MANAGING NEWS EDITOR
Moments before Interim Provost Robin Morgan delivered her usual opening remarks to the Faculty Senate yesterday afternoon, an email dropped into the inbox of university community members, providing an update on the creation of a multicultural center — a subject of debate throughout the fall semester, following a public hearing and student demands that the university better accommodate underrepresented students.
At the meeting, Morgan elaborated on plans for the center, urging the university community to continue offering feedback.
“We are asking for comments on or before April 6,” Morgan said. “We encourage you to look at the report and respond… So that we can take the next steps in deciding what we’re going to do about our multicultural center.”
The email provides a link to the university’s report on the multicultural center, detailing last semester’s developments as well as several steps moving forward, recommending the center’s creation and reiterating support for “the broad diversity of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual identity, physical ability and viewpoints present in our world.” The report is available at this link.
Morgan also provided updates on the university’s Graduate College, which will involve the addition of an eighth college to the university, overseeing all graduate programs. In November, the university announced that the college will be formally named the Stuart M. and Suzanne B. Grant Graduate College, following a $10 million donation from the Grant family to fund the college. Stuart Grant is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees.
The Grant’s gift agreement stipulates that the college be created in 2019, and a recent resolution drafted by a “graduate working group” and the Graduate Studies Committee of the Faculty Senate, in addition to the last year’s committee members, states that the college will be created on or before Jan. 1, 2019.
The resolution also delineates the specific benefits that the graduate college will bring and university needs that it will fulfill. Morgan said that the resolution will reach the Senate floor for voting in April, and also discussed a business plan for the college that is currently being developed, which will be shared with the Graduate Studies Senate Committee upon completion.
Morgan addressed nationwide walkouts that will be taking place on March 14, in which high school and college students plan to walk out of class to support gun reform. The university is allowing professors to decide individually if they will penalize students for leaving class, and released a statement last week noting that current high schoolers applying to the university will not be held accountable for any disciplinary action that their high schools take against them.
Regarding enrollment for the 2018-2019 academic year, Morgan said that the university has sent offers of admission to nearly 15,700 students, with intentions to send up to 17,000. The university hopes to enroll 4,235 first-year students for next year, marking a slight decrease from last year’s record-breaking freshman class of 4,306.
Morgan briefly talked about recent controversy surrounding the university’s non-discrimination policy, which, following its implementation in the fall semester, was rescinded for faculty due to lack of Faculty Senate approval, which is required for such an amendment. A public town hall was held last week, providing an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to discuss the policy.
Kevin Peterson, a voting member in the Senate and the executive vice president of the Student Government Association, followed with a comment citing student grievances surrounding the university’s advertisement of last week’s town hall.
“The town hall was not very well-advertised,” Peterson said. “What I would suggest is better advertisement from both the Faculty Senate and the administration.”
The meeting concluded with the passage of several resolutions, including the addition of a PhD program in the Department of Communications and a new undergraduate honors degree in applied molecular biology and biotechnology.