Welfare of Students Committee 2007-2008

Student Welfare and Morale Committee 2007 - 2008 Members

  • Connie Ulmer, Chair LRE
  • Wendy Winn ENG
  • Diane Mines ANT
  • Harold McKinney MUS

Student Welfare and Morale Committee 2007-2008 Annual Report

The Faculty Senate Committee on Welfare of Students responded to a number of concerns brought to our attention via the chair of the Senate, Martha Marking, that originated from the faculty of the university at the beginning of the academic year responsive to Chair Marking’s request for input, and issues shared from the Student Government Association. These matters covered:

A). The Issue of A Faculty Syllabi Online: A complaint from members of the Student Government Association (SGA) that all faculty should have syllabi online (in the fall) using a specific internet package.

Action: One committee member (Wendy Winn) was elected to follow up by meeting with SGA representatives to discuss the use of said technology. She reported the status and invited SGA members to attend the meeting for clarification about the nature of the request. After a short presentation by the SGA representatives (president and one other member) to the Faculty Senate, the senate deliberated and decided it was not a good idea at this time. The committee voted that no further action be taken.

B.). Faculty Senate Agenda and University Policy on Student Conduct:

SGA letter to Faculty and Staff (April 10, 2008)

There were two inputs that brought the arrest situation to the student welfare committee. Provost Acheshlman and the Faculty Senate Chair Marking addressed the student sit-in of the chancellor’s building on the agenda. The sit in was about the arrest of some students following the sit-in. The matter is in litigation.

Students from the SGA also publicized their concerns online to faculty and staff and contacted Marking directly about the incident. Students felt the students should not be penalized and the arrests should not be on their records since they felt the students should not have been arrested. The students requested that the senate support this action.

Action: (all conducted by Senate Chair Marking):

The chair invited the university lawyer in for clarity of the litigations pending that lead to the arrests of the students and what the university can and can not do under the law. As a result of a discussion by the senate with the invited lawyers and provost, the senate voted no in answer to the question of support requested by the students.

C.) Noose incident:

Although not specifically notified by the students this incident does concern the Student Welfare and Morale as well as the Faculty Welfare and Morale. The students (SGA) wrote an article of concern in the Appalachian Scene following the incident in question. As a result the incident was brought to the Faculty Senate agenda by one of the faculty senate members in the department where the incident took place.

Action: Dr. Tracey Wright was one of the invited speakers on the agenda along with the provost. She was charged with the task of updating the faculty senate of a campus wide survey completed by faculty, staff, and students (a task force) about diversity issues on the campus. Apparently this was a two-year study. She was at the Faculty Senate to disseminate her findings.

The provost discussed the university’s standing on the noose incident. Concluding Tracey’s report the issue of “sensitivity” came up. It was suggested that faculty be more sensitive of diversity. That is when Faculty Senate members started questioning how this was accomplished and what it means for freedom to teach, and what do we do when the rights of the faculty and students collide? (See senate notes for specifics). With the discussion tabled, there was no action taken.

D.) Committee members attended various meetings:

Dr. Constance Ulmer –attended Chancellor’s Advisory Committee meeting March
Dr. Constance Ulmer- attended Counseling for Faculty and Staff (7 meetings) Stand in for faculty senator absentee (Dr. Peggy Werts).
Dr. Constance Ulmer- Meetings with student representative
Dr. Wendy Winn- attended Chancellor’s Advisory Committee meeting March and April 21st.
Wendy was asked to take notes for both meetings.
Dr. Diane Mines- attended Chancellor’s Advisory Committee meeting April 21st

E. Online meetings.

Most of these meetings were toward the end of the semester because all the student issues were related to events toward the end of the semester. Discussions centered on what actions should be taken and when. Some were for clarity purposes. The only issue tabled for next term was a question that came from a student from a sociology class. I didn’t see this as a pressing issue and when I shared the contents of the letter with the committee they thought it was too late and not clearly an SGA recommendation. The request was to provide a van to take the students to indulge in the recreations provided in Blowing Rock on the weekends. Blowing Rock has different drinking laws. The school would become “the designated driver”. It was tabled for next term.

F. Some of the accomplishments of the committee:

* learned about the policy and procedures of administration
*learned about student government
*learned how to communicate with students better
*have a better understanding of student politics and policies
*initiated meetings with student government and attended a few of their meetings
*correspondence with SGA members (helping to create better student/faculty relationships)

G. Motions still pending

1).This motion was moved to the Faculty Senate meeting for the April 30 2007 meeting. Due to the sit in and litigations this term this may still be pending for next year. The campus chapter of the United Students Against Sweatshops made a formal recommendation to SGA to craft legislation supporting a change in the University’s licensed apparel sourcing. The SGA passed such legislation, and the committee voted to offer a motion of support for the SGA to the full Faculty Senate. That motion is pending and moved to the next meeting.

2.) The SGA made several requests of this committee for feedback on a proposed clarification of the reporting line for student complaints about faculty for complaints of natures other than those covered under the formal policies for grade appeals or the equity office. The SGA has passed their own legislation with language developed in consultation with the committee, though the SGA’s proposal to the full Faculty Senate remains pending.