Ending a nine-month wait, the committee responsible for advising the UO Faculty Senate on student athletes’ academic performance and welfare received an overhaul during today’s senate meeting, the last of the year. The motion has been awaiting vote since April.
The newly renamed Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Committee has been called inefficient due to the regular absence of two Athletic Department members during meetings, which cut off the flow of information from the Athletic Department to the Senate. The changes are meant to improve current student athletes’ academic quality and student life.
“This is a good compromise in moving forward in engaging with student athletes,” said Laura Leete, current chair of the IAC — now the IAAC.
This new committee will contain fewer members than before and advise both the UO Senate and President Michael Schill.
According to the senate website, one of the current responsibilities of the IAC is to “promote and safeguard opportunities for student athletes to excel in academics and protect and ensure the academic integrity of student athletes.”
Senators discussed the obligation of the Faculty Senate, which mainly deals with academic affairs, to have an influence on student life because it ties in with academics.
One of the senators said the IAC “had not been an effective organization.”
In an interview with the Emerald, UO Senate Vice President Chris Sinclair said that the Senate is unsure whether an effective IAC would be able to prevent any of the recent misconduct from student football players — including three alleged acts of violence from tight end Pharaoh Brown, as well as a DUII and possession of methamphetamine from defensive lineman Austin Maloata — because the Senate is unaware of the Athletic Department’s actions.
The full motion of the new IAAC, which passed with 31 in favor and six opposed, is here.
The last hour of the meeting opened a discussion and presentation about “general education” at UO, classes outside of a student’s specified major. The presenters, Charles Blaich and Kathy Wise from the Wabash Center of Inquiry, study liberal arts education and have surveyed UO students and faculty for the past three days.
Some contributing comments from senators included integrating cellphones into higher education and teaching critical thinking.
President Bill Harbaugh also said the senate attendance has been steadily increasing in the past two years.
Harbaugh capped the meeting with a notice of a motion to improve course evaluations from UO classes. He did not provide any additional details.