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2019-2020 Legislative Actions

Review legislative actions for the 2019-2020 academic year.

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

Resolution: Promoting Racial Justice and Equity

June 3, 2020

The Faculty Senate approved the following resolution from the Social Responsibility Committee on June 3, 2020: 

Whereas, The unlawful killing of yet another black person, George Floyd, this time at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, and the nation-wide and international protests that have followed, have again revealed the deep wounds of structural racism in American society; and

Whereas, These events have occurred in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic that has had a disproportionate impact on Black and Brown citizens; and

Whereas, We are reminded once again that institutional silences about racism have become complicit with it; and

Whereas, This time calls on all of us to think creatively and urgently about race, inequalities, and justice in our community, and we join with President Schapiro and Interim Provost Hagerty in these efforts; and

Whereas, We as a university faculty have the opportunity to facilitate awareness, sensitivity, and learning for our students and for each other as colleagues, in the issues of race that have historically undermined the ideals of our society;

Be it resolved, That we as a Faculty Senate support commitments to the hard work of racial justice in our roles as teachers, researchers, advocates, and leaders.

Be it further resolved, That we consider the ways our personal privilege and power may perpetuate systemic inequities and alternatively use our positions to promote racial justice and equity.

Be it further resolved, That while the content of these commitments will necessarily be different for each of us, we strive to highlight and address issues of racial inequalities and racial injustice in each of our areas of scholarship and work to challenge the realities of racism in our courses, our research, our writings, our policies, and our work as clinicians.

Be it further resolved, That most fundamentally, we must listen with humility to students, colleagues, patients, and families who are the victims of racism, engage in the necessary dialogues that require us to examine our own institution, and advocate with passion for a community that reflects the values of equality and justice.

Non-Tenure Eligible Committee Report

June 3, 2020

The Faculty Senate approved a Non-Tenure Eligible Committee report—including recommendations that derived from a survey of all full-time non-tenure faculty—on June 3, 2020.

Leadership: Senator Robert Holmgren voted President-Elect

June 3, 2020

The Faculty Senate elected Senator Robert Holmgren (Molecular Biosciences, WCAS) President-Elect on June 3, 2020.

Leadership: Senator Robert Holmgren candidate for Faculty Senate President-Elect

May 13, 2020

The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate nominated Robert Holmgren (Molecular Biosciences, WCAS) for President-Elect on May 13, 2020.

Resolution: Tuition Benefits Cap

February 19, 2020

The Faculty Senate approved the following resolution from the Salary and Benefits Committee on February 19, 2020:

Whereas, The university recently reduced the cap on portable tuition subsidies for faculty and staff by more than half, not only for those starting new programs but for those midstream in ongoing programs, and  

Whereas, This policy change inflicts financial hardship on all of those who need to complete degree programs at other institutions, but particularly those who are midstream in programs in which they have already made a substantial investment of money and time. 

 Be it Resolved, The Faculty Senate strongly recommends that the previous cap on tuition benefits be grandfathered for those faculty and staff members who were registered in a degree program at another institution on January 1, 2020. 

Vote: Support for U.S. Academia Statement

November 20, 2019
The Faculty Senate voted in support of the following statement on November 20, 2019: 
U.S. Academia Joint Statement On the Escalation of Tensions in Hong Kong and at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong
We urge politicians around the world, especially those in the United States, to exert pressure on Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, and the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), to call off violent crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters, and answer the remaining four demands put forth by the protesters. 

Throughout the past few weeks, we have seen a substantial amount of arrests, followed by a shocking number of unexplained disappearances, “suicides”, and police rape. Additionally, the HKPF has widely used the word “cockroaches” to dehumanize the protesters. Merely over the past two days, the violence inflicted by the HKPF against the Hong Kong protesters (mainly students) has escalated to unprecedented levels. The HKPF threatened the students with the use of live ammunition on the campus of the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong (PolyU), and subsequently invaded PolyU with brute force at 5:32AM, November 18, Hong Kong Time. Anyone on the Polytechnic University campus, including students, professors, emergency workers, journalists, passersby, and even first aid providers are now being targeted indiscriminately by the hands of lawless and vindictive police officers. The riot police are equipped with AR-15 rifles and authorized by HKPF senior officials to use lethal force. The police also chanted "We want a replay of Tainan Square Massacre!" and declared that they were on their way to "slaughter the cockroaches" as they marched onto campus. 

The HKPF blockaded the campus, isolating hundreds at the University including first-aid providers and journalists in addition to the protesters. HKPF made arbitrary arrests of medical staffs and first-aid volunteers, and brutally infringed the rights to seek medical treatment. Additionally, HKPF ambushed ambulances and the university medical center to disrupt the treatment of the injured protesters. The police refused to negotiate with the coalition of pan-democrat legislators, the Auxiliary Catholic bishop of Hong Kong, and current and former university vice chancellors. Despite all of this, the Principal of PolyU has taken no effort in negotiating the students’ safety with the HKPF.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam must reverse the blanket ordinance on lethal force and facilitate a de-escalation. The unsolicited deployment of People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong not only escalates tension in Hong Kong, but also patently challenges the “One Country Two Systems” principle and threatens Hong Kong’s autonomy. British politicians already contacted Carrie Lam with these concerns. As 85,000 American citizens are currently residing in Hong Kong, the United States government must take action to restore the safety of its citizens in threat.

WE [...]

are calling upon the United States government to take all necessary economic and diplomatic steps to avert potential bloodshed. We urge:

The United States Federal Government to offer necessary measures of protection to all American students in Hong Kong and Hong Kong students in the United States.

The Senate to immediately vote for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (S. 1838), and for the House of Representatives and Senate to accelerate the subsequent conference committee process in order to reconcile the differences between competing versions of the bill.

The Trump administration to issue a statement of potential revocation of Hong Kong’s special trade status as guaranteed under the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act in the event of a large-scale violent suppression in Hong Kong.

The United States government to impose Magnitsky-style sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese policymakers, senior police officials, and Chinese government officials responsible for the escalation of violence.   

Committee Membership: Committee on Cause

October 16, 2019

The Faculty Senate approve the following Committee on Cause members on October 16, 2019.

  • Senator Allan Horwich (Chair)
  • Senator Celia O’Brien
  • Senator Lilah Shapiro
  • Senator David Uttal
  • Senator Belma Hadziselimovic
  • Senator Hao Zhang
  • Senator Sarah Bartolome
  • Senator Hermann Riecke

Leadership: Standing Committee Chairs

October 16, 2019

The Faculty Senate approved the following standing committee chairs on October 16, 2019.

  • Senator Robert Hariman, Budget & Planning Committee
  • Senator Allan Horwich, Committee on Cause
  • Senator Claudia Swan, Educational Affairs Committee
  • Senator Nick Marchuk, Faculty Handbook Committee
  • Senator Jennifer Cole, Faculty Rights & Responsibilities Committee
  • Senator Mark Witte, Governance Committee
  • Senator Elsa Alvaro, Non-Tenure Eligible Committee
  • Senator Robert Holmgren, Research Affairs Committee
  • Senator Robert Gordon, Salary & Benefits Committee
  • Senator Lilah Shapiro, Secure Faculty Survey Committee
  • Senator Joshua Hauser, Social Responsibility Committee
  • Senator Karen Springen, Student Affairs Committee