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12/10/20 UIUC Policy Committee Summary

    Present: Hadi Esfahani, Richard Laugesen, Walter McMahon, David O’Brien, Robert Parker, Bruce Rosenstock, Daniel Steward, Leslie Struble, H. F. Williamson.

    The meeting began at about 12:32 p.m. with O’Brien presiding.

    1. Review of the Minutes for November 12, 2020 Meeting of Policy Committee. The minutes were approved.
    2. President’s Report
      1. Letter of Support. O’Brien has written a letter of support to the upper administration on behalf of a faculty member who is the subject of ongoing sexual harassment by a former student. He was concerned that the campus administration was not able to provide support other than consultation with the Title IX Office.
      2. Governance Report. O’Brien reported that we have agreed to revise the report removing negative references to specific departments. This will be discussed further later in the meeting.
      3. Statute Revisions. O’Brien, Kar, and Laugesen consulted with Shawn Gilmore, Chair of the University Statutes and Senate Procedures Committee, and Connie Sailor, Administrative Aide to the University Senates Conference, in an effort to determine how USC resolutions calling for statutory changes had been handled by the President’s office in general and with regard to presenting them to the Board of Trustees in particular. There was concern over the procedures being used and whether they followed the process described in the Statutes (Article XIII, Section 8). We agreed to follow up on these concerns perhaps by meeting with UIUC members of the Committee on University Senates Conference and by indicating to the President and Vice President that we are willing to help make sure that the procedures described in the Statues are followed.
    3. Schedule for Spring Fall Policy Committee Meetings. O’Brien noted that the Policy Committee would meet at 12:30 p.m. during the spring semester on the following dates.
      • January 28 (fourth Thursday; instruction begins Jan. 25; King Holiday is Jan. 18)
      • February 18 (third Thursday)
      • March 11 (second Thursday)
      • April 8 (second Thursday)
      • May 6 (first Thursday, this is Reading Day)
    4. AAUP/Provost’s Report on Shared Governance. There was a lengthy discussion of the next steps we planned to take with regard to circulating the report. One concern was how the results could be used to help departments improve their governance. This could include pointing out how model departments work as a guide for others. It could include providing in the cover letter a list of recommendations and the need to follow established procedures carefully. Some of the other comments were that we hoped that interested faculty in units needing improvement could use the results of the report to implement changes and the report would increase the general knowledge of faculty about shared governance. It was noted that it might help the Faculty Advisory Committee work more effectively if they had access to the report. We also hoped that this action would be repeated in the future so that comparisons could be made on how well shared governance was working. The discussion will continue at our next meetings as we plan for the Annual Meeting at which this will be the topic.
    5. Planned Activities for Chapter
      1. Promotion and Tenure Workshop: Planning is well underway for the Workshop which will be held on April 1, 2021.
      2. Composition of Policy Committee. O’Brien presented two individuals as candidates for the Policy Committee who, if approved, will be invited to the next meeting of the Policy Committee. They were both approved.
      3. Meetings with Administrators. It was agreed that the first individuals we should invite would be Provost Cangellaris and Vice Provost Bernhard along with anyone else they suggest should join them. Rosenstock suggested with regard to Title VI and Title IX Academic Freedom issues, we invite Nizam Arain, Associate Vice Chancellor for Access and Equity, to a meeting in the spring.
      4. Planning for Annual Meeting. We have agreed that the topic of the meeting will be the Governance Report. We agreed that the date would be May 11, 2021, the Tuesday of final examination week. We assume that one speaker will be Vice Provost Bernhard.
    6. Discussion Topics
      1. Report on National Biennial Convention, November 22, 2020. Steward and Williamson reported briefly on what occurred at the meeting.
      2. Concerns over Zoom Censorship of Academic Events. There was a brief discussion of this issue. It was suggested that O’Brien write to the administration asking about the conditions of the contract between the University of Illinois and Zoom.
      3. FOIAs and Letter Written for Promotion and Tenure. It was suggested that the next steps be to ask our administration about the effect on our campus and find out if the rules in Illinois differ from those used in Texas to gain access to letters written in support of tenure and promotion at Texas A&M. University.
    7. Adjournment. The meeting adjourned at about 1:02 p.m. As noted above, the next meeting will be at 12:30 p.m. on January 28, 2021