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2021-2022 Legislative Actions

Review legislative actions for the 2021-2022 academic year.

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

Resolution: Discontinue Use of Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

June 1, 2022

The Faculty Senate approved the following resolution from the Social Responsibility Committee on June 1, 2022:

WHEREAS Northwestern has expressed a strong commitment to sustainability and sound environmental policy; 

WHEREAS this year’s “One Book” selection is Hope Jahren’s The Story of More, which stresses the urgency of confronting climate change in one’s local community; 

WHEREAS gas-powered leaf blowers are harmful to both the environment and the health of workers; 

WHEREAS their gas engines are inefficient and generate large amounts of air pollution; 

WHEREAS they produce high levels of formaldehyde, benzene, fine particulate matter, and smog-forming chemicals, which are known to cause serious health problems; 

WHEREAS leaf blowers disturb beneficial insect ecosystems and compact the soil, resulting in unhealthy soil that is more susceptible to erosion; 

WHEREAS the noise generated by leaf blowers is disruptive to classes and can also lead to serious hearing problems, including permanent hearing loss; 

WHEREAS, because of their harmful impact, more than 100 cities in the United States and the University of Southern California have already restricted or outright banned the use of gas-powered leaf blowers; 

WHEREAS the City of Evanston has banned them effective April 1, 2023, and it would be good for Northwestern to show that we have taken the lead; 

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Faculty Senate requests the university discontinue the use of gas-powered leaf blowers on both its Evanston and Chicago campuses immediately and find a sustainable alternative. 

Leadership: Senator Regan Thomson voted President-Elect

June 1, 2022

Senator Regan Thomson was voted Faculty Senate President-Elect on June 1, 2022.

Leadership: Senators Announce Candidacy for President-Elect

May 4, 2022

Senator Luis Amaral and Senator Regan Thomson announced their candidacy for Faculty Senate President-Elect at the May 4, 2022 meeting.

Resolution: Opposing Legislation to Limit Critical Race Theory

March 9, 2022

The Faculty Senate approved the following joint resolution from the Educational Affairs and Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committees on March 9, 2022:

Whereas academic freedom is essential to responsible teaching and research, and to the functioning of a healthy University and society,

And whereas Critical Race Theory represents an area of recognized scholarship relevant to the study of racial and social justice, 

And whereas academic freedom to explore scholarship and teaching related to social and racial justice has come under recent attack across the United States within numerous state legislatures, 

Be it resolved that the Northwestern University Faculty Senate opposes legislative attempts to censor credible scholarship and teaching related to racial and social justice, 

And be it further resolved that the Northwestern University Faculty Senate stands in support of our colleagues at Universities and K–12 institutions whose functioning may be affected by such legislation. 

Motion: Amend Faculty Senate Bylaws

February 9, 2022

The Faculty Senate voted against proposed amendments to the Faculty Assembly Bylaws on February 9, 2022.

Resolution: Staff Hiring and Retention

February 9, 2022

The Faculty Senate approved the following joint resolution from the Budget and Planning and Research Affairs Committees on February 9, 2022:

Whereas staff support is essential to completing every aspect of the University’s mission,

And whereas current economic conditions have greatly increased competition for competent employees, 

And whereas staff salaries were largely frozen for several years before the pandemic undermining the University’s standing in the local labor market, 

Be it resolved that the University should increase staff compensation, adjust job design, and take other necessary actions to be a preferred employer in Chicago and Evanston so that it can both attract new staff and retain the staff it has, 

And be it further resolved that the University provide the Faculty Senate with regular reports of the number of open positions and how long it is taking to fill positions so faculty can adequately anticipate timelines for hiring. 

Resolution: Access to All-Gender Bathrooms at University Facilities

November 3, 2021
The Faculty Senate approved the following resolution from the Social Responsibility Committee on November 3, 2021: 
Whereas the University’s own Gender Queer, Non-Binary, and Trans (GQNBT) Task Force Report recommended in 2019 in one of its Key Recommendations that ‘…Northwestern University ensure that University facilities [on all campuses] are safe spaces for trans and gender non-conforming individuals, including ensuring access to all-gender bathrooms’, we resolve that, as soon as possible, and surely before the end of the Winter Quarter 2022, that the University’s central administration: 
  1. Commit to updating Northwestern’s maps so that they report the number of all-gender bathrooms for every University building (see contributed database here) and the closest building with an all-gender bathroom from every building; 
  2. Change signage for single stall bathrooms to all-gender, as has been done for some but not all single stall bathrooms on campus; 
  3. Deliver to the Faculty Senate a strategy and a timeline for adding all-gender bathrooms to all under-served campus buildings, ideally with all necessary permitting and construction work finished by end of Summer 2022; 
  4. Prioritize advocating for and surmounting any remaining city or state code restrictions that prevent adding all-gender bathrooms to campus buildings. 

Committee Membership: Committee on Cause

October 6, 2021

The Faculty Senate approved the following Committee on Cause members on October 6, 2021:

  • Senator Allan Horwich (Chair)
  • Senator Celia O’Brien
  • Senator Lilah Shapiro
  • Senator David Uttal
  • Senator Belma Hadziselimovic
  • Senator Christina Lewicky-Gaupp
  • Senator Sarah Bartolome
  • Senator Jennifer Cole
  • Senator Joseph Ferrie

Leadership: Standing Committee Chairs

October 3, 2021

The Faculty Senate approved the following standing committee chairs on October 6, 2021:

  • Senator Martin Lariviere, Budget & Planning Committee
  • Senator Allan Horwich, Committee on Cause
  • Senator Carol Heimer, Educational Affairs Committee
  • Senator Hermann Riecke, Faculty Handbook Committee
  • Senator Regan Thomson, Faculty Rights & Responsibilities Committee
  • Senator Mark Witte, Governance Committee
  • Senator Anne Waller, Non-Tenure Eligible Committee
  • Senator Fred Turek, Research Affairs Committee
  • Senator Hao Zhang, Salary & Benefits Committee
  • Senator Joshua Hauser, Social Responsibility Committee
  • Senator Steve Adams, Student Affairs Committee.