Faculty Senate: Power plant not consistent with university’s core values


image (1)Nicolette Tuono/THE REVIEW
Monday’s Faculty Senate meeting included the presentation of the Jon Olson Faculty Senate Exemplary Service Award to Professor Steven E. Hastings.

Faculty Senate approved a resolution last night that opposes the proposal to build a 279MW natural gas-fired power plant and data center on STAR Campus, with 43 senators agreeing that a power plant is not consistent with the university’s core values.

No senators voted against the resolution, although eight senators abstained from voting.

Michael Chajes, former dean of the College of Engineering, drafted the substitution opposing the power plant and spoke to those in attendance about the importance of approving it.

“I believe that this issue is really at the heart and soul of this university,” Chajes said. “It speaks to our core values.”

The resolution states the “enormous amounts of carbon dioxide” that would be emitted from the power plant is inconsistent with universities Path to Prominence, as well as the Climate Action Plan, two initiatives spearheaded by President Patrick Harker.

The power plant will generate about 16 times the amount of carbon dioxide currently produced.

“We made a commitment to the initiative of the planet,” Chajes said. “We made a commitment to being a good neighbor with Newark and the local citizens. And I believe, regardless of how this Data Center comes out and the power plant that is built, I think that it’s inconsistent with the things that we stand for.”

The substitution also brought forth the issue of air pollution, noise pollution and reduced property value that Newark residents have voiced concerns over.

The approved resolution concluded that Faculty Senate recommends that the Data Center LLC (TDC) project not be constructed on campus if it includes the accompanying natural gas-fired power plant.

Other notable resolutions were also approved during the meeting, such as the permanent approval of a B.A. in Public Policy, a B.S. in Neuroscience, a B.S. in Food Sciences, a B.S. in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Biosciences, a B.S. in Animal and Food Sciences, a B.A. in Environmental Sciences and an M.S. degree in Entrepreneurship and Design.

The Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management was approved a name change to Hospitality Industry Studies, as well as the Honors Degree in Wildlife Conservation to the Honors Degree in Wildlife Ecology. They also changed the name of the Conservation and the Honors Degree in Entomology to the Honors Degree in Insect Ecology and Conservation.

Deni Galileo, the Faculty Senate President, also took the time to present the 2013 Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching Awards to the five winners, each of whom will receive $5,000 and a brick inscribed with his or her name in Mentor’s Circle across from Memorial Hall.

Jon Olson, the first President of the Faculty Senate, took to the podium to speak to the audience before Galileo presented the Jon Olson Faculty Senate Exemplary Service Award to Steven Hastings, an Applied Economics and Statistics professor.

“He was the first president of the Faculty Senate 44 years ago and essentially served in every capacity known to the senate,” Galileo said in his introduction of Olson.

Galileo presented Olson with a plaque commemorating the previous passing of the resolution to change the name of the award to include his name.

“I thought that serving the senate committee structure was an important part of bettering the university,” Olson said. “And it was one that I enjoyed thoroughly.”

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    Carol Robbins 5 years

    A great big thank you for the faculty members who showed an amazing display of conscience searching. In my 65 years, I have NEVER seen anything as controversial as this project, with the exception of the Vietnam War. You do not go behind people’s backs and hide information that could affect the rest of their lives and expect them to sit back and take it. The UDE has really caused a great deal of harm with it’s relationship with the Newark community, and I hope that President Harker and the Board of Trustees take heed with what their faculty and the Newark community has to say.

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    Barbara Morris 5 years

    I want to thank the senate for its courage in speaking the truth. You make us all proud to be a part of the faculty.

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