPoint. He noted this proposal was for a new program and not to replace what was being done now. After the presentation he took questions. Jane Tuttle asked which institutions have things like this? The response was all Kansas Board of Regents institutions except for KU, though what each offers can vary. A couple, depending on how long you work there completely cover tuition. Moss said FHSU is particularly generous; it’s also one of the least expensive schools. Such programs can also be good for staff and faculty retention and recruitment. Waller said this was a major focus. It was questioned if the proposal also cover campus fees? It covers tuition only for dependents and spouses, not campus fees; those would need to be paid by dependents or spouses. The Provost’s office is the ultimate decision maker. This wouldn’t have to go through Board of Regents. A question arose of if the 12 hours in the proposal match others/is it reasonable compared with those? Waller said it is reasonable based on other institutions – it’s in the wheelhouse of the others. What about peer institutions? Waller said the committee could check. Faucher said it would be helpful for faculty recruitment; Moss said peers could be more persuasive. It was queried why the proposal excluded online classes? Waller said it was essentially due to price, but also for the community aspect; the committee wants the connection and we want them on our campus. What about taxation? Those issues remain to be determined.


Motion: To approve the tuition proposal as presented and that the committee move the presentation to other reasonable parties. Motion made by Robert Waller. Motion seconded by Chris Wallace. Motion passed.


Call to Adjourn


Motion: To adjourn, at 1:24 p.m. Motion made by Chris Wallace. Motion seconded by Deb Deering. Motion passed.

Upcoming Meeting Schedule

Executive Committee

Wednesday, Jan. 10, Noon - 1:30 p.m., Room 455, Watson Library

Full Senate

Wednesday, Jan. 17, Noon – 1:30 p.m., Malott Room, Kansas Union


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