Emergency meeting of university senate targeted academic integrity and shared governance

The University of Oregon Senate held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to address academic integrity and shared governance.

Lawrence 115 erupted in applause when University of Oregon Senate President Robert Kyr entered Wednesday’s emergency meeting.

As of Wednesday morning the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation strike has ended, and a controversial item on the Board of Trustees’ December agenda was removed.

Today’s Senate both praised and criticized UO’s administration and for their handling of the GTFF strike.

In the wake of the strike, issues including academic integrity and the Senate’s responsibility to preside over academic matters were brought to the surface.

Bonnie Mann, head of the philosophy department, said that it was hard to take all the “happy duck talk” at the meeting in light of recent events surrounding the GTFF strike.

“We just went through something where the administration marched ahead with a grading plan and a grading policy and they did not stop when the faculty senate spoke,” Mann said. “They continued with that grading plan up until today. As we are trying to restore these relationships, which we have to do and which I am totally behind, I want us to remember that something really egregious happened. We need to be careful as we proceed not to be too happy too fast.”

Mann was visibly supported by today’s attendee’s and received a standing ovation. Throughout the remainder of the meeting, she continued to contribute her concerns about academic integrity. Mann wasn’t the only one.

“There’s a huge concern that academic integrity has not been maintained at all,” Jane Cramer, associate professor of political science, said. “A lot of students were issued final grades, not provisional grades, based on part of their class with tremendous grade inflation. And those are final. I don’t know if that’s integrity.”

The Senate also addressed shared governance during the two hour emergency meeting. Michael Dreiling, a member of the Senate Executive Committee, addressed the postponement of a Board of Trustees resolution.

“There is a time to celebrate and there is a time to mourn, ” Dreiling said. “…We cannot mourn it if we don’t remember it and we cannot heal it if we cannot mourn it.”

An item that had potential to supersede the UO constitution and would affect the senate’s ability to make policy was removed for Wednesday’s agenda earlier that day. University of Oregon Interim President Scott Coltrane addressed the issue online. Coltrane was at a board committee meeting during Wednesday’s Senate emergency session, so Kyr read a statement on Coltrane’s behalf:

“The University of Oregon lived up to its reputation as a place of lively debate and passionate discourse this week in our discussion of a policies proposal before the UO Board of Trustees,” Coltrane said. “I have heard your concerns and, as President, have carried your voice forward to our Board of Trustees. The board graciously responded by postponing consideration of the policies proposal at the December meeting, but charged us to work expeditiously towards a revised process that allows the university to review policy efficiently and collaboratively. The Board would like to see a new resolution in time for consideration at its March meetings.”


Follow Alexandra Wallachy on Twitter @wall2wallachy and check out the senate live tweet feed here.

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Alexandra Wallachy

Alexandra Wallachy

Alex is a head correspondent at the Emerald focusing on higher education and student government. She is also a producer for the Emerald Podcast Network and a huge fan of the Daily Show.