Minutes for September 07, 2005
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Pledge of Allegiance
Senators present: Louisa Arriaga, Jana Atkins, Gene Bals, Estella Barron, Eric Burrell, Jaclyn Byrd, Gerald Cunningham, Bobby Davila, Sheryl Epperson, Maria Fernandez, Travis Findley, Rocky Gauna, Sandy Gellner, Brent Guinn, Scott Hall, Martha Hise, Donna Hurtado, Marcia Kawecki, Marlene Kenady, Carolyn Kennedy, Michelle Kiser, Rick Loper, Barbara McArthur, Bill McDonald, Kathy Nordstrom, Rebecca Owens, Patti Perkins, Donna Perry, Eddie Ramirez, Don Roulain, Ryan Scheckel, David Shuping, Laurie Smerud, Randy Smith, Carol Ann Stanley, Linda Stracener, Richard Verrone, Barbara White, Leigh Wilson
Senators absent: Julia Allen, Barbara Bowley, Yolanda Coronado, Lori Dudley, Rick Fullerton, Guadalupe Luna, Teresa Neal, Kevin Tunnell
Guests: Tai Kreidler, Nathanael Haddox, Gloria Hale, Jim Kelly, Jack Floyd
Motion made by Don Roulain to accept the minutes.
Seconded by Martha Hise
$86 was transferred to scholarships to cover fringe benefits for graduate students.
Motion made by Rebecca Owens to accept the Treasurer's Report.
Seconded by Estella Barron
University President Jon Whitmore
Katrina student and faculty displacement: The Tulane baseball and women's basketball teams have relocated to Tech for the fall semester. They will stay in the residence halls and eat in the dining halls. Twenty students displaced by the hurricane are enrolled or about to enroll. Two hundred current Tech students come from areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Students are being admitted into non-degree status, meaning no paperwork is required. The goal is simply to get them going in their classes and worry about bureaucratic details later on. A few students from this area were enrolled at Tulane or other colleges in the affected area, so they have returned home and asked to enroll here. Tech is also offering online and print-based distance education courses for displaced students who cannot get to Lubbock. Tech has extended offers of visiting professorships to some faculty members as well as use of Tech's library and lab space. There have been some inquiries, but the current status on this is unknown at this time.
Katrina relief effort: There are 400+ evacuees currently housed at Reese. Tech people are involved in helping with this effort, particularly HSC people. Entertainment activities are being planned for them. Whitmore stated "I'm extremely proud of the community of Lubbock, but particularly the Texas Tech family that is participating."
Presidential Library: The George Bush Library proposal issue has been revived. The proposal died a couple of years ago when it was first introduced, but the people in charge of setting up the library decided to entertain a proposal from West Texas. People from outside of Texas Tech are responsible for planning, preparation, and fund-raising, although Tech plans to donate the land for the building. Library Dean Donald Dyal headed a committee to determine how TTU can use such a facility for research and learning. A proposal will be submitted soon, one of eight such proposals from various locations. Finalists will be determined from that group. This library will be connected to Tech but will be run separately.
Legislative session: Tech did not receive all requested funding but did receive more than last session. Another round of 3% raises was made possible for the beginning of this fiscal year. Salaries are not fully where they need to be, so he promises to keep working on the issue. This is the third round of 3% raises since President Whitmore became President of Tech. Some funding was obtained for building the new College of Business Administration and building the new addition to the Law School. These projects can go forward, but it will take longer to develop the full funding for them. The goal was to raise $35 million from private sources and $25 million from state resources for Business Administration. The goal for the Law School addition was $12 million, with to be raised privately. These projects are currently in the architectural development stage, so ground-breaking will not take place for at least another 18 months.
From previous Staff Senate sessions: The staff ombudsman has been hired and is in attendance today. A time-off excellence award program has been implemented and sixteen people have received this award. A request from this group to have Tech pay tuition and fees for employees has been endorsed in principle. The administration is now working out how to finance it because tuition cannot be completely waived.
Enrollment: Enrollment for fall is about steady with last year although the official figure will not be available until the 20 th day, when students are dropped from the rolls. Thirty new faculty and twenty-nine new staff advisors were hired for this year. Last year had the largest graduating class, so Tech is now graduating students at a faster rate, one of Tech's goals, so more students can be enrolled and recruitment will be increased.
President Whitmore ended his presentation with the following: "Welcome to the new year. Campus looks beautiful, buildings are clean, students are registered and we're now registering a few more. Every single one of you is important to Texas Tech being the best it can be. I appreciate your efforts. Even parking is improved from last year. We've started the year well. I look forward to working with your new president."
Sam Segran, Associate Vice President for IT/CIO and Katherine Austin Stalcup, Managing Director of Technology Support
Computer security and other initiatives: For the past 18 months, Segran and Stalcup have tried to meet as many groups as possible to talk about safety practices. Employees returned after Christmas and found a lot of computers down. This was the first big worm attack on TTU. In the last 3 years, technology attacks have gone from single victims to entire networks and everyone on them. Hackers have changed. The war games scenario is not what you see anymore. Attackers are no longer kids in high school cracking into the Pentagon. Hackers are using worms and viruses through websites containing programs, and they no longer have to be computer geniuses to execute these attacks. Computer hacking is no longer a "fun" thing, it is organized crime. When systems are compromised, hackers want to see if there is anything on your system they can use, and they are using the system to do other things such as infecting other systems or sending spam. They use hacked networks to download illegal materials, copyrighted items, pornography, etc. The paradigm has shifted. Phishing schemes are very common now and most scams originate from outside the U.S., where the government has no jurisdiction to enforce laws. Ultimately, personal security practices are key to preventing these problems.
Before the worm attack, TTU had already put some security measures into place. Firewall settings were tightened and security settings changed so that only small sections can be breached without disturbing the entire university network. Hackers take advantage of vulnerabilities in the system. Windows XP has been more secure and more stable than previous versions. The university provides computer security through Norton and Windows XP as well as the shortcourses available to students and employees. The "Do you know" series is sent to TechAnnounce regularly. Technology bulletins were published, but then everything went to the web. Unfortunately, people are less interested in reading what's on the web, so the bulletins returned in print form. Safe computing tips are usually included in the corner of every bulletin.
A quarter of the student population lives in the residence halls, but others are in off campus and sharing computers with those not affiliated with the university. An alert list has been developed to alert the general community about breaches and updates. In FY04, during another spate of worm attacks, Tech's number of compromised systems dropped to 1,735 from over 3,000. This year, only about 135 systems have been compromised so the program is working. People are becoming more aware of what to do and what not to do online.
When Tech was internally audited, it was determined that passwords needed to be strengthened. The new password guidelines requiring special characters, numbers, and capital and lower-case letters were provided as a result of this audit. This prevents someone who knows you from guessing your password, but the most systems are not breached through password guessing, but rather a worm that carries a list of common passwords through its internal dictionary plus all combinations of all character sets. This system is designed to prevent the worm from breaching the system. The strength of the password is in the number of characters it contains. Increasing the length of a password from seven characters to eight increases security exponentially.
Unfortunately, when passwords are difficult to remember, people write them down and make them easy for others to find. The office of the CIO signed off yesterday on relaxing some of the new requirements so during the next round of password renewals, this will be apparent. There is a lot more information on the website at www.safecomputing.ttu.edu. The IT phone number is simple: 742-HELP (742-4357). This number is normally given to new employees.
The senator from Extended Studies reports they have not received the print bulletins. These are still available online.
Executive Board: The executive board has met twice, once with just officers. Last week's meeting included the new EEO representatives. These are:
Eric Burrell, Admin Mgmt.
Kathy Nordstrom, Clerical
Travis Findley, Crafts and trades
Ryan Scheckel, Professional
Don Roulain, Service
Donna Hurtado, Technical/Paraprofessional
All senators are welcome at Executive Board meetings. At these meetings, the agenda is set for the full senate meetings, issues are brought forward for discussion. This is not a closed committee. The Executive Committee minutes are available on the web.
Nominations committee (Kathy Nordstrom): The committee is still looking into filling the vacancies left on different committees. Some people signed up for several committees, so clarification is being requested from these senators. Nominations makes sure the committees are complete and vacancies filled. Everyone is on a committee. Once the list is complete, e-mail or paper copies will be made available to everyone.
Bylaws (Carolyn Kennedy)
Article IV Standing Committees; A. Membership/Purpose. See Appendix A for full text with changes.
The Executive Board recommends accepting this change
Motion to accept change made by Donna Perry
Seconded by Bill McDonald
Communications/Public Relations (Randy Smith) The committee met yesterday. The first item on the committee's agenda is making sure everyone knows what the Staff Senate is, who is on it, and how is it used? The committee wants to put out a publication that covers this information and last year's accomplishments. The goal is get this publication out by early October. A monthly meeting was agreed on until some goals are reached. Another goal is to continue having a Senator at each Welcome Event and having Personnel include information about Staff Senate in the packets they give to new employees. The committee also committed to keeping staff up-to-date on the current activities of the Staff Senate, possibly through a quarterly publication rather than waiting until the end of the year.
Issues (Rebecca Owens)
The Issues Committee has revisited the hand washing in cold water issue. People on campus were concerned about washing hands in cold water because no hot water is available in many campus restrooms and they feel sanitation is inadequate in cold water. Rebecca contacted the campus and local health departments, and they both indicated that washing in cold water works well if done properly. Vice President of Operations Max Hinojosa planned to send a memo to departments informing them of the option to purchase a water heater and providing information about proper hand washing techniques. The Staff Senate also requested cards be posted in restrooms, but he has not agreed to this. The Executive Board agreed information should be posted in the restrooms so this resolution is being submitted to the Staff Senate for approval.
The cards with hand washing technique information already exist in bulk through the Health Sciences Center, so the cost will probably be minimal. The Staff Senate will ask that information be posted in clear view of the sink. Environmental Health and Safety or possibly Building Maintenance will be responsible for sign placement and maintenance.
Motion to accept resolution made by Rebecca Owens
Seconded by Kathy Nordstrom
See Appendix B for the full text of this resolution
The Fall Break issue from last year needs to be revisited. More issues have been uncovered about how this will affect staff. Enrollment Management, colleges, etc., may have more of a problem than originally considered. Philosophically, a fall break is a good idea, but the proposal as written does not consider many issues that can affect staff or what it means for employees during the Christmas break. We need to look at this more in-depth than we originally did, and the Issues committee may need to research it. Although last year's Senate decided to support it a Fall Break, as long as it doesn't affect the staff too much, no official position was put forth. Vice Provost Jim Brink committed to an annual review of this process.
Several other committees have been set up. The webpage committee will meet tomorrow at 2 p.m. The Bylaws Committee will meet September 13 at 2 p.m. The Grievance Committee will meet September 14 at 3 p.m., and Issues meets September 16 at 2 p.m. Everyone on those committees should have received meeting requests by this time. The Lyris listserv is being set up for each committee. Committee members will receive e-mail explaining the listserv and what the address is.
President Richard Verrone meets with University President Whitmore once a month, and often communicate more often. Whitmore has been very responsive, and Past President Brent Guinn will echo this from last year. Hurricane relief is a big agenda item for President Whitmore's office and other campus units. TTU has created a website at www.katrina.ttu.edu which contains information about what Tech is doing to help. The Web Page Committee will be requested to include information about what staff can do outside of work. It is important for the Staff Senate to lead the staff in contributing toward this relief effort. One disturbing problem at Reese is that it is very unorganized, although it is improving. They need people to help distribute things. They need people to come out and spend a few hours. There are around 410 people there now, but it could be up to 1,000. Staff Senators should wear their shirts and/or badges while volunteering to help identify yourself. Volunteers must see the Red Cross to volunteer at Reese. Security measures prevent people from entering Reese without authorization. President Whitmore has emphasized that Tech should work together as a campus community toward the relief effort. Provost Bill Marcy is spearheading an effort to have campus programs to make presentations and performances at Reese.
Barbara White attended the Katrina Relief Committee meeting in Richard Verrone's place. Campus Senate presidents have been invited to participate on this committee. One way to contribute is to purchase Raider Relief t-shirts in the Student Union or at football games. Production starts the end of this week. Donations will be taken at the first three football games. Blood donation through United Blood Services is encouraged and several drives are being held on campus.
Rebecca Owens is the Staff Senate liaison to the Faculty Senate meetings and Ryan Scheckel will serve as liaison to the SGA. A Staff Senate Amigo volunteer is still needed to translate meeting discussion for senators who do not speak English.
Rebecca Owens and Richard Verrone need to know dates and times of committee meetings so they can plan to attend.
The next Executive Board meeting has changed to Friday, September 30, at 1 p.m.
Motion made by Randy Smith to adjourn
Seconded by Barbara White
Article VI. Standing Committees
6. Other Committees
The Executive Board, as deemed necessary, shall determine committee appointments and duties. Any ad hoc committee shall be disbanded when its purpose has been served.
REVISED (changes are in bold )
The Issues Committee shall be comprised of a minimum of five members of the Senate. The duties of the committee shall be to study issues that are referred to them by the Executive Committee, make recommendations back to the Executive Committee regarding the handling and disposition of each issue, and notify the author of the issue of any action resulting from the committee's study.
7. Other Committees
Texas Tech University Staff Senate
September 7, 2005
Stating the Staff Senate position on hand washing information
● Whereas many Texas Tech University restrooms do not have hot water;
● And, whereas concerns have been raised about washing hands in cold water;
● And, whereas certain procedures must be followed in order to sanitize hands using cold water;
● And, whereas many Texas Tech restroom facilities receive high use;
Therefore, be it resolved this day that the Texas Tech University Staff Senate fully supports the need for proper hand washing information to be prominently displayed in all Texas Tech restroom facilities.