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2014-2015 Legislative Actions

Review legislative actions for the 2014-2015 academic year.

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

Motion: Thank Faculty Senate President Eisenman

June 3, 2015

Thank President Stephen Eisenman for an excellent job that he has done with the Faculty Senate.

Leadership: Motion to elect Laurie Zoloth as Vice President

June 3, 2015

Professor Laurie Zoloth was elected to serve as the Faculty Senate Vice President for the 2015-16 academic year and will begin her duties on August 1, 2015. Subsequently she will serve as Faculty Senate President for the 2016-17 academic year.         

Resolution: Antibodies Report

June 3, 2015

Remove “President’s Report to the Senate Concerning the Procurement and Use of Research Antibodies at Northwestern University” from the Faculty Senate website.

Resolution: Support for H.R. 275

June 3, 2015

COIA Resolution on H.R.

Adopted June 3, 2015

WHEREAS, Northwestern University is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); and

WHEREAS,the NCAA’s recent restructuring effort has failed to effectively address critical issues currently confronting intercollegiate athletics: significant lapses of academic integrity, grave threats to the financial stability of athletic programs, the alarming escalation of coaches’ salaries, the escalation of student fees and institutional general fund subsidies to support athletics, excessive athletics time demands that do not allow athletes to devote sufficient time to their academic studies, and ongoing concerns about the health and safety of college athletes, among others; effective reform of intercollegiate athletics is so complex and important to higher education that a blue ribbon commission of faculty, collegiate sports experts and members of Congress should be convened to  objectively study these issues and propose solutions.

WHEREAS,the academic integrity and reputation of our higher education institutions and the education, health and welfare of college athletes are too important to allow these questionable practices to continue.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Faculty Senate/Council that the Senate go on record in support of H.R. 275, a bi-partisan bill being considered by the 114th Congress, that would establish a blue-ribbon Presidential Commission “to identify and examine issues of national concern related to the conduct of intercollegiate athletics and to make recommendations for the resolution of such issues;” and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that individual faculty members consider contacting their respective Congressperson to ask that they co-sponsor the H.R. 275.

Motion: Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing

April 1, 2015

The senate expresses general support for the proposal creating an a joint Student-Faculty-Alumni Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing,

See ASG proposal.

Evaluation of NTE Faculty

April 1, 2015

Whereas the faculty of Northwestern University includes scholars, scientists, lawyers, doctors, and artists who serve in non-tenure-eligible, full-time, part-time, and adjunct positions;

Whereas those faculty members contribute in meaningful ways to the success of the University community and its mission to educate Northwestern University students;

Whereas effective, complete, and transparent professional evaluation of all faculty members is integral to ensuring the University’s success in its educational mission;

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate encourages faculty and administrators from all University departments, schools and the Central Administration to clarify evaluation criteria and procedures of non-tenure-eligible faculty for the purpose of their continued employment, promotion, and compensation;

Be it further resolved that leadership within all University departments, schools and the Central Administration should clarify promotion pathways that are available to non-tenure-eligible faculty.

Resolution: Bottled Water-Free Northwestern

April 1, 2015

Whereas, it is part of the University’s mission to “Contribute to the solutions for renewable energy and a sustainable environment and to how public policies and economic incentives promote implementation of new technologies and practices” (Northwestern University Strategic Plan 2011);

Whereas, the Northwestern University “We Will” campaign will “help realize [the] transformative strategic plan,” referenced above (Northwestern News);

Whereas, the “We Will” campaign “is an invitation to the Northwestern community to join together to solve society’s most critical challenges” (We Will Case Statement);

Whereas, “As one of the world’s leading academic institutions, Northwestern University recognizes its role in addressing the global challenges of sustainability and climate change” (Northwestern Office of Sustainability);

Whereas, “Reducing waste and increasing our diversion rate are an important part of our campus sustainability efforts” (Northwestern Facilities Management);

Whereas, Northwestern Facilities Management includes among its organizational values a commitment to stewardship and environmental responsibility;

Whereas, the reduction of plastic waste on Northwestern’s campus fits into the missions and values above;

Whereas, the sale of bottled water on Northwestern’s campus contributes negatively to our overall environmental impact;

Whereas, although plastic waste reduction is not limited to bottled water, eliminating the sale of bottled water on campus is a feasible and responsible step in the reduction process:

  • The manufacturing, distribution, and disposal of bottled water have both environmental and human rights repercussions, as detailed below;
  • There are suitable alternatives to bottled water in the form of water fountains, tap water, and reusable water bottles;
  • Whereas, bottled water produces environmental damages:
  • Americans purchase a total of 31.2 billion liters of bottled water annually, which is equivalent to 65,937,500,000 sixteen-ounce water bottles. This requires nearly 900,000 tons of  plastic (Pacific Institute);
  • Only 29% of plastic bottles are recycled in the United States. Much of the remaining bottles end up in landfills and the oceans (EPA);
  • There are 315 billion pounds of plastic in our oceans today (5 Gyres Institute);
  • At least 267 species worldwide are known to ingest marine plastic debris, including 86 percent of all sea turtle species, 44 percent of all seabird species, and 43 percent of marine mammal species (California Coastal Commission);
  •  Marine animal ingestion of plastic causes blockages within the digestion system and eventual death (SEE Turtles);
  • Given that nearly all sea turtle species are classified as endangered, plastic is a serious threat to species survival and global biodiversity (WWF);

Whereas, bottled water requires significantly more energy and material inputs to produce than does tap water:

  • On average, bottled water requires 1,580 times more energy to produce and distribute than tap water (Pacific Institute);
  • Northwestern University would conserve 107,507 gallons of water used in the production of bottled water per year by ending the sale of bottled water on campus (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Sodexo and CASE data);
  • Northwestern University would avoid 233,701 pounds of CO2 emissions per year by eliminating the sale of bottled water on campus (Natural Resources Defense Council, Food and Water Watch). This is the equivalent of planting 4,868 trees (American Forests);
  • Northwestern University would save 4,674 cubic feet of solid waste (PET bottles, caps, and secondary packaging) by eliminating the sale of bottled water on campus (Natural Resources Defense Council, Food and Water Watch);

Whereas, global water scarcities have produced human rights implications:

  • It takes 3 liters of water to manufacture and bottle 1 liter of bottled water, resulting in a total of 93 billion liters of water wasted each year in the United States (Pacific Institute).
  • Given that we are entering a global water crisis and 1 in 9 people lack access to enough clean drinking water, this waste is irresponsible (WHO/UNICEF);
  • In 2010, the UN General Assembly declared “the right to safe and clean drinking water as a human right”;
  • In 2007, Atlanta experienced an extreme drought and, despite the governor declaring a state of emergency, Coca-Cola continued to extract water from Lake Lanier, which supplies municipal drinking water for 5 million people, in order to bottle and manufacture Dasani brand-bottled water (New York Times);
  • The bottled water industry continues to exploit communities in this manner, leaving them with low water tables and devastated ecosystems. Meanwhile, the community’s water supply is being packaged in plastic and sold back to them (Corporate Accountability International);
  • 47% of all bottled water is derived from tap water, which is a problem as the bottled water industry is selling our municipal supplies back to us at an incredibly inflated cost (Food and Water Watch);

Whereas, Northwestern has a contract with Coca-Cola and purchased at least 244,272 bottles of water from Coca-Cola during the 2012-2013 academic year, thereby supporting this wasteful use of water;

Whereas, the sale of bottled water on campus is contrary to:

  • The University’s mission to contribute to solutions and practices of sustainable environment (Northwestern University Strategic Plan 2011);
  • The Office of Sustainability’s mission to address the global challenges of sustainability and;
  • Facilities Management’s commitment to environmental responsibility and mission to reduce waste on campus;

Whereas, there are feasible alternatives to bottled water that are more cost-effective, environmentally conscious, and accessible:

  • Tap water is 240 to 10,000 times less expensive than bottled water (Natural Resources Defense Council);
  • Northwestern provides every incoming student with a courtesy reusable water bottle;
  • Water fountains are easily accessible on campus and water fountains are consistently upgraded to reusable bottle-friendly refilling stations;
  • Norris collaborated with Pura Playa to install 6 new water-refilling stations in the summer of 2013;
  • It is Residential Services’ policy to upgrade water fountains to water refilling stations as each residence hall is remodeled (Paul Riel, Executive Director of Residential Services);
  • It is campus policy to upgrade water fountains to refilling stations when the water fountain in question requires maintenance (Sheila Driscoll, Business and Finance Director of the Division of Student Affairs);

Whereas, a number of universities, including peer institutions like Harvard University and Brown University have taken concrete steps, including student referenda and sales phase-outs, to reduce the sale of bottled water on their campuses;

Whereas, a number of universities, including peer institutions like Washington University in St. Louis and regional institutions like Loyola University Chicago have already gone bottled water-free on their campuses;

Whereas, Washington University in St. Louis modified its contract with Coca-Cola in 2009 to exclude bottled water, demonstrating that the same change is possible with the Northwestern University Coca-Cola contract (Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom);

Whereas, over 1,000 Northwestern students have signed the petition urging Northwestern University to go bottled water-free;

Be it resolved by the Faculty Senate here assembled, that the Faculty Senate supports the Northwestern community to take immediate steps towards going bottled water-free, with the goal of being completely bottled water-free by April of 2016.

Be it further resolved, that the Faculty Senate supports that, as a bottled water-free campus, Northwestern University will not sell bottled water in on-campus locations, including, but not limited to, convenience stores and vending machines.

Be it further resolved, that the Faculty Senate believes that Northwestern has the potential and responsibility to be a leader in sustainable practices and that going bottled water-free is an important step in this process.

Be it further resolved, that the Faculty Senate recommends that all old drinking fountains be replaced with the new water bottle refilling stations by April 2016.

Resolution: Budget Committee Support for Low-Income Student Initiatives

March 4, 2015


Whereas Northwestern University is a non-profit institution held in the public trust;

Whereas higher education has traditionally been a central route for upward mobility in the United States;

Whereas increasing socio-economic diversity is both in the interest of the university and of a democratic civil society;

Whereas inequality has increased over the last three decades in this country, leading to substantial divergence in the preparation and resources of students;

Whereas Northwestern has made progress in recent years in increasing access to Northwestern for low-income students;

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate supports the efforts of President Schapiro and the Northwestern University Administration to increase access for low-income students;

Be it further resolved that the university should ensure that financial aid packages for Pell Grant-eligible students are consistently competitive with those offered by peer institutions;

Be it further resolved that the university should subsidize academic, extracurricular, and professional development opportunities to enable full participation by all students in the life of the university regardless of income;

Be it further resolved that the university should raise additional funds specifically earmarked to support low-income student access to Northwestern without compromising financial aid for middle income students;

Be it further resolved that the administration should implement policies to ensure that by 2020, or sooner, no fewer than 20% of Northwestern undergraduates are Pell Grant-eligible.

Resolution: Budget and Planning Committee Survey

December 3, 2014

The Budget Committee will survey tenure-line faculty opinion on the distribution of the pool of money for salary increases between retention and merit cases. The survey would consist of not more than two or three short questions, together with a space to submit further anonymous comments. Since salaries in Feinberg, Kellogg and Law are not part of the central budget, and the School of Professional Studies is also a special case, this survey would initially only cover faculty with appointments in the six schools which enroll undergraduates: Bienen, Communication, McCormick, Medill, SESP and Weinberg.

Motions: Bylaw Changes

December 3, 2014

Motions to change the following bylaws.

Change to Leadership Titles:
The governance committee recommends that the titles of Chair, Vice Chair, and Past Chair be changed to President, Vice President, and Past President.

Changes in Article II: Membership
Section 1: Each department in the College and in the several Schools of the University shall elect one of its members to the Faculty Senate from among those department members who are members of the Faculty Assembly. In addition, the non-tenure track faculty of each school shall elect one non-tenure track member who is a member of the Faculty Assembly as its representative, and the Northwestern Emeriti Organization shall elect one of its members as its representative. Tenured and tenure track faculty are eligible for election  immediately upon  their University appointment. Non-tenure track faculty who are members of the Faculty Assembly are eligible for election after one year.

Section 2: Faculty Senate members will serve for three years, with the exception of the Senator selected to serve as President Elect, the President and the immediate past President who will serve as a member for such additional years as required to serve a full year as President Elect, a second full year as President, and a third full year as Immediate Past President. During any part of this term that extends beyond the term for which the Senator was originally elected, the appropriate academic unit may elect another representative. During any extension of a Senator’s term under this section, the Senator will be treated as if an elected member of the Senate for all other purposes.

Changes in Article III: The Executive Committee
Section 1: The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate shall be composed of the President, Immediate Past President, the President Elect (who also serves as Vice President), and the Chairs of the Standing Committees. The terms of these officers shall begin on August 1.

Section 2: The President Elect must be selected from Faculty Senate members.

Section 7: In the event of vacancy in the position  of President, the President Elect will serve as President for the remainder of that academic year and for the academic year in which they would have normally served. In the event of a vacancy in the position of President Elect, the Senate shall select a new President Elect at its next regularly scheduled meeting, or if no such meeting is scheduled before six weeks will pass, at a special meeting of the Senate announced no less than three weeks prior to such meeting. In the event that there is no president to transition to past president, the standing past president will continue in that role until such time as there is a new past president. In the event of a vacancy in a Chair of a Standing Committee, the Executive Committee will act in accordance with Section 4 above, at the time of the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Senate.

Changes in Article VII: Standing Rules
Section 2: The bylaws may be adopted or amended by a two thirds vote of the full membership of the Faculty Senate provided that the proposed bylaws or amendments were submitted in writing to the Faculty Senate at a prior meeting. If a proposed bylaw is approved under the ordinary voting rules outlined under section 4 of Article IV, the remaining required votes may be submitted by electronic means within two weeks of the meeting at which the initial vote is taken.

Leadership: Confirmation Vote for Committee Chairs

November 5, 2014

Motion to ratify Edwards Hughes as Chair of the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee and Michele McDonough as Chair of the Educational Affairs Committee was adopted unanimously.

Motion: Approval of Faculty Handbook

October 12, 2014

The Handbook Committee recommends approval of the proposed Handbook update and revised operating guidelines for the Faculty Appeals Panel.

Faculty Handbook (listed on the Office of the Provost site)

Leadership: Confirmation Vote for Standing Committee Chairs

October 1, 2014

Confirmation by vote of Committee Chairs

Motion to ratify the following slate of Standing Committee Chair was adopted unanimously:

  • BENEFITS: Donna Jurdy
  • BUDGET: Ezra Getzler
  • CAUSE: Hank Seifert
  • FACULTY HANDBOOK: Wesley Roth Burghardt
  • GOVERNANCE: Carol Simpson Stern
  • NON-TENURE ELIGIBLE: Heather L Colburn
  • RESEARCH AFFAIRS: Andre Luiz De Gouvea