President Michael Schill spoke at the UO Faculty Senate meeting on Wednesday about the new sexual and gender-based harassment complaint policy and about the university budget. Also at the meeting, the Senate voted to make the cinema studies program its own department and the Bias Education Response Team Task Force gave its report.
President Schill discussed how he signed the new Student Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Violence Complaint and Response Policy that the Senate approved in April. The policy will go into effect on Sept. 15. Schill said the new policy was created to protect survivors as much as possible, while also keeping the community safe.
“[The policy] is already being sent around to other universities as a model,” said Senate president Bill Harbaugh.
Schill also discussed the budget issues that the university is having and the tuition increase that was denied by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission earlier this month. The HECC is going to reconsider the proposal today in Salem. Without the tuition increase there will have to be $15 million in cuts, but if the increase gets approved there will still be $9 million in cuts, Schill said.
“Even if the HECC approves our tuition we shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief, difficult choices are going to remain,” he said.
Provost Scott Coltrane announced that the university has hired 40 tenured track faculty, from a variety of backgrounds and races, as a part of the university’s plan to hire more tenured track faculty.
Also at the meeting, the Senate voted to make the cinema studies program its own department starting in July. The cinema studies program, established in 2010, is part of multiple schools and colleges on campus, but will now be a department in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Journalism Professor Chris Chavez also gave a report on the BERT, a resource on campus for students to report incidents of bias or racism on campus. Chavez is on the BERT Task Force that was created in June to observe BERT and see what it has been doing.
Chavez said they recommended that BERT refrains from classroom interaction and that they want to encourage students to understand which resource to go to when they have something to report. Chavez said BERT is planning on revising its role at the university because of the report of the task force.
At the next meeting, the senate will be voting on a new vice president who will also be the president-elect. This person will serve as senate VP in 2017-2018 and will be senate president in 2018-2019. So far nobody has come forward and volunteered for this position, but current senate president Bill Harbaugh said at the meeting that he is willing to run again if nobody else does.
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