STAFF SENATE MEETING MINUTES
September 21, 2016
President Trey Truitt presided over the September 21, 2016, Staff Senate meeting held at the LSU Student Union in Career Center Classroom (256J) at 10:30 a.m.
P - Matkovic, Igor (’17)
Pr - Cherry, Aaron (‘17)
P - DeRoche, Jon (’17)
P - Godfrey, Nikki (’17)
P - Kucharchuk, Kayla (’17)
A- Lemoine, Nathan (’17)
P - Lopez, Ramon (’17)
P - Lowery, Michelle (’17)
P - Millican, Tammy (’17)
P - Reonas, Barbara (’17)
P - Spurlock, Maggi (’17)
P - Steib, Summer (’17)
P - Truitt, Trey (’17)
P - Villien, Douglas (’17)
A - Dufrene, Robert (’18)
P - Gomez, Jennifer (’18)
P – Linam, Barrett (’18)
P - Ortiz, Shelly (’18)
P - Poret, Elizabeth (’18)
P - Springstead, Jennifer (’18)
P - Waguespack, Darcy (’18)
P - Ethridge, Jade (’19)
P - Henry, Rachel (’19)
P - Heroman, Stephanie (’19)
P - Rios, Hector (’19)
A - Owens, Kevin (’18)
P - Adedeji, Funmilayo (’19)
P - Corbitt, Brent (’17)
P - Salvadras, Amber (’18)
P - Arnold, Nancy (’19)
Pr - Thibodeaux, Ashley (’19)
A - Indicates Absent
P - Indicates Present
Pr - Indicates Proxy
Andrea Jones, University Center for Advising & Counseling
Johnna Zapletal, University Center for Advising & Counseling
Bethanie Tinker, University Center for Advising & Counseling
Vickie Madison, University Center for Advising & Counseling
Sarah Temple, Facility & Property Oversight
Zach Barnett, Student Government
Vice Provost Dereck Rovaris, Office of Diversity
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Trey Truitt at 10:30 a.m.
There was a quorum with two proxies noted.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Senator Brent Corbitt led the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – July 20, 2016, Staff Senate Meeting
A motion to accept the minutes was made by President-Elect Michelle Lowery. The motion, seconded by Senator Shelly Ortiz, carried.
STAFF SENATE AUGUST 17, 2016 MEETING
The Staff Senate August 17, 2016 meeting was officially cancelled due to the historic flooding that occurred but some Senators were able to meet and have a discussion about helping fellow staff members.
Staff Senators directly impacted by the flood, include 6 current senators and 3 former senators. Current senators affected include Dominic Adedeji, Brent Corbitt, Nikki Godfrey, Igor Matkovic, Tammy Millican and Barbara Reonas, while former senators are Casey Bennett, Mark Hale and Tiffany Galasso. Also, Staff Senate Administrative Coordinator Melonie Milton’s mother’s house flooded.
The immediate needs included assistance with cleanup (people power), assistance with FEMA paperwork, childcare, clothes, food, laundry services, packing supplies for personal items, storage space for salvageable items and transportation/carpooling.
The concerns and issues expressed by senators included accommodations for LSU staff required to remain on duty for food service, overtime pay for essential staff in classified positions, placing the decision on managers as to whether their employees should report for work, staff morale and mental health, timeliness of emergency communications regarding LSU closures and tone of communications, post-flooding. Most of the relief efforts discussed during this meeting revolved around staff needs.
Senator Summer Steib and President-Elect Michelle Lowery also met with former Senator/Past-President Julie Perkins to learn about the direction the University may be taking as it relates to staff needs in the wake of the Louisiana floods. Julie serves on an ad hoc committee that is looking at the bigger picture of staff needs. The Academic Deans have been asked to take care of their own and right now they are trying to do that until we know more about the bigger picture of efforts that LSU will have in place.
So far, the current resources offered to impacted faculty and staff are from Auxiliary Services, who is offering use of laundry machines in the Union Theater. They are working on getting notifications on social media and Staff Senate has been asked to send a broadcast email to staff. The broadcast email has been requested. Please see the Auxiliary Services social media post. We will share as soon as possible. BREC has added day camps for children. If you need childcare assistance, please visit: http://www.wafb.com/story/32781605/brec-opens-emergency-camps-while-school-is-out.
The LSU Food Pantry will also be open to staff. See the email that was sent to the full Senate last night.
As for taking care of our own, we are requesting the following from Staff Senators with regards to senator needs: if you have been impacted by the flood, please send President-Elect Lowery a wish list of your top 10 needed items. Please prioritize your list with 1 being the most important. Also, please include cleanup/rebuilding needs on your wish list.
Senator contributions were discussed with regards to money; if you would like to contribute funds to assist with purchasing items on wish lists, please let President-Elect Lowery know. We are working on an electronic system through PayPal or some other means to get money in so that we can purchase items as quickly as possible for Senators in need. With regards to errands, if you are willing to help pick up items and deliver to Senators, or are willing to help with rebuilding efforts, please connect with President-Elect Lowery. We would like to put a team together to assist with the heavy lifting in the days to come. If you are interested in coordinating errands or labor, President-Elect Lowery will be the contact.
Lastly, if you have been impacted by the floods (or know of a former senator who has been impacted) please share that with President-Elect Lowery as well. We want to do what we can to lift the burdens from our fellow Staff Senators past and present.
President Trey Truitt mentioned that it has been a long 30 days since the flooding happened. He thanked everyone who has responded to someone’s call for help. There are a lot of people who were affected and it’s going to be a long process. Please don’t stop asking for help, if needed and please don’t stop helping each other. We are in this for the long haul.
GUEST SPEAKER – ANDREA JONES, UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR ADVISING AND COUNSELING
President Trey Truitt introduced Andrea Jones, Assistant Director of University College in the Center for Advising and Counseling. She requested to speak with the full Senate regarding a policy proposal on which she is working.
Andrea Jones thanked the Staff Senate for being placed on the agenda so quickly following her request. She has worked at LSU for 22 years now and in four different capacities, so she has been here for quite some time. She began by asking how many people had children in the room. She, along with some of her colleagues, are working on a Tuition Remission for dependent children of faculty and staff at LSU, which is the term used by many universities with some type of tuition benefit for their employee’s dependents. Bethanie Tinker compiled much of the data that Andrea plans to share today. Andrea shared her inspiration is her own children, Dylan, who is a senior this year, Sophie, who is a sophomore, and Peyton, who is in 8th grade.
As you know, things have changed at the University over time. Tuition continues to go up and our funding goes down, and thus salary increases are seldom. Ms. Jones presented some of the existing tuition benefits for faculty/staff dependents, with 11 of 13 of the peer institutions deemed part of our 2020 Flagship Agenda, offering some type of benefit. She pointed out that Georgia has approved their policy but it has not moved to their Board of Regents so it has not been implemented yet and Texas A&M only offers the benefit for non-residents.
Seven out of the Nine SEC Schools have some type of benefit. The University of Florida selects 50 children at random to receive a benefit for full-time matriculation fees, paid up to 132 hours. There was a question, if those children are selected each semester. Andrea was not sure due to how the policy read and the fact that the recipients are covered up to the 132 hours.
Andrea asked how many people have been employed at LSU since 2007; quite a number were present in the room. As tuition has consistently gone up, employees have only had four pay raises in the last ten years. In 2007, a full year’s tuition was $4,513 and for 2016 a full year’s tuition is $10,758. Based on her calculations, the total that it has gone up every year in the past ten years equals a 138% tuition increase.
Andrea mentioned that TOPS funding has been assisting Louisiana residents for so long, but things are changing. She shared a 1998-1999 statistic from Budget & Planning: TOPS students only paid $133 in fees. This fall TOPS students will pay $1,906 in fees. TOPS is currently funded at 93%. In the spring semester 2017, TOPS scholarship recipients will pay up to $3,602, with TOPS being preliminary funded at about 48%. Even if we were funded at 100% with TOPS, our children will still have large out-of-pocket expenses. If it continues to be reduced, where TOPS will remain stagnant even though tuition goes up, we are still going to get just a set amount. So this amount is going to get bigger either because we are going to receive less money for TOPS or tuition will continue to rise.
Andrea discussed annual student loan eligibility and if a student is receiving a student loan, they are eligible for $5,500 per year which will only cover one single semester of tuition. What’s alarming about that is, if TOPS goes away or continues to be reduced in funding, there may be a lot of children who will not able to afford to come to LSU. With the costs going up and salary increases not happening, the services for which our children were once eligible are reducing. Please keep in mind these figures do not include book fees, housing, and other expenses.
Can we develop a policy that would be available to full time faculty and staff members for our children? When she first wrote the proposal, she modeled it after the University of Kentucky’s policy which has an option 2 plan. Part of her thinking was to come up with both a tool for recruitment and retention of faculty/staff, and to truly be a real benefit where people won’t leave this university for higher salaries. She felt that there could be some value in a tier type approach, so the longer an employee stays, the bigger the benefit could be. But it was explained to her that that could be a Human Resource nightmare with watching years of service, so after she reviewed most of the peer institutions policies, most of them started receiving the benefit right away. She actually thought that maybe we should frame this the same as if the employee was taking classes, so we could receive the benefit after 1 year of service at a 50% reduction in tuition.
When contemplating who would be eligible, Ms. Jones indicated that she tried to keep things fairly simple, and not too broad, in hopes of getting this proposal approved. The benefit should be for full-time faculty and staff’s dependent children. The dependent child would have to be unmarried, less than 24 years of age, would have to be an undergraduate working on their first bachelor’s degree and these benefits would not apply toward graduate or professional study. The question was asked what if a student had an associate’s degree and Andrea thinks that they should still be eligible since they have not yet earned their bachelor’s degree.
Andrea discussed that this can be an added benefit as a faculty/staff recruitment tool to hire and retain employees, as well as help reduce University expenses spent on advertising positions as we recruit, and later, the cost of employee job training. She suspects this will also increase undergraduate enrollment. It is alarming to see that, through this process, it’s very expensive to attend LSU and this could be an enrollment boost for children who may have not been able to afford to come here before.
Andrea mentioned some final considerations: some of these policies have a spousal benefit, or a retiree benefit. Hours allowed vary by policy, as most of our degree programs are 120 hours but some degrees, but some degrees require many more. Students who may change their major or someone resigning will also need to be a consideration when proposing the policy. We need to see how many faculty and staff would utilize this benefit in a year, perhaps done by using a survey method. There was discussion on how that information is reported and can be possibly pulled into a report as a starting point. How much would this cost the University? Also, the employee would not be taxed on the educational benefit under $5,250 a year but as tuition goes up anything over that amount, the employee would have a tax responsibility.
Andrea is very passionate about this as she has children who are almost finished with high school and as TOPS funding becomes less, and tuition increases every year, this could be a very important benefit for our employees. The question was asked on how this would work with other funding, scholarships, etc. Andrea mentioned for those students who are receiving a full scholarship, they would not be eligible for this benefit. For those students receiving some assistance, this benefit could help with some of the fees that are assessed, but by no means to be used as a double benefit. This may warrant further discussion in the future. There was question as to whether this proposal has been attempted in the past and when it will be presented to upper administration? This has been attempted before, though Ms. Jones was not sure when, or the specifications of those proposals. With University and TOPS funding reductions however, this may be the time to resubmit this idea. It was suggested that this benefit be made available for employee’s spouses as well, since there are some employees who do not have children, and such a revision would be considered an equal benefit for all.
President Truitt thanked Andrea and her colleagues for coming to speak with the full Senate today. President Truitt discussed Proposition 2, coming to voters in November, which would enable the universities to have more autonomies, including establishment of tuition costs. Right now, we do not even have the ability to change (decrease) the out-of-state tuition cost for law students. There are things that we are just locked into that prevents the University from having individual flexibility. One reason he wanted to see this presentation is, if Proposition 2 does get approved, maybe this would be something that we could more easily explore.
GUEST SPEAKER – SARAH TEMPLE, FACILITY AND PROPERTY OVERSIGHT
President Truitt introduced Sarah Temple who would like to share some information regarding sustainability efforts at LSU with the full Senate.
Sarah Temple thanked the Staff Senate for being invited back to speak to the full Senate for a campus sustainability update. It has been a while since she last spoke but she would like to give yearly updates and solicit input. She would like to do the same with Faculty Senate and Student Government as well.
Sarah mentioned the Sustainability Committee, on which Senator Doug Villien and Past-President Tammy Millican serve. If anyone is interested in serving, please let her know. They have made a lot of progress over the last year, having met with various subcommittees focused on energy, transportation, recycling, food, and all the different facets of sustainability. There has been a lot of great discussions on what effective things our SEC peer institutions are doing, and what we want to try here at LSU. They have received feedback from students on what they want to see in their time here, as well as trying to incorporate some long term things that they want to see happen here at LSU.
Sarah mentioned that they are working on a Sustainability Strategic Plan that will have short and long term goals for LSU. This will be a formal document, and hopefully adopted by the President’s Office. We would like for all of these things to be incorporated in the Master Plan. They had a meeting last week with the consultants who had the same vision and sustainability will be considered with the Master Plan.
Sarah mentioned that her office did a Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update from 2008 which looks at everything that uses any type of energy at LSU, including transportation for those who drive to work, energy used by buildings, and so forth. Data was gathered showing the breakdown of LSU’s greenhouse emissions in the different areas, such as the co-gen plant, which uses most of the energy here at LSU, purchased electricity, which is the next largest energy user. The fourth biggest producer of greenhouse emissions are the automobile commuters, and then there are smaller pieces, such as solid waste, wastewater, air travel, refrigerants, etc. It really has not changed much in seven years since the 2008 graph. In order to make significant improvements, we are going to have to implement some major changes in the way we use energy. This information will be updated yearly in an effort to see how we are improving overall. This is what all universities are doing every year as well. It is not easy collecting all of this data.
Sarah discussed some of the subcommittee goals being included in their Strategic Plan, including the engagement of LSU senior administration annually on progress and support. Additional goals include expand Campus Sustainability staff and resources, continue the Campus Committee on Sustainability as a mechanism for planning and goal-setting, adopt a Sustainability Strategic Plan by January 2017, ensure sustainability goals are included in the Master Plan update, participate in the AASHAE STARS rating system, which is a nation-wide rating system that rates universities on sustainability, update the campus-wide greenhouse gas emission inventory annually and include and implement sustainability design standards in all new construction and major renovation projects.
Sarah discussed that for energy and green buildings, they want to develop a written Energy Conservation Plan for the LSU flagship campus, detailing strategies and a schedule for reducing energy use in buildings. They would like to develop an outreach/education program targeting energy use reduction among staff, faculty, and students. They would also like to use the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software, to track energy usage in campus buildings and to achieve the ENERGY STAR certification for at least 3 office buildings on campus by 2025.
Sarah indicated that, for transportation issues, they would like to continue efforts to become a more pedestrian-oriented campus and provide safe travel for bicyclists and pedestrians. They would like to improve bicycle facilities, including the expansion of bike lanes and routes on campus, promote awareness among the University community of the environmental, human health, and economic impacts of transportation choices, and support and promote bike sharing efforts and programs.
Sarah discussed that, for recycling and waste diversion, they would like to divert at least 50% of materials generated from all campus operations and activities away from the landfill routinely each month. They would like to continue the annual Litterati campaign to reduce waste and increase recycling on campus, to recycle at least 50% of all construction and demolition waste from projects, and to expand the number of BigBelly solar units on campus. Her office put about 40 units on campus in high traffic areas back in February and they are working really well, which saves a huge amount of labor; the bins now being collected once a week, versus previously about 5 times as often.
Sarah indicated Sustainability is developing an actual major and a minor on Food Systems. They are working with faculty on developing a Sustainable Agriculture/Food Systems Minor and Major. They would like to continue to expand edible landscape program, such as the Student Government satsuma tree groves and to develop a campus composting program (see Waste Reduction & Recycling section).
For landscape and grounds, they would like to install cisterns for capturing rainwater and reusing on landscape beds. They would like to maintain and update the campus tree inventory on an annual basis. They would like to continue to participate in the Tree Campus U.S.A. program and to reduce the quantity and impact of harmful, chemical based, landscaping maintenance products and techniques and to use organic fertilizers to the maximum extent possible.
Sarah briefly touched on some of the programs in effect this fall, one of which is being funded by a grant, called Refills not Landfills. This is a stainless steel bottle with logo giveaway to keep Louisiana Beautiful, which will help reduce the amount of water bottle and coffee cup waste coming from campus. They have about 300 bottles to giveaway on September 26, 2016 in front of the Union. The students will be asked to sign a pledge to use this bottle. There is also a promotional aspect where there will be reduced price for coffee for using the bottle. Part of the grant will be used to install the water stations to refill water bottles as well. They hope that the bottles will be used for years and recycled when people are done using them. Another is Bike with Mike which will be held in October, which is LSU’s Bike Month. They have events and prizes planned to encourage the LSU Community to drive less and bike more.
President Truitt thanked Sarah for coming to speak with the full Senate today.
President Truitt announced that he has shared his spreadsheet through Microsoft Office 365, “One Drive” with the full Senate in an effort to keep everyone informed of what meetings he has attended and what is going on throughout the month.
President Truitt shared that on July 26th, he attended a meeting with Dan Layzell, Vice President for Finance and Administration, about transition and as an introduction for his new role in Staff Senate.
On July 26th, the Staff Senate Executive Committee met to discuss committee assignments. President Truitt thanked everyone who was able to participate in Move In Day on August 17, 2016.
On August 23rd, the Staff Senate Executive Committee met with President Alexander. He included a written report of a summary and agenda as part of this month’s meeting packet. The initial goal with the agenda and the items that were listed, we were successful in accomplishing. The Executive Committee was hoping to talk about initiatives, communications, seat appointments, efforts with commencement, Holiday Spectacular, Holiday on Campus enhancements, the Proposition 2 November ballot initiative and how to support that, and lastly our strategic plan 2015-2016 outcomes and success. Since the meeting happened, a lot of things changed as to what the agenda discussion ended up being, as well as the conversation that we had in the room. President Alexander was late to our meeting due to a family emergency, so we spoke with Jason Droddy, Ashley Arceneaux and Zac Lemoine prior to his arrival, on a lot of these agenda items. President Truitt felt overall the meeting was productive. Truitt had hoped to discuss the vacancies for the Executive Category, but there was not time for this issue. During the meeting, communications, the flooding and flood relief were a large focus. Prior to this meeting, there were a lot of people who were frustrated with the University’s lack of response to the flood. That doesn’t mean there was a lack of action happening behind the scenes, with many senators and former senators diligently working with upper administration. There was a website that went live regarding resources to aid the flood relief and a faculty and staff relief fund.
Past-President Tammy Millican mentioned that sometimes you have to lay down the university risk and do what is right for the employees. Unfortunately the relief fund established for affected faculty and staff only has $25,000 in it, and the University was helping those employees who were directly affected with $1,000, so only 25 people have received this help. There are hundreds still waiting to hear something. The message conveyed to the President was that the University should take what has been done so far, and use it as a blueprint for when this happens again. Next time, we are going to have to hit the ground running and to be able to react a lot quicker. Past-President Millican thinks a lot of the relief came from within; people doing for one another. She understands that although the University still has to operate and we were beginning the semester, much of what circulated was that some kind of assistance would like to be done, but there a risk of liability to the University. President Truitt indicated that in his discussions with Jason Droddy, there will soon be an internal communication position within his office. There is a strong need for the University to figure out how to communicate about events and relevant information amongst ourselves. So the President’s office is working on developing a position to focus on just internal communication for the university employees.
President Truitt mentioned that there was a request for Staff Senate to assist from the Office of the President, the Office of Strategic Communication as well as Student Government with the upcoming Geaux Vote initiative taking place in October. The deadline to submit is October 11, 2016, so the Executive Committee will regroup with Student Government on that effort.
On August 25th, President Truitt had the opportunity to represent Staff Senate at the President’s Leadership Breakfast. A lot of the things that the Executive Committee discussed with him were brought up at the breakfast. Deans, Directors and Department Heads attended this meeting. There was much information given as to what percentage of students returned this fall, and what the enrollment numbers may look like. Since that meeting, the numbers have changed, but at that time the numbers were projected to be down significantly. Fortunately, this scenario did not materialize. University officials are waiting to find out what the actual budget will look like in October; if we are going to have a shortfall or a mid-year cut. It was also shared that approximately 5% of faculty were affected by the flood, while 15-20% of staff were affected. He has not heard any number of students who were affected. It was a positive opportunity to represent the Senate.
On September 9th, he attended the Board of Supervisors Meeting. He will provide a liaison report after this meeting.
On September 13th, he had an opportunity to represent the Staff Senate at a Strategic Plan Luncheon where communications were discussed. There was a group that was hired to conduct focus groups about the strategic planning and suggested topics.
On September 14th, he attended the Strategic Planning Retreat at Alex Box Stadium. He provided a copy of the agenda and a timeline as part of this month’s meeting packet to share information of what those areas of discussion were. If you see “globally engaged”, “collaborative”, “effective” or “impactful”, “innovative”, “culturally competent” and “creative”, these are the new areas or pillars for the previous plan. These will be the new focus areas that will possibly be a part of this 2025 strategic plan. It was an interesting day, with an interesting group. He and Kevin Cope, Faculty Senate President were there, while everyone else was either a Vice President or Dean. They broke up into different sessions to discuss these different areas. There was a moderator, someone taking notes, and everyone was allowed to have a conversation. The moderator led with the questions and how LSU performs in these areas, and asked the groups to think about some creative ideas that would facilitate changing these traits at LSU. President Truitt was reminded that there are gifted Deans and administrators on this campus, who are very creative and have a lot of great ideas on how we can move this University forward. There were a lot of reminders of our struggles as well. It was a very healthy exercise in trying to get as much feedback as possible. Truitt shared the Strategic Plan timeline with the Long Range Review and Planning Committee as well.
On September 16th, the Staff Senate was invited to meet with NBBJ, the consultants for the Campus Master Plan. Past-President Tammy Millican mentioned that Phase 2, the information gathering phase, is nearing completion. NBBJ met with a lot of internal groups on campus, and now they will go back and do some design work and return in November. NBBJ is looking for ways to encourage groups to get more involved with this planning. Please visit the website masterplanlsu.com for surveys to fill out. They are also looking at sustainability with these efforts. There is a presentation on the website, including the number of square feet being recommended to build, with a layout of how the campus will look. A community multi-purpose facility, recommended by President Truitt, is included, so your suggestions are being heard. The efforts to make the campus greener will be challenging due to the parking struggles, but there are good things to come. Remote parking lots, to shuttle employees in to campus, is being discussed, with a focus on helping to make the campus safer as well. The tram stop from downtown may also be extended further past campus.
On September 16th, the Staff Senate participated at Fall Fest, which is the University’s welcome event. He thanked everyone who participated, as well as the support and partnering with Student Government and Campus Federal Credit Union on the Human Hamster Ball Activity.
On September 20th, he attended the Auxiliaries Fair, which showcased their departments and services. It was an awesome event. Senator Jennifer Gomez mentioned that Dining Services will be hosting further events called “The Gatherings” if anyone is able to attend.
On September 19th, President Truitt attended the Staff Benefits, Policies and Development Committee meeting.
On September 22nd, he plans on attending the Dear World event, being held in the Union Theatre. There is a VIP photo shoot scheduled today, to which he was invited as well.
President Truitt requested that standing committee updates be provided.
Long Range Review and Planning
Senator Summer Steib reported that the Long Range Review and Planning Committee met on September 13, 2016. As many of you know, LSU is in the middle of a strategic plan overhaul and will be implementing the new strategic plan in the spring. The committee discussed looking at the Staff Senate’s strategic plan and considering how we adapt our strategic plan to align with the University’s strategic plan. The committee also discussed working with committee chairs/co-chairs through the Communications Committee to be very strategic about our efforts, and how that work aligns with the goals within the strategic plan.
Staff Benefits, Policies and Development
President Truitt announced that Member-at-Large Aaron Cherry is out today, but reported that the Staff Benefits, Policies and Development Committee met on September 19, 2016, and the main focus of that meeting was to begin planning for the New Staff Reception. The written report was included in the meeting packet. Senator Jennifer Gomez announced that the reception will be held on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 in the Rotunda at the Business Education Complex. President Truitt mentioned for new Senators, this committee plans an employee breakfast for newly hired staff within the last year, as a welcome and mentoring opportunity. We invite other departments, such as UREC and Barnes & Noble at LSU, who offer employee resources, and we invite some upper administration to speak.
SPECIAL AD-HOC COMMITTEES
President Truitt requested ad-hoc committee updates be provided.
Holiday on Campus
Senator Rachel Henry reported that the Holiday on Campus Committee met on September 12th to discuss planning for this year’s event. The written report was included in this month’s meeting packet. The committee is excited and looking forward to a wonderful event scheduled on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in the LSU Student Union.
Senator Elizabeth Poret reported that the Marketing Committee met on September 6th. The written report was included in the meeting packet. The committee discussed best practices for promotion of Staff Senate, including updating the content on the website and making it more user-friendly. There was a discussion regarding promotional items and activities and possibly developing a card or magnet that can be easily passed out, to replace the bookmark which may be a bit more antiquated. There was also a discussion regarding Fall Fest and promotions of Save the Date for Holiday on Campus.
President-Elect Michelle Lowery mentioned that the Executive Committee has discussed opening up the Staff Senate apparel order for those who are new on the Senate and may like to order some of the recently procured apparel. Some Executive Committee members showcased what was offered which includes a vest, a short sleeve polo shirt, and a long sleeve polo shirt option. The idea was to be consistent and recognizable. President Truitt mentioned that the vendor with whom we work requires a total minimum number of 12 items to be able to place the order. They are really flexible in that you can order the item you would like and the cost is very reasonable. Melonie Milton can circulate information about prices, along with pictures of the items to the full Senate for those who are interested in ordering.
Senator Jade Ethridge reported that the Scholarship Committee met on September 7th. The written report was included in the meeting packet. The committee discussed plans for the Holiday Decorating Contest, which will be held on December 13, 2016. The theme is “Tis the Season to be…” The committee wanted it to be something open and to allow employees to be creative. The Candy Grams will be scheduled for faculty and student delivery on December 1st and December 8th, for staff. The committee is also discussing some new fundraising ideas which include a Krispy Kreme Donut Sale and using Groupraise.com, where we could promote going to a specific restaurant, on a specific day, during a specific time slot, and a percentage of the proceeds would be donated. The committee is also in the process of determining who the scholarship recipients are for this year. President Truitt mentioned that as the apparel order was taking place last year, there was discussion of purchasing apparel that says LSU Staff for those members who may like to purchase as an additional fundraiser. They heard that some staff members would like this type of apparel as some departments do not make such available for employees to purchase. This may be another fundraising idea to explore. Also, when promoting the Candy Gram Sale, please include Campus Federal Credit Union employees, as well as some of the external email addresses, such as the LSU Foundation, the Law School, Vet Med and the AgCenter, and possibly students, so those groups may be included and made aware.
President Truitt asked that liaison committee updates be provided.
Black Faculty & Staff Caucus
Senator Summer Steib reported that the Black Faculty and Staff Caucus Committee met on August 31, 2016. The written report was included in this month’s meeting packet. The committee discussed that membership in this organization is open to all staff and faculty on campus. You do not have to identify with a particular racial group to support their efforts, which focus on the advancement of professional staff and supporting students across campus.
Diversity Action Team
Senator Ramon Lopez reported that he attended an event hosted by the Diversity Action Team on July 29th. The written report was included in this month’s meeting packet. There were representatives from the Diversity Action team, along with the Academic Diversity Representatives Committee, and the University Council on Gender Equity. Vice Provost for Diversity, Dereck Rovaris, presented a timeline summary of critical events that occurred during the summer of 2016 and how the University responded. He discussed how the University plans to move forward in assisting students and helping to have more intentional programming, in an effort to help students and encourage their collaboration on initiatives.
Vice Provost Rovaris mentioned that the Campus Climate Survey is coming out in October, following the Presidents’ Symposium, a two day event that it is going to be hosted for the first time. It’s a chance for LSU to assume leadership and direction for the Baton Rouge and LSU community, in light of all the recent events that have happened. This will give us a chance to have some dialogue about that. The symposium will have faculty and staff panels, as well as some student panels with community members. There will also be several notable speakers. He encouraged everyone to check the website for dates and times on October 3rd-4th. The Campus Climate Survey will begin October 5th and will run for two weeks. It is very important that we get as many staff members as possible to participate. He also mentioned the strategic planning process. All too often, people tend to complain about how things wind up, but they don’t participate when asked to give feedback and information. Please encourage all staff members to participate. Past-President Tammy Millican has been working with Vice Provost Rovaris’ team, trying to come up with the best questions to help give some sense of what the campus feels like for various people. The survey only takes about 7 minutes or so to complete, and this should give them a snapshot of what LSU looks like, and how people feel about their experiences on campus. He mentioned that they are also working on trying to get a paper/pencil administration, so that those who aren’t able to use a computer will be able to complete the survey as well. With the strategic planning process, there is still some opportunity for people to participate in focus groups. He mentioned that faculty members have been very active in the process, whereas staff members have been sparse in their engagement. He encouraged everyone who sees an opportunity to get involved to do so. The strategic plan is important, as it will be our blueprint on how we will operate now through 2025.
President Trey Truitt asked what is happening with the current strategic plan, as this was not addressed at the strategic planning retreat. Is there an effort to have a final report on that? Vice Provost Rovaris mentioned that he thinks this new strategic plan will be included with the current 2020 strategic plan. That plan is still ongoing, and no report is actually due until 2020. What we will see is perhaps even the four pillars that we have now: discovery, learning, diversity and engagement, will remain, and then we will layer on top of that through 2025 the 6 other attributes with which we want to identify LSU.
Council of Staff Advisors
Past-President Tammy Millican reported that the Council met on September 8, 2016. She was elected to serve as Chair this year. She spoke at the Board of Supervisors meeting, about how the flood affected Staff and how we responded. Morale was discussed and how Workday has really impacted things. This led to whether the Council will draft a positive report on what the biggest problems staff are facing with this new system, and what are some possible solutions. This report will be shared with all the Chancellors at every campus. So right now they are collecting the issues/solutions. If you have specific issues and ideas of a possible solution, please send those to Past-President Millican. Most of the upper administration may not be aware of the problems, and may be led to believe everything is running smoothly, but the Council wants to dispel that myth.
New Senator Welcome
President Truitt welcomed newly appointed Senator Amber Salvadras, who was in attendance today.
Staff Senator Portraits
Melonie Milton, Staff Senate Administrative Coordinator announced that the Staff Senate Photo Sessions have been scheduled through Eddy Perez with Strategic Communications for two blocked timeframes. One on Wednesday, September 28th from 9:30 a.m. – Noon and the second on Thursday, September 29th from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at 3960 W. Lakeshore Drive, just down the street from the Lod Cook Alumni Center. Parking is available at the front of the building in the semicircular driveway. The photo studio is on the third floor at the end of the hallway in room 314.
If you have a professional photo that you would like to share that can be used to publicize who Senators are, please forward a copy to Melonie Milton. If you need one or would like to take a new one, please let Melanie know as soon as possible, so a list of participants to be included can be submitted.
Take Back the Night
Senator Summer Steib announced that Take Back the Night will be held on Sunday, October 23rd at 5:00 p.m. at the Memorial Tower. The Staff Senate will participate by serving soft drinks again this year. There is a planning meeting scheduled on October 5th. There will be some updates sent out soon.
Annual Benefits Fair
President Trey Truitt announced that the Benefits Fair will be held on October 12th, 2016. The Executive Committee had hoped to have a representative from Human Resources speak about upcoming benefits changes at this meeting, but contracts are still pending, so they are schedule to attend the October Meeting.
Staff Senate Budget
Treasurer Kayla Kucharchuk gave a report on the updated balance sheet for the Staff Senate accounts. A copy was circulated to the full Senate as part of the meeting packet.
She reported the following:
Bursar Account (Gift Fund) - $193.75
LSU Foundation Accounts:
Fee Support Scholarship - $13,546.57
Holiday on Campus Support Fund - $667.31
Scholarship Award - $4,993.09
Support Fund – $61.92
State Account (Operating Budget) $6,365.73
Total Budget: $25,634.62
Staff Senate Gift Fund
Treasurer Kayla Kucharchuk encouraged senators to contribute to the Gift Fund. Voluntary contributions are $10 per year, per senator.
President Truitt announced that Senator Kendra Hendricks submitted her resignation from Staff Senate on August 26th. There is a vacancy in the Professional/Non-Faculty Category through 2019. We were also made aware that Kevin Owens is leaving the University, so there will be a vacancy in the Skilled Crafts Category through 2018 as well. We will work in the coming weeks to get those filled.
Staff Senator Birthdays
President Trey Truitt announced that Senator Nathan Lemoine celebrated his birthday on August 4th and Senator Brent Corbitt celebrated his birthday on August 13th. Also, Senator Ramon Lopez celebrated his birthday on September 18th. “Happy Birthday!”
Senator Rachel Henry announced that the College of Human Sciences and Education is hosting a Women’s Leadership Conference on Wednesday, November 16th. She is very excited as this will be a full day of events that will feature two key note speakers, 12 break out session opportunities, 5 panel discussion opportunities, sunrise yoga and a happy hour at the end. There is a faculty/staff discount being offered for registration fees. For any further information, please let her know. There are exhibitor opportunities for a table to communicate attendees and help promoting. Unfortunately, it is scheduled on the same day as the Staff Senate November general Meeting.
President-Elect Michelle Lowery announced that this month is Stay Safe LSU. She has magnets and card holders for cell phones for everyone. This week is National Prevent Hazing Week, so tonight there is a speaker scheduled at the PMAC for the Greeks and next week is LSU Cares week. The card holders have the website address for more information. There were brochures also available.
MOTION TO ADJOURN – With there being no more business, Secretary Barbara Reonas moved to adjourn. The motion, seconded by Past-President Tammy Millican, carried. The meeting adjourned after noon.
Barbara Reonas, Secretary