Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Faculty Senate President's Report

Presented to the SCSU Faculty Senate on March 4, 2014
It’s been a busy month!
Since our February meeting, the SCSU Board of Trustees has met several times.  At each meeting, the topic of safety has come up. In short:
·                  The Police Chief reminded everyone of statistics that say crime on campus has been going down for three years ( )
·                  He explained the protocol that was followed after the January shooting, to the satisfaction of almost no one --“we are reviewing our procedures”;
·                  The current plan calls for the installment of a new generation of call boxes; timetable tba.
In February, I made a presentation to the AA Board Committee highlighting these issues:
·                     We need faculty;
·                     Faculty working conditions need enrichment;
·                     Students need scholarship money;
·                     Faculty want to ensure that the University structure is credible;
·                     Shared governance needs to be protected.
The board member, and especially those with an academic background, received this presentation very well.  In response to the last point, the President expanded the Provost Search committee to include a member of the FS Executive Committee, albeit not one of the names I had submitted.  I followed up, pointing out that the faculty body would be best served by having one of the three executives elected by the entire faculty, and/or a tenured one, a suggestion which was not acted upon.
On Feb 7, the entire Executive Committee met with the president.  At the top of the president’s agenda was the need to discuss belt tightening;--specifically, how can we save 500K from AA.  In my response (crafted with the XC), I said:
While the Faculty Senate is open to a discussion on the value of our programs…there are no quick savings to be had by closing programs. ..Eliminating one or two programs would not eliminate the need for faculty, while the loss of faculty certainly would hurt accreditation and enrollment. Short term, it is imperative that if there is to be immediate belt tightening, the administration show leadership by cutting their own support and even salaries…

This is not to say that we should not agree to evaluate our programs.   We have to.

For most of February, the Board has been mobilized trying to appeal for additional funding.  A legislative day in Columbia reported met with some success and some skepticism.  –I have forwarded to Senators a list of talking points from the Board of Trustees for faculty who want to contact their legislators.

The Handbook committee turned in its draft of the handbook. Ed Policies will consider it on March 6.  Dr. Luke has asked the Senate to consider it on March 18 in a Call meeting.

The Faculty Senate needs to update the FS Constitution, and decide if we want it to continue to be a part of the Faculty Handbook.

Lastly, USC-Upstate and the College of Charleston have recently had their appropriations cut by the House Ways and Means Committee for assigning LGBTQ books as part of their summer reading programs.  The College of Charleston has asked faculty representative bodies across the state to endorse a statement similar to the following

“The College of Charleston Faculty Senate unequivocally defends academic freedom as essential to higher education.  This freedom, and the occasional controversies it can generate, is fundamental to the pursuit of truth and knowledge in all disciplines.  Legislative efforts attempting to influence or limit curricular decisions at any institution are a threat to academic freedom at all academic institutions.”

Respectfully Submitted,

Thomas Cassidy
Professor, English and Modern Languages
SCSU Faculty Senate President, 2013-15
South Carolina State University

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