When the Board of Trustees decided not to remove the university’s Statement on Human Sexuality, Dr. Carlene Brown, chair of the Faculty Senate, put together a task force of mainly senior-level faculty from diverse disciplines to communicate with the Board about the issue.
The idea was first proposed by professor of philosophy Dr. Patrick McDonald.
“The faculty voted and approved a motion to create a Faculty Task Force for the purpose of focusing on efforts to understand and engage with the Board of Trustees, specifically around the hiring policies in regard to human sexuality,” said Emily Huff, Director of Field Placements and Clinical Faculty.
Huff explained that the Faculty Task Force will be working alongside the LGBTQ Inclusive Action Group at SPU, which consists of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, on coordinated efforts.
Andrew Ryder, Chair of Theatre, was assigned to lead the Faculty Task Force. The other members include Kevin Bartlett, Jake Bentley, Janet Bester-Meredith, Greg Fritzberg, Jeff Keuss, Patrick McDonald, Melani Plett, Paul Yost, and Carlene Brown.
Ryder confirmed that he will be leading the Faculty Task Force, and that they will be developing specific action steps in the coming days and weeks.
“Our charge from Senate is to engage the Board concerning the demands of the vote of no confidence. Our first meeting will take place within the next week; after that we will have a clearer idea of specific action steps,” Ryder said.
The task force met for the first time on Monday and will continue to meet and work during summer on action items that will be reviewed by the Senate.
According to a document outlining the framework for the Faculty Task Force, the task force has four objectives within their charge.
To “pursue a positive response from the Board of Trustees regarding the demands of the Faculty Senate No Confidence Vote,” to “discern a course of actions, and a timeline for them, that the Faculty may take in case of Board intransigence,” to “add effective Faculty voice to the search for an Interim and official President of the University,” and to “coordinate with other university constituencies (e.g. staff, students, administrators, alumni) where and when appropriate for the achievement of these goals.”
Four faculty members met with four representatives from the Board of Trustees, including Executive-in-Charge Laura Hartley, in Upper Gwinn on Monday. The goal of this smaller meeting, separate from the taskforce, was to open dialogue with the board before summer break.
The faculty meeting with the board included Dr. Carlene Brown, Dr. Sara Koenig, Dr. April Middeljans, and Dr. John Hossler.
“At this point, there’s only one meeting scheduled for communication, but I think there is hope that ‘dialogue’ between the faculty and the board can continue,” Dr. Koenig said.