Several faculty members stated that the Board of Trustees’ allocation of two seats for faculty members on the committee to select President Kerwin’s replacement was inadequate. Senators queried the Senate leadership how Senate Vice Chair Todd Eisenstadt had been named to the committee without their knowledge. Eisenstadt said he had been appointed by Trustees Jack Cassell and Jeffrey Sine but sworn to confidentiality and thus had not discussed the appointment with the Senate. The Senate passed a unanimous resolution (23-0-1) seeking to have a presidential search committee named that had an equal number of faculty and trustees. Senate Chair Larry Engel said he would report back on the trustees’ reaction to the resolution.
Past Senate Chair Lacey Wootton followed up on a January 2016 resolution by the Faculty Senate and reported that the president’s committee on social responsibility had commissioned a report on possible violations of the rights of Aramark workers at American University.
Vice President for Campus Life Gail Hansen conveyed the university’s Guidelines for Freedom of Expression, which apply to members of the university community (students, faculty, staff, administrators, and invited guests). Further discussion of the document was deferred.
President Kerwin spoke about the state of the university, stating that the university was fiscally sound, that some of the new construction on East Campus may be delayed, but that undergraduate selectivity and admissions were stronger than ever at the institution. Senators stated their dissent with a failure to include more faculty on the committee to search for President Kerwin’s successor, but President Kerwin argued that the Board of Trustees was highly competent and had named sufficient faculty representation.
A discussion of the new General Education Program requirements was started, although the representatives of that committee said that they would still be drafting one more version of that new program and that they would seek final Senate approval in May for the program, which would be piloted next year and begin more extensively in the fall of 2018.
The minutes from the March 2016 meeting of the Senate were approved 19-0-2.