The University Record, April 2, 2001

Assembly Roundup

By Britt Halvorson

The March 26 Senate Assembly meeting included a presentation by Marvin Krislov, vice president and general counsel, and Elizabeth Barry, associate vice president and deputy general counsel; an update on the progress of the Prescription Drug Work Group 2002; the election of three Senate Advisory Committee for University Affairs (SACUA) members; and discussion of the April meeting agenda and action items.


Admissions lawsuits and the role of the Office of the General Counsel

Krislov and Barry discussed the two lawsuits against the University regarding its admissions policies in LS&A and the Law School and fielded questions from Assembly members.

Krislov said Judge Patrick Duggan’s “favorable” ruling in the undergraduate admissions lawsuit speaks to the educational benefits of diversity. “He really picked up on a lot of the valuable research we’ve done,” Krislov noted, citing studies done by U-M professors.

The two U-M lawsuits, Krislov said, have been the first among several other cases that are further along in the courts to present such information about the educational benefits of diversity. The University’s defense in both the undergraduate and Law School cases, Barry noted, has centered on the use of race as an admissions “plus factor” and the resulting educational benefits of a diverse campus.

In response to a question about admissions, Barry noted that the undergraduate admissions procedure and the Law School process are quite different. Undergraduate admissions uses a 150-point unitary index, which takes into account such factors as high school grade point average, courses taken and race. The 20 points allotted for race also are given to students from socioeconomically disadvantaged schools or areas, she said.

At the Law School, Barry noted, the admissions staff is three people. The director reads every application; no point system is used. Then-Dean Bollinger drafted the Law School’s admissions policy with a committee that met for the better part of a year, Krislov added.

When asked about the Office of the General Counsel’s overall mission, Krislov said the office strives to provide quality legal advice to the University community. The office will respond to general questions from faculty and staff in every possible case, Krislov said.

Prescription drugs

As a representative of the 13-member Prescription Drug Work Group 2002, SeonAe Yeo, associate professor of nursing, gave a brief summary of the group’s progress. Provost Nancy Cantor and Robert Kasdin, executive vice president and chief financial officer, convened the group to make recommendations for a prescription drug plan that will balance patient needs with the escalating cost to the University of providing prescription drug coverage in University health plans.

To obtain input from faculty, staff and retirees, the work group has held numerous public hearings and focus groups and maintained an e-mail address for comments from the University community. The group is fine-tuning a draft of a recommendation to submit to Kasdin and Cantor, Yeo reported. She estimated that the recommendations will be submitted within a month and indicated that they include suggested changes to the current prescription drug co-pay structure.

Election

Senate Assembly members voted to fill three open SACUA positions. Yeo; Charles Koopmann, professor and associate chair, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, and professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases; and John Riebesell, associate professor of biology, U-M-Dearborn, were elected to three-year terms.

Future action items

Assembly Chair Mojtaba Navvab, associate professor of architecture, stressed the need for action on several issues before the end of the term. These include development of a faculty grievance procedure, policies about changing grades and prescription drug coverage in the University’s health plans. Navvab said information will be sent by e-mail to Assembly members and posted on the SACUA Web site (www.umich.edu/~sacua) so that these issues can be voted on at the April meeting.