U-C Senate approves admissions resolution
September 14, 2009
The Urbana-Champaign Senate voted in favor of resolution SC.10.01B Monday, which called for the removal of President B. Joseph White and Chancellor Richard Herman.
A vote on the resolution was postponed at the previous senate meeting Aug. 31. A draft constructed Sunday night did not mention President White or Chancellor Herman. However, a more specific amendment calling for a combination of “continuity and stability” as well as “the need for a timely transition in both positions” was added during a closed Executive Session.
The senate voted 98-55 in favor of the resolution once the group reconvened.
“There was clearly a lot of deliberation, and it certainly sends a strong statement,” said Brad Tran, student body president and senate member. “I’m glad we’ve reached a consensus.”
The meeting began with statements by Senate Executive Committee chair Joyce Tolliver.
“We wouldn’t have asked for this (meeting) had we not considered it very important. It goes without saying that we want what is best for the University, and we believe that passing this resolution is what is best for us right now,” Tolliver said.
She said the board committed to further meetings with faculty and senate members on a regular basis in the future after a meeting with University Board of Trustees Chairman Chris Kennedy last week.
“We hope that our recommendation will be taken into account,” Tolliver said. “This is a fantastic opportunity that we’ve been working towards for years.”
The senate also heard comments from White and Herman.
“I am an independent person and not in anyone’s army,” White said. “I would not support bad policy, and I protected the University’s autonomy. That was my job and I did it.”
U-C Senate and faculty member Tom Overbye questioned the president’s involvement in questionable admissions processes.
“Admissions is not a science, and it’s predictive exercise that has a lot of uncertainty about it,” White said. “Admits are never a problem, but there’s a third bucket into which many decisions fall.”
With regards to his connection to the current state of the admissions issues, White said he takes some responsibility, but distanced himself from direct involvement.
“Yes, I’m president and I have overall responsibility for what happens in the University,” he said. “But I made the distinction last time between overall responsibility and distinct responsibility.”
Herman asked the senate to consider continuing his involvement as a University administrator.
“I make a humble request: give me an opportunity to remain in our arena,” Herman said. “Let me be given the opportunity to continue in our cause.”
Faculty member Paul Diehl, professor of political science, spoke during public comment. He said that although many faculty members sympathize with pressures administrators face, many are reluctantly supporting the resolution because of the long list of unethical actions.
“Certain transgressions don’t just tip the scale, they make it come crashing down,” Diehl said.
The Board of Trustees will meet Nov. 12 in Springfield and will discuss the senate’s resolution.