Trustee candidate misrepresents Senate

By Nicholas C. Burbules

As we all know, political campaigns tend to bring out inflated rhetoric and distortions by candidates of all political persuasions. The election on campus for student trustee is apparently no exception.

Mr. Paul Schmitt, in his statement of qualifications in this newspaper, makes a number of claims about the “deranged faculty senate,” and specifically about the recent debate over Homecoming floats and the Chief, which are factually inaccurate and need to be corrected.

First of all, ours is not a faculty senate, but a senate that includes student members as well. Whether terms like “deranged” are appropriate for someone to use who is campaigning to represent the campus on the Board of Trustees is for the students on this campus to decide.

Second, the senate did not approve the Homecoming resolution. It was debated – as such matters should be – with opinions on all sides, and put on hold. The sponsoring committee of the resolution has since decided to withdraw it. You might say that the process “worked.”

Third, Mr. Schmitt seems to believe that his comments at the meeting were the decisive factor in blocking the resolution, and I can understand why he would want to take credit for that. We were happy to welcome Mr. Schmitt as a guest to the senate meeting, and his comments were substantive and clearly expressed. But many others, including several students, contributed to these deliberations as well – Mr. Schmitt was far from a lone voice in opposing the resolution. The senate process, with faculty and student members working together, was shown at its very best.

It is not for me to interfere in a student election, but when candidates misrepresent the senate and its deliberations I feel obligated to say so.

Nicholas C. Burbules

Chair, UIUC Senate Executive Committee