UofL’s Staff Senate met on Nov. 14 in Chao Auditorium with special presentations offered by Harlan Sands, SVP for Finance and Administration/COO, Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for Sustainability, and Elizabeth Ehlman, a student committee member for the RaiseRed Dance Marathon.

Prior to their presentations, however, committee reports were provided. Highlights include:

Credentials and Nominations: Three senators were added, including Keri Donahue, from the Speed School, Jim Becker, from the Brandeis School of Law, and Steven Lindsey, programmer. This results in 93 staff senators and six vacancies.

Policy, Economics and Development: This report is available online.

The committee recently met with Jeanell Hughes, executive director of HR, to discuss how to work with HR on some initiatives and support the university’s 21st Century Initiative.

Grievance: No grievances were filed within the past month. The committee has finished a document to present to the executive committee outlining the grievance process.

Morale: The committee allocated $100 to prepare a meal on behalf of the Staff Senate for the Ronald McDonald House. A discussion ensued on whether or not such an allocation fell within protocol. Also, a new pamphlet is in the works to describe the Staff Senate and what it does. Members anticipate handing these out at fairs, new-hire orientations and other campus events.

Sabrina Haug provided the treasurer’s report to senators, including:

  • $14,648.30 balance in the general fund
  • $1,674 balance in the technology fund
  • $12,133.46 balance in the SHARE fund

Report: Harlan Sands

SVP for Finance and Administration/COO Harlan Sands opened up his presentation with photo updates from the SAC renovation, and also discussed other construction projects, including the former Crawford Gym space and the Pediatric Outpatient facility downtown.

“It’s very exciting for us to really grow our campus and it’s something we’ll be seeing for the next 18 months,” he said.

Sands also discussed campus safety and noted that the university is committed to being vigilant. After recent incidents that happened on the fringe of campus, his team looked at what we could do better from a safety perspective. Sands met with the chiefs of both the Louisville Metro Police Department and UofL Police to work on action items.

He also noted that we now have access to real-time crime center dispatch through the LMPD. Also, UofL police are wearing cameras now, and we are evaluating use of cameras selectively placed around campus. Lighting, Sands said, remains a high priority.

UofL has ramped up its escort service and escorted more than 700 students in the months of September and October. 

Additionally, Sands discussed recent instances of graffiti found on campus after the Presidential Election and said UofL is “amping up” its walking patrols.

“We want to encourage expression in more constructive ways than defacement,” he said.

Jeanell Hughes, executive director of HR, discussed the FLSA changes, which affect about 800 employees on campus who will move from exempt to non-exempt status.

“We have put a lot of time and effort into this. There are 4.2 million people across the country who are affected by this. It’s a transition. It’s a change. But for many, it’s a raise,” Hughes said.

Discussion followed on whether or not UofL will be affected should President-Elect Trump overturn President Obama’s legislation.

“Our intent is to keep this. It is not viable to roll it back if it is changed under Trump,” Sands said.

On the topic of Trump, another senator asked if Sands is worried about further cuts to higher education under the new administration.

“We are a $1.3 billion operation that receives stable, diverse funding from a variety of different sources. We’ve got a plan in place to grow our campus,” Sands said. “We’ve had 15 years of budget cuts and we’re still growing our campus.”

SGA report

The Student Government Association has drafted a resolution asking the UofL Foundation to allow for student representation on its board. An SGA member asked staff senators for their support. Also, an update was provided on raiseRed, the largest student-run organization on campus. This year’s event is Feb. 24-25, but there are a number of events leading up to the dance marathon. This year’s goal is $450,000.

Report from Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for Sustainability Initiatives

Justin Mog provided an overview on UofL’s Sustainability Initiatives. These objectives mostly stem from a 2008 climate commitment signed by then-President James Ramsey, which led to UofL being one of only 100 schools in the world rated Gold.

Mog also discussed UofL’s Sustainability Council, which helps solve some of the challenges we have to overcome in order to achieve our goals. Senators are welcome to join the council.

More information about UofL Sustainability and its initiatives are available online

University Police Advisory Committee report

The UPAC report is available online

Chair’s Report and other business

Finally, Senators returned to the discussion about whether or not to offer support to the SGA for their resolution asking for UofL Foundation Board representation. More will be discussed on this later. Chairman Will Armstrong offered up his report, which is available online.

The next meeting is Dec. 12 in the Chao Auditorium.

Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at Forbes.com, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.