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April 27, 2001

Lost senate quorum delays conduct policy vote

by Linda Charles
During a hastily called meeting, the Faculty Senate executive board added a proposed faculty conduct policy to next week's senate agenda after the loss of a quorum stalled action on the policy during a special senate meeting April 24.

Senate president David Hopper had hoped to have the policy, which has been four years in the making, approved during the special meeting. The senate needs 50 percent of its 87-member body to declare a quorum, and for awhile 44 of the 50 attending the meeting were senators. But as the evening progressed, some senators left, making a vote impossible.

Following the meeting, Hopper called executive board members together and they agreed to add the policy to the already-full May 1 senate agenda. Hopper hopes to avoid carrying approval of the policy over to the fall.

Under the proposed policy, two routes would address a complaint: mediation and a formal complaint process.

Both the complainant and the accused must agree to the mediated process, and if mediation is unsuccessful, a complaint still may be filed through the formal process.

There are two avenues under the formal process: a faculty review board for cases where minor sanctions are possible, and a major sanction committee. Both bodies would be drawn from a pool of faculty nominated by the senate president and confirmed by the provost. The faculty review board would report its findings to the provost; the major sanction committee to the university president.

Several, both senators and other faculty, made suggestions during the meeting, ranging from wordsmithing to major changes in the structure of the policy.

Virginia Allen, English, asked that the policy not be approved until it was combined with the appeals process. Senate president-elect Christine Pope, history, suggested that the complainant, accused and senate each nominate members for the board or committee, rather than drawing them from an already established pool.

Senator Dan Ashlock, mathematics, had moved that the proposed policy be subject to a full faculty vote when the lack of quorum was discovered.

The proposed faculty conduct policy may be downloaded from the documents section of the Faculty Senate Web site at:

The senate will continue discussion of the policy Tuesday, May 1. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in 260 Scheman. Meeting coverage will be available online May 3 from Today's News.

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