The Journal

Old debates and new senators at Campus Senate

Image from UIS Athletics Website from Sept. 1, 2016

Image from UIS Athletics Website from Sept. 1, 2016

Image from UIS Athletics Website from Sept. 1, 2016


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The Campus Senate revitalized old debates at the Friday meeting as they discussed how to approach the various concerns of non-tenure track (NTT) faculty members, as well as the presence of Chick-fil-A on the UIS campus.

NTT concerns were addressed in resolutions 46-16 and 46-20, while the topic of Chick-fil-A was brought up by resolution 46-21.

The senate first discussed resolution 46-16 at their last meeting on April 7. The resolution, drafted by Deborah Anthony, associate professor of legal studies, called for stricter policies regarding the review processes for NTT faculty.

During the previous meeting, senators from the Computer Science Department voiced dissent over the resolution. The general concern was that stricter policies would place undue burden on departments with a large number of NTT faculty, such as the Computer Science Department.

This time around, Anthony provided the results of a survey conducted by the survey research office (SRO). On the surface, the results indicate a general support from NTT faculty for the proposed measures.

However, the director of the SRO explained that “You shouldn’t generalize any kind of consensus from this survey.”

As Sherine Antoun, associate professor of computer science, pointed out, the survey sample size was only 19 people, meaning that survey was not statistically valid.

The senate voted to send the resolution to the Personnel Policy Committee for further discussion and postponed an official vote until next semester.
Resolution 46-20 also applied to NTT faculty. The resolution called for an official pre-promotion review process for NTT faculty and was supported by the senate.

John Laubersheimer, clinical assistant professor for library instructional services, approved of the measure and even inquired about the possibility of allowing the review to be implemented at a college level.

Near the end of the meeting, the senate approached resolution 46-21, which dealt with UIS Athletics’ relationship with a local franchise of Chick-Fil-A.
The senate’s Committee on Diversity, Equal Rights, Opportunity, and Access (ROAD) wrote the resolution, calling for the termination of the relationship because “Chick-fil-A has a history of anti-LGBT activism and advocacy.”

While no one from the ROAD committee attended last Friday’s meeting, Jim Sarra, director of athletics, spoke on behalf of the relationship.

“Not one person in our athletics staff – and I’ll make that campus-wide, which includes all of our coaches, staff, and student-athletes – has expressed any consternation with our agreement with Chick-fil-A,” Sarra told the senate. “And just so you understand: we do not provide signage … the only thing we do for them is provide them a platform.”

That platform, Sarra went on to explain, is the act of throwing chicken sandwiches into the crowd during games. According to student-athlete Destiny Ramsey, this brings people to games, which she supports.

Speaking as an audience member, Kristi Barnwell, associate professor of history, said, “I agree that … if a company changes their stance under those circumstances, we can be more open-minded to that possibility. But the more important thing for the UIS community is whether or not faculty and students are going to feel alienated by Chick-fil-A’s presence on campus.”

Without ROAD present to argue their side, the senate postponed further discussion and an official vote to next semester.

All other resolutions from the day were passed, including the development of a master’s program in athletic training, the elimination of a biology master’s program due to lack of interest, and updates to the Information Security Policy of UIS.

The official meeting adjourned around 11:30 a.m. The rest of the scheduled time was used to introduce new senators and committee appointments for the fall 2017 semester.

The next senate meeting will take place on Friday, May 5 in PAC G at 10 a.m.

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Old debates and new senators at Campus Senate