Faculty Senate divided how to handle establishing priorities


Rhonda Wheeler

Strupp gives presentation in front of Faculty Senate

Hayden Olberding, Digital Editor

The Faculty Senate was divided on how they can establish the priorities of university faculty in the case of future financial struggles. 

The Senate met Friday and discussed a new proposal to establish a committee that would create a list of priorities reflecting faculty and program wellbeing. 

The proposal generated opinions for and against it.

Faculty Senate Representative Peter Cashel-Cordo said it was a good idea to start discussing priorities to present to the Board of Trustees. 

Cashel-Cordo said faculty needs to look for diverse options to address cost cutting. He said if faculty waits for financial exigency, it will be too late. 

Financial exigency is a term used when a university cannot meet its contractual obligations and allows a university to cut costs in ways it usually wouldn’t, which may include firing faculty, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education

Faculty Senate Representative Kenny Purcell said with the news faculty made it through the slump, setting priorities can divide faculty.

Purcell also said collecting data via surveys is the right approach, but surveys about priorities could cause young faculty to have doubts about their future at the university. 

Faculty Senate Representative Bartell Berg said he is reluctant to take on a divisive process. 

He said the proposal was a reaction to financial exigency, something the university won’t discuss until the next year at least. 

Faculty Senate Representative Jamie Seitz said the survey can be used to help cost cutting. She said surveys can find other ways to cut costs, like the recent cut in travel expenses.

“Where do you see fat?” Seitz asked. 

Seitz said surveys can find expenses like excess licenses and be cut to save costs.

Faculty Representative Charles Conway said he would be comfortable with the survey if the  Senate is careful and thoughtful when asking for priorities.

Conway said no program or faculty cuts should be made until the university has gone through all other measures of cutting costs.

The  Senate accepted the proposal, with two representatives voting against it and one choosing not to vote for or against.