ATTENDEES Chair Present Barrera, Denise

Tulane Staff Advisory Council Minutes
January 21, 2016
Ferbos, Will Chair
Barrera, Denise
Ely, Hunter, Vice-chair
Butler, Aleshia, Elections
Beck, Trina, Secretary
Blue, Jeff
Carr, Rose
Catlin, Kristy
Daigle, Bryan
Huber, Jennifer
MacLean, Avery
Langlois, Liz
Pham, Brooke
Mitchell, Olivia
Montegut, Renetta
Christina Wallace
Morel, Mel’isa
Rabito, Margaret
Anderson, Jerome
Beezley, Joshua
Pick, Amy
Sliwinski, Roblynn
Young, Griselda
Bush, Nicole
Charles, Evane
Deeves, Tim
Desko, Tara
Ghattas, Joseph
Duckworth, Douglas
Leonard, Angelica
Feigenbaum, Matthew
Loshbaugh, Alysia
Fuentes, Natalia
Marsh, Leslie
LaSalle, Lucia
Morton, Robert
Maese, Adam
Romig, Brad
May, Matthew
Rouege, Jackie
Pierce, Amy
Smith, Lawrence
Schmidt, Norine
Weaver, Judith
Wilde Wilson, Elizabeth
Snipes, Natasha
Wilson-Ripoll, Marilyn
Wolford, Laura
Wyatt, Penny
SAC Minutes January 2016
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Broussard, Julia
Lower, Shelley
Brusseau, Allyson
Simmons, Elizabeth
Calogero, Sherrie
Cheramie, Chris
Dunaway, Joseph
Halperin, Allyson
Keck, Jeanny
Lossi, Suzanne
Martin, AnneMarie
Mouton, Jean
Nazar, Elizabeth
Obrofta, Sharon
Robinson, LaShanda
Paciera, JC
Withers, Sarah
Zazulak, Sheila
All Officers are serving the Staff Advisory Council term 2015 – 2016
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The meeting was called to order by the chair at 3:00 p.m.
Guest Speaker: President Michael Fitts
Pres. Fitts thanked SAC Chair Will Ferbos for overseeing the staff open houses this
fall; he felt these were very useful. He went on to say that he “can’t overstate how
important the staff are” to the university. Acknowledging the “obsession” with the
details of the voluntary separation program (VSP), he spent some time explaining
the rationale behind it and its current status. He said “we are very optimistic that
the numbers will be very good- we are not anticipating any mandatory layoffs.” He
stressed that the VSP is part of a much larger package of initiatives designed to
address our annual $15-20 million cash deficit, and that the larger program is
designed to give us a surplus in a few years. He noted that while the expectation was
that the VSP would save money, there will be some re-hiring in some cases. He
explained that the VSP gives us the opportunity to reorganize and look at how we’re
fulfilling services, but there will be some backfilling as well.
Apart from the VSP, some other budget initiatives include filling the dorms (which
were only 91% full this year); changes to summer school programs; purchasing
instead of contracting; looking at travel & procurement processes; and moving to be
a self insurer for our health care plan- this has no impact on our insurance, it just
means we don’t outsource the compensation system, we insource the liability
instead. Going forward, we are cautiously optimistic that we’ll close this budget
deficit. The operational review and new budgeting system (which goes live next
year) are also connected to this.
President Fitts pointed to other good news: an increase of 13 points in US News
rankings; applications are up 23%, quality is also up, and geographic and racial
diversity are improving. We continue to be very attractive to candidates, but to
improve further we are making a number of changes in the undergrad curriculum:
reorganizing TIDES, allowing students to connect TIDES to res life, also making res
life more closely connected to academic experience. All of this is designed to deepen
the undergrad experience, extending to community service, increasing connections
between schools, etc. We are also looking at improving academic collaborations
across schools at the graduate level. There are huge opportunities here.
Pres. Fitts pointed out specific campus initiatives aimed at improving diversity on
campus and support for individuals from diverse backgrounds. He acknowledged
that we need to increase racial diversity; at the undergrad level we have 3.6 % black
students, which doesn’t allow us to attract more great students of color from around
the country. The new dean of admissions will be tasked with improving this. Beyond
the admissions issue, though, we need to create an atmosphere where students from
different backgrounds feel supported. A town hall on diversity issues was held on
Tuesday night, and a presidential commission on race and values has been created;
this is an important initiative.
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Regarding other issues on campus, Fitts noted that crime is always an issue; the
uptown campus is statistically very safe, but the LBC armed robbery rocked the
community. We’re looking at lots of different ways to improve safety and the
perception of safety- lights, cameras, etc. We have 105 TUPD officers on staff, and
also added security officers to beef up the physical presence as well as eyes and
ears. Also, while it’s important that the campus be safe, the area surrounding the
campus is also very important. We work with NOPD in areas surrounding campus;
we have less authority than NOPD, but we’re working with them on better ways to
reach beyond campus.
Mental health was obviously a huge issue last year. There have been a number of
changes since last year, and Scott Tims has done a phenomenal job. We’ve expanded
CAPS, provided a 24 hour hotline, and we’re thinking systematically about how we
get students thinking about their wellness before we get to crisis situations. This is a
national issue; these days more students arrive at college with addiction and mental
health issues who might just not have gone to college in earlier decades.
Regarding campus construction: the old social work school (building 9) is being
totally gutted for a new student success center combining academic and career
advising. Freeman is about to launch expansion this summer into their courtyard;
one of our great strengths is having an undergrad business school, which is a huge
attraction, but we’ve been inundated with students and need to expand the capacity.
The new River Center near the Convention Center is a long term project which will
be very important for our presence in environmental/energy research.
Overall, Fitts said it’s a time of change and transition. We’re moving forward in
selected areas, especially where fields connect with one another.
President Fitts then took questions from SAC representatives.
Question: Re: the student success center, is part of the goal to consolidate stuff like
helping students connect with internships?
Answer: “Centralize is such a bureaucratic word,” but the goal is to bring them
together- yes.
Question: I understand FY raises are being pushed back from July of 2016 to January
2017? Is this the new trend?
Answer: As you know, we looked at the budgetary issues. The first year we were in a
salary freeze. A decision was made not to give a salary increase, but to delay itintentionally to signal that it’s very important to support employees, and we won’t
have a continuing freeze. The long-term goal is to support these increases. For next
year we are looking at a January 1 increase, but that’s not set in stone. The budget is
in flux, and there are a lot of initiatives that are in the process of rolling out.
Question: Do we have a commencement speaker?
Answer: It has not been announced yet.
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Question: Can we get an update on Huron?
Answer: Huron is seen as the leading group for this kind of initiative. They’ve found
220 possible sources of inefficiencies for universities. A group was formed that went
through all 220 possibilities and found 11 areas where we can save or generate
money- i.e. summer school, empty dorm rooms, etc. Huron started this process
about a year ago, came up with a plan, narrowed it down, and did a second wave
where few of the possibilities panned out. Huron finished the process in Decemberother than consulting on software issues for travel & procurement, they’re done. We
now own all of their recommendations and are tasked with implementing them.
Question: Can you talk about milestones you have in mind looking ahead?
Answer: Budget-wise, we won’t start to see benefits until FY17, and full impact will
be in FY18. For academic initiatives, campus improvements, diversity issues, there
are short and long term goals: the river center, a new commons to replace Bruff,
centers, etc. There are several important searches going on right now, including
dean of admissions and provost (the new Social Work dean was just announced);
there will be some administrative restructuring, for example there will be a COO.
Question: When will changes to the procurement process happen?
Answer: Probably not until FY17.
Question: What’s the timeline for the new Student Success Center?
Answer: Probably FY18.
Review and Approval of Minutes
The November minutes were approved unanimously with no changes.
WFMO Representative Report- Christina Wallace
Staff recognition dates:
3/14 Primate
3/21 Downtown
3/23 Uptown
3/24 day of service
35 nominations for Staff Legacy award have been received; they are expecting 24 more by
tomorrow’s deadline.
The Staff Excellence Awards dinner is on Monday.
Check your email clutter folder for your ADP W2!
The VSP numbers are fluctuating daily, but we know it’s been successful and there won’t be
involuntary layoffs- more than 110 people applied (they hoped for 90-110), but not all
these people will leave in January. People who plan to leave but not in January could
SAC Minutes January 2016
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conceivably end up deciding to stay, but people were only allowed to extend the date with a
lot of scrutiny.
A SAC rep asked whether new people will come in to be trained while some of these people
are still here. Christina responded that there are a lot of different factors, and we can’t
rehire beyond the fiscal year.
Another rep asked: will restructuring/hiring processes be streamlined for filling some of
these voids? There will be so much movement in some areas; for example, facilities services
has undergone a lot of personnel changes. Christina said Doreen Nichols has worked very
closely with facilities services on reorganization, and hopefully this will be true across the
In response to a rep who asked whether there have been any updates on the proposed
FLSA changes, Christina responded “Not yet. We’re hoping we won’t hear anything until
Report of the Chair
A. Commission on Race and Tulane Values
The town hall meeting on Tuesday was a packed house, SRO in Kendall Cram,
which shows a lot of support for these issues. The commission is a
permanent commission co-chaired by Mike Cunningham and Tania Tetlow.
However, there is no staff representation. SAC members felt that we should
recommend staff to serve on the commission (not necessarily SAC members).
Will met with Tania and talked about the Primate Center and TUPD, where
there are some issues. Tania has been in touch with someone at the Primate
Center already, but SAC PC reps haven’t heard anything about it. Natalia
Fuentes (SAC Proxy- downtown) expressed interest in being involved, and
Jeff Blue (SAC Rep- downtown) said he will ask for TUPD interest. Will plans
to send an email to all SAC members regarding this issue.
B. Professional Gender and Sexuality Coalition
Will met with this group before the winter break. They have requested their
own representation on the Senate, but Senate doesn’t have representation
from special interest groups. The PGSC is modeled after the BFSA (which is
now defunct). They want to come meet with us to share their goals and see
how we can work together.
Hunter noted that we as a university recognize same-sex partnerships, but
there has been some confusion because some same-sex partners were
already recognized by Tulane for benefits purposes, but not as a married
couple, and he’s not sure what kind of issues this caused for them.
Christina explained that the law has changed; we’ve done peer reviews, and
some schools have required same-sex partners to get married to retain their
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C. Legacy Status Update
Will & Alysia Loshbaugh hashed out all the details of the Legacy program.
President Fitts will personally sign all award letters, rather than the
department senior officer. Legacies will get a new Legacy ID from Card
Services when they leave.
D. President’s Inauguration Volunteers
The inauguration is on March 17th and we haven’t gotten enough volunteers
yet. We have blocks of time with specific assignments available. We’re also
asking development staff/president’s office staff.
E. Adhoc Committee re: cost savings measures
Will met with Marilyn Wilson-Ripoll, Beth Nazar, and Robert Morton
regarding the ad hoc committee, and the focus has changed. Robert explained
that the committee was created to get into a proactive cost savings mode
instead of a reactive mode (i.e. the VSP). We’ve seen that the administration
is not looking for additional cost savings measures now; they relied on Huron
to identify the best sources of cost savings. We now want to shift the focus to
looking at imminent issues and being proactive about them. For example,
dealing with the VSP, both for departing staff and those left behind. We want
to have a meaningful conversation with administration: what is the ongoing
evaluation and adjustment process for the 11 areas that Huron identified as
we move forward?
The role of the ad hoc committee was originally to head off involuntary
separations- this is not happening, so we need to deal with fallout from VSP
instead. Allyson Brusseau noted that the library is losing a lot of people, not
just VSP people, and Beth Nazar added that there’s a lot of anxiety related to
the fact that none of us know the full scope of who’s leaving and how it will
affect our work. Robert agreed that there may be a cultural change as a
result. The ad hoc committee will be setting up a meeting with Tania in the
next couple weeks.
Officer Reports
University Senate –
The Senate met in December, and President Fitts touched on most of what was
discussed. The new AD, Troy Dannen was announced; the searches for cabinet
positions were discussed; crime was addressed, as were diversity issues and the
new commission. The budget review committee’s budget assumptions are available
on the Senate website; the final audit was presented to the board, and assumptions
are in line with last year’s predictions. Cost savings won’t be realized until FY19.
There is also a physical facilities update on the Senate website.
Board of Administrators –
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The board met on December 10. There were updates on the master plan (multiple
campuses, one university), parking, University Square. A $120 million bond sale will
pay for improvements to Freeman, Bruff, Reily, infrastructure, PC and Biloxi and
Riverfront campuses .
University Senate Committee Reports
Benefits – no meeting
Budget Review – no meeting
Information Technology – no meeting
Equal Opportunity – no meeting
Physical Facilities – no meeting
Social Issues – no meeting
SAC Sub-Committees
Election – the election process for 2016-2017 will start toward the end of February.
Electronic Technologies and Information (ET&I) – no meeting
Staff Appreciation – no meeting
Staff Issues – no meeting
Health and Wellness – no meeting
Community Service –
The CASA Toy Drive was a tremendous success, with both the amount of cash/gift
card donations and the number of toys and gifts doubled from the previous year.
Just over $4000 in cash/gift cards was collected, plus an estimated 400-500 toys and
gifts. Pres. Fitts helped out with two inclusions in The View From Gibson and a
generous personal donation.
Old Business and/or New Business
UNO is resurrecting their Master’s in Higher Ed Administration program, which may be of
interest to some of our staff since we do not have a comparable program. WFMO does not
think it’s appropriate to promote another school’s program, but staff may wish to spread
the word via word of mouth.
The question of whether SAC should have a social media presence was brought up. It was
agreed that a separate meeting should be held to discuss this further.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:22 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted,
Trina Beck
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