The Shield

Senate considers more ‘closed sessions’

Faculty Senate aims to be more 'relevant'

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Faculty Senate is considering delegating discussion time to separate “executive sessions” rather than in the public meetings.

At Faculty Senate’s meeting Feb. 19, senate chair Rex Strange said there’s been conversation about how long Faculty Senate takes to make decisions.

“Last year, we had a lot of conversations about making Faculty Senate more relevant,” he said. “It takes us about a month to turn anything around.”

Strange brought up the idea of having weekly meetings for one hour rather than biweekly meetings for two, but he said that suggestion is not binding to this semester.

Representative Chad Milewicz said he’s seen bodies like the Faculty Senate create subcommittees rather than fully discuss meetings during general assembly.

“There are working groups, so when you come in the meeting, the discussion would already be hammered out a lot,” he said. “Then they would come up with a specific statement for the Senate to approve or not.”

The working committee would come up with a concise proposal and have time on the agenda to discuss with the entire senate. The creation of working committees would then reduce the time needed out of public meetings.

Representative Jason Fertig said these committee meetings would follow Robert’s Rules of Order, which most governing bodies like the senate adhere to.

“It would be a closed session with just us, not public,” he said. “Granted, we don’t want to close too much to the public, but we can have our executive sessions for hashing it out so that when we come to the table, everything’s set.”

Strange said if committees are to be formed, each should have a representative from each of the four colleges, as well as an at-large member.

“Looking at it, it seems good, but I think we’d lose some of the discussion and opinions of everybody if you limit it to a subcommittee,” representative Mary Arvin said. “I kind of like when everybody gets to weigh in.”

Strange said with a subcommittee process, the discussion would not be fully taken away from the entire senate, but the presentation would be more organized.

“It would be more focused,” he said. “There would not be any formal vote until we have the full (senate) discussion.”

Strange said senator Peggy Shields has seen Faculty Senate have a similar process in the past.

“There’s nothing in the bylaws that forbids faculty senators from discussing issues outside of Faculty Senate,” Strange said. “Informally, no one voted on (approving the committees), but it seems to be consensus that it actually might move things along.”

The discussion in the meeting ended abruptly with no formal vote. Strange said he expects the topic to come up again at future meetings.

 

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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
Senate considers more ‘closed sessions’