Academic senators remain puzzled, question Tuesday’s decision to move forward with calendar change
Some members of the Academic Senate have mixed reactions to Tuesday’s vote that fell short of stopping the academic calendar change.
The Senate voted 54 to 46 to stop approval of the calendar but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to halt it.
The vote came after some confusion about the wording implemented in the motion. The word “rescind” made the two-thirds vote necessary, but was not addressed until after the voting process was complete.
“That was a move (that) was made by (physics professor) Joe Finck, and it ended up requiring a two-thirds vote. I’m not sure if all of us were aware of that,” said David Smith, a professor of philosophy and religion, who opposes the new calendar. “I didn’t catch it, but I wished someone would have realized it and challenged the original wording of the motion.”
Other senators thought differently about the vote.
“Ultimately, when the vote was cast, I don’t think there was any confusion on the part of people voting,” said David Whale, A-Senate member and associate professor of educational leadership.
“I believe the Senate made a wise decision on the issue,” he said.
Other senators were not in favor of the vote.
“I don’t think there is a good reason to be (changing the calendar),” Smith said. ”There is no academic justification for it; it’s going to create a lot of trouble for various departments, and it will have negative consequences for the majority of faculty and students.”
“I think we, as senators, lose our credibility when we fall into the money arguments and don’t debate the academic quality issues associated with Central Michigan University’s decisions,” Hill said. “I do not care if the outcome of the calendar change will cost $3 million or $30 million if it delivers an equivalent value added to students’ educational experience. Money seems to be the driving force for all of our major decisions. The only issue that money doesn’t seem to drive the outcome of is the decision to go forward with a medical school, which is the only blank check I have seen given to a program in my 33 years at CMU.”
Whale said he could see the points of both the academic and financial arguments.
“Academics are the most important function at a university and should be the driver of any decision,” he said. “Whether or not it was given due consideration, I don’t know. I can see both sides.”
Finck did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
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