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2016-2017 Legislative Actions

Review legislative actions for the 2016-2017 academic year.

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

Leadership: Senator Baron Reed Voted President Elect

June 1, 2017

An election for 2017-2018 President Elect was held on June 1, 2017. The results were as follows:

Baron Reed, 38
Blank ballots, 2

Baron Reed was elected 2017-2018 President Elect.

Organization of Women Faculty Report

June 1, 2017

report from the Organization of Women Faculty was adopted on June 1, 2017.

Statement on Academic Freedom

June 1, 2017

The Faculty Senate adopted a statement on Academic Freedom on June 1, 2017.

Resolution: Support for Students Affected by Executive Orders

June 1, 2017

The following resolution was adopted on June 1, 2017:

Resolution concerning support for students affected by Executive Orders 13769 and 13780

Whereas, There are at least fifty undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows/trainees at Northwestern University from the countries affected by Executive Orders 13769 and 13780 (“Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”);

Whereas, There is uncertainty regarding the future status of these executive orders;

Whereas, The central administration of Northwestern University has committed to “take all the necessary actions to protect our students, faculty and staff” in relation to the implementation of these executive orders; and

Whereas, Despite this strong statement from the central administration, students from the countries affected by these executive orders have felt variably and inconsistently supported by faculty and advisors; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Northwestern University Faculty Senate agrees with the strong protections and advocacy already expressed by the central administration of the University;

Resolved, That the Faculty Senate affirms its support as faculty for all students and trainees affected by these executive orders;

Resolved, That the Faculty Senate requests that our faculty colleagues who are chairs of departments make clear their support for the work, studies, and emotional wellbeing of these students and trainees in coordination with broader University efforts; and

Resolved, That the Faculty Senate requests that the Deans of the various schools meet with and contact in writing all department chairs to urge their consistent support for affected students and help guide students and trainees to available University resources.

Resolution: Mental Health Training

June 1, 2017

The following resolution was adopted on June 1, 2017: 

A resolution on mental health training and awareness in the University community

Whereas, Northwestern University strives to be a healthy and supportive campus for all members of the University community;

Whereas, Students' classroom experiences directly impact their mental health on a daily basis, and relationships with professors can severely hurt or positively help students' mental wellbeing;

Whereas, Northwestern faculty, teaching assistants, and advisors are currently not trained in how to identify and support students struggling with their mental health;

Whereas, Students, faculty and staff at Northwestern are not directly involved in the University's decisions regarding mental health; and

Whereas, The University of Chicago has a Wellness Advisory Board that guides the university's progress in areas of holistic wellness; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Faculty Senate supports the provision of a mental health training program for faculty and staff that includes how to identify and assist students in distress. This program should be particularly tailored to faculty, teaching assistants, and advisors; and be it further

Resolved, That the Faculty Senate recommends the creation of a Wellness Advisory Board with representatives from faculty, students, and staff to advise the administration, foster interdepartmental coordination. and improve awareness about mental health across campus.

Resolution: Establish Membership of Librarian Faculty in the Faculty Senate

May 8, 2017

The following resolution was adopted on May 8, 2017:

A Resolution to Establish the Membership of Librarian Faculty in the Faculty Senate

Resolved, That the following be inserted in Article II, Section 1 of the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate immediately after the second sentence: “The University Libraries shall elect two librarian faculty to represent all departments and faculty that report to the Dean of Libraries.”

Resolutions: Academic Calendar

May 3, 2017

The following resolutions were adopted on May 3, 2017:

Resolution #1

Whereas, Many students have difficulty securing and participating in summer internship and study-abroad programs due to the late completion of the Spring Quarter; be it

Resolved, That the University be asked to develop a system whereby students, subject to approval from their instructors, can have their final exams remotely proctored without imposing undue logistical burdens on either faculty or students

Resolution #2

Whereas, Students who participate in summer programs that begin before the end of the Spring Quarter face the heavy burden of simultaneously managing their final exams, moving to a new location, and beginning the activities of their summer program; and

Whereas, Faculty are prohibited by the colleges and schools of the university from offering early final exams for their courses; be it

Resolved, That the colleges and schools of the University be asked to revise their policies, in consultation with the Registrar, so that faculty have the option of offering a final exam at a date or time earlier than the one scheduled for their course to students who provide clear evidence of a compelling need for such an exception.

Resolution #3

Whereas, The final exam period currently is Monday through Saturday of the week after the end of classes;

Whereas, In practice, exams are given Monday through Friday of that week; and

Whereas, The length of the final exam period is intended to prevent students from having more than two exams in a single day; be it

Resolved, That the Registrar be asked to investigate whether the final exam period can be reduced to Monday through Thursday of the week after classes end, while continuing to prevent students from having more than two exams in a day.

Resolution #4

Whereas, The current calendar includes a long stretch of instructional time from January to June, with relatively little time off; be it

Resolved, That the University be asked to make the Monday after Spring Break a holiday.

Resolution #5

Whereas, Commencement currently is held a week after the conclusion of the Spring Quarter; and

Whereas, Many non-graduating students and many faculty have typically left campus before Commencement; be it

Resolved, That the University be asked to move Commencement to the day after Spring Quarter final exams end.

Resolution #6

Whereas, The number of students who remain on campus during Spring Break is likely to increase as more international and Pell-eligible students enroll; and

Whereas, Many students are reluctant to take courses that are unfamiliar for fear of damage to their GPA; be it

Resolved, That the various colleges and schools of the University be invited to devise 0.5 credit courses to be held during Spring Break, on a P/N basis only, and for which faculty participation will be voluntary and compensated with a stipend.

Resolution #7

Whereas, The Winter and Spring Quarters are typically nine weeks and three or four days (excluding final exams), while the Fall Quarter is typically ten weeks and two days (excluding final exams); be it

Resolved, That the University be asked to reduce the Fall Quarter to nine weeks and three or four days (excluding final exams) by converting the entire Thanksgiving week into a holiday.

Motion: Amendments to the Faculty Handbook

May 3, 2017

A motion to adopt the recommendation of the Faculty Handbook Committee to endorse proposed amendments to the Faculty Handbook was agreed to on May 3, 2017.

Motion: Endorse Authorship Guidelines by Research Affairs Committee

May 3, 2017

A motion to endorse the draft authorship guidelines proposed by the Research Affairs Committee was agreed to on May 3, 2017.

Motion: Salary and Benefits Committee Report

May 3, 2017

A motion to adopt and enthusiastically endorse a report from the Salary and Benefits Committee was agreed to on May 3, 2017.

Resolution: Amend Faculty Senate Bylaws

April 7, 2017

The following resolutions were adopted on April 7, 2017:

Resolution #1: Housekeeping Amendments

Resolved, That the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate be amended as follows:

Article I: Functions:

Section 7: Strike out the existing Section 7 and insert “The Faculty Committee on Cause provides aninitial evaluation of appeals by faculty members in cases where the administration has imposed a minor sanction or is pursuing suspension or termination for Cause. Each fall, the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee will nominate seven Faculty Senate members to serve on the Committee on Cause. Two of the nominees must be non-tenure eligible faculty members. The President of the Faculty Senate will send the names of the seven nominees to the Faculty Senate’s membership. The Faculty Senate will then consider those names and, by majority vote, approve the seven members of the Committee on Cause or propose other candidates to serve on the Committee on Cause.”

Article II:

Section 3: Strike out “supervised by the Faculty Senate in conjunction with” and insert “by”. After “the appropriate academic departments,” insert “and schools”.

Article IV:

Section 5: Insert at the end, “To expedite the posting of minutes on the Faculty Senate website, the minutes of any meeting of the Faculty Senate can be approved through an online vote with at least one-third of all Senators voting ‘yes’ and with no dissenting votes.”

Resolution #2: Substantive Amendments

Resolved, That the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate be amended as follows:

Article IV:

Section 2: Insert at the end, “The agenda (order of business) will include names of non-Senators who are permitted to address the Senate. Other non-Senators wishing to address the Senate must receive the approval of a majority of Senators present in order to do so.”

Section 3: Strike out “order of business” and insert “agenda (order of business)”. After “in consultation with the Executive Committee,” insert “The Faculty Senate, by a majority vote of members present, may amend the agenda (order of business).”

Resolution: Faculty Assembly and Senate Should Include Library Faculty

April 5, 2017

The following resolution was adopted on April 5, 2017:

Resolution calling for the speedy inclusion of librarian faculty in the University Faculty Assembly and Faculty Senate

Whereas, Librarian faculty are an integral part of Northwestern University and make possible this institution’s teaching and research missions;

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Faculty Senate that librarian faculty ought to be included in Northwestern University Faculty Assembly and Faculty Senate;

Resolved, That the Governance Committee be charged with drafting an amendment to the University Statutes in consultation with representatives of the University Libraries in order to include librarian faculty in the structures of faculty governance; and

Resolved, That the Faculty Senate calls upon the central administration and Board of Trustees of the University to act expeditiously on the amendment of the University Statutes once such a recommendation is made.

Resolution: Establishment of University Ombuds Office

March 1, 2017

Resolution: Denouncing Presidential Executive Order

February 1, 2017

The following resolution was adopted on February 1, 2017:

Resolution endorsing petition of Academics against Immigration Executive Order'

Resolved, That the Northwestern University Faculty Senate, as the representative and elected body of the faculty, endorses the ‘Academics against Immigration Executive Order’ petition as circulated on the website, which reads as follows:

“President Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order (EO) proposing a 90-day suspension of visas and other immigration benefits to all nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. The unrealistic conditions required for discontinuing the suspension make it very likely that this EO will turn into a permanent ban. We, the undersigned academics and researchers from a variety of fields of study, backgrounds, and personal convictions, would like to voice our concern and strongly oppose this measure on three grounds:

“1.    This Executive Order is discriminatory. The EO unfairly targets a large group of immigrants and non-immigrants on the basis of their countries of origin, all of which are nations with a majority Muslim population. This is a major step towards implementing the stringent racial and religious profiling promised on the campaign trail. The United States is a democratic nation, and ethnic and religious profiling are in stark contrast to the values and principles we hold.

“2.    This Executive Order is detrimental to the national interests of the United States. The EO significantly damages American leadership in higher education and research. US research institutes host a significant number of researchers from the nations subjected to the upcoming restrictions. From Iran alone, more than 3000 students have received PhDs from American universities in the past 3 years. The proposed EO limits collaborations with researchers from these nations by restricting entry of these researchers to the US and can potentially lead to departure of many talented individuals who are current and future researchers and entrepreneurs in the US. We strongly believe the immediate and long term consequences of this EO do not serve our national interests.

“3.    This Executive Order imposes undue burden on members of our community: The people whose status in the United States would be reconsidered under this EO are our students, friends, colleagues, and members of our communities. The implementation of this EO will necessarily tear families apart by restricting entry for family members who live outside of the US and limiting the ability to travel for those who reside and work in the US. These restrictions would be applied to nearly all individuals from these countries, regardless of their immigration status or any other circumstances. This measure is fatally disruptive to the lives of these immigrants, their families, and the communities of which they form an integral part. It is inhumane, ineffective, and un-American.

“These bans, as proposed, have consequences that reach beyond the scope of national security. The unethical and discriminatory treatment of law-abiding, hard-working, and well-integrated immigrants fundamentally contravenes the founding principles of the United States.

“We strongly denounce this ban and urge the President to reconsider going forward with this Executive Order."

Committee Membership: Committee on Cause

February 1, 2017

A motion to confirm Senator Stephen Dinwiddie as a member of the Committee on Cause was adopted on February 1, 2017.

Motion: Reject Revision to Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics Bylaws

February 1, 2017

A motion to reject the proposed revision of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics bylaws was adopted on February 1, 2017.

Resolution: Amendments to Faculty Senate Bylaws

January 18, 2017

The following resolution was adopted on January 18, 2017:

Bylaw Revision #1

Resolved, That the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate be revised as follows:

Article I:

Section 3: Insert a comma after "In addition".

Article II:

Section 3: Strike out "spring quarter" and insert "Spring Quarter".

Article III:

Section 1: Strike out "Chairs" and insert "chairs".

Section 5: Strike out "Broad" and insert "Board".

Section 6: Strike out "Executive committee" and insert "Executive Committee". Strike out "executive committee" and insert "Executive Committee". Strike out ", which consists of the President, President-elect, past President, and the chairs of the standing committees of the Faculty Senate".

Article IV:

Section 2: Strike out "agenda" and insert "agenda (order of business)".

Article V:

Section 1: Strike out subsections 2 and 3 and renumber subsections accordingly.

Article VIII:

Strike out Article VIII.

Bylaw Revision #2

Resolved, That the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate be revised as follows:

Article III:

Section 3: Strike out "and the Chairs of the Standing Committees". Strike out "spring quarter" and insert "Spring Quarter".

Section 4: Strike out "will serve as a Committee on Committees to take chair nominations from the Standing Committees and present them to the Faculty Senate for confirmation" and insert "constitutes the leadership of the Faculty Senate. Nominees for the chairs of the Faculty Senate Standing Committees will be recommended to the Faculty Senate by the President, Immediate Past President, and President Elect of the Faculty Senate after consultation with the immediate past and present members of the Standing Committees for a confirmation vote by the Faculty Senate at its first meeting in the Fall Quarter. Nominees must be members of the Faculty Senate at the time of their nomination. Faculty Senate Standing Committee chairs will serve a one-year term that is renewable."

Section 7: Insert "a" after "In the event of" and before "vacancy in the position". Strike out "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" and insert "of a vacancy in the position of Immediate Past President, the most recently serving past President of the Faculty Senate shall serve as Past President for the remainder of the term". Strike out "Chair" and insert "chair".

Article IV:

Section 1: Strike out "for" after "Faculty Senate can be called" and before "by the Executive Committee". Strike out "September first" and insert "the first day of October".

Section 4: Hyphenate "Fifty-one". Strike out "Faculty Senate Members" and insert "Faculty Senate members". Strike out "if pressing circumstances prohibit attendance in Evanston." Strike out "NU-Q" and insert "Northwestern University in Qatar". After "in Qatar," insert "If pressing circumstances prohibit attendance in one of the above-mentioned locations, other Faculty Senate members may also participate and vote individually by teleconference or video conference after notifying the President of the Faculty Senate."

Article V:

Preamble: Insert at the end, "The membership of these committees will be posted on the Faculty Senate website."

Resolution: Inclusion of Well-Being Language in Syllabi

January 11, 2017

The following resolution was adopted on January 11, 2017:

Resolution Encouraging the Inclusion of Language on Mental and Physical Health in Syllabi

Whereas, Northwestern University would like to be accessible and welcoming to all students;

Resolved, That the Faculty Senate encourages all faculty to include language in their syllabi similar to the following: "If you find yourself struggling with your mental or physical health this quarter, please feel free to approach me. I try to be flexible and accommodating. For further support, please contact CAPS (847-491-2151) or Student Assistance and Support Services (847-491-8430)."

Resolution: Faculty Senate's Working Relationship with the Administration

December 7, 2016

The following resolution was adopted on December 7, 2016:

Resolution Regarding the Faculty Senate's Working Relationship with the Administration

Whereas, Faculty chosen for ad hoc task forces are intended to be representative of Northwestern University faculty in general. However, they are chosen by the administration, not by faculty, and may consequently be viewed by faculty as lacking the requisite authority to speak on their behalf. By contrast, Faculty Senators are elected by their departments to represent the interests and perspectives of their colleagues. Because every department has a Senator, every faculty member at Northwestern should be adequately represented;

Whereas, Ad hoc task forces rely on open fora to solicit feedback from faculty. These have often been poorly attended because the scope and aim of the task forces is sometimes unclear to faculty not on the task forces. By contrast, Senators are expected to report on a regular basis the activities of the Senate to their departmental colleagues. This should ensure that all faculty are given a clear opportunity to provide input to the Senate’s information-gathering and decision-making processes; and

Whereas, Ad hoc task forces often solicit input from faculty early in their deliberations but then present their recommendations directly to the administration. This, in combination with issues above, often results in faculty feeling as though they are being excluded from having genuine influence in the shaping of university policy. By contrast, the Senate seeks to build consensus behind its proposals in a public discussion, with full representation from every academic department at the university. For this reason, the Senate offers the best way for the administration and the faculty to collaborate in a productive, efficient manner;

Resolved, That the Faculty Senate requests the administration work with the Senate and its standing committees rather than form ad hoc task forces when seeking the input of faculty.

Motion: Budget and Planning Evaluation of Global Task Force Presentation

November 2, 2016

The following motion was adopted on November 2, 2016: 

A motion "to instruct the Budget and Planning Committee to consider the presentation of the Global Strategy Task Force at the October Faculty Senate meeting and report back to the Faculty Senate with a response based on broad consultation with the faculty of the University."

Committee Membership: Committee on Cause

November 2, 2016

A motion to confirm the following members of the Committee on Cause was adopted on November 2, 2016: 

  • Melissa Brown
  • Heather Colburn
  • Paul Hirsch
  • Allan Horwich
  • Barbara Newman
  • Mark Segraves
  • Robert Wallace

Leadership: Standing Committee Chairs

November 2, 2016

A motion to confirm the following standing committee chairs was adopted on November 2, 2016: 

  • Mark Segraves, Cause
  • Ravi Jagannathan, Governance

Leadership: Standing Committee Chairs

October 5, 2016

A motion to confirm the following standing committee chairs was adopted on October 5, 2016: 

  • Bobby Calder, Budget & Planning
  • Ron Allen, Cause
  • Baron Reed, Educational Affairs
  • Lois  Hedman, Faculty Handbook
  • Sylvester Johnson, Faculty Rights & Responsibilities
  • Michael Deas, Governance
  • Heather Colburn, Non-Tenure Eligible
  • André Luiz de Gouvêa, Research Affairs
  • Robert Gordon, Salary & Benefits
  • Martin Block, Secure Faculty Survey
  • Joshua Hauser, Social Responsibility
  • Karen Springen, Student Affairs

Resolution: Support of Pedestrian and Cycling Safety

October 5, 2016

The following resolution was adopted on October 5, 2016:

Resolution in Support of Pedestrian and Cycling Safety

Whereas, Sheridan Road is the largest corridor stretching Northwestern's campus and buzzes with pedestrian, cyclists, and motor-vehicle traffic;

Whereas, Northwestern's strategic initiatives prioritize cycling and pedestrian traffic as sustainable forms of transportation;

Whereas, the recent death of freshman Chuyuan Qiu in a cycling accident on Sheridan Road has brought up concerns with transportation safety across campus;

Be it here resolved that the Faculty Senate and ASG support the creation of a Task Force to look at ways to improve the safety and experience of pedestrians and cyclists on campus;

Be it further resolved that the Faculty Senate recommends annual distribution of subsidized bike helmets and lights to any student on campus and recommends consideration of lowering the Sheridan speed limit to 25 mph between Davis and Central Streets.