Monday, March 15, 2010

Game On! The SUNY University Faculty Senate Prepares to Enter the Empowerment Act Debate

The leadership of the state-wide University Faculty Senate for the State University of New York has been busy researching the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act (PHEE&IA) and the debates it has engendered. Their position since late January has been that without knowing what SUNY's tuition-enrollment and asset-management policies actually are, they can't objectively analyze or evaluate the PHEE&IA, much less take a clear-cut position on it that can be easily communicated to legislators. Further, they would prefer that UFS committees and representatives get a chance to deliberate over any recommendation or proposal as to what position the body should take on the PHEE&IA. However, the next UFS plenary isn't until the 3rd week of April. Since it's possible that key votes in the state legislature will have already taken place by then, the UFS leadership is beginning a decision-making process that will put them in a position to take action as needed (perhaps in the form of a resolution that's voted on by mail or electronically?).

If you visit the SUNY Fredonia University Senate page devoted to the PHEE&IA, you can download letters from UFS chair Ken O'Brien, along with a very useful chart summarizing SUNY's and UUP's positions on the various components of the bill, which includes comments from UFS leaders on the components and positions. O'Brien has been in regular communication with leadership on both sides of the debate, and will no doubt be in much more in the coming weeks. He's seeking input from university faculty senators and campus governance leaders across the system in a conference call tomorrow afternoon.

So what role should UFS play in the coming weeks? Personally, I think they ought to indicate clearly

  • what components of the PHEE&IA and SUNY policies they support;
  • what components of the PHEE&IA and SUNY policies they oppose;
  • what components of the PHEE&IA and SUNY policies they would need to see revised in order to support them, with specific revision proposals.
In other words, as we get closer to crunch time, it's high time to see if UFS can't broker some kind of principled compromise between SUNY and UUP that would allow legislators to divide the PHEE&IA into non-controversial and controversial parts for separate votes.

I'll have more on what I think UFS ought to propose over the course of this week.

1 comment:

Ponting said...

The community and the University is thinking about the students and good of the people,which is a great thing,good to read the thing which is based on the UFS committees and representatives get a chance to deliberate,so getting the chance is good and it feels great when you make the most of the chance that you get.
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