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Minutes Faculty Senate Meeting



Meeting was called to order by John Williamson at 7:05.

August minutes were approved by a show of hands.

At the outset of the meeting the chair raised the issue of how and whether the Faculty Senate should respond to the allegations of racial intolerance leveled at a campus fraternity. A discussion ensued that considered whether the process in place involving sending the issue to judicial council should preclude a response by faculty senate. During this initial discussion, there was some concern in the Senate as to whether it was necessary for the Senate to take a position in addition to the sanctions imposed by judicial council. At the same time there was also concern that the continuing problem of racism on campus needed to be addressed. The question of fast-tracking the Diversity Sensitivity Course to be implemented as part of the QEP came up.

In order to continue with the business on the meeting's agenda, Williamson cut off the discussion and suggested that it be brought up during New Business.

As the revision of the Senate Constitution was next on the agenda, Williamson asked Jay Watson to present the revised plan devised by the Governance Committee. Watson, discussing a draft that had been circulated before the meeting to the entire Senate, presented the major revisions in the new Constitution including:

  • Departments will elect Senators.
  • Senators and Officers will serve one year (with a 4 consecutive term limit).
  • Meeting time will be the second Tuesday of the month.
  • As the Provost's office will be taking over these functions, all references to the Elections Committee and the Committee on Standing Committees have been eliminated from the Constitution.
  • For each standard deviation above the mean in a department's number of tenure track faculty, that department will receive an additional Senator. Each department will have a minimum of one Senator.

Discussion of the revision noted the following:

  • While the elections process by department may simplify Senate processes, the LIBA system (where different departments are aggregated to ensure some broad representation across departments) will still be active for University Standing Committees.
  • It may be better for the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate to be notified about Standing Committee appointments earlier in the year, in March rather than April.

The constitution, with the change of notification date, was adopted unanimously by the Senate.

Williamson thanked Watson and the Governance Committee for their good work, and turned to the next item of business -- crafting a response to recommendations of the IHL's Textbook Task-Force. Williamson asked Chris Mullen to report on the Academic Support Committee's proposed response to this issue, as the IHL has asked for a response from the UM faculty Senate by November, 2007.

Mullen began by offering a summary presentation of the findings of the Task-force, and this was followed by a discussion of the issue by Shad White.

During the discussion that followed, Senators expressed general sympathy with the problem while having some concerns about the specifics proposed by the IHL's Task-force. Of several proposed actions contained in the report, the Senate supported two:

  • A sunshine law that would require clear labeling of text-book pricing.
  • A law requiring publishers to disclose the changes being made in new editions of textbooks.

At the conclusion of the discussion, the Senate referred the task of crafting a response back to the Academic Support Committee. Williamson thanked Mullen for his good work and the good work of his committee and turned to New Business.

The first item on New Business involved a Wine and Cheese gathering for the Senate. Williamson indicated that he was interested in organizing a get together through e-mail.

The next item involved continuing the discussion of intolerance on campus sparked by the recent incident involving Delta Kappa Epsilon. After some discussion of how to respond, there was a motion (passed by a large majority) to continue the meeting past its scheduled end-time in order to complete the discussion. After further discussion, Williamson charged an ad-hoc group of members led by Jeff Jackson to craft a resolution addressing this issue. Williamson indicated that he would be interested in circulating and voting on a resolution through e-mail in order for the Senate to have a timely response to the issue.

After a vote to end the meeting, the meeting closed at 9:20 .