Speakers call for more action, shared governance at final University Senate meeting

University senators demonstrated their dedication to their work and the wider campus community Wednesday at this year’s final University Senate meeting, when speakers faced the body and addressed some the most pertinent issues the body faced.

“Something incredible has happened here today,” incoming University Senate President Robert Kyr said of the meeting, referring to the emotional speeches made by the faculty and staff who received awards for their work over the past year. Because of the honesty and enthusiasm demonstrated by the recipients, Kyr said, “I felt something move inside of me that reaffirmed my love for this university.”@@[email protected]@

The three award recipients — Shelley Elliott, Carla McNelly and John Bonine — spoke of the importance of the University’s shared governance model, the role University Senate plays on campus because of it, and the need to maintain and further its voice in future [email protected]@[email protected]@ @@[email protected]@ @@[email protected]@

“We do not get shared governance merely by action or decisions in this senate,” Bonine said during his acceptance speech. A campus leader cannot merely vote on policies, Bonine said, “Whatever we decide must be reiterated in the work we are willing to undertake.”

Speakers noted the changes made in senate under the leadership of Nathan Tublitz, who was the body’s president for nearly two years, and commended him for his work with administration to give Senate more say in University policies and changes on [email protected]@[email protected]@

“We commend you for your vision and leadership,” Kyr said in a letter from University President Richard Lariviere and himself. “We have all benefited from you tireless service.”@@[email protected]@

Among the recognition of the successes made over the past year was a call for Senate and administration to work together to do more.

In a tearful speech, McNelly — recognized for her work to get voting rights for the University’s classified workers — addressed what she said were ongoing issues of disrespect and inequity for the classified staff on campus.

Classified workers have been harassed, threatened, bullied and employees are afraid to report issues for fear of jeopardizing their position, McNelly said.

“It’s gotten worse,” McNelly said directly to Lariviere, who she claimed has not addressed the issue adequately. “We need your help.”

In his closing speech to the body, outgoing Senate President Nathan Tublitz acknowledged the accomplishments made under his leadership as well as issues they still face.

“The Senate is moving forward.” Tublitz said, noting that when he first ran for the position senate failed to be included in most of the decision making on campus. “We still have much work in front of us.”

The University is excelling, but it must take measures to ensure that it continues to provide students a quality education, Tublitz said. He implored the educators and administration to cooperate with one another to continue its current level of work.

The importance of moving forward as a collective unit was echoed by Kyr.

“Until we all do this together, we won’t go forward,” Kyr said. “Let’s envision the University that we truly want and then let’s work together to create it.”

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