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Manoa Faculty Congress Minutes of October 19, 2005

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Architecture Auditorium

Ex Officio: Denise Konan, Chancellor; Neal Smatresk, Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Chair Robert Bley-Vroman called the meeting to order at 4:08 p.m.

The chair noted that Congress meets each fall and spring. This year is an important year because UHM is experiencing many transitions, including the appointment of Denise Konan as Interim Chancellor. He invited her to say a few words.

Chancellor Konan's comments:

She has been at UH since 1993, but has been on the job as Chancellor for only a few months. She has set an agenda for the year, with a description on the Manoa Chancellor's office website. This agenda is informed by a recent strategic planning day for campus leaders. The top priority is to focus on improving the experience of Manoa students and to create a more vibrant academic climate for students. She recently appointed Wayne Iwaoka as Interim VC for students.

The second priority is to develop the functionality of the chancellor's office, which is still new. The relationship with the UH President and system structure is evolving; which impacts procedures and protocol.

The third focus is to improve transparency, especially budgetary. This has been a big challenge because of antiquated systems, and the need to update decision-making methods, but much progress has been made and information on expenditures from tuition, RTRF, G funds, as well as some projections are on the website. She stated that we must improve budget planning information and make it more available to the campus.

A fourth focus is on the physical environment, including developing strategies to improve the physical plant, the teaching and research environment, and the living/residential environments. There is a need and desire to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and electricity and focus on sustainability. The campus electricity bill has been growing rapidly. Faculty issues include improving salaries and advancing scholarship. Finally, sharing and managing resources more effectively and with more emphasis on a Hawaiian place of learning is needed. We have an opportunity and obligation to recognize our place in Hawaii and that a unique cultural and economic model is desirable.

Konan stated that today's discussion on UARC is important to her, and she will not make a decision until after she hears from the faculty senate. She commended MFS for their leadership on the UARC discussion -- which has involved the concepts of dignity, diversity, respect.

Chair Bley-Vroman asked past Chair Tom Schroeder to say a few words to provide some perspective for today's UARC discussion.

Past-Chair Schroeder's comments:

He noted that last year's discussions were marked by some confusion between proprietary research, classified research, and UARC. He commended Jim Tiles for taking leadership on developing a structured MFS UARC venue and discussion process this year. Last year, he was accused of bias; he didn't know whether it was because he was white and male, but suspected it was more because his locus of tenure is SOEST.

The chair called for approval of the minutes of the spring 2005 Faculty Congress. The minutes were approved unanimously, with the instructions that any typo corrections may be emailed to him or to this year's secretary (mstaff@hawaii.edu).

UARC discussion:

The Chair mentioned this is the only significant item on the agenda. Congress is not a decision-making body. Senators will find today's discussion helpful in the near future as they deliberate UARC. All faculty are encouraged to participate and visitors may participate as well. Administrators were not specifically invited so that the meeting would encourage faculty voices. Bley-Vroman asked all speakers to limit their comments to about 3 minutes. He also asked for alternate viewpoints to be expressed.

Michael Jones (Physic/Astronomy) asked what has been the faculty view on classified research? Bley-Vroman responded that a resolution that passed last spring was about publication-restricted research. The BOR has not responded to the resolution with any stated policy, but the MFS will insist that any contract under UARC will be in line with the resolution. Jim Tiles (Philosophy) stated BOR policy is in line with this resolution. Bley-Vroman noted there is a policy from 1983 and that the resolution is larger than UARC.

Comments by Sara Rutter, Chair of UARC ad-hoc committee: Rutter named the other committee members and referred all to the Interim Report on UARC prepared by the committee, posted on the MFS website. The committee is aiming to complete the final report by next Wednesday. The draft UARC contract has been received and read, but outside counsel hired to review and report on the matter (paid for by Ostrander's budget) has not provided its final report to the committee. There is a brief interim report from counsel, which states that the contract is not as routine or favorable as expected. Of concern is that the Navy has full authority to limit publication of any information navy chooses to call sensitive. Also DoD requires a drug testing program for individuals in sensitive positions, which relates to collective bargaining issues.

A questioner (?) asked if senate meeting might be postponed - because report will be out the same day. Bley-Vroman stated that the Senate has to advertise meetings, and that next week's meeting has been scheduled and posted. He prefers to not postpone.

(The following is a brief summary of the remarks made by the speakers indicated. Many of the speakers have posted their remarks on the MFS/UARC website at www.hawaii.edu/uhmfs/uarc/faculty-comments.html)

M. D'andrea (Counselor Ed) stated that faculty governance is important. Since he studies violence in society he opposites UARC. He noted there has been much talk of economic benefits of UARC, but also feels inaccurate information has been put out. And there has been minimal talk of cultural issues. He has interviewed numerous people, students, faculty, community members and notes that Hawaii is still an occupied land, taken from native people. UARC at UH will not promote environment consistent with native interests. Faculty have responsibility to make this a great university on its other (considerable) merits.

H. Valenzuela (CTAHR) is disappointed with the lackluster response and lack of outrage. UARC clearly discriminates based on sexual orientation and country of origin. 50% of female cadets experience harassment. The military uses Hawaii as a springboard for actions abroad? Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Past secret research in biological and chemical warfare on the neighbor islands included some CTAHR collaboratation, resulting in civilian deaths. UHM must resist increased militarization and instead honor and make this place a land of peace and aloha.

M. Jones: Already there are serious issues on classified projects already in progress. MFS needs more information to evaluate these projects and to decide if current projects are inconsistent with resolutions and policies in place now.

J. Fischer (Social Work): Faculty must confront the administration's claim of $10-50 million dollars from UARC over 5 years. Examples are shown as if the $50 million is guaranteed, but contract is only for 3 years, with the ability to renew for 2 more years, and renewal is not guaranteed. Numerous subcontractors may be used, reducing the amount for UHM. And millions are required for start up. There is no guarantee of any dollar amount in the contract and one possible result is that UHM ends up in the red. We have a dysfunctional culture where administration sets policies and faculty follow. And the administration brought UARC to the BOR after 2 yrs of secret discussion and no faculty input. Instead, faculty should lead and administration should work to support faculty goals.

P. Britas (English): When he was at USC he saw a UARC controversy first-hand. It was initially presented as a done-deal, but after protests it was moved away from campus. UARC would promise the co-opting of UH. Patriotism is an inappropriate reason to establish and would be a historical black mark. The UH Needs its academic autonomy. There is evidence that once the UARC was embedded in the system, side deals would occur; the safety rules would be irrelevant. A UARC creates a dangerous environment for students. It would require faith-based adherence. Faculty would have to compromise to continue to work at UH under a UARC, as happened at other UARC institutions. Who is pushing UARC? The primary push is from a culture of outside experts, whose agenda is to turn UH into a military appendage.

M. Diamond (JABSOM): His field is sexuality. Many people at UH have tried to stop him in 40 years. He speaks for academic freedom. Each individual researcher should be able to decide for self if they want to do or continue certain research. He believes that his work has changed the medical practice for the better, even though it may be unpopular or not bring in money. There are some disturbing developments designed to limit some research. Last year Congress checked NIH grants given for sexuality studies.

Szarmes (Physics): He finds the contract disturbing; his detailed remarks are posted on UARC website. There is no official documentation of this new kind of UARC and thus, the "old" UARC rules still apply. The UH would need to be a "trusted agent" of the government. Conflict of interest is very important in government contracts and that's why 5 pages of the contract are devoted to this topic. There are many restrictions for UH, and many firewalls are required to protect aspects of the UARC. To sign a contract for a virtual UARC, the Navy must either terminate or manage conflicts of interests. He believes existing UH programs would therefore need to be terminated or managed. Thus, it is necessary to opposing UARC-for faculty who want to continue working independently at UH. Eric noted that his research is funded by the military.

J. Madey (Physics/Astronomy): The UARC is a conundrum of incompatible missions and represents a great threat to faculty's ability to carry out their work. It is not true that all working on military projects are in favor of UARC, or that UARC will enhance UH. His current project is a 3-5 year project with both military and civilian applications, but research has been going for 30 years. It is focused on basic research that will promote the frontiers. He notes that existing UARCs have a poor record in terms of transferring technology. Innovation largely comes from those in an unaffiliated status, not a UARC or other organized center. He believes UARC must be rejected.

S. Oharrow (SHAPS/Vietnam Prog): The central role of a teacher is to share knowledge with students, and if there is any effort of teachers to secret knowledge, then they cease to be ethical professors. Faculty should not agree to hide what we know.

B. Keever (Journalism): Ostrander explained how UARC would bring in millions over 5 years. But when contract arrived it was a 3-year contract with unilateral ability of the Navy alone to extend 2 more years. Guaranteed funding is only 1000 staff hours at an amount TBD (to be determined). Both classified and unclassified research must be sent to navy censors, and any research may be determined to be sensitive; the censors control what may be released and there is no appeal. I do not see clarity from this contract; we would not know what to expect. And there is a second and much longer business plan that has not been made public. Here, export disclosure is laid out. It's very important but administration did not make this part of the public record.

?Reference to Diamond's work; Diamond responded (inaudible).

V. Pollard: (former student-PhD in Poli Sci) mentioned that increased military influence at UH would mean a double standard. Faculty need to be open with students about what research they are doing at UH. He also Thanked Bev Keever for exposing the agent orange connection.

J.Peters (English): She was hesitant to get into this discussion, but needs to point out that we decide what kind of university we want to work for. And personally, she does not want to be a part of a university that institutionalizes a military connection, although she is aware that military research goes on here already.

Bley-Vroman: The Senate has been called upon to scrutinize this contract and possibly prevent such a contract from moving forward. Should this kind of hearing be applied to other contracts? Is this a new protocol or a dangerous precedent?

M. Sharma (Asian Studies): Why did the BOR ask for widespread consultation? Because they understood this contract was different. We don't have to see this as a precedent for all contracts. Faculty can accept money from the government or military when the "trusted agent" part is not a factor.

Unidentified commentator (male): This is not a small-area contract. This one would essentially change the character of the UH. It would require a complete and fundamental ethics change and paradigm shift and that's why the scrutiny must be done here.

B. Lampe: We should ask, what gets reviewed? New programs get reviewed. This is a new program?subject to review.

Bley-Vroman: Should we review the Korean Flagship program, funded by defense?

Madey: My program could disappear. It would be utterly derelict to neglect this review.

J. Ramos: As a new senator, I am dismayed that no proponents are here. Where are the proponents?

Bley-Vroman: Administrators were not invited, though they could have come and spoken.

Questioner (?): Is there any faculty group supporting?

D. Bangert (CBA): Only 1 faculty in my unit is against the UARC, at least in a straw poll.

S. Brown (A & H): My Dean polled the faculty but before the contract was released. Many comments made earlier by faculty must now be re-examined in light of the actual contract.

Bley-Vroman: Where do we go from here? Next week, there is supposed to be a senate debate on UARC and the Senate may come to some resolution. SEC drew up 2 alternative resolutions to discuss. A con and a not-con. There is not a pro resolution?.a parliamentary strategy.

Sharma: Asking for another week is not foot dragging, considering the amount of time admin has taken-2 years.

A Move to adjourn was made and seconded. The Congress adjourned at 5:55 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Martha Staff
Manoa Faculty Senate Secretary


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