In a recent communication reminding folks of an upcoming Faculty Senate meeting, Senate Chair Colleen Conway relayed “the Faculty Senate Office received an opinion from the Office of General Counsel that the Faculty Senate does not have the authority under the University Senate rules to hold remote meetings”.
University Spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald told The Michigan Daily the “Faculty Senate office initially reached out to the General Counsel’s office in April, asking if the Faculty Senate bylaws allowed for remote meetings” the answer to which “at that time was no, but that the Faculty Senate could change its bylaws to allow for such meetings.”
“[A] change in bylaws to allow remote meetings, must be made during an in-person meeting,” said Fitzgerald. (Faculty Senate’s bylaws require a quorum of 100 members.) “That’s not possible just yet because of a governor’s executive order that restricts the size of meetings.” And Washtenaw county has further restricted this to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors in Ann Arbor.
Six motions were received for the September 16, 2020 Faculty Senate Meeting. One on electronic voting and five spitting straight fire with two of them directly declaring no confidence with the University’s Upper Management: “BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate of the University of Michigan has no confidence in the administration’s re-opening plan” and “BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate of the University of Michigan has no confidence in President Mark Schlissel’s leadership.”
Conway further clarifies, “this meeting will not be a duly constituted meeting pursuant to University Senate Rules” and as such the votes of no confidence (which we are told will be open for 24 hours!) “will not constitute an official action of the University Senate”.
So, while it’s not nothing, it’s something close.1, 2, 3
- A German studies professor at the University is on record as saying it is “an abolition of democratic procedure.”
- A professor from the School of Information has said, “the reality is faculty have no hard administrative power at the University, so they’re all symbolic votes anyway”.
- The same School of Information Professor said “They carry the moral weight of whatever the vote turns out to be.”