WASHBURN UNIVERSITY OF TOPEKA

BOARD OF REGENTS

MINUTES

October 15, 2003

_________________________________________________________________________________



I. Call to Order



Chairperson Roth called the meeting of the Board of Regents to order at 4:09 p.m. in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union.



II. Roll Call



Present were: Mr. Blair, Mr. Engel, Mr. Felker, Mr. Ferguson, Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Parks, Mrs. Paul, Mr. Roth and Mrs. Warren.

III. Approval of Minutes of September 17, 2003 meeting as mailed.



It was moved and seconded to approve the Minutes of the September 17, 2003 meeting as circulated. Motion passed unanimously.



Chairperson Roth noted there is a big crowd at this evening's meeting, many of whom wish to speak concerning the placement of the statue in front of the Memorial Union. He said he would permit all who wished the opportunity to speak but asked that each try to limit their remarks to not more than four minutes.



John Ostrowski: Mr. Ostrowski gave the members of the Board of Regnts a handout which had been prepared by his spouse. He said the handout contains articles and commentary dealing with the piece of art work in front of the student union. He said he is Catholic, a member of the Knights of Columbus, a practicing attorney and Washburn alumni. He said he was speaking in opposition to the placement of the statute. He said when the issue first arose he was wondering what the debate was all about. He said were the statue mocking Native Americans, mocking Jews or anti-Semitic they wouldn't be having this debate at all. He said the statue is making an absolute mockery of what we profess to be. He said the statement has been made that art is intended to engage us intellectually and emotionally. He said if this were some other sector, "I don't think this kind of statement would be made." He said the Board has seen the statement of the Archbishop for the Diocese. He said he believes there is sound constitutional grounds to remove the statue, stating 508 U.S. 520, a United States Supreme Court case, stands for the principle that government may not be hostile to religion. He said the institution is on shaky grounds having it. He said "it is your setting, not the same as a theatre, where one may choose not to go." He said this is not art in an art museum; that you have a captive audience who have to walk by it and there are students and professors who have to be there. He said he is not here to threaten a law suit, but noted there are a a number of Catholic students who are at the University.



Kathy Ostrowski: Mrs. Ostrowski said she is a member of the Catholic league in the Campus Catholic Center. She said there are many at the Campus Catholic Center who wanted to attend but who were not able to do so. She said many members have forwarded e-mail and letters voicing their opposition. She said they are very disturbed by this. She said the statue has alienated students.



Edward Talbot: Mr. Talbot identified himself as a member of a large prayer group in Northeast Kansas and of Christ the King Catholic Church. He said he was here to protest the presence of the statue. He said it's an insult to him and to others. He said it is an image of hate and vengeance and that the portrayal in association with someone purporting to hear confession is insulting. He said we all know what the issue with the hat is and he said "we are requesting immediate attention to permanently remove the work."



Everett Spellman: Mr. Spellman read from the Bible the story of Sodom and Gomora and he said "my question to you as the Board of Regents is how many must be offended before it is removed?" He said "I am, and my friends are, how many must be offended before it is removed?" He said it is "respect for all, that's what I expect."



Mrs. Jean Bertleson, currently chair of the Campus Beautification Committee, gave a brief history of the formation of the committee in 1994 by then President Hugh Thompson. She said the committee is comprised of persons from the University community, the Art Department, the Mulvane Art Museum and others. She said the committee's charge in 1994 was to make Washburn one of the most beautiful Kansas campuses. She noted that when the committee was first created it thought it best to follow the successful plan of the city of Lawrence which sponsors an annual competition whereby art works are loaned to the city and placed on the sidewalks downtown. She said the Beautification Committee recognized that its members, while all appreciate art, are not experts and they followed the advice of professional people that a juried process be employed for selection of the pieces. She said the competition has been in place for eight years and that members of the jury each year come from all over the Midwest. She said this year they've selected only five pieces. She said the criteria for selection is quality of the piece and that the medium of the work be appropriate for outdoor display. She said the committee believes that the work should engage the viewer and initiate discussion. She said that has happened this year.



Mrs. Bertleson said she recently spoke with the artist, Jerry Boyle, who said he was raised Catholic and is a devout Catholic to this day. He said he was very surprised about the controversy and that a number of priests and other clerics have seen the piece and none found it offensive or demeaning. He said he created a piece in bronze what he thought he saw at his first confession. According to Mrs. Bertleson the piece originally was commissioned by a leadership foundation in Bathe, NY where CEOs and leaders of states and countries attend. She said the piece is still there today and that the piece, created in 1990, has been there without controversy. She said it is a sad day that if a fine example of fine art could cause such a vitriolic reaction. She said it was not the intent of the artist and not the intent of the Campus Beautification Committee to cause pain and hurt or demean religion. She said she hoped the Board would take all of these things into consideration.



Jack Hennies: Mr. Hennies said he is a Catholic and a member of the Friends of the Mulvane Art Museum. He said the board of the Friends met and read a letter of support. He said the board voted unanimously to support the purpose and process for the selection of "Holier Than Thou" and that the artist should not be constrained in his work.



Tim Carney: Mr. Carney said he is Catholic and the father of three children who he is raising in the faith. He said he is not offended by the work. He said it was his view the statue does not represent confession nor reconciliation; rather it is a perception of the artist of one of our sacraments. He said there is a need to create better understanding and if the statue were removed that creates no opportunity for that further understanding. He said he can't imagine how the academic environment would be affected were the statue to be removed. He said he would leave the statue.



Greg Inkmann: Mr. Inkmann said he participated in the selection process, saying there were more than 90 submittals which were narrowed down eventually to the five which were placed on campus. He said at no time were the jurors aware of the intent of the sculpture. He said as a Catholic the "work appeals to me" and while he is not a fervent Catholic, it has caused him to rethink his position. He said he can only think this is positive and it enables him to see a different side of religion which helps him. He said the work is extraordinarily well done.



Meredith Moore: Dr. Moore read a letter from fellow faculty member, Marie Luce-Parker. Dr. Parker said as a Catholic the statue does not offend her. She said it is a work of art open to interpretation.



Patti Lyon (Director of Campus Catholic Center): Ms. Lyon said the statue is one of condoning intolerance. She said the University received the open letter of Bishop Kelleher which she and her organization are in full agreement. She said they believe their religion is being mocked and the statue should be removed.



Steve Cann: Dr. Cann said the issue had been around for three weeks before he became engaged in the matter. He said that, as he had not heard from many of his colleagues concerning the presence of the statue, he sent e-mail to all members of the faculty. He said 91 persons responded for a 46% response rate. Of the respondents, 78% were adamantly in favor of retaining the statue, 12% said the statue should not be removed, while 10% were in favor of its removal.



Ron Ash: Dr. Ash said he tried to distill the e-mail messages for viewpoints and also conducted several personal interviews. He said many were very sensitive the statue could be interpreted as offensive. He said the viewpoint was that were the statue done for harmful intention it should be removed, but since there was no such intention, it should not be. He said several members of the faculty who are Catholic were deeply offended, while an equal number of members of the faculty who are Catholic said the statue should remain. He talked about the precedent that might be established were the statue to be removed which would be seen as allowing one sector to dictate. He said this has repercussions with allowing a sector to dictate topic matter of course work, of a play, of a book. He said if we remove all things which may make anyone uncomfortable, we'll just be a campus, not a university. He said some are offended but here is the opportunity to express feelings where we can hear multiple viewpoints. He said the statue should be left and the University deal with the issues which have been raised.



Loran Smith: Dr. Smith identified himself as chair of the University Council. He said the issue was discussed at the University Council the preceding day. He said a number of views were expressed, one of which is 'art is in the eye of the beholder'. He said the University Council felt generally it would be better to err on letting people decide for themselves what the statue means and the University Council voted to support the University administration. Dr. Smith said he raised the issue with three of his classes and said while several persons were offended, not one of them wanted it removed.



Brandi Jacobs: Ms. Jacobs identified herself as Vice President of the Washburn Student Government Association. She said the issue was discussed and students observed art comes and goes on campus; sometimes people don't even notice it's there. She said a lot of Catholics were in the room during the discussion and a lot of them did not understand why there was any concern about the statue. She said they believe it's art and all have their own perception. She said WSGA did not oppose the statue and noted no one asked to push to remove the statue. She did say if the statue were removed the message could be that as soon as someone complains it's gone. She said she didn't think that was the message the University administration wanted to send.



David Ryan: Professor Ryan identified himself as a distinguished Professor of Law and member of the University Council. He noted there was one dissenting vote at the University Council meeting. He said the fact of the matter was that he suspects there never is agreement with all the art works on campus, nor agreement on the artistry exhibited. He said it is a matter of dignity and respect of free speech and expression. He said he did not view it as an expression of endorsement and trusted that the Board of Regents would treat this with the dignity and respect that the subject deserves. He said it is the nature of art to be expression.



Mr. Roth thanked everyone who came to speak on the topic. He noted that the matter is not on the agenda and the Board could either return to the agenda or take the subject up at this moment. It was the consensus of the Board that the matter be dealt with at that time.



Regent Engel noted the Board of Regents has always been responsible as the body to hold title and ultimately all things dealing with the University "stops with us." He said the Board of Regents is also the policy making Board and that his comment is in the area of policy. He said he thinks the Board already had a policy that anything placed on the campus was to have approval of the Board of Regents or the President. He said the Regents should be able to control and continue to control what happens in this constitutional issue. He said this is an issue of constitutional law. He said Washburn is not an open forum, particularly as it relates to religion. He said public policy requires us to be neutral on religion. He said you can't use public property to sponsor religious thoughts, in this case relating to the sacrament of reconciliation. He said engaged in this activity, it pits one religion against all others. He said the property is being used for religious expression, noting that the plaque on the statue makes a reference to Catholicism and to the sacrament of reconciliation. He said he thinks this is opening up the University to legal issues. He said there is some problem in Wyoming as it relates to placement of a monument in a public park pertaining to Matthew Shepard and we might be experiencing the same problem here. He noted the University has an affirmative action policy and equal educational and employment opportunity policies where action is to be taken without regard to religion. He said it is a protected class and it appears to him we are violating our own EEO policy. He said, however, he's more concerned we are in violation of the Constitution and could be subject to a 1983 action. He said we need to remove something that is based on religion.



Mr. Engel moved that the statue be withdrawn, seconded by Mayor Felker.



Chairman Roth said he would entertain discussion on the motion. Mayor Felker said he hadn't had much input or received much discussion about the presence of the statue. He said he has had a very serious and intellectual discussion with Regent Engel and what it means to him personally. Mayor Felker said he has talked to two adults who were not offended at all. He said in his conversation with Regent Engel, Mr. Engel had raised three issues. One was the inference to be drawn from the miter, the face of the individual portrayed, he said it's not really what the church is all about, and lastly the inscription. He said he has also talked with members of his staff who had called the artist, Mr. Boyle. He reported Mr. Boyle had not meant anything disrespectful, it is only how he felt the first time he went to confession. He said the First Amendment is a tough issue to deal with, that he was not yet ready to vote but understood Mr. Engel's constitutional and affirmative action policy concerns. He said he would like a little more time to consider the matter and to discuss it.



Regent Warren said that as members of the Board of Regents, this is the first time we've heard discussion on the presence of the statue from both sides. She said she would like more time to generate thoughts.



It was moved and seconded to table the motion. Motion was seconded by Regent Lee.



Regent Parks observed it was her general view that although we subscribe fully to the principle of academic freedom we shouldn't be in the business of offending anyone and how would we ever condone art with swastikas and the like. She said she also would like to talk with more people.



Regent Lee expressed thanks to both sides for expressing their views. She said this is what the institution is here for, debate. She said that's how we learn and that's how we train people to see both sides of an issue. She said personally she is an art collector, mostly of abstract art, which invites you to have your own interpretation. She said this is a realistic piece and the first time she saw it she didn't think there was a religious issue, just a matter of artistic expression which is very subjective. She said for instance some see Georgia O'Keefe's flower paintings to be of private parts. She said she respects all concerns and thanked those again for participating in the discussion.



On the motion to table, motion passed with Regent Ferguson voting no.



IV. Officer Reports



A. Chair's Report



Regent Roth said in 1997, shortly after Dr. Farley came to campus as President, the Board of Regents conducted a retreat, the purpose of which was to determine what the campus should look like in five years. He said at the time it was to make sure we have everything needed for the non-traditional student but also to make the campus and University more appealing to traditional students by improving campus life. He said at that time the goal was to have around 7,000 students, which has now been realized. He said last year there was another retreat about how the Regents want the campus to look like academically. He said through a series of meetings with deans and others over a four-month period involving over 100 faculty and all of the Board of Regents, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ron Wasserstein, met with deans to discuss where now to go after the input from all of the stakeholders. He said on October 6 and October 9 there were two 90-minute open meetings where faculty could comment. He said some 60 faculty participated and that as a result a second draft of the proposal has been prepared which is going to be revised very shortly. He said at the next Committee of the Whole meeting that the Board will discuss this recent draft which will be mailed to them prior to the meeting so they can learn what the academicians believe what the departments and schools ought to be doing to improve education and so that they, in turn, can learn from us what we think and what priority things ought to have.



B. Committee Report(s)



Regent Blair, as Chair of the Budget/Finance Committee, reported his report would be brief because all Regents with the exception of Regents Parks and Paul, participated in the meeting. He said there were four or five items considered. The first is that they discussed and approved the 2004 budget which is recommended to the Board for approval.



It was moved and seconded to approve the 2004 budget as presented. Motion passed unanimously.



Regent Blair said the second item for discussion was a draft request for proposals relating to internal control consulting. He said a control system is already in pretty good form, that this would come back to the November meeting.



Other items which Regent Blair indicated were discussed at the committee meeting were an enrollment analysis of the Fall 2003 semester which he said was very favorable and an analysis of salary increases. He reported they discussed very briefly how the University is doing with its classroom furniture update.



C. President's Report



Dr. Farley said that very quickly Homecoming is next week. He said that for the first time the Homecoming king and queen would be crowned on Monday at the student ball so that the royalty may have the opportunity to participate in a whole week's worth of activities rather than just the second half of a football game.



He said the Law School will be conducting a variety of events in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Brown versus Board of Education. The first event will be on November 1.



He said the School of Applied Studies is celebrating its 20th year of service at the University. He said the School of Applied Studies is also conducting a number of events, among them a free lung function test and a flexibility test.



Finally, he said the University's debate team had a great deal of success at a recent tournament known as the Show Me State where the team took 22 of 24 ballots and a number of the teams went undefeated.



D. Treasurer's Report



1. Treasurer's Consent Items

It was moved and seconded to approve the Treasurer's Consent Items: a. Public Fund Investments - September, 2003, b. Depository Security Transactions, and c. Liquidated Claims Approval - September, 2003. Motion passed unanimously.



2. Contractors' Reports



Student Fitness/Wellness Center



Rodney DeForrest of Murray Construction Company updated the Board of Regents on the status of the progress on the construction of the Student Wellness Center. He said on a couple of items on the project they're a little bit behind, but for the other sections they are about three weeks ahead. He said "on an overall look, we're approximately one week ahead of schedule." He noted the project began on June 18, originally scheduled for completion on June 30 of next year. He said that has been pushed back by operational change orders to July 11. He said with respect to the project, the roof will be completed the end of this week, the number of change orders is average and frankly doesn't anticipate many more. In response to a question from Regent Engel about whether there were any problems getting materials, Mr. DeForrest said they haven't had any and don't anticipate having any.



Transitional Housing Project



Keith Griffin and Pat Tolan of Ferrell Construction were present. They said there were five buildings on the project. Building A is two weeks ahead, Building B is three weeks ahead, Building C2 is four weeks ahead, Building C1 is four-five weeks ahead and the club house is some two weeks ahead. They said there has been a moisture issue with the club house which has a basement. They said the completion date is June 13 and assured the Board they will meet contractual completion date. They said there's been a great deal of cooperation on the project. They said Traynor Architects has done a good job in getting back shop drawings. They said this project will be well-built and a project that we can be proud of. They did say while the project is considerably ahead at the moment, the interior work will take a good deal of time. They invited the Regents to stop by for a personal inspection but asked they notify them before going on site. With respect to a question from Regent Engel concerning the water problem at the club house, Mr. Griffin said that's interfering only with the basement and they don't anticipate having any problem.



V. New Business



A. Consent Agenda:



Items 3 and 4 were withdrawn for separate consideration. It was moved and seconded to approve the Consent Agenda expressed in items V.A.1. and 2. Motion passed unanimously.



Approved by action of the Board:



1. Voluntary Phased Retirement

voluntary phased retirement for: Dr. Betty J. Cole for academic years 2004-05 and 2005-06 effective August 1, 2004; Dr. Thomas M. Wolf for academic years 2004-05 and 2005-06 effective August 1, 2004; and Dr. Ron Evans for academic years 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 effective August 1, 2005; and,

2. Report of Purchases between $25,001 and $50,000

award of contract to ThyssenKrupp Elevator for upgrade of elevator controls in Morgan Hall West Elevator in the amount of $43,339.00.



3. Change Order - Transitional Housing Project

4. Change Order - Transitional Housing Project

There was discussion about the philosophy of change orders, particularly in the small dollar amount items. Upon motion to approve agenda items V.A.3. and 4., motion passed unanimously.



B. Action Items:



1. Fiscal Year 2004 Budget



Chairperson Roth noted that agenda item V.B.1. Fiscal Year 2004 Budget had already been taken care of in the Committee Report for the Finance Committee.



2. Award of Telecommunications Cabling Contract - Transitional Housing Project



It was moved and seconded to award a contract in the amount of $138,850.00 for data and telecommunications cabling for the Transitional Housing Project to computer cable connection. Motion passed unanimously.



Regent Felker excused himself at 5:55 p.m.



VI. Executive Session



It was moved and seconded to recess to Executive Session for the purpose of discussing a matter related to non-elected personnel and to reconvene in open session at 7:00 p.m. in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union. Motion passed unanimously. The Board recessed to Executive Session at 5:55 p.m.



At 7:00 p.m. the Board reconvened in open session in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union. It was moved and seconded to recess to Executive Session for the purpose of continuing discussion related to a non-elected personnel matter and to reconvene in open session at 8:00 p.m. in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union. Motion passed unanimously.



At 8:00 p.m. the Board reconvened in open session in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union. It was moved and seconded to recess to Executive Session for the purpose of continuation of a discussion of a non-elected personnel matter and to reconvene in open session at 8:45 p.m. in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union. Motion passed unanimously.



At 8:45 p.m. the Board reconvened in open session in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union. It was moved and seconded to increase the salary for Dr. Jerry B. Farley to not more than $180,000, representing a six percent increase provided that Dr. Farley may determine the difference between the new salary amount and the present salary amount made be deferred in some manner of his choosing. Motion passed unanimously.



It was moved and seconded to adjourn. Motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m.

_______________________

Kenneth P. Hackler

Secretary, Board of Regents


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