Open Grad School meetings

The administration is closing what should be an open and deliberative process.

Despite a call for transparency and criticisms from faculty and students about a lack of consultation in making a decision to dismantle the Graduate School, the committee that will ultimately restructure the school held its first meeting on Friday behind closed doors. The 18-member implementation team will meet every Friday behind closed doors to develop recommendations that include issues like finding redundancies, opportunities for cost savings and evaluating how many employees will be needed. It is good that the committee is encouraged to consult with faculty, staff and students before submitting recommendations to Senior Vice Provost Tom Sullivan. There will be opportunity for public comment after the planâÄôs submission on April 17. However, the teamâÄôs meetings or any of its subcommittee meetings should be at least open to students and faculty of the University of Minnesota âÄî the very people these changes will impact. It is even more troubling that the committee was asked to maintain confidentiality regarding the meetingsâÄô proceedings. We understand that it is technically lawful for the University to hold such advisory committee meetings behind closed doors, but that doesnâÄôt bode well for an administration that has already taken much criticism for making a strong-arm decision to dismantle the current structure. Students and faculty need to be informed on how the recommendations are reached by this team, and the only way to fully achieve that is through an open process. Any worries about overcrowding could be addressed by video-recording the meetings. We call on the administration to open the meetings to University students, faculty and staff. But if the administration remains opaque and obstinate, we encourage students, faculty and staff to visit the second floor of Morrill Hall on Friday to voice concerns about an important yet paradoxically closed process.