Faculty Senate debates resolution to promote shared governance

Updated: Jan. 12, 2020 at 11:37 p.m.

The Faculty Senate debated a resolution Friday affirming the body’s commitment to the principle of shared governance in administrative decision-making.

The resolution as amended calls out the administration’s process for approving and implementing University President Thomas LeBlanc’s plan to reduce undergraduate enrollment by 20 percent while increasing the ratio of STEM majors to 30 percent as “inconsistent” with established principles of shared governance. The resolution’s sponsors said the purpose of the resolution is to ensure officials do not omit faculty from key decisions moving forward.

“We want to be clear – this resolution is not just about the past,” said Sen. Guillermo Orti, a professor of biology and sponsor of the resolution. “It is also about the present and the future.”

The resolution as introduced originally included stronger language that stated that the action administrators and trustees took “violates” the principle of shared governance, but senators overwhelmingly passed an amendment to change the wording to recognize that LeBlanc and other officials have provided information about the next strategic plan to faculty in the past few months.

Sen. Raj Rao, the chair of the orthopedic surgery department in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said the use of the word “violates” may have implied that the resolution’s sponsors would like the administration to restart the planning process with faculty input because faculty were not fully included in the process the first time around.

“We accept that this happened in the past,” Rao said. “It didn’t really happen the right way, but we don’t want this to happen going forward.”

Faculty senators referred the resolution to a special committee to evaluate the resolution’s whereas clauses after about four hours of debate.

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