Reports on a proposed parking program and a proposed policy on student use of alcoholic beverages sparked debate at the March 29 meeting of the Urbana-Champaign Senate.
Pam Voitik, director of Campus Services Division, presented a proposal for implementing a proximity-based parking program that would divide the campus into several zones with rates being determined by a parking facility’s distance from the user’s workplace. Rates would be determined by a revenue target that the average permit would need to generate to support parking facilities and services on campus.
The proposal is the result of a study on fee structures and usage patterns that campus parking commissioned with the department of mechanical and industrial engineering at the request of the Office of the Chancellor.
Voitik told the senate that new construction has usurped many campus lots through the years, forcing the construction of higher-cost parking structures as replacements. Since campus parking is a self-supporting unit, fees must be capable of covering the costs of debt service for construction of new facilities. Facilities in densely populated areas are more costly to maintain, Voitik said, and the proposed program would be equitable in that it would allow motorists to choose their fees, and services would cost more for people who choose the closest facilities. Variations of proximity-based parking plans are being used by Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue universities, Voitik said.
Motorists with medical conditions that necessitated close parking would be handled as special cases just as they are now, Voitik said.
To implement the plan, the administration would need to establish the zones and rate structures and the program would likely not go into effect until at least fiscal year 2006 once approved, Voitik said
Several senators objected to the proposed program, including Al Kagan, professor of library administration, who said that the program was unfair to people who make less money and that rates should be based on salaries. Kagan added that parents of young children also might need parking close to their offices in order to attend to family needs during their workdays. Henrique Reis, professor of general engineering, said he could not embrace the proposed program because increased walking distances would compromise safety and productivity for some people.
A salary-based model also was recommended by the faculty-student group that conducted the study but was rejected, Voitik said. Administration also is investigating partnerships with the city of Champaign and the Mass Transit District for providing remote parking at the north end of campus.
Mark Roszkowski, acting chair of the Conference on Conduct Governance and professor of business administration, presented proposed revisions to the student code related to alcohol misuse. Student misuse of alcohol is a significant problem on campus, Roszkowski said, and according to the Office for Student Conflict Resolution is a factor in more than 75 percent of discipline cases.
Under the proposed policy, students would be subject to university sanction for offenses committed off campus but within Champaign County “or in other circumstances where a substantial university community interest exists.” This would encompass violations of city or state laws and include situations such as disruption of university-related events and instances where consumption results in property damage or actual or threatened harm to people.
The policy also would prohibit “cup parties” where student hosts without liquor licenses sell alcoholic beverages to their party guests to pay for the alcohol.
Student senators objected to the proposed policy, saying that it was redundant for the university to punish students who also are being punished by the legal system and that the policy would be a misguided attempt by the university to exert parental authority over students.
The senate heard a report from Chip Zukoski, vice chancellor for research, who said that Urbana’s research programs are exceptionally strong and cited numerous organizations, including the Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, that are funding research activities.
Research expenditures were $340 million last fiscal year and have increased 30 percent in the last three years. Federal research expenditures alone have increased 34 percent since FY2000. The number of grants submitted in FY04 has increased 14 percent.
The growth in technology development and commercialization has been remarkable, Zukoski said, and the research park now comprises four buildings and provides more than 650 jobs and 190 student internships. More than three-quarters of the space in the technology incubator has been rented and the companies there have earned more than $1 million in revenue since the incubator opened in April 2003.
However, increased costs for complying with state and federal regulations coupled with a $3.2 million budgetary cut as a result of reduced state appropriations have created a significant financial shortfall, Zukoski said. The compliance budget during FY03 exceeded $3 million, and to comply with new regulations on animal care the campus had to find an additional $1.5 million in recurring funds for FY04.
In other business
- The senate passed a proposed policy establishing 0.33 and 0.67 as the grade weights for pluses and minuses in the calculation of grade-point averages. The senate agreed that as soon as it is feasible the policy would be amended to address issues related to rounding and other matters.
- The senate passed a proposal modifying the Policy on Appropriate Use of Computers and Network Systems in relation to news services, which includes traditional news services, chat rooms and other forums provided by CITES and other units. Service providers will have discretion in controlling content in instances where postings violate laws or university policies or when forums create burdensome amounts of traffic on the campus computers and networks. News service moderators, including instructors who use newsgroups as teaching tools, will be allowed to moderate discussions and restrict content to comply with services’ posted charters.
- A proposal was passed establishing procedures for selecting a 15-member search committee to advise the university president on the selection of a new chancellor. The committee will comprise nine faculty members: a committee chair who will be selected by the president from two nominees jointly elected by the Senate Executive Committee and the Committee on Committees; three students, including at least one undergraduate and one graduate or professional; one college dean or director; an academic professional and one staff member.
- Chancellor Nancy Cantor congratulated Provost Richard Herman on his nomination as interim chancellor when she vacates the position in July.