Board of Trustee members meet with Faculty Senate

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Board of Trustee members meet with Faculty Senate

Kristen Miano/News Editor
Attendants of the Faculty Senate Meeting on Tuesday Nov. 13 exit the Pitlyk Auditorium.

Kristen Miano/News Editor Attendants of the Faculty Senate Meeting on Tuesday Nov. 13 exit the Pitlyk Auditorium.

Kristen Miano/News Editor Attendants of the Faculty Senate Meeting on Tuesday Nov. 13 exit the Pitlyk Auditorium.

Kristen Miano/News Editor Attendants of the Faculty Senate Meeting on Tuesday Nov. 13 exit the Pitlyk Auditorium.

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Kristen Miano/News Editor
Attendants of the Faculty Senate Meeting on Tuesday Nov. 13 exit the Pitlyk Auditorium.

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, the Faculty Senate met in an extra session to further discuss their motivations behind the vote of no confidence they passed on Tuesday, Oct. 30 against Lawrence Biondi S.J., the president of Saint Louis University.
The meeting was called after the Faculty Senate sent an invitation to the Board of Trustees requesting they attend a meeting with the Faculty Senate so the senators could further explain their motivations for the vote of no confidence. Two unidentified members of the Board attended the meeting, but only to observe.
“The Board members would rather listen than present anything,” said Mark Kneupfer, the president of the Faculty Senate. “This will be a discussion period to go over what the issues are that lead us to the vote of no confidence.”
A separate meeting was held between the members of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and five members of the Board of Trustees on Thursday, Nov. 1. It was agreed, however, that the specifics of the meeting would be kept confidential.
“As far as we know, this is the first open meeting we have had with the Board of Trustees,” Kneupfer said. “We can’t divulge the specifics of the meeting, but we discussed what we talked about in our different motions and explained why we are where we are. The Board was very open-minded. There were several things that perhaps they were not being told, but they listened to us.”
There was concern about the secrecy of the meeting.
“It’s the principle of the confidential meeting,” said Stephen Casmier, a senator from the College of Arts and Sciences. “What is the purpose behind keeping secrets in a certain context?”
The Executive Committee stated confidentiality was established in order to ensure the discussion with the members of the Board stayed open and honest. According to Theodore Vitali C.P., the meeting had no set format. The discussion was guided by the questions of the Board representatives.
“It was enlightening to know that the Board of Trustees did not know much about tenure, let alone the procedures and what the implications were behind the proposal from Patankar and why we rejected it,” Vitali said. “To say that meeting was frank is the understatement of the century. It was a hell of a bridge we crossed.”
Other topics discussed included the perceived climate of fear at SLU, student concerns about freedom of speech and concerns with faculty leaving the University and seeking other jobs.
“It is up to the Board of Trustees to act on our motion of no confidence against Biondi,” Kneupfer said. “Once the Board has made a decision, we will decide what to do next.”
The committee reviewing sections of the Faculty Manual regarding shared governance will continue to meet. A goal of the committee is to rework the manual to ensure faculty will have a voice in Board meetings.
The senators raised questions concerning the proposed survey regarding the votes of no confidence. According to Knuepfer, the Senate responded to the administration, stating that they would not accept the survey as a stand-in for the implications of the vote.
“The day after the [Student Government Association] vote of no confidence, we were notified there would be a survey of the faculty,” Knuepfer said. “We responded that we would not accept the survey as a stand-in for the vote. The Faculty Senate is the representative body for the Faculty and the SGA is the representative body for the students.”
The Executive Committee felt confident the proposal had been withdrawn.
SGA Internal Affairs Vice President Beth Alberty spoke at the meeting about how SGA is looking to distinguish itself from  the Faculty Senate.
“SGA has a tentative meeting with the Student Development Committee,” Alberty said. “We want to differentiate ourselves from the Faculty Senate because there has been concern from the administration that we are acting as puppets of the Faculty Senate, but students have their own concerns and problems.”
The Faculty Senate will meet again in two weeks for their regularly scheduled meeting.