Partisan fund alarms UC Senate

By Michael Logli

The Urbana-Champaign Senate discussed the effects of the Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund, referred to as “the fund” throughout its meeting Monday afternoon. According to the Associated Press, the fund aims to encourage and finance conservative studies on campus.

A. Belden Fields, professor of political science and senator, presented a resolution at the meeting by aiming to officially maintain powers some members of the senate feel are in jeopardy as a result of the fund. Though the resolution was ultimately tabled, the discussion occupied much of the senate session.

The Senate Executive Committee created an ad hoc advisory committee several weeks ago that would help regulate the uses of the fund. This committee will only last a year and a permanent committee can be created at any time.

The fund, which was launched on Thursday, has already raised $2 million for use.

There is extensive debate over the level of control the fund will have on University matters. Fields accused the fund of plans to involve itself in the hiring of professors and creating or eliminating curriculum that does not fit its ideology. Fields referred to changes of curriculum at Harvard University due to the fund’s influence as an example.

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    “They think they can buy the curriculum,” Fields said, adding the fund is acting as a hegemony.

    Fields proposed a resolution with three main points at the meeting because he felt that the current measures to regulate the fund were not enough. His resolution called for a change in the fund’s name to the Fund for the Study of the Relationship Between Government and Economy. He said this would help define its explicit purpose.

    The second point was intended to ensure that ideological changes would not be forced upon the curriculum or professors of the University. Fields’ last point would ensure there would be no bias when hiring new professors or distributing the fund’s assets. This would clearly define the Senate’s values and positions on subjects he feels the fund is trying to change.

    Chancellor Richard Herman responded by telling senators that though the fund can choose how it distributes money, all requests would have to go through the newly created committee and the senate. Herman explained that all decisions about curriculum and hiring of professors are decided by the senate and that this would not change.

    “These are the rules of shared governance and they shall always guide us,” Herman said.

    Voting on the resolution was postponed until the senate’s Nov. 1 meeting.