In an effort to…

Sam Black

In an effort to get their stance on tenure on the record before the Board of Regents’ October meeting, both the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and the Graduate School’s student assembly, the Council of Graduate Students, passed a resolution Monday that supports the Faculty Senate’s tenure proposal.
GAPSA narrowly endorsed the resolution by a 6-5 vote. The resolution was passed by COGS earlier in the evening by a simple majority. Both organizations plan to take the resolution to the University community as a joint statement from COGS and GAPSA.
The resolution urges the regents to adopt the changes to the tenure code proposed by the Faculty Senate, primarily because it was created in consultation with graduate students.
“The spirit of the resolution is that since COGS was involved in the Faculty Senate proposal, it should be endorsed,” said Tom Foster, the council’s president. “We would’ve liked to be involved in the regents’ proposal and we should have been involved.”
The resolution was meant to address what some see as a violation of the University community’s trust, according to GAPSA President Bruce Bomberek.
Assembly member Mary Indritz urged the group to pass the resolution because, “COGS worked with the Faculty Senate’s tenure committee,” she said. “And ultimately grad students, academic freedom and tenure all go together.”
There was also direct opposition to the regents’ proposal. Assembly member Sean Ohms Winnie said, “No one I’ve talked to before tonight’s meeting has found anything thoughtful and worthwhile in the regents’ tenure proposal.”
Bomberek said after the meeting that he also has problems with the regents’ proposal. “If the academic freedom of faculty is not protected, then it definitely isn’t protected for grad students,” he said.
Professor Russell Hobbie spoke to the group about the current tenure situation. Hobbie criticized the regents for creating their proposal without student representation.
Some members expressed concern that if the resolution passed they would be taking a stance on tenure without hearing the regents’ side of the issue.
Blessing Rugara, the GAPSA representative to the regents, requested that the group consider the board’s Sept. 5 tenure proposal. The proposal, which caused an uproar from the faculty, probably wasn’t the regents’ final proposal, he said.
“In a University community,” Rugara said, “Any idea is a good idea until it is proven to be a bad idea.”
He argued that the regents’ proposal was stopped while it was still a working document, and suggested the assembly should wait to proceed until they have all of the details.