SLAC Users Organization Executive Committee


Minutes of the November 24, 1997 Meeting of the Users Executive Committee

 

Present: G.Bonneaud, L.Cominsky, C.Damerell, R.de Sangro, J.Fry, C.Hearty, S.Hertzbach, R.Jacobsen, T.Mattison, N.Roe, T.Schalk, S.Willocq; R.Dufresne and P.A.Moore.

AGENDA

     
  1. Approval of minutes
  2. Reports from Sub-committees
  3. Report on SPC Meeting
  4. Physics Classes
  5. International Affairs and Housing
  6. Nomination of new EPAC members
  7. Discussion of Annual Meeting
  8. Lunch with Directorate
  9. SLUO Office Report
  10. Future Meetings

1. Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting on September 8, 1997, were approved as distributed.

2. Reports from Sub-committees

Space

Stephane Willocq reported that the space survey being undertaken by Jerry Jobe is just about finished. The space at SLAC is being entered into a database. The results and future space allocations will be decided by a committee reporting to the director and headed by Jobe, on which Willocq will be the SLUO representative. He requests input from any SLUO member who is interested in this issue - G. Bonneaud and J. Fry have agreed to survey European users to get their input, S. Hertzbach and T. Schalk will give input from US users. Among the issues needed to be resolved are: Should space be organized by experiment or by institution? What is the chain of command for resolving space problems? What is the optimal distribution of open vs. closed offices? The consensus of the committee seemed to be that space should be organized by experiment, and that the lab should allocate space to the experiments, the spokesperson should then allocate space to the institutions and the PI of that institution then allocates space to the individual scientists. The PI should also be responsible for informing the spokesperson as to the FTE expected to be resident at SLAC vs. time, for the next 2-3 years.

Computing

R. de Sangro brought up the issue of a lack of public terminal access at SLAC. This will be discussed with SCS. It was noted that the Training facility at SCS is available when not in use for training, and that this facility was heavily used during the recent BABAR collaboration meeting.

Insurance

L. Cominsky reported that the Stanford policies on sexual harassment, violence in the workplace, drug abuse, etc. were mailed by R. Dufresne to all SLAC users in accordance with the risk management strategy endorsed by SLUO. The medical insurance information is overdue, and copies of the car rental policy authored by R. Fuendeling were distributed at the meeting. It was requested that the car rental insurance information be included in the medical insurance memo. It was also requested that a contact person for insurance information be added to the SLUO home page, and it was suggested that Ruth Nelson would be the appropriate person, as her office has all the medical insurance forms. It was also noted that neither of the two test institutions has yet signed the SLAC Use agreement.

Travel

C. Damerell reported that he understood that the SLAC overhead rate on travel had been lowered to 15% from 42%. Hearty asked about the possibility of a special airlines deal for SLAC for travel from the East Coast or Europe, but this does not appear possible due to the small volume of business that SLAC generates.

Home Page

T. Mattison reported that he has generated a web page form for the SLUO information sheet, but it is not yet in use as it needs to be connected to the Oracle data base. R. Dufresne will check into this.

3. Report on SPC Meeting

Hertzbach reported on his presentation to the SPC at their recent visit to SLAC. Issues he discussed included: housing, visa issues, the Use agreement, the SLUO Office staffing, space and the need for public terminals.

4. Physics Classes

Bob Siemann has offered to give an 8-week course on accelerator physics during February and March, and to augment the basic course by arranging special lectures on the SLAC machines. This offer was gratefully accepted by the SLUO Executive Committee, and Bob will be contacted to schedule the course.

5. International Affairs and Housing

Ruth Nelson presented considerable information regarding the complications in travel for international visitors to SLAC, including those which have resulted from recent changes in immigration policies. Of particular consequence to some SLAC visitors are the new rules regarding automatic bars to future entry if visas are overstayed, and restrictions on J-1 visa holders: this visa is now limited to three years, and the holder must then leave the US for 1 year before being able to reapply for the J-1. Her presentation was very long and complex; copies of her handout are available through the SLUO office for anyone who is interested. The important points are that at least 30 days notice is needed by the housing office in order to find accommodations for visitors and their families. The rental market around SLAC is extremely tight and expensive - even more so than in the past - and this will have a serious impact on visitors, if they do not give enough notice to the Housing office. They have housing forms for visitors, which should be filled out as soon as the scientists know their planned dates of residence. During the August-September timeframe, visitors will have to compete with returning students for housing, and things will be even worse. It will be especially difficult to find housing for those with little money, no car, pets or who smoke. The International affairs staff can also help with visa issues, determinations and rules, as well as in providing forms for applying for medical insurance. A request was made to look into the possibility of Stanford dorm use during the July-September time period. Nelson also thanked SLUO for their support which has resulted in increased staffing in the housing office.

6. Nomination of new EPAC members

Dr. Richter has requested that SLUO nominate at least 3 individuals who are experimental particle physicists to serve on the EPAC (Experimental Program Advisory Committee). A brief discussion of some candidates was held, and mini-biographies will be prepared by the nominating Executive Committee members for future consideration and subsequent forwarding to Dr. Richter.

7. Discussion of Annual Meeting

The last annual meeting, held in conjunction with a Babar collaboration meeting, was judged to be very successful. We are interested in repeating this success with this year's meeting, and suggest a date of July 15, 1998. The change in format away from group reports to future directions was also lauded. A sub-committee was assigned to work on the agenda, with ideas to be presented at the next Executive Committee meeting in January. Terry Schalk and John Fry are the members of the sub-committee.

8. Lunch with Directorate

The lunch meeting was held with Drs. Richter, Leith and Williams in attendance. Also present for lunch and then a more extended discussion was Richard Mount from SCS. The following is a brief summary of the topics discussed and the resulting SLUO actions.

Space

Dr. Richter wants a SLUO member to sit on this SLAC committee. SLUO appointed S. Willocq to fill this role. He will gather input from the other SLUO members, as discussed above in the sub-committee report. A related issue brought up by Mount - SLAC is out of phone lines! A phone survey is underway to determine whether or not to purchase additional, but costly capability. Users are urged to report unused phone lines to SCS.

Housing

The issue of SLAC renting space in Stanford dorms during the summer months was discussed. It was pointed out by Dr. Richter that it is rather late to make such arrangements for the summer of 1998, because of the large number of summer camps which use the dorms. He suggested that SLAC users should be surveyed to find out if there is a demand for this type of accommodation, and SLAC would investigate the availability of space for 1998. If SLAC contracts for this type of space, it must be used, or there is a future penalty from Stanford in terms of priority ranking. N. Roe, chair of the housing sub-committee, agreed to discuss the prices and types of facilities with Lilian De Porcel, who runs the SLAC summer institute, and to then survey the users to find out if there is a demand for dorm space this summer and for the summer of 1999. It is already late to investigate space for the summer of 1998, and requests for dorms for summer 1999 will be due soon. The Executive Committee recommends that if dorm housing is available and desired by members, that the SLAC Housing office is the appropriate place to coordinate and schedule these requests.

Overhead rates

SLUO asked the Directorate to summarize the rate changes that are in effect or are soon planned. Leith indicated that the rate changes have already happened, that the travel overhead has been lowered to 15% from 42%, and that there is now only a 10% procurement overhead. He suggested that we get a copy of the memo which describes these changes from Mimi, as soon as it is available.

Miscellaneous Issues

Dr. Richter approved the 7/15 meeting date for the SLUO Annual meeting, but suggested that someone check with Betty Jane to be sure. He would like the EPAC nominees by no later than 1/31/98, and would prefer them by 12/31/97. After the meeting, SLUO was also asked for nominees for HEPAP by 12/8/97. At the ``All-hands" meeting, Dr. Richter announced that 50-70 involuntary layoffs would be needed to balance the SLAC budget for next year. The process to identify these personnel is underway. The SLD is generating alot of Zs these days, breaking old records. If the current run, scheduled through May, 1998, continues to be successful, there may be a request for a future run. Babar is back on schedule, and PEP II is still on schedule. The NLC MOU is wending its way through MONBUSHO, and may be signed by January, 1998. Users were urged to become informed as to the status of Senate bill 1305, which asks for a doubling of the R&D; budget over the next few years. A memo will be sent out to SLUO members to inform them of the existence of this bill, which needs more sponsors in the Senate, and a companion bill in the House, if it is to be successful.

Computer issue

The following topics were discussed with Richard Mount, after the departure of the other members of the Directorate. Mount stated that he has reconstituted the CCC, which will have members from all parts of SLAC which use computers. He requested a representative from SLUO. As Terry Schalk is probably already on the committee, G. Bonneaud agreed to do this. The first meeting of this committee will be held in January. A brief discussion of the new Peoplesoft database was held. Mount apologized for the fact that the user information is not yet included in this database, and said it was one of his top priorities. The SLAC binlist function will soon use this new database. SLUO's request for some public terminals was presented. A plan was formulated that will investigate the use of space in the lobby of SCS, and T. Schalk agreed to loan 3-5 X-terminals to SCS for this purpose. It was agreed that the primary function of these terminals would be for checking e-mail or www information. They are not intended to be used for lengthy projects, and time limits will be applied if there are people waiting. A discussion about DHCP issues and policies was also held.

9. SLUO Office Report

R. Dufresne reported that the SLAC archivist has requested copies of all SLUO papers, including agendae and minutes of annual and committee meetings, and any other sponsored events. The new Peoplesoft database is on line but the users are not yet in the system, which has thus far concentrated on getting SLAC employees paid on time. She is planning to meet with SCS to get the user information into this database, and will have to maintain 3 databases until all the bugs are worked out in the transition process: binlist, the old user database, and Peoplesoft. A recent mailing on Stanford policies was sent to all users (see above under Insurance sub-committee report). This included information on visa policies, which was sent to all international users and to all PIs (in case they have international staff). There appears to be no help in sight to alleviate the SLUO office workload, due to the recently announced layoffs at SLAC which are needed to balance the budget. There is no backup person in the SLUO office that can perform the needed functions when Dufresne is not there. It was suggested that perhaps backup support, and help with specific projects, such as the request from the archivist, can be found within existing SLAC staff. A serious issue has arisen with unauthorized access to the Internet from SLAC computers - it is against SLAC policy for users to download or otherwise display material that is not for official use in the workplace. This specifically includes material that may be deemed offensive in nature. The users are to be reminded that SLAC computer access is monitored in order to enforce this policy.

10. Future Meetings

The next meeting of the SLUO Executive Committee will be held on Friday, January 16, 1998. Also scheduled are meetings on Monday March 16, 1998 and a tentative meeting on Monday May 18, 1998.

Minutes submitted by L. Cominsky Secretary/Treasurer Users Executive Committee


Stéphane Willocq