Restructuring changes up for Senate vote

The Urbana-Champaign Senate is scheduled to vote on a statement regarding proposed administration changes at its final special meeting Monday. The senate’s executive committee approved a 13-page statement on the proposed restructuring, but Joyce Tolliver, chair of the committee, said they also prepared a shortened version “for reasons of efficiency.” The senate will vote on this shortened version.

The statement is the senate’s representation of the comments it has received from students, faculty and other members of the campus community, Tolliver said.

“We think that what we have there is a pretty accurate representation of the campus response,” she said.

“The senators now need to tell us if they accept that.”

The current statement would reject the proposals to add a vice president of Heath Affairs and change the titles of several administrators. It states the senate cannot accept the proposals due to a lack of details on funding and how they would diminish the independence of three campuses.

The three-page document also states the senate hopes “that raising these concerns will slow down the process of implementation and open up a further conversation about what we are trying to accomplish and how it can be achieved more effectively.”

Nicholas Burbules, member of the U-C Senate’s executive committee, said he personally believes the senate should consider just the full document to ensure the clarity of the senate’s position.

“I think if it considers the longer document, then there’s really no need to consider the short one,” Burbules said. “Personally, I have some concerns about sending forward two separate documents.”

Tolliver said she is open to a motion to approve the full document rather than just the “distilled version.”

If passed, the recommendation will then go to the University Senates Conference, which is comprised of elected officials from each of the three campus senates. Burbules, a member of the University Senates Conference, said it will take inputs from the three campus senates and try to consolidate them into one overall recommendation.

“I think that could be challenging, but I always believe it’s better when it’s possible to speak with a single voice,” Burbules said.

If they cannot consolidate the recommendations, the University Senates Conference will submit all three along with its own suggestions.

Both Tolliver and Burbules said they were impressed the senate is on track to vote Monday.

“I think it’s a remarkable accomplishment under the time constraints we are working under,” Burbules said. “I don’t think any of us thought it would be possible when we started.”

The campus senates were asked to evaluate the proposals quickly by Board of Trustees Chairman Chris Kennedy. At the Sep. 23 board meeting, Kennedy said he was “not comfortable” advertising vacant positions within the University leadership until their titles and responsibilities are settled. The U-C Senate was asked to submit its recommendation by Nov. 9 to the University Senates Conference, which then will forward suggestions to the Board of Trustees in time for the Nov. 18 meeting on the Chicago campus.

“I think we’re doing much better than I had anticipated that we could have done,” Tolliver said. “We pretty much put our lives on hold for the last few weeks in order to address the board’s request.”