October 14, 2020
November 18, 2020
January 13, 2021
February 10, 2021
March 10, 2021
April 14, 2021
May 12, 2021
June 2, 2021
July 14, 2021
Resolutions, Motions, and Initiatives
WHEREAS there have been allegations that the Office of Equity mishandled complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination brought by the Cheer Team, and
WHEREAS a 2018 report of the Provost’s Advisory Council on Women Faculty declared sexual harassment a serious concern, noted faculty dissatisfaction with the Office of Equity, and recommended that the University examine the operations of the Office of Equity along with other areas of the University, and
WHEREAS the policies and processes laid out in the University’s Comprehensive Policy on Sexual Misconduct are opaque, therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that the Associate Vice President for Equity, who oversees the Office of Equity, together with the leadership of the Faculty Senate, create and appoint a temporary working group, comprised of the Associate Vice President for Equity, two faculty members, two staff members, and two students, to solicit feedback from stakeholders, review past practices, and write a report that (a) documents and explains the Office’s handling of the cheerleaders’ complaints of harassment and discrimination, (b) describes the role of the Office, including the limits of the role as well as the interface between the Office and other units at the University, and (c) makes recommendations for improvements to the Office’s operations and policies.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Associate Vice President for Equity present the report to the Faculty Senate at one of its Fall 2021 meetings.
WHEREAS Cheer Team members have alleged that some Athletics Department staff members did not report their complaints to the Office of Equity as required by law, and that some staff members were dismissive about their testimony, all of which slowed the process of remediating the alleged discrimination and harassment, and
WHEREAS the University has not indicated that it has initiated a process for evaluating whether the staff training and reporting structures in the Athletics Department are sufficient to secure the safety and well-being of student-athletes, and
WHEREAS the Faculty Senate resolved on March 10, 2021, that the University must “ensure an environment for the Cheer Team that is free from discrimination and harassment, that provides support for students, and that guarantees effective oversight of the program,” therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that the University conduct a needs assessment for training and accountability measures within the Athletics Department, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the University report on the outcome of the needs assessment to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
WHEREAS the Faculty Senate resolved on March 10, 2021, that the University must “conduct a comprehensive, swift, and transparent review of the situation,” and
WHEREAS the University has not informed the community how the investigator was selected, what the remit of the investigation is, and with whom the final report will be shared, therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that the University publicly respond to the following questions: Through what process was the investigator selected? Is the investigator or her firm serving in any other role in relation to the University? What were the precise instructions given to the investigator? When the investigation is complete, with whom will the final report be shared?
Whereas, on April 14, 2021 the Faculty Senate Executive Committee was informed that the Board of Trustees did not view the COVID-19 pandemic as a once-in-a-century shock to the University but akin to events such as the subprime mortgage crisis and the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and
Whereas the Board of Trustees views such once-in-a-decade occurrences as insufficiently severe to warrant a special draw from the University endowment, and
Whereas the Board of Trustees did take special draws from the University endowment to address budgetary shortfalls in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and
Whereas the University and its Board did not suspend faculty and staff retirement contributions following previous shocks, economy-wide or otherwise, but did for the pandemic, and by doing so unilaterally rewrote the implicit contract between the University and its faculty and staff,
Be it resolved that the University and its Board of Trustees should quantify the level of risk faculty and staff face going forward by providing benchmarks for the University’s enrollments, revenues, and costs that would again result in the suspension of faculty and staff retirement contributions and other benefits, and
Be it further resolved that within the current fiscal year the University and its Board of Trustees should create a “rainy-day” fund, separate from the endowment, that can be used to address future financial shocks without having to impose significant and painful cuts across the university.
The Faculty Senate approved the following resolution from the Budget and Planning Committee on May 12, 2021:Whereas the University’s financial position is now far better than feared at the start of the pandemic,
Whereas, given the seriousness of the recent allegations of racist and sexist practices regarding Northwestern’s Cheer Team and further allegations that the University did not sufficiently support the students,
Be it RESOLVED that the University, with input from the Faculty Senate, conduct a comprehensive, swift, and transparent review of the situation, and
Be it further RESOLVED that the University ensure an environment for the Cheer Team that is free from discrimination and harassment, that provides support for students, and that guarantees effective oversight of the program, and
To ensure that the faculty is informed, be it further RESOLVED that the Administration report to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee on a quarterly basis on the status of the situation and the actions taken.
Whereas, the Faculty Assembly Bylaws must be in accordance with the University Statutes,
Be it resolved, that the Faculty Senate requests the Board of Trustees amend the University Statutes to reflect the following language derived from the current Faculty Assembly Bylaws:
These bylaws may be amended at any meeting of the Faculty Assembly by two-thirds vote providing that at least 10% of the faculty is present and that notice of any proposed amendment has been sent to the membership at least one week in advance of the meeting. If 10% of the faculty is not present, the proposed amendment is sent to the Faculty Senate which is the elected representative body of the faculty as a whole. The bylaws will be considered amended if two thirds of the full membership of the Faculty Senate votes its approval.
The Faculty Senate approved the following standing committee chairs on October 14, 2020:
Senator Martin Lariviere, Budget & Planning Committee; Senator Allan Horwich, Committee on Cause; Senator Carol Heimer, Educational Affairs Committee; Senator Ceci Rodgers, Faculty Handbook Committee; Senator Harris Feinsod, Faculty Rights & Responsibilities Committee; Senator Mark Witte, Governance Committee; Senator Lilah Shapiro, Non-Tenure Eligible Committee; Senator Dan Foltz, Research Affairs Committee; Senator Robert Gordon, Salary & Benefits Committee; Senator Joshua Hauser, Social Responsibility Committee; Senator Steve Adams, Student Affairs Committee.