Some members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee are seriously considering leaving University Council, representatives said yesterday. "The probability is that the faculty will withdraw [from Council]," said City Planning Professor Anthony Tomazinis. Tomazinis and Faculty Senate Past Chairperson Almarin Phillips said SEC would be least likely to remain on Council in its present form. They sit on a three-member SEC subcommittee headed by Phillips which has been examining the structure and function of Council. Phillips added that his subcommittee's report will include "constructive" suggestions for Council reform and said that ultimately SEC "might continue to participate." But other SEC members have mixed feelings about whether SEC should withdraw from Council. Faculty Senate Chairperson-elect David Hildebrand said last week he has still not decided where he stands. "[My position reminds me of] a sign in [Deputy Provost] Dick Clellend's office -- 'the answer is maybe and that's final,' " Hildebrand said. "That's where I am on Council right now." Some SEC members have criticized the atmosphere at Council meetings, saying that many student members are only interested in furthering their own agendas, while others have suggested the problems lie with the large size of the body. Hildebrand said he finds Council meetings "frustrating." "Nothing works," Tomazinis said. "[It's the] administrators dueling with two or three students -- that's not a University Council." Hildebrand added he does not blame Council members, although the structure causes a lot of the problems. Phillips said the SEC subcommittee will "recommend significant changes" to the existing Council by-laws. He would not specify which by-laws the committee would suggest changing in its plan, which will be presented to SEC next week. "As I perceive it, it's time that something be done," he said. Two years ago, Council members attempted to reform the format of the body's meetings by creating the role of moderator, a job that had been previously assumed by President Sheldon Hackney. Most Council members said they agree the atmosphere at Council has improved since the addition of an independent moderator. But SEC members disagree over whether the situation has improved enough to make Council an effective advisory body. "[Council members] have been better behaved in the past two years," Phillips said. He added he is unsure whether to attribute the improvement to the moderator or to changes in what Council discusses and the consituencies' representatives. Finance Professor Emeritus Jean Crockett said she hopes SEC members remain in Council because the changes made in Council have "greatly improved, if not solved" any problems in the body. While students leaders do not take the faculty members' threat of Council withdrawal very seriously since they discuss it annually, student Council members said yesterday they hope faculty members will not desert the body. Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Mitchell Winston, who in the past has urged SEC members to remain on Council, said yesterday the format has improved the meetings and he is willing to discuss possible structural changes with SEC members. "I don't think they'll leave this forum," Winston said. But he added that he can understand faculty members' complaints because "no one gains from a waste of time." Graduate student activist Elizabeth Hunt said she is angered by SEC's "remarkably childish" threats. "Students are using University Council to its fullest advantage," Hunt said. "[If we have to,[ we will continue the forum as best we can without them. The faculty should quit [threatening to] take their toys and go home."Comments powered by Disqus
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