SenEx-University Senate Executive Committee 11/03/15
(This meeting may be electronically recorded.)
- Approval of minutes from October 20, 2015
- Standing Reports
- University Senate President Mike Williams
- Faculty Senate President Tom Beisecker
- Student Senate President Zach George
- Staff President Chris Wallace
- Update from Weapons Committee.
- Discussion of COFSP Faculty/Staff Gun Survey Funding
- Discussion of KBOR Weapons DRAFT
- Update on Provost Status – If Available
- Old Business
- New Business
Approved November 17, 2015
PRESENT: Tom Beisecker, Joe Harrington, Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, Shegufta Huma, Brent Lee, Chance Maginness, Amalia Monroe-Gulick, Liz Phillips, Peggy Robinson, Chris Wallace
ABSENT: Zach George (excused), Pam Keller (excused), Mike Williams (excused)
ALSO PRESENT: Maureen Altman and Kathy Reed, University Governance; Amy Smith, Policy Office; Sara Shepherd, LJ World
In Mike William’s absence, Tom Beisecker conducted the meeting. He called the meeting to order and asked for announcements
MINUTES for October 20, 2015 were approved.
University Senate President/SenEx Chair
No report. Mike Williams was unable to attend the meeting due to illness
Faculty Senate President/FacEx Chair
Tom Beisecker informed SenEx of items that will be discussed at the next FacEx meeting on November 10. The FRPR comments on the administration’s September 1 version of the Faculty Code which have been emailed to FacEx; 2) the Student Senate’s online course evaluation proposal; 3) continued discussion of online course evaluation procedures which were presented at the October 27 FacEx meeting.
Student Senate President
In Zach George’s absence Chance Maginness gave the report. The gender neutral language bill passed with the added encouragement that future senates continue to use gender neutral language. The bill to create a student fee to help finance the new Burge Union was also passed. The student weapons survey has been vetted and will be distributed Thursday.
Staff Senate President
Chris Wallace reported that the Staff Senate website is up and live. They also now have a Facebook page. As chair of the Parking Commission, Wallace reported that the commission discussed SenEx’s parking questions. He also added that the October 27 Parking Forum had been poorly attended.
In answer to Chance Maginness’s question as to whether there is anything governance could do to encourage people to attend parking forums, Wallace said he didn’t really see how attendance could be increased. Peggy Robinson said that some people feel their input is meaningless.
Maginness said he had heard that his charge for the Athletic Committee had been omitted and, since Wallace is on the committee, Maginness asked if this was the case. Committee member Brent Lee told him that it had just been reworded; Amy Smith, also on the committee, added assurance that it was still a charge.
Update from the Ad Hoc Weapons Committee
Reporting for Mike Williams, chair of the committee, Beisecker said that the committee discussed the questions, what is considered a weapon and what is considered a threat. They also reviewed the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) Weapons Policy draft. He added that Williams would be attending the KBOR meeting where the policy will be discussed.
Discussion of KBOR Faculty/Staff Gun Survey Funding
Chris Wallace said Staff Senate had been approached to help fund the Faculty/Staff survey and asked if funding would be available. Beisecker said that whatever is necessary will be funded.
Discussion of KBOR Weapons DRAFT
Answering Ron Barrett-Gonzalez’s question, Beisecker said that the draft is open for circulation. He informed SenEx that the draft will also be discussed at the next University Senate meeting this Thursday, and at the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents (COFSP) meeting in November. In the ensuing discussions several issues and questions were raised.
- Storage, in addition to what is already provided by Public Safety
- Open carry (Beisecker said COFSP had been told that open carry in buildings and greenspaces on campus was not allowed)
- Non-life-threatening issues, such as potential students and faculty not wanting to come to a school that has weapons
- What are the tests of conditions for a building to be designated exempt.
The committee asked that Williams and Beisecker look into clarification of two points in particular: 1.) Disproportionate threat, how some buildings with special circumstances can be exempted. 2.) What the specific rules of open carry are. Beisecker encouraged SenEx to send him any additional questions and comments.
Update on Provost Status
The Provost will leave in January to assume his new position as Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. Sara Rosen will be Interim Provost for anywhere from six to eighteen months, depending on when a new Provost is found.
Amalia Monroe-Gulick asked Beisecker if he had asked Dr. Rosen to clarify her question about Rosen’s statement that all international students would come through KUAAP. Beisecker said that he would ask Rosen at their meeting tomorrow.
Ron Barrett-Gonzalez distributed two handouts (attached), one explaining his proposal for an Office of Student Advocacy, as well as the rules and regulations of the Ombuds Office (for reference only). In his rationale for the proposed office, he expressed concerns that students are not being adequately represented in hearings and that the Ombuds Office doesn’t provide sufficient representation. Using an academic misconduct hearing which he had chaired as an example, he said that, with one exception, none of the adjudicators were knowledgeable of the pertinent rules. He felt the university needs an office of student advocacy with one to two “knowers of rules” in order to avoid miscarriages of justice which he feels occur on a regular basis. Brent Lee said that as someone who has used the Ombuds Office, he felt that there is a large demand for an office like this. Chance Maginness questioned the Office of Advocacy being funded by student fees, noting that this proposal seems more specific than items Student Senate generally funds. Barrett-Gonzalez said he had suggested Student Senate pay for the office in order to preempt a denial by the university using cost as a reason, and added that if students are paying they can control the office, which would then be accountable to them. Maginness expressed concerns that funding something to check the power of the university may appear as a slight to the administration. Barrett-Gonzalez answered that the administration is essentially divorced from the adjudications since they are primarily between faculty and students. He added that the funding doesn’t necessarily have to come from student fees. Maginness also expressed concerns that this could create tension in faculty/student relations. Amy Smith noted that each school has its own procedures and staff members who handle academic misconduct. She pointed out that because individuals aren’t trained doesn’t necessarily mean a central unit, which is more removed, is needed. Smith didn’t disagree with Barrett-Gonzalez’ suggestion that University Senate look into the issue, but noted that this would be a large undertaking and that, as a more immediate step, individuals within units could be trained. Barrett-Gonzalez felt the process needed to be centralized with universal standards and sanctions. Beisecker suggested the proposal be remanded to Student Senate. Maginness said the Student Senate Executive Committee could discuss it; Shegufta Huma agreed that the committee could probably talk about how to approach the proposal at their next meeting.
ACTION: REMAND OFFICE OF STUDENT ADVOCACY PROPOSAL TO STUDENT SENATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TO REVIEW AND REPORT BACK AS SOON AS APPROPRIATE.
There was no further business. The meeting was adjourned at 3:54 p.m.