Policy Board Minutes—1 Nov 2017
3:30 p.m.
MCL 251

PB members: Nola Agha, Rachel Brahinsky, Brandon Brown, Robin Buccheri, Jen Dever, Doreen Ewert, EJ Jung, Dorothy Kidd, Gabe Maxson, Elliot Neaman, Mary Jane Niles, Meera Nosek, Julia Orri, Sonja Poole, Christina Purpora, Steve Roddy, Calla Schmidt, Betty Taylor, Brian Weiner 

USFFA-FT members: Kathy Nasstrom, Paul Lorton, Jr, Ja’Nina Garrett-Walker, Jonathan Hunt, Brian Thorton, Annick Wibben, Lilian Dube 

Guest: Pete Mayer, USF Housing Task Force; John Higgins (USFFA-PT President) 

Minutes from 25 Oct were approved (17-0-0).

  1.             Announcements
  2.   Long term care. HR has produced a survey—HR needs 40 employees across campus to sign up for the benefit. The link went live today.

  1.           Open Forum
  2.   Kidd said that a member asked about the Campus Climate Survey—why can members login multiple times? Kidd read out an email from Shirley McGuire, which was a response to a union inquiry.  McGuire responded that the consulting group that ran the survey noted that to ensure anonymity the names of each member could not be fed into the database. The administration chose anonymity over the risk of multiple entries. The survey is long and over 4000 people have taken the survey across campus. There was skepticism about this explanation from some members of PB. Kidd suggested putting this item on a PB agenda at a later date.
  3.   Kidd stated through a member thought that the recent New Faculty Dinner cost was exorbitant.
  4.   Poole would like to revisit the issue of the Peer Observation form.
  5.   Jung was concerned about the implication of what happens in the case of recusal during peer review – does a lower number of yes or no votes matter? Neaman responded that abstentions are normal in peer review and should not impact the recommendations but he would make a further inquiry on the matter.
  6.   Buccheri would like to get Zoom for our meetings for members who cannot attend.


III.         Unfinished Business

  1. Housing Task Force Report—Pete Mayer, Director of Institutional Financing & Real Estate. Mayer presented the conclusions of the USFFA Housing Task Force. The CBA earmarked money for second mortgages. The total is now $2.06M. The task force met four times to come up with additional recommendations to enhance the program. What additional resources are available? Mayer explained that he works with the first lender.

Mayer stated that the committee used the additional money to raise the loans from current 53k to $83K (= 25 mortgages).

Jung asked if the money can be used for a down payment. Mayer said yes—this is the specific intent. Jung observed that this amount is lower than the median home price for the Bay Area. Brown was in favor of the recommendation. He asked if the 20 current loans are usually in circulation. Mayer said that they are authorized to offer 20 and they are all in circulation. Weiner asked about the problem of banks being reluctant to offer first mortgages when they see a second mortgage? Mayer said that the banks require 20% down payment so it is usually not a problem. He did stipulate that TICs are not allowed due to multiple parties involved.

Buccheri asked about the rental subsidies. Mayer said that this is a separate fund. Niles asked about developing relationships with banks to help borrowers. Mayer said that the recommendations include having mortgage and loan experts on hand to help borrowers

Nosek inquired about how fast applications are processed? Mayer said that the process is handled quickly, sometime within 24 hours if a loan has to close. Jung asked about renters. Neaman noted that there is rental assistance for new faculty in the CBA (Article 36.6) 

Roddy inquired about whether the university would consider co-investing with faculty in purchasing property like Stanford currently does for its faculty. Mayer said that this has been done in a very small number of cases in the past but was unsure if it was going to be expanded. Buccheri asked if this benefit was only for first-time home buyers. Mayer said yes—that is for a first-time Bay Area buyers for a primary residence. 

Jung asked if all faculty can apply for the rental subsidy. Neaman said all new hires. There used to be a cap of 50k but the new CBA has no cap. Subsidy is now 7k, for first and last month rent.

A motion was made to approve the recommendation of the task force. It passed 14-0-3. 

  1. Prioritization Statement.  Neaman said that the prioritization plan was for CAS only. He explained that the PB deals with issues that affect all USFFA members. The by-law structure means that specific issues for colleges are handled at the council level. Agha said that this was also brought up at Arts Council. They will present their statement to COSEC as a joint statement. Thorton said this was discussed at COSEC. Agha continued, saying that the joint statement would go to the deans and that the PB could make a statement in support. Neaman asked how the PB could make a statement. Taylor asked what happens if all schools make a statement? Neaman said that if this becomes a university-wide issue, then PB could issue a statement for all the schools and library.

Kidd suggested going forward with circulating the statement. She said that the Arts council was a union body and a general statement was justified. Ewert said that we should be part of overall strategic planning. Taylor asked how the PB gets involved in the process?  Neaman said that we could invite key players to come to PB, then make suggestions how to get involved directly.

Taylor made a motion for the EB to make inquiries about the strategic plans with the administration. Dever said that we need to know what are the expectations of the prioritization issue?

Wibben said that it would be helpful for the PB to initiate the process of discussion with faculty. What has this looked like at other colleges? Some colleges have shut down programs. Neaman said that a larger discussion makes sense. 

Schmidt said that more detail is needed about the need for prioritization. Re-allocating resources can make programs better, she added. What are the challenges that they are trying to address? Maxson said that the memo was explicit about cutting programs. Dever said that the goals must be clear, beyond just cutting programs. Real data are needed to re-allocate funds. Jung asked what the basis was for the numbers the administration is throwing out?

Agha said that Taylor’s motion pertained to long-term strategic planning with the university. Kidd said that we should move forward with the discussion with the general membership. Brahinsky reminded us that our CFT representative, Zev Kvitky suggested setting up listening sessions. Ewert said that there are white papers available to educate faculty—this is about the whole process moving forward. 

Thorton added that the majority of COSEC support the PB letter. Dube stressed communication in departments. Taylor said that she researched other universities. She explained that a few said that they need to strengthen their faculty and their programs, not just look to make cuts. Schmidt said that it was hard to get people to show up to their meetings, so PB needs to take a more proactive role.

We called the question on Taylor’s motion for the EB to take on the issue of prioritization: 

  1. We tell the administration that PB will play a more active role in strategic planning and begin by sending out the PB statement
  2. We reach out to our members about prioritization
  3. We invite administration officials to PB to talk about prioritization

            The vote was 16-0-0.

Neaman asked who should the statement be sent to?

Deans and members of the Joint Committee in A & S.

A motion was made to send the declaration from the CAS reps. 16-0-0. 

  1. USFFA Budget. A preliminary 2017-18 budget was distributed. Brahinsky said it should be more detailed. Poole would like to work with the treasurer, as a form of a sub-committee. Neaman said that this was a good idea. Poole asked if these amounts were estimates? Neaman said that the accountant issues a Financial Statement at the end of the year, which are posted on the USFFA website. The amounts are calculated based on those documents. Kidd suggested that the budget be updated every quarter.

Agha asked about the purpose of this budget, since this has not been the practice of the union since its founding. She said that Neaman has stated previously that the budget stays more or less the same every year because most costs are fixed except unknowns like legal expenses (which depend on number and cost of grievances) . Agha asked if we were creating a new process, policy, or decision making body.

Niles asked if we want to form a committee now. Dever volunteered—transparency is important. Poole asked about the USFFA surplus – where does it go? Neaman explained that we have a financial advisor who invests the money in consultation with the Executive Board.   The investments are relatively conservative and long term. Weiner observed that since Neaman became president the reserves have grown 25-fold.  Poole asked about the end goal of the investment. Neaman said that if you want you could call it a strike fund, but it is liquid in case of any emergency Kidd said that for planning purposes we should move towards a decentralized decision making budget process.

Poole would also like to create a By-laws committee. Neaman said that periodic review of the By-Laws has been done in the past and could now be done now, depending on the mandate.         

The meeting was adjourned at 17:02
Submitted by Julia Orri
USFFA Secretary