A compromise is called after Provost walks out

Daniel Moore

After Monday’s unusual Faculty Senate meeting, during which Provost Robert Frank and some of his administrators walked out, Mack Hassler, Faculty Senate Chair, called the event a “travesty” in a memo.

Hassler’s word choice referenced Faculty Senator Don White’s use of the word “travesty” to describe editing by Frank’s office of the proposed University Policy and Procedures Regarding Distinguished Academic Ranks.

The Faculty Senate and the Provost’s office are working to finalize this policy, but haven’t come to an agreement. The Professional Standard Committee previously submitted the policy to Frank’s office, which returned it with revisions.

“There were 38 words out of a two and a half page document that were left unchanged,” White said after the meeting Monday night.

In the memo, titled “Need for Declaration of Mutuality in Shared Governance,” Hassler wrote, “This melodrama of invective, posturing and parade seems clearly itself to be a travesty in the sense of a ridicule of serious work.”

White explained his use of words the next day.

“The senate doesn’t feel that the provost is willing to work with us,” White said. “It’s more that he wants to do what he wants to do and not have to negotiate a compromise with anybody about it.”

Frank said he didn’t think the policy was “ready for a full discussion” at the Faculty Senate meeting.

“I decided my presence wasn’t enabling the discussions to take place,” he said.

Hassler did not directly condemn the actions of either White or Frank and wrote, “The rhetoric of discontent with this situation needs to be put back into its sheath and not used by either partner.”

Hassler was not available for additional comment.

“I think he [Hassler] is trying to bridge the two and make peace,” White said.

Hassler’s memo — divided into sections titled “The Setting,” “The Stakes” and “The Solution” — emphasized the idea of power sharing among both administration and Faculty Senate.

“Administration needs to be transparent, consistent and trustworthy in presenting its expectations to Senate and to Senate Committees, with the knowledge that Senate may pass actions it does not like,” Hassler wrote.

White also acknowledged compromise has to come from all parties.

“Both sides need to look at the way we’re dealing with each other,” he said. “It doesn’t do anybody any good to bicker.”

Frank said he looks forward to having more conversations with the Professional Standard Committee regarding the policy.

Contact Daniel Moore at [email protected].