UNIVERSITY  OF COLORADO RETIRED FACULTY ASSOCIATION

MINUTES OF APRIL 28, 2004 MEETING

 

(These minutes were approved by the membership on October 20, 2004)

 

The annual Spring meeting of the University of Colorado Retired Faculty Association was held on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 in the University Memorial Center, room 235.

 

The annual Spring meeting of the University of Colorado Retired Faculty Association was held on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 in the University Memorial Center, room 235.

 

President Carl Kisslinger called the meeting to order at 10 AM and welcomed all members and guests in attendance. 

 

President Kisslinger read  the names of our  recently deceased colleagues. The following names:   were added to those listed in the agenda materials: Frank Baird, College of Music, UCB; Mary Maslin, widow of  Paul Maslin, EPOB;  Mary Jean Willis, wife of Donald Willis of East Asian Languages;  and John Meek, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCB.  In addition,  Robert Curtis Johnson’s department was incorrectly listed;  he was a member of Chemical Engineering, UCB  and was also Dean of International Education.

 

The minutes of the Annual Fall meeting of the RFA, October 22, 2003 were approved.

 

Instead of giving a formal president’s report, Pres. Kisslinger referred the members to his report in the latest Newsletter. These and other items for discussion and action were on the agenda

 

Treasurer Rudy Schattke gave the treasurer’s report.  He was not optimistic about our finances.  Last year we were down $1100 for the whole year.  But for the first 4 months of this year we show a loss of $2457 and will still owe at least $1000 for the luncheon, so there is a deficit of  roughly $3500.  After separating out the funds at the Foundation we’ll have a balance of cash available of about $2100.  We will be receiving $1500 from the President which Prof. Schattke said  is primarily intended for the News Letter. Treasurer Schattke and President Kisslinger both expressed the opinion that we that will have to raise our dues.

 

Assistant Secretary for Membership Stewart Strickler reported on membership.  There  are 554 names on the list.  347 members are paid up to date; this number includes 64 complimentary memberships given to newly retired faculty.   An additional 100 members were paid up for 2003 but not for 2004.  Another 107 are paid for 2002 but haven’t paid  since.  We will be inviting these people to pay once more in the fall.  Those in the last group who then still haven’t paid will be removed from the list.  Of the total membership list, 69% are from the Boulder Campus, 16% from Health Sciences, 11% from UCD and 3% from UCCS. (and 1%  “other”.)  President Kisslinger was concerned that there is understandably little participation from  Colorado Springs  and raised the possibility of having a separate local chapter at the Colorado Springs campus.

 

Other reports.  There were various reports from our representatives included in the packet with the minutes. Natalie Hedberg, our represent to the Boulder Faculty Assembly, referred members to her report.  Oliver Ellsworth, our representative to the Faculty Council updated his report by reporting that at the April meeting, the Faculty Council approved  the new faculty retirement package unanimously.  In regard to his report on the University Personnel Committee, Franz Roehmann emphasized that there had been considerable discussion about the rights of faculty in the case of program discontinuance.

 

Bob Fink, our ombudsperson, gave a brief report.  He has had 18 consultations since the last meeting.   Among the issues were the possibility of ECO passes, health insurance and other benefits, parking privileges, office space and e-mail.  He had several consultations with faculty who are simply considering retirement.  Concerning parking, newly retired faculty will continue to be offered parking but it might not be in the popular Euclid lot.

 

Stuart Schneck, a member of UBAB (University Benefits Advisory Board), gave a report on two issues that have arisen on the national level.

 First, on April 22, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC) approved a rule allowing employers to reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they become eligible for Medicare at age 65. This rule creates an explicit exemption to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.   There is at present no indication that any university, including C.U., is contemplating changes allowed by this new rule but, with university finances getting tighter all the time, we need to be vigilant. 

The second item he discussed was the Medicare Drug Discount Cards that will become effective on June 1.  So far there are 36 national cards and 35 regional cards.  The cards are probably  a good deal for individuals with low incomes and who have at present no other prescription coverage, but for other Medicare beneficiaries it will take some research to determine which if any card will save money for the user. Different cards offer discounts on different drugs and different pharmacies accept different cards.  Much information can be gotten off the website:  www.medicare.gov .  If one types in the appropriate information  it will help determine which cards offer the best discounts on specific medicines.  A free guide book is available on the website and can be mailed in reply to a call to 1-800-Medicare. Members should  beware of fraudulent solicitations via telemarketing or door-to-door solicitors who ask for Social Security and checking account numbers because the cards are not allowed to be marketed by these methods.

 

President Kisslinger reminded the group about the possibility of forming discussion groups and other special shared interest groups.  Johann Stoyva has been very successful in running such a group and others interested in organizing one should contact Johann to get advice.

 

The next topic was the RFA Graduate Student Awards.  This year, 2003-2004, we made awards to the Health Sciences Center and UC Denver.  The HSC divides their award in two and we’ll hear from those two awardees, who are on the agenda for later in the meeting.  The C.U. Denver awardee will be invited to speak at our October meeting. For the next year, 2004-2005, there will be awards to UC Boulder  and UC Colorado Springs.  The next action is continued accumulation of the endowment fund that we are attempting to create.  We are grateful to Eric Doepel from the C.U. Foundation who was so helpful in getting out the solicitation letters this past winter.  Responsibility for the future management of our account has been assigned to Allison Tait, of the Stewardship Office of the C.U. Foundation. She was then introduced to the meeting and gave a presentation.  She informed the members that  between 9/1/2003 and 1/31/2004  $8,200 was raised in a preliminary solicitation for the endowment.  $3855  more was raised from February to the present in the second solicitation.  In addition, there are pledges of $1100.  She explained that this program is now under the “Stewardship Office” because it is a system-wide fund and because the RFA effort is considering endowment planning.  The minimum required for an endowment is $25,000 (and she warned that this figure may be increased in the future) and a period of five years is allowed in which to reach this minimum.  A $25,000 endowment would yield an annual distribution of about $1200 at current investment return rates,  and similarly a $50,000 endowment would yield $2400 annually. President Kisslinger pointed out that having the permanent endowment means not having to take money from the treasury each year to pay the awards.  Although a five-year period was mentioned, we have set a goal to raise the money by the end of next year.  We will need some very substantial gifts. 

 

President Kisslinger reported that the Executive Board approved two resolutions regarding transportation issues that were sent to Paul Tabolt. We endorsed the Eco-pass plan and we made recommendations regarding modifications of the parking proposals prepared by the administration.  We pointed out that in deciding where retirees may park at no cost they must keep in mind the lessened mobility of some of our retired colleagues.  The plan put forward is to assign free parking in certain lots other than the Euclid Avenue structure and to charge half price at the Euclid lot for retirees with permits issued after this plan goes into effect.

 

Pres. Kisslinger then reported on the Committee on Faculty Retirement Options, of which he became a member last August. Anne Costain chaired the committee.  The committee met regularly on the Denver campus, and wound up its business in March.  They prepared a set of proposals that has gone through the faculty council and the president’s executive committee and now has been forwarded to President Hoffman. The approved list will provide the chancellor of each campus a menu of acceptable options, from which those that best fit the needs of each campus may be selected.  There is a possibility that some RFA members could be employed part- time by the ombuds or faculty affairs office on each of the campuses as advisors to talk about retirement.  Also the association could produce a guidebook on retirement that would take into account the newly adopted incentives and provisions..  There are three categories of benefits that are proposed, as constrained by university and Colorado policies and statutes.  Some are possible under present policies; some require changes in administrative policy or laws of the Regents.,  and some require government approval as required of fiscal rules for the State of Colorado.  Oliver Ellsworth emphasized that the Faculty Council enthusiastically received the report.

 

We next heard reports from the two graduate student awardees from UCHSC.  Pres. Kisslinger explained that we awarded $1000 to the Health Sciences Center, which organized a competitive poster session to select the two awardees.

The first speaker was Gregory Bird, a fifth-year graduate student,  who works in David Bentley’s lab, in the Molecular Biology Program.  He completed his undergraduate work at CU Boulder in 1995.  The title of his talk was “The Role of RNA Polymerase II in pre-mRNA Metabolism”. 

            The second speaker was  Jeffrey Colbert, who works in David Riches’ laboratory in the Immunology Program.  He did his undergraduate work at Kansas State University. The title of his talk was The Role of Endocytosis of the Tumor Necrosis Factor 1.”

 

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 AM.  It was followed by a short “punch and conversation” break outside room 235, while the UMC staff prepared the room for the buffet luncheon, which began about 12:15PM.  The  luncheon program was given by Professor Marianne (Mimi) Wesson, School of Law, UC-Boulder. The title of her most entertaining talk  was “State of Mind:  A 19th Century Legal Thriller.”

 

Respectfully submitted, Richard Roth, Secretary.