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Faculty Senate meeting votes on 10 resolutions, introduces Bystander Initiative

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Faculty Senate November 2015
Emily Moore/THE REVIEW
At Monday night’s Faculty Senate meeting, the Bring in the Bystander Initiative was announced. The program will help spread understanding about and mitigate the incidents of sexual misconduct on campus.


The rollout of a new initiative offered through the Office of Student Wellness and Health Promotion marked the beginning of Monday night’s Faculty Senate meeting.

The evening began with Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Matthew Kinservik describing the Bring in the Bystander Initiative, a new program looking for faculty facilitators to help promote and educate on the initiative’s objectives, he said.

The program, Kinservik said, is looking to emphasize a new, more collaborative means of understanding and mitigating sexual misconduct on campus. The program will emphasize the role of every student in observing instances of sexual misconduct and stopping them upon notice.

According to Kinservik, the program is centering on a community of responsibility, rather than solely focusing on the victim and the perpetrator involved in an incident. Beginning in the fall, workshops will be held that Kinservik hopes will engage at least 25 percent of the student population in its first year.

The addition of this program will bolster the existing services for sexual misconduct and assault victims. Already, a university hotline number is offered to victims of sexual violence, with Sexual Offense Support (S.O.S) advocates on the lines to offer support and information for patient concerns.

Among other issues discussed at the meeting were a bevy of resolutions regarding the names of specific undergraduate and master’s level degrees.

Senators from the Undergraduate Studies Committee sought to approve a resolution that would change the name of Human Services and Family Studies major to Human Services and Family Science. The approval passed with almost unanimous support.

Another resolution up for a vote was the addition of a new graduate degree. The new master’s of accounting practice would seek to help students on a path to becoming Certified Public Accountants. The program, which was approved by the Senate, will have a five-year probationary period in which student progress will be tracked in order to assess the effectiveness of the degree.

The last, and perhaps most contentious of the resolutions, was brought to the floor by Jeremy Firestone, representing the School of Marine Science and Policy.

The resolution he proposed would have moved 100 percent of the university’s electrical use toward renewable energies, including wind and solar power as well as investing in renewable energy credits.

While stating that both facilities and university officials supported his proposal, Firestone met opposition from members of the Senate during open discussion. Charles Boncelet, an electrical and computer engineering professor, expressed hesitation in moving forward with the resolution.

Boncelet warned that before the planned can be pushed forward, a fiscal review of the plan must be conducted by the Senate Budget Committee, to which Firestone said that the intricacies of the plan would need to need reviewed by an outside group.

Boncelet and others warned that the potential costs of switching to a renewable energy system would have to be siphoned from academic expenses. The possibility of reallocating crucial funding from other academic departments had members of the Senate exclaiming that the measure needed to be discussed further.

However, Suresh Sundaram, an assistant professor of business administration, noted that the guidelines of the proposal were merely suggestions, and that further investigation into a more robust renewable energy consumption would take place regardless.

“This proposal is only a recommendation to the administration, and we should all take note of that,” he said.

A motion to send the proposal to the budget committee was denied, as well as the original motion to push through this initiative through the Senate.

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