President William Branch opened the Nov. 26 University Senate
meeting by introducing Richard Ward, professor emeritus of psychiatry,
who will serve as Senate and Faculty Council representative for
the Emeritus College.
The first order of business was a report from Jim Grimsley, who
along with Bruce Knauft has been working on a Faculty Council project
to examine how faculty can channel student emotion of international
crises—such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a possible
U.S. war with Iraq—into constructive discourse rather than
Grimsley said he and Knauft plan to organize a series of lunches
in February with various student leaders to gauge their opinions
on what kinds of events and programs would be helpful. Grimsley
introduced Gordon Newby, executive director of the Institute for
Comparative and International Studies, who talked about similar
events that already have taken place.
Newby also reported that a limited number of students, “unaffiliated
members of the Emory community” and even faculty allegedly
have criticized members of the Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies
(MESAS) department, sometimes defacing doors, sending anonymous
notes and e-mails, and even urging students to boycott certain MESAS
Newby said the problem has been brought under control and the individuals
in question have been told their actions were inappropriate, but
the news sparked discussion in the Senate about whether the actions
constituted conduct violations; whether the faculty members who
allegedly participated should be held more strictly accountable
than any students; and whether even attempting to discourage certain
acts limits free speech and academic freedom.
Senior Vice President and Campus Life Dean John Ford said some faculty
are interested in training a select group of students to facilitate
discussion on issues such as these. Newby said many recent events
designed to educate the community about relevant issues (such as
the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict and the nature of Islam)
tended to draw small audiences of the same people, and sponsors
of such events face the problem of how to increase attendance.
Next on the agenda was Kim Loudermilk from the provost’s office,
who briefed the Senate on the ongoing re-accreditation process with
the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Work on
SACS accreditation—which must be renewed every 10 years—has
been under way for almost two years, Loudermilk said, and a team
from the provost’s office has nearly completed the University’s
self-evaluation report in preparation for a visit by SACS officials
Once it is completed, the self-evaluation report will be available
online through the provost’s office website, Loudermilk said.
The ongoing Research at Emory project also is tied to the SACS accreditation,
as another facet of the process this time (it changes with each
re-accreditation) asks schools to prepare a comprehensive strategic
plan on a topic of their choosing.
The last SACS accreditation for Emory, which took place in 1993,
imposed significantly on faculty members’ time, she added,
but this year’s iteration should be more pleasant; nearly
all of the required administrative work and data-gathering has been
done by staff in the provost’s office.
Concluding the meeting were remarks from President Bill Chace, who
recently announced his plans to retire from the presidency. Chace
clarified that he will remain in office until his successor actually
is installed; ideally, Chace said, this would happen by Labor Day
2003, but he stressed that he will stay on the job as long as it
Frank Vandall moved that the Senate pass a resolution of gratitude
and congratulations for Chace, and the motion passed unanimously.
The next Senate meeting will be held Jan. 28, 2003, at 3:15 p.m.
in the Woodruff Library’s Jones Room.
you have a question or concern for University Senate,e-mail President
William Branch at email@example.com.