Volume LXV Number 3

January/February/March 2012

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
January/February/March 2012 - Volume LXV Number 3

In this quarter’s TACT newsletter...
Page 3 Letter from the President
by Peter Hugill

Page 5 Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead

Page 6 Reminder: What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours
by Gaines West

Page 8 TACT Spring Conference: the 13 Points Page 10 TACT Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Page 12 TACT Conference Photos Page 13 GRF Contributions Page 14 Membership

TACT
Texas Association of College Teachers 5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, Texas 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423
Copyright © 2012 by the Texas Association of College Teachers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced in any form without permission; Chuck Hempstead, Editor.

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

President’s Letter
by Peter Hugill TACT President

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First, some good news! In my last column I noted the worrisome attempt by the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists to force all Geoscientists in the state to be licensed under their rules, an attempt that has been ongoing since last Fall. It was clear to many geoscientists that licensure would have allowed the Board to restrict academic speech on environmentally controversial topics such as climate change and fracking technology for natural gas. A great deal of pressure was brought to bear on the Board by the academic community, myself included, and I heard this past Friday that the Board has withdrawn the offending rule change, and that the letters I wrote as State Conference President of AAUP had a substantial impact. Naturally I shall continue to monitor the behavior of the TBPG, and any other appointed Boards that might seek to restrict academic speech, but I would be grateful for your watchfulness. Please let me know if you see other appointed Boards seeking to restrict academic speech. I see TACT and AAUP as working both in tandem and in the somewhat separate arenas of State and national politics. As Chuck’s column notes, TACT’s lobbying activities in Austin provide a crucial faculty voice into such issues as appropriations. As I mentioned in an ear-

lier column, TACT was the first group to oppose guns on campus and to back that position up with data on the extreme rarity of gun deaths on campus. We hope to play a similar role in getting our elected officials to look more closely at such issues as the ever-increasing percentage of the academic budget being taken up in non-academic spending, at least some of it being required by well-meaning but unfunded mandates imposed on us by the Legislature.

Dr. Peter Hugill speaks at the TACT Conference.

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I was able to spend some time in South Texas this past week, since the Spring meeting of AAUP was held at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. Before the meetings I was at the University of Texas at Brownsville, where faculty face

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

President’s Letter (cont’d.)
the potentially damaging fallout of a separation from Texas Southmost College. It reminded me of the other political arena in which faculty need to work, dealing with the Boards elected or appointed to govern our colleges and universities. Much of the problem in Brownsville seems to have arisen from increasingly intransigent behavior by the two boards involved. Whether faculty could have helped prevent this is not clear, but it is only too clear that they are now about to play the role of the children in a very ugly divorce proceedings in which they will have little say. Much more positively the AAUP Chapter at Del Mar put on a great meeting. Their new President welcomed us and we had an excellent interaction with their local State Representative and Chair of the House Calendar Committee, Todd Hunter.

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(Left to Right) TACT President Dr. Peter Hugill, TACT Former President and Current Director At Large Dr. Debra Price, Chairman Jim Pitts, and TACT Executive Director Chuck Hempstead.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

Executive Director’s Report
by Chuck Hempstead TACT Executive Director

Next time your colleagues ask what you receive for your TACT dues, hand them this article. On the morning of Friday, February 17, expecting a scheduled visit with the Chief of Staff of the House Appropriations Committee Chair, your TACT leadership entered the office, surprised to be welcomed by the Chairman, Jim Pitts, himself. He claimed his Chief of Staff was busy, and invited us into his conference room for a twenty minute discussion of faculty issues. Nearing the time to excuse ourselves, Chairman Pitts said, “On Tuesday, we will receive a report that while state employment is down, higher education FTE’s have increased during this past year.” TACT leadership asked if he knew whether that growth was due to new administrators or faculty required by the 260,000 student enrollment increase. He responded that he did not know, but would ask that question. He said, “I do not hear this type of information from University chancellors.” The report he mentioned was from the state auditor to the Appropriations Committee the following Tuesday. As the committee prepared to adjourn, Chairman Pitts asked the question he had promised us. The auditor responded that

the survey question did not disaggregate that data, but he would look into it and report to the committee. This is an example of the volunteer efforts of your state Board members being at the right place at the right time to better inform policymakers of the faculty perspective. Your TACT participation continues to make these chance opportunities possible.

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(Left to Right) Chuck Hempstead, Dr. Debra Price, and Dr. Peter Hugill meet with Jim Pitts, House Appropriations Committee Chair.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

Reminder - What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours
by Gaines West West, Webb, Allbritton & Gentry, P.C.

One of the most common errors l see faculty make is to act like everything in their suite of offices is their own. They cannot imagine being locked out of their office and sent home - with no access to documents or what is on their computer. Yet this happens all too often, not only at state institutions of higher learning, but private universities as well. When an administration wants to terminate a tenured faculty member they know they have to find cause. Any pretextual actions by the administration to oust a faculty member can easily be covered up if it is found that the faculty member has been involved in wrongdoing. All too often this scenario is played out on campuses across the state. One day the university police and a representative from university audit arrive and ask you to step outside your office. They ask you for your keys and send you home, but tell you that you are simply on leave with pay and they will tell you when to return. Your research stops, experiments stop (matters not that it is funded by third parties, including the Federal Government), all computers are seized and your travel and leave vouchers are reviewed for the past several years. The rumor mill starts and soon you are suspected of grievous wrongs.

You might ask, “how can my employer do this?” Because our Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (not disturbed by the US Supreme Court) has ruled that you as a faculty member have no right to anything but your paycheck - no due process is required to take everything else away from you. The take-away? Be sure every day you are ready to not be able to retrieve documents from your office and information on your computer. The courts have clearly ruled that you have no expectation to privacy and you do not personally own the information. You say it can’t happen to you? l have many clients who have said that very thing. lf you suspect you will be targeted, contact a lawyer. By the way, it may just be a financial exigency that college administrations now point to that are the new cover for getting rid of that faculty member they have long wanted to fire, but were afraid to do so. What can you do to stop this kind of termination? lt’s a difficult problem, and one that l recommend you need a lawyer to help ferret out the fact that the college isn’t treating all equally. Recently l saw a situation where four employees were terminated because of budget cuts, three men and one woman. Within months the university re-hired all three men - but the woman wasn’t

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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

What’s in Your Office (cont’d.)
re-hired. Gender discrimination? The university says not, my client thinks so. Be wary of the reasons universities give for making adverse personnel actions. Finally, as an employee of any institution, remember: don’t trust Human Resources. They are paid by your employer to ostensibly help you, don’t believe it. Whatever you confide in your HR representative will soon be shared with your boss - l can guarantee that.

Gaines West speaks at the TACT Conference.

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

TACT Spring Conference: the 13 Points
If you missed the TACT Spring down experiments, bar you from Conference that took place February your office and work, and you there17-18 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in fore have no access to anything you Austin, then you missed an informative have been working on. It is essenand somewhat alarming speech from tial to duplicate your work and have Gaines West, Lead Counsel and Partner files at home. (Read more about this at West, Webb, Allbritton & Gentry. Mr. in Gaines West’s article) West has been practicing Higher Educa- 5. Post-Tenure Review can be a trap tion law for over thirty years and shared because they evaluate you based some of his expertise and legal knowlon a job performance where a job edge with the conference attendees in description does not exist. his speech titled “Higher Education Law 6. Rule 202 – Rule 202 allows a from a Foot Soldier’s Perspective”. He pre-lawsuit deposition. However, hit upon 13 points in his speech which universities will often fight this and are summarized below: not want the depositions to take place. They will delay in an attempt 1. In the state of Texas, you do not to allow the time limit statutes for have an agreement with your univerthe deposition to expire. sity, and no higher education teach7. The popular faculty opinion that er/professor is due damages due to “If I get my complaint high enough contract issues. someone will fix my problem” is 2. During times of budget cuts or simply not true. While faculty financial exigencies administramight believe in a sense of collegialtions are much more easily able to ity or fair play, those are not actually eliminate faculty they want to get in play at all. rid of without having to provide any 8. You have 180 days to file a comlegitimate motivating factor. plaint of discrimination with the 3. Faculty Senates can be either powTexas Workforce Commission Civil erful or powerless. They have the Rights Division (TWCCRD) and opportunity to be powerful, but the 300 days to file with the U.S. Equal administration often undercuts that Employment Opportunity Compower by taking the Faculty Senate mission (EEOC) from the date the leadership and moving them into alleged event took place. administration, thus undermining the 9. Retaliation is really the only good Senate’s power. claim in court. If you file a claim 4. The Attorney General’s office of discrimination you need that knows how to get rid of tenured or discrimination to be a retaliation of tenure-tracked faculty. They will go some sort against you in order to through Travel and Leave Vouchhave a legitimate chance of winning. ers for the past 5 years and compare them to the Honorariums. They shut

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
TACT Spring Conference (cont’d.)
10. Do not trust Human Resources! The HR department works for the university and not for you. 11. GINA – The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (2008) is a piece of legislation that prohibits employers from using individuals’ genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions. 12. ADA Amendments – The American Disabilities Act Amendments Act (2008) broadened the scope of what counts as a disability. Now much more falls under the umbrella of disabilities (such as cancer or diabetes). Faculty should ask for accommodation for their disability. 13. Job descriptions do not really exist for faculty. If you are a tenured or tenuretracked faculty member and your administration is giving you a job description, then most likely they are trying to get rid of you.

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

Contact us!
5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

TACT Conference Wrap-Up
The TACT Spring Conference took place Feb 17-18 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Austin, TX. The day began with the TACT State Board going to the Capitol for some legislative visits. We sat down with six different State Legislators’ offices (listed below) to discuss higher education in Texas and present TACT’s issues (below) that we would like the Legislature to pay attention to for the next session. Representative Diane Patrick – Rep. Patrick serves on the House Higher Education Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III (Education).

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Representative Joaquin Castro – Rep. Castro is the Vice-Chair of the House Higher Education Committee and serves on the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Representative Jim Pitts – Rep. Pitts is Excellence & Transparency. the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and serves on the Joint The afternoon was spent at the Oversight Committee on Higher Crowne Plaza Hotel. TACT’s President, Education Governance, Excellence & Dr. Peter Hugill, spoke to open the Transparency. (See Chuck Hempstead’s session and introduced Gaines West, article for more about this meeting.) whose 13 points were a hot topic that afternoon. Following Mr. West was Senator Robert Duncan – Sen. Duncan Dr. Catherine Parsoneault, the Senior serves on the Senate Finance Committee, Program Director of the Academic the Subcommittee on Higher Education Programs Division at the Texas Higher Funding, the Subcommittee on Public Education Coordinating Board (THECB). Education Funding, the Senate Higher Dr. Parsoneault gave a THECB update; Education Committee, and the Joint one thing she stressed is that critical Oversight Committee on Higher thinking and communications skills will Education Governance, Excellence & be addressed in all component areas Transparency. He recently was named to moving forward. the PTA’s Legislative Honor Roll. The final pre-dinner speaker was Representative Dennis Bonnen – Rep. Susan Albertine, Vice President in the Bonnen serves on the House Higher Office of Engagement, Inclusion, and Education Committee and the Joint Success of the Association of American Oversight Committee on Higher Colleges & Universities, in Washington, Education Governance, Excellence & D.C. Ms. Albertine spoke on the Transparency. changing nature of higher education and provided some ideas and information on Representative Lois Kolkhorst – Rep. how some universities have improved Kolkhorst serves on the Joint Oversight their student performances and Committee on Higher Education graduation rates. Governance, Excellence & Transparency.

TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

Conference Wrap-Up (cont’d.)
Rounding out the speakers that night during the banquet dinner was Dr. David Daniel, the President of the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Daniel spoke regarding the necessity of faculty input on university policy. The next TACT Conference will be the Fall Conference, October 26-27, 2012. Join us!

TACT Legislative Issues 2012
1. TACT is concerned about some of the recent higher education reform ideas, such as tenure review and outcome based funding. TACT is open to higher education reform but it must be done with faculty input. 2. Faculty Salaries. Salaries in Texas are lower than the average of the ten most populous states. (See 2011 AAUP study) Also, enrollment in public universities in Texas has grown by more than 260,000 over the past three years. (Texas Tribune, Oct 27, 2011) 3. Higher Education Funding should be a priority: the current biennium saw a 9.3% decrease in G.R. funding. TEXAS Grants was cut by $55 million. We cannot expect to increase the number of Texas university graduates while simultaneously slashing the Higher Education budget. 4. Texas Retirement System. TACT wants to maintain the solvency of the system, maintaining current benefits and allowing for cost of living increases. The latest budget dropped the contribution levels to the constitutional minimum of 6%. TACT opposes reform ideas that would take the guaranteed money of a pension and transfer it to a 401(k) type plan.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin
TACT Conference Photos

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

Dr. David Daniel UT Dallas

Dr. Catherine Parsoneault THECB

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Susan Albertine Association of American Colleges & Universities Washington, D.C.

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions Membership

The James M. Puckett, Ph. D. Government Relations Fund
GRF is the voluntary contribution section of TACT. All donations are used to further TACT’s legislative activity on behalf of our members. GRF is not politically motivated, but is used to get our legislative agenda cultivated.

Click Here to Contribute!

Thank you to the following contributors
Jonathan Coopersmith Gary Coulton Mary DeShazo Frank Fair Chuck Hempstead Russ Higham Andrew James Harvey D. Johnson Joe Kemble Doreen Kinkel John Payton Debra Price John Rugh Cynthia Simpson Andrea Williams Texas A&M Chapter

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5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201 Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

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TACT Texas Association of College Teachers
Defending Academic Freedom

The TACT Quarterly eBulletin

CONTENTS
Cover Page Index Letter from the President Executive Director’s Report What’s in Your Office, on Your Computer, Isn’t Really Yours TACT Spring Conference: The 13 Points Conference Wrap-Up and Legislative Issues Conference Photos GRF Contributions

The Texas Association of College Teachers

Join TACT During Our Spring Membership Drive Now - May 31, 2012 Membership Receive Membership for only $125!

• $125 Regular: (Professional staff, full-time faculty, librarians, administrators and other professionals) Includes Educators’ Professional Liability Insurance starting on the date of enrollment-10/31/2012) • $95 Affiliate: (Administrative assistants, retired faculty, part-time faculty, graduContact us! ate students, subscription members and libraries) Includes Educators’ Professional Liability Insurance starting on the day of enrollment-10/31/2012) 5750 Balcones Dr., Suite 201
Austin, TX 78731 tact@bizaustin.rr.com [p] (512) 873-7404 [f] (512) 873-7423

Visit us at www.tact.org to join online or call 512-873-7404 Today!
The Texas Association of College Teachers

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