Resolution Regarding Sonoma State Academic Senate Response to the Spring 2007 No Confidence Vote

Resolved: That the Sonoma State University Academic Senate reaffirms its commitment to the academic mission of the university as its top priority, and to fiscal transparency and open and respectful communication between the faculty and university administration; and be it further

Resolved: That the Academic Senate urges the president to make the same commitment as a statement of his willingness to work with the faculty in resolving the issues contributing to the Spring 2007 No Confidence Vote; and be it further

Resolved: That the Academic Senate endorses the following targeted remedies as its formal response to the Spring 2007 No Confidence Vote; and be it further

Resolved: That the Academic Senate charge the Executive Committee with referring the remedies to the appropriate Senate committees for action, with the understanding that committees will report back to the full Senate in May 2008 on progress made.

1. Alignment of Resources with Mission: There is significant concern that the distribution of resources on campus is not aligned with the mission of the university, making it very difficult to deliver a quality education to our students. The concern focuses on three areas: the explicit enumeration of priorities in the planning process; the specific distribution/allocation of resources, including the redirection of allocated money to unfunded mandates; and, the impact of the Green Music Center on the general fund budget. Because of the gravity of concern about the Green Music Center, it stands alone as an issue for the Senate to address. To address the concerns raised about the alignment of resources with mission the Academic Senate endorse the following remedies:

  • University Planning Steering Committee (UPSC) will adopt the proposal of the faculty representatives to prioritize investment in curriculum over investment in physical and administrative infrastructure.
  • UPSC will prioritize investment in curricular, student services and co-curricular infrastructure using the “Core Academic Priorities” report as guidelines.
  • The Administration will restore the base in the Academic Affairs Division.
  • The President shall ask the University Planning Steering Committee to recommend strategic priorities for the campus.
  • The Academic Planning Committee will be given a level of review of all strategic priorities, which it will report to the Senate, before they become campus policy.
  • The University Strategic Plan will be forwarded to the Academic Senate, and other appropriate campus constituencies, for endorsement, before it becomes official university policy.
  • The Administration will enhance faculty development (also one of the Core Academic Priorities) by following its announced plan to increase allocations to the Faculty Development Fund to $1 million by 2012.
  • The Senate Budget Committee, with the assistance of the Academic Affairs Division, will develop a public accounting of funds actually spent on academic and other purposes.

2. Green Music Center: There is great concern about the impact of the Green Music Center (GMC) on the general fund budget. To address that concern, the Academic Senate endorse the following remedies:

  • The university will create a business plan for the Green Music Center that is sustainable, does not redirect funds from the academic mission, and that provides transparency in GMC financing and operations.
  • Discussion and evaluation of the cost and impact of the operation and debt service of the GMC will occur on a real time basis in all campus budget committees.
  • All new campus construction projects, except the University Center, will be deferred until GMC fiscal policies and funding strategies are resolved.

3. Enhanced institutional commitment to diversity: Another area of concern regarding institutional priorities is the nature and extent of the institutional commitment to the principle of diversity. While there are curricular and outreach efforts that demonstrate in this regard, given the globally and locally diverse environments affecting the university, the commitment to diversity needs to be significantly increased. To that end, the Senate endorse the following remedies:

The Academic Senate, in consultation with the Administration, will engage in a comprehensive evaluation of the institutional commitment to diversity, focusing upon faculty, staff and student recruitment and retention programs, curriculum, and the governance process, paying specific attention to the feasibility of the following actions:

  • Re-evaluation of the charge/membership of Campus Climate Committee;
  • Restoration of the Educational Equity Committee to assess programs and services that support recruitment, retention, graduation of students from diverse groups.
  • Creation of a Faculty Equity and Opportunity Committee as subcommittee of Faculty Standards and Affairs Committee to assess efforts to support recruitment and retention of diverse faculty community.
  • Establishment of an Equity/Opportunity oversight position for recruitment in Academic Affairs.
  • Restoration of the Sexual Assault Coordinator position on campus;
  • Restoration of general fund support for Women’s Center and multicultural centers for students.
  • Creation of General Fund support for Gay/Lesbian/BiSexual Center;
  • Inclusion of language in the University Strategic Plan committing the university to diversity as a core principle, with specific language to address the following: incorporation of cultural diversity and competence in all aspects of University operations; recruit and support a student population representative of the region and the state; outreach to local organizations that serve diverse populations currently underrepresented at SSU.
  • Provision of general fund support for Coordinator of Diversity, charged with coordinating campus efforts to implement diversity as a core principle of the university mission.
  • Creation of a general fund supported Ombudsperson to receive complaints and arbitrate disputes, including diversity disputes.

4. Shared governance: Of fundamental concern is the administrative leadership style that permeates the campus as it is reflected in the nature of consultation with the institutions of shared governance. A top down approach to decision-making has interfered with the ability of shared governance institutions to deliver on their legal and ethical responsibility to provide advice and policy recommendations on curricular and budgetary matters that affect the direct delivery of the educational mission in the classroom. In addition, there is a sense that the president has disengaged from the office’s role as an advocate for and defender of the “academic side of the house.” The Academic Senate endorse the following as remedies to improve shared governance on campus:

  • The Administration will adhere to the university policy on consultation contained in the Faculty Consultation in Budgetary Matters Policy.
  • The President will meet each semester with campus budget committees, department chairs councils, and department faculty/staff to stay up to date on the concerns of faculty and staff throughout the campus.
  • The President will respect and provide a meaningful response to the policy resolutions of the Academic Senate.
    All university committees charged with fiscal decisions will include a decisive faculty voice.

5. California Institute on Human Services (CIHS): Campus-wide discussion of the issues surrounding grants and contracts in CHIS have resulted in very different accounts of the participants’ roles, responsibility and authority to act in the situation. In addition, the situation has pointed to the weakness in the policy framework for distribution of indirect costs (IDC) revenue from grants. The Academic Senate endorse the following remedies to address the issue of CIHS, and grants and contracts more generally:

  • A resolution calling for an independent performance (comprehensive financial and management) audit of grants and contracts administration at SSU including CIHS that originates outside the purview of the Board of Trustees and the CSU.
  • A blue paper policy specifying a formula for the distribution of IDC revenues to campus divisions.

President's Response