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Senate hears budget, parking issues
By Thomas Becher
May 23, 1997
While earlier threats of a 10 percent budget cut have subsided, President Philip E. Austin warned the University Senate that other funding issues, including early retirements, could leave the University with a $23 million reduction in state approp-riations.
"I'm rather more optimistic now than was the case a month ago," Austin said during the May 12 meeting. "But there are still some issues at least as threatening to this institution as a 10 percent reduction." Austin said House Speaker Tom Ritter has assured him of a compromise that would limit cuts for UConn.
The General Assembly is expected to vote on the budget in the next week or so.
The Senate also voiced its opinion on two issues: emergency closings and University-wide tenure.
To make it easier for faculty to make up classes lost due to emergency closings, particularly winter weather, the Senate approved a policy on class work make-up.
The policy reads: "Each faculty member is encouraged to make up academic work missed due to emergency closings. The instructor has the responsibility for making up the missed course work, and there are several methods for achieving this. For courses in which it is difficult to make up the work in any other way, the registrar is requested to schedule one Saturday during the latter part of each semester for facilitating such make-ups, and this date shall be included in the University's calendar."
The Senate rejected a motion that would have prevented canceling classes in the event of bad weather, unless the governor shuts down the state or other state agencies.
The Senate also approved a motion changing the issue of University-wide tenure. According to the change, faculty members granted tenure are tenured throughout the University system, at every regional campus. If that regional campus were to close or a tenured faculty member's program were to cease, the faculty member would be assigned to another campus with that program.
The motion, proposed by Bruce Stave, professor of history and chair of the Senate's Growth and Development Committee, does not hinder the proposed construction of an 1,100-space parking garage.
The motion asks that "a moratorium be placed on the change of University parking policy until a clear statement and/or plan regarding shuttle bus schedules, differential costs between reserved spaces and non-reserved spaces, a rationale for all reserved spaces, and other matters regarding parking is presented to and accepted by the University Senate."
Stave said he raised the issue to get questions answered.
"When you pay for something you get a service in return," Stave said. "We have to see if we are paying for more or if are we paying for less."
He also questioned whether the University could afford a beefed-up, frequent shuttle system.
"While there are good intentions, this whole issue may flounder on budget," he said. "There are a number of issues there that have to be cleared."
As outlined in the May 9 issue of the Advance, parking is about to change dramatically on campus as UConn 2000 projects begin to take hold and the campus slowly evolves into a pedestrian-only central core. The plan is to charge for parking in the campus center but offer free parking on outlying lots with bus service. The goal is to use parking revenue to support better shuttle service and the construction of additional parking garages.
Bill Barrett, director of administrative and logistical services, said he welcomes University Senate representation on the Parking Advisory Committee, a University-wide body that will discuss fees and parking restrictions. He said a brochure will be mailed shortly to explain all the changes as the University seeks to wean the central campus from cars.
In other business, senators also heard from W.A. Cowan, an emeritus professor of animal science, about how the University's cost structure ranks compared with other land-grant universities.
UConn ranks fourth out of 50 when it comes to out-of-state tuition, fees, room and board ($18,546), 37 percent above the national average of $13,554. In-state charges ($10,276) were third of 50, 34 percent above the national average of $7,669.
The Senate also paid tribute to three key participants and University leaders who will retire following the academic year: Harry Johnson, a professor of finance who has been the Senate moderator for 11 years, Ann Huckenbeck, assistant vice president for enrollment management, and Carol Wiggins, vice president for student affairs.