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2011-2012 Legislative Actions

Review legislative actions for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Actions, which include resolutions, motions, votes and leadership changes, are listed in reverse chronological order with the most recent actions first. 

Motion: Non-violent Assembly on University Campuses

December 1, 2011

A statement, originally written by Matthew Noah Smith, Associate professor of Philosophy, Yale University and signed by over 1200 University faculty.

We have witnessed, over the past two months, police departments using significant amounts of force against individuals peacefully participating in the Occupy movement. But during the week of November 13 – November 19, there was an astonishing escalation of the violence used by municipal police departments against non-violent protesters.

We hoped that even as politicians and municipal police violently responded to the Occupy movement, college and university campuses would remain safe locations for non-violent political dissent. But that has not been the case. In fact, universities and colleges appear to be using the same tactics in their interactions with unarmed, non-violent members of the university community as we have seen municipal police use against the broader Occupy movement.

In particular, we are concerned with the actions by police associated with two University of California campuses. At UC Berkeley, police beat faculty and students who were peacefully attempting to establish an Occupy camp on Sproul Plaza. At UC Davis, police casually pepper sprayed protesting students who were peacefully sitting with their arms linked. The message sent by university officials is clear: if you engage in non-violent political protest on the university campus, you run the risk of being assaulted by university police.

We condemn this and any deployment of violence by university officials against members of the university community who are non-violently expressing their political views.

We condemn university officials using violence or the threat of violence in order to limit political dissent to the narrow confines of print and university-sanctioned events.

We condemn university officials using violence and the threat of violence to prevent members of the university community from peacefully assembling.

For more than three generations, American university and college campuses have been crucial locations in which inspiring and important political activity has occurred. From the founding of SNCC at Shaw University and the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in the 1960’s, to the divestment movements across American college campuses in the 1980s, to the establishment of student labor alliances in the 1990’s, American college campuses have pulsed with hopeful and positive forms of dissent and visions of alternatives. This admirable tradition is being threatened by the use of violence by university officials against their own students and faculty who are acting within this tradition.

We therefore call on chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges throughout the United States to declare publicly that their campuses are Safe Protest Zones, where non-violent, public political dissent and protest will be protected by university police and will never be attacked by the university police.

We call on these chancellors and presidents to commit publicly to making their campuses safe locations for peaceful public assembly.

We call on these chancellors and presidents to institute immediately policies that reflect these commitments, and to instruct their police and security forces that they must abide by these policies.

We believe that this action is necessary for the protection of one of the principal virtues of our higher education system, namely that it is an environment that cultivates an active and engaged political imagination. We call on the leaders of America’s universities and colleges to stand with us.

Occupy Chicago

November 2, 2011

WHEREAS, the citizens of Illinois are suffering from an ongoing economic crisis which includes a 10% unemployment rate, a poverty rate greater than 14%, the ninth worst foreclosure rate in the country, and an increasing gap in the average after-tax household income of the richest and poorest in our society, and

WHEREAS the aforementioned economic concerns threaten the health, wealth and security of Illinois residents and

WHEREAS, Occupy Chicago is supported by people by from every walk of life, stirred to protest economic injustice by the example of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City and over 100 other Occupy protests across the country; and

WHEREAS, all the above economic ills are being lawfully and peacefully challenged and protested by people of all ages and backgrounds at Occupy Chicago; and

WHEREAS, the right to free public expression, dialogue, debate and protest are cherished by Northwestern University faculty as essential to education and free scientific and scholarly inquiry,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Northwestern University Faculty Senate stands in SUPPORT of the continuation of the peaceful and vibrant exercise of First Amendment Rights carried out by Occupy Chicago. This RESOLUTION therefore additionally urges the mayor of Chicago, the Chief of Police, and other responsible public officials to facilitate the continued lawful assembly of the protesters and to help assure their safety and security.

Resolution: Proposed Changes to Faculty Handbook

November 2, 2011

Final proposed draft of the University Faculty Handbook to be voted on by the Faculty Senate after two reads on June 6, 2012. 

Update: University Faculty Reappointment, Promotion, Tenure, and Dismissal Appeals Panel (UFRPTDAP)

August 29, 2011


Established policies and procedures 8/29/11:

  • UFRPTDAP Resolution
  • Origin of UFRPTDAP
  • UFRPTDAP Guidelines – 2004