Board of Trustees > Meeting Archives > April 15, 2002 Minutes

The Florida State University Board of Trustees Meeting
Conference Call
April 15, 2002
4:00 PM

MINUTES


Members Present: Bloch, Duda, Ford, Furlow, Garcia, Haggard, Hinkle, Knowles, Marshall, McGee, Pletch, Thrasher, Uhlfelder

Members Excused:


Chairman Thrasher convened the meeting of The Florida State University Board of Trustees at 4:00 p.m., on April 15, 2002. The Chair noted that the original meeting agenda had been modified to reflect the recent action of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. The Chair indicated that the Board would first discuss the agenda item relating to the medical school, then return to the order listed on the meeting agenda.

President D'Alemberte noted that Dr. Harry Jonas, former secretary of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and a current consultant to Florida State University, and Dr. Joe Scherger , Dean of the College of Medicine, were participating in the call. Richard Doran, Deputy Attorney General, and Patricia A. Conners, Bureau Chief, Antitrust Section, Office of the Attorney General were participating in the call from Westcott.

The Chair recognized President D'Alemberte for comments. President D'Alemberte indicated that the Medical Education Database was submitted in September 2001 and that the medical school received a site visit in December 2001. On February 8, 2002, the President received notification from the LCME that the medical school would not receive provisional accreditation based on six areas of noncompliance. The university filed paperwork to appeal the LCME decision.

The President remarked that Provost Abele, Dean Scherger, Dr. Myra Hurt, Dr. Ocie Harris, and the medical students did a wonderful job on the appeal. On April 8, 2002, the LCME sent notification that the appeal had been denied based on the following factors: (1) curricular management and (2) sufficiency of faculty.

In response to a letter from Ms. Patricia Conners, Bureau Chief, Antitrust Bureau in the Office of the Attorney General, the university prepared an analysis regarding the decision of the LCME to not grant the FSU College of Medicine the accreditation requested. The university submitted the analysis of the two points raised by the LCME to the Office of the Attorney General on April 11, 2002. The President indicated that, contrary to the LCME finding, there was clear evidence on the two points raised by the LCME. President D'Alemberte indicated that the accreditation was a "time critical" matter, particularly since the LCME decision impacted student financial aid and the recruitment of faculty for the second year of the curriculum.

The President told the Board that he had worked with Dr. Harry Jonas to craft a proposed expedited process and that the letter to the LCME, dated April 15, 2002, was actually sent electronically on April 14.

Dean Scherger reported that, in conversations with Dr. Frank Simon regarding a proposed visit by the LCME Secretariats, Dr. Simon indicated there was no procedure in place to resolve the issue by June 2002. The LCME is to meet via conference call on Thursday to discuss the issue of accreditation for the FSU College of Medicine.

President D'Alemberte indicated that a delay is unreasonable. He noted that the university met 180 standards and were denied by the LCME on the basis of two standards. The President indicated that the evidence was overwhelming on these 2 points. Dr. Harry Jonas questioned the timing proposed by Dr. Simon and indicated that the timing did not make sense since no visits were scheduled after May and that the LCME had two secretaries and two assistant secretaries who could share the workload.

The Chair indicated that an October resubmission was unacceptable since a six month delay puts the university in jeopardy. Dr. Jonas commented on the letter drafted by President D'Alemberte to Dr. Frank Simon which makes a suggestion for proposed actions by the LCME. He indicated that the LCME could authorize a secretariat visit by the two principal LCME secretaries to assess the degrees of compliance with the two standards cited in the letter dated April 8, 2002, and then the secretary could write a report and submit it to the LCME at the June meeting. He indicated that in the university's second review the medical school would show progression.

The Chair recognized Mr. Richard Doran, Deputy Attorney General, for his comments. Mr. Doran commented that the Attorney General was very concerned about the accreditation status since the Attorney General understood that the Florida Legislature created the FSU College of Medicine with a specific directive that the medical school serve underserved areas of the state population. In addition, the Attorney General is also concerned about the impact on student financial aid and that federal grants may be denied to the institution.

The Chair recognized Trustee Haggard for comments. Trustee Haggard indicated that the medical school could not wait six months for another review. Trustee Haggard asked how the LCME could be approached. President D'Alemberte responded that either administrative agencies or the courts could get involved in the issue. The President indicated that the United States Department of Education could review the accrediting organization.

The Chair recognized Trustee Jessie Furlow for comments. Dr. Furlow asked about the composition of the LCME site visit team. The Dean indicated that the team is decided by the Secretariat of the LCME and that the composition might change somewhat. Dr. Jonas indicated that Dr. Simon mentioned that the LCME was planning to meet by phone to discuss an alternative proposal.

The Chair recognized Trustee Marshall who asked what the reaction from Dr. Simon was to the letter dated April 15, 2002. President D'Alemberte indicated that there was no reaction to the letter, but Dr. Simon had indicated to Dean Scherger that the item cannot get on the agenda by June.

Trustee Uhlfelder questioned how the legal costs for the LCME are paid. President D'Alemberte indicated that the two sponsors, the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges, share the budget. Trustee Uhlfelder asked how this accreditation and accreditation process differs from other accrediting bodies. Provost Abele responded that he was familiar with 35 or so accrediting organizations. The major difference in his option was that the same group that conducted the original review of the medical school also reviewed the appeal.

The Chair recognized Trustee Knowles for his comments. Trustee Knowles asked what the university loses by suing the LCME and whether legal action impacts the discussions with the accrediting organization. President D'Alemberte indicated that the university began drafting litigation following the hearing in Chicago on April 3, 2002, when it became clear to him that the LCME was not going to grant the appeal. President D'Alemberte indicated that the university was exploring the possibility of a lawsuit and hiring outside legal counsel.

Trustee Duda expressed her concern that the Medical Education Database was not carefully reviewed by the LCME.

The Chair noted that this meeting would not be the last meeting to discuss the medical school. The Chair indicated that he was interested in giving the president broad authority to analyze available options.

The Chair recognized Trustee Ford for a question. Trustee Ford asked about the press coverage of the issue. The Chair indicated that most major papers were covering the story, including the Chronicle of Higher Education, and that reporters were in attendance at the conference call.

The Chair recognized Trustee Garcia for comments. Trustee Garcia asked if the LCME had an underlying agenda. The Chair noted that there were 182 standards and that 2 were found by the LCME to be deficient. The Chair also indicated that there were some opposed to action of the Florida Legislature in the creation of the medical school at Florida State University.

The Chair recognized Trustee Uhlfelder. Trustee Uhlfelder questioned the impact of the accreditation decision on the students, particularly their financial standing. Trustee Hinkle indicated that the recruitment of new students might be problematic. President D'Alemberte indicated that the university had set up an emergency fund for students.

Trustee Marshall suggested that litigation might slow the medical school's progress and he hoped that the university could litigate and, at the same time, pursue other options.

The Chair recognized Trustee Hinkle for a motion. Trustee Hinkle moved that the President in coordination with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, be empowered to take any steps regarding accreditation of the medical school, including litigation, that he deems necessary to protect the interests of the medical school, its students, its faculty, and the university. Trustee Pletch seconded the motion.

Trustee Uhlfelder suggested an amendment to incorporate Mr. Doran's comments relating to the protection of the public's interest. The motion, as amended, was, "The President, in coordination with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, be empowered to take any steps regarding accreditation of the medical school, including litigation, that he deems necessary to protect the interests of the medical school, its students, its faculty, the university, and the citizens of Florida." Trustee Pletch seconded the amended motion. The Florida State University Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the motion, as amended.

The Chair requested that the President keep the trustees advised on the issue and whether another meeting of the Board might be necessary to discuss the issue. Trustee Uhlfelder asked whether the Board should make a statement relating to the support of students. President D'Alemberte indicated that the university had been working with the students and, at an appropriate time, Dr. Myra Hurt could review the university's actions in this regard.

The Chair thanked Dr. Jonas and the Attorney General's staff for their assistance with this issue. The Chair asked that Mr. Doran and Ms. Conners thank the Attorney General for his concern and assistance. Dean Scherger thanked the Board members for their assistance.

The Chair indicated the Board would return to their regular agenda. The Chair recognized President D'Alemberte for his comments. President D'Alemberte reported that the university revised its budget reduction submission to reflect a reduction to the Panama City campus of $28,522 instead of the original reduction of $165,401. President D'Alemberte indicated that the revisions were consistent with the actions of the Board, but that he wanted to advise the Board that the budget reduction distribution in the academic affairs area had been shifted to comply with legislative intent and a memorandum from Dr. Carl Blackwell, Interim Chancellor.

President D'Alemberte remarked that the Postsecondary Education Funding Advisory Council had a meeting on April 5, 2002, and was scheduled to meet again on April 19, 2002. The Provost indicated that he served on the Accountability Advisory Council and a strategic imperative workgroup and that these groups were also having regular meetings. President D'Alemberte indicated that Mr. Lee Hamilton had been hired as the new men's basketball coach and that the Ca d'Zan was scheduled to reopen on April 27 after seven years of significant renovations. He reported that the Students Against Sweatshops have set up tents on Landis Green.

The Chair recognized Trustee Hinkle for a legislative update. Trustee Hinkle briefed the members on the status of the budget, school code rewrite, and reapportionment. She commented that the budget and school code rewrite were still pending legislative action. Trustee Hinkle indicated that Senator Durell Peaden sent a letter to his Senate colleagues indicating that they should continue to support the FSU College of Medicine. The Chair indicated that they were working with House members to obtain the same support as outlined in Senator Peaden's letter.

The Chair indicated that the next meeting on campus is scheduled for May 9 - 10. On the first day, committee meetings will be held and the full Board would meet the second day. The Chair indicated that the graduation ceremonies were scheduled for April 26 and 27 and that he encouraged Board members to attend if their schedule permits. President D'Alemberte reported that the speaker for commencement is Dr. Michael Ruse, the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at FSU, and that Mr. Mel Martinez is the speaker for the law school ceremony.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 5:30 p.m.

Approved by The Florida State University Board of Trustees on May 10, 2002: