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9/8/22 UIUC Policy Committee Summary

    Present: Richard Laugesen, Walter McMahon, David O’Brien, Robert Parker, Dana Rabin, Bruce Rosenstock, Daniel Steward, H. F. Williamson.

    The meeting began at about 12:35 p.m. with Parker presiding.

    1. Introductions. Introductions were not needed.
    2. Review of the Minutes for May 5, 2022 Meeting of Policy Committee. The minutes were approved.
    3. President’s Report. Parker reviewed his September 5, 2022 report to the Committee. He and Vice President Richard Laugesen attended the August 16 orientation for new faculty. They took down the names and addresses of seven or eight people interested in the Chapter. We plan to keep in touch with interested faculty and hope to interest them in joining the Chapter. This could be a critical part of our plans to meet the need to grow the chapter.
    4. Schedule for Fall Policy Committee Meetings: Parker noted that the remaining fall meetings will be at 12:30 p.m. on the following dates:
      • Thursday, October 6 (1st Thursday);
      • Thursday, November 10 (2nd Thursday)
      • Thursday, December 8 (2nd Thursday); Reading Day is also December 8
      • We assume for now that they will be held electronically.
    5. Review of Annual Chapter Meeting and Program on May 10, 2022. Parker reviewed the key aspects of the presentation by Matt Finkin concerning University policies about departmental statements on key issues. Finkin felt that this was the most important academic freedom issue facing campuses today.
    6. Senate Resolutions. Rosenstock reported that this issue will be presented to the Senate soon. One resolution will be from the Committee on Academic Freedom (CAFT) that will represent the position of Matt Finkin. It would place prohibitions on such statements not only by departments but also by any other University entity including the President. There will be a second resolution from the General University Policy Committee (GUP) representing the viewpoint that departments should be discouraged from making such statements, but if they do so, they should make clear the process that was used and that it is a not a position of the University as a whole. Rosenstock was asked to send the relevant links to these documents to the members of the Policy Committee.

    Action Items

    1. Discussion of Continuing Chapter Committees for 2022-2023. This was discussed at the recent meeting of the Chapter’s Executive Committee (the three current officers and the immediate Past President). We decided to continue with an Academic Freedom Committee which can handle issues brought to the President that he feels would be appropriate for the Committee to address. The committee members are Carol Tilley and David O’Brien.
    2. Review of Policy Issues
      1. Addressing the Current Crisis in Attacks on Universities. Parker feels that it would be appropriate to have some programming this year related to this issue. O’Brien noted that given the importance of this issue, we should consider bringing in a speaker who can engage people and alert them to how serious this is. Rosenstock suggested Michael Berube as a possible speaker.
      2. Rising Cost of Education. McMahon suggested that we consider a set of related topics regarding the rising cost of education, increasing student debt, and the cutbacks in state support for public institutions. Thus, latter are becoming privatized with many students being excluded from the system. He notes that King Alexander would be a possible speaker on this topic.
      3. Discussion of whether the chapter should address campus COVID policies. Parker shared two statements concerning this issue from other campus organizations and noted his concerns about the policies adopted this fall. It is an issue of shared governance. The importance of making a statement was stressed. Parker agreed to draft a statement for review and share with Rosenstock first for review.
      4. Developing New Leadership and Membership.
        1. Parker noted that we had an active membership campaign last year including attending the meeting for new faculty and holding two open houses. The results were minimal. We need new members and new leaders. Options we might pursue include having representatives attend department meetings to make an appeal.
        2. Rosenstock expressed his concern that our reluctance to take strong stands on issues that come before us makes us less effective in attracting new members. This concern was discussed at length particularly with regard to proposals before the Senate concerning department statements. Laugesen indicated he would support the idea of calling an extra Policy Committee meeting to discuss this issue before the Senate votes on it.
        3. McMahon noted that the high level of dues for new members is another factor in making it difficult to attract new members. We have waived the Chapter dues on hold for the last two years. Parker indicated a desire to establish an affiliate Chapter membership to offer a “low-cost” membership. Given the complications involved, it is an issue that will be discussed at a future meeting.
      5. University’s Proposed New Policy on Sexual Misconduct. Parker presented the draft of a response that he has prepared concerning the new University Policy on Sexual Misconduct. He noted that it could be from him representing the Policy Committee or from the Committee itself. It was agreed that Parker could submit the statement as framed with a copy to the Policy Committee.
    3. Adjournment. There being no reports, the meeting adjourned at about 2:00 p.m. As noted above, the next meeting of the fall semester will be 12:30 p.m. on October 7, 2022.