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By Jessica Vega
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 6, 1998

Faculty Senate to stop distributing printed minutes

The UA Faculty Senate is breaking a 50-year tradition of distributing printed minutes of its meetings, opting instead to use modern technology, despite senators' concerns that the switch could leave lecturers in a lurch.

Faculty Senate members, in a 17-15 vote last semester, discontinued the distribution of meeting minutes to the 2,600-member faculty, so that the body could stay within its budget and save for a new computer system.

Sen. Jerrold Hogle, professor of English who motioned for the decision, said that by posting the minutes on a Web site and mailing them only per individual requests, the Faculty Senate could save money. Last year, the Senate exceeded its $18,145 budget by $3,000.

Depending on the length of the meetings, the minutes cost $600 to $1,200 per month to photocopy and distribute, said Donna Leavell, administrative associate in the Academic Affairs Office.

Hogle said the money saved could be used to upgrade computer facilities at the Faculty Center.

But the two senators who dissented said that it was a mistake to stop giving out the minutes in traditional fashion.

"It's our only direct communication and its required by our constitution," said Sen. Marlys Witte, surgery professor. "It's no solution at all."

The minutes are the only hard copy of the opinions said and actions taken during Faculty Senate meetings, she said.

Witte said having the minutes posted on a Web site would not be effective, because "maybe half of the faculty have access to a computer."

She said a survey indicated that 96 percent of the faculty read the minutes regularly.

Sen. Peter Medine, professor of English, also opposed the change.

"I think it's important they can continue in written form," he said. "We're still at the stage where the vast majority won't read things online."

The first online version of the minutes - for the Jan. 26 meeting - will be posted 37 days after the meeting, Hogle said.

It took 40 days to distribute printed minutes to the faculty, he said.

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