The University Record, October 28, 1998

Assembly Roundup

By Kerry Colligan

“We are at an important transition point for the University. We have gone through a decade of unbelievable growth,” Chief Financial Officer Robert Kasdin told the Senate Assembly at its Oct. 19 meeting. Outlining his priorities for the academic year, Kasdin touched on the growth of the physical plant of the University and his working relationship with President Lee C. Bollinger and Provost Nancy Cantor.

Acknowledging that new buildings draw more attention, Kasdin told the Assembly that in the coming years the “overwhelming majority” of dollars spent on University buildings “will and should be spent on rehabilitating and reusing existing space.” The University is committed, he added, to making sure that every dollar that can be spent on academics is spent there.

To that end, Kasdin said he is working with the provost to break down the notion that their areas of responsibility must clash. “It is my responsibility to make sure the University’s resources are preserved in acute fashion, but in doing so, we need to be consistent with the ideas that are being generated by the faculty and being prioritized by the provost.

“I think we’re seeing a moment here where there are shared values between the leadership on my side of the house, and the leadership of the provost’s office and the president’s office. There will be moments where we disagree on facts, and there will be moments where we disagree on priorities. But I think it should be some comfort to you that we operate under a framework of shared values, that we are here because we believe in what you are doing.”


News and Notes

In addition to Kasdin’s remarks, the Senate Assembly reviewed the annual report of the Budget Study Committee. According to committee member Elizabeth Duell, assistant professor of dermatology, the report summarizes the implications and trends of budgetary considerations on library, retirement and technology issues.

• Budgetary considerations “played a minor role” in the creation of the Science Library despite concern raised by particular departments. “The decision was not driven by a desire to save in operating costs, and there has been no significant staff reduction because of the consolidation,” the report states.

• Ending mandatory retirement for tenured faculty in 1990 raised questions about the long-term effect of the decision on the University budget. While the committee’s work was limited to the Ann Arbor campus, its findings suggest that “the central University budget is not affected.” However, the report states that there is insufficient data to determine any future trend.

• The report cites costs of $2,000–$20,000 to update classrooms for state-of-the-art technology—providing the necessary technology in classrooms “to improve the teaching and learning environment.”

• In the coming year, the Budget Study Committee plans to examine financial aid for graduate students, trends in the new budgeting system, and how the University reconciles general budgetary increases with progressively smaller tuition increases.


William Ensminger, professor of pharmacology and of internal medicine, and chair of Senate Assembly, announced that Jose-Marie Griffiths, University chief information officer and executive director, Information Technology Division, plans to survey the faculty during January and February regarding their computing and information technology needs. The survey should be completed in April, Ensminger noted.


The Academic Programs Group and the Academic Affairs Advisory Committee joined Cantor for an Oct. 22 retreat to discuss the report on the professoriate and the distribution of tenure-track faculty. Cantor is scheduled to present remarks at the Nov. 16 Senate Assembly meeting.

Campus violence prompts ‘mutual respect’ resolution

In response to the beating death of a gay student at the University of Wyoming and the burning of a Black student’s dorm room at Kalamazoo College, the Assembly passed a resolution condemning hate crimes. The resolution, drafted by Gordon MacAlpine, professor of astronomy, reads:


“The Senate Assembly, the representative body of the Faculty at the University of Michigan, deplores and is deeply saddened by recent acts of violence directed against college or university students. No hate crime, based on such factors as race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion, can be tolerated anywhere. We call upon members of the academic community to renew efforts toward fostering an environment of mutual respect for all.”


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