Three approved proposals sent to shared governance executive committee

Three approved proposals sent to shared governance executive committee

Editor-in-Chief Harley Duncan

The faculty senate approved changes to the faculty handbook Jan. 17, which would make commencement ceremonies voluntary for all faculty members.

Senators also approved to adopt a change to the student complaint policy and increase the pay for adjuncts.

Kimberly Greenway, interim vice president of student affairs, sent a drafted student complaint policy Oct. 29, 2018 to the Shared Governance Executive Committee.

The new policy’s goals are to expand and increase students’ opportunities to share their complaints with the university, and align it more closely with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ 2018 accreditation guidelines.

Greenway said the policy would also help the university track patterns in student complaints. Vice presidents of student affairs, academic affairs and the provost will maintain a record of every complaint that includes the date that the student complaint was received, the nature of the complaint and the university official assigned to investigate the complaint.

“UNA is committed to reviewing and responding to student complaints appropriately,” according to the draft. “A complaint is an expression of discontent based on the result of behavior or circumstances that the student believes are unjust, unsafe, inequitable or create an unnecessary hardship.”

Ross Alexander, vice president affairs and provost, sent a proposal Nov. 13, 2018 to Amber Paulk, chair of the shared governance committee, to increase the adjunct pay rate to $800 per credit hour and $700 per contact hour.

He said in the Jan. 17 faculty senate meeting the new pay rate will not officially begin until the 2019 fall semester.

Alexander sent another proposal Nov. 27, 2018 to Paulk that aims to make faculty commencement ceremonies voluntary for all faculty members. Section 3.3.2 of the current faculty handbook mandates that faculty members attend commencement ceremonies.

Alexander said there is no reason to “police” the attendance of faculty members.

The expansion of a third commencement ceremony for the fall and spring semesters and a summer ceremony would give faculty members more options to attend.

“I know the faculty will do the right thing and come support the students,” Alexander said.

Senators did reject one proposal, which aimed to change the university’s policies on free speech and campus speakers. Greenway sent the original proposal Oct. 1, 2018 to the shared governance executive committee.

Greenway wanted to align the university’s policies with Mississippi State’s policies. She cited that MSU received a green light rating from The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which prompted her request for a change.

Katie Owens-Murphy, English professor, said the university’s current policy already has a green light from FIRE. She said there is no reason to make a change.

Greenway has the opportunity to revise and resubmit the proposal if she wants.