Faculty Agree to Add Two
By Elaine Teng '12, Editor-in-Chief
Discussing an issue that has spawned much contention throughout the College, accrued a student petition and Facebook group and elicited protestors before the meeting, the faculty voted 73-32-6 at their April 20 meeting to add two staff members to the Committee on Priorities and Resources (CPR).

The CPR, currently composed of three faculty members and three students, is charged with studying the allocation of College resources. The staff will not include the approximately 10 Trustee-appointed members, such as the President and the Dean of Faculty, and it is still undecided whether or not these staff representatives will be voting members of the committee.

A motion was first passed to provide staff with a pathway to communicate directly with the senior administration and other groups around campus.

The faculty then began debating the motion to add staff members to the CPR. Those in favor argued that the staff currently felt neglected and demoralized and as one professor put it, “Staff voice is insufficiently heard in decisions pertaining to the College.”

Many committees, including the CPR, invited staff as guest members during the financial crisis last year, and some faculty pointed out the insights and benefits they reaped from staff input, which they felt signified that they should be permanently institutionalized as part of the process.

However, many faculty members voiced fears about loss of faculty governance, as faculty would technically be able to be outvoted on their own committee if staff and students banded together.

They also expressed their anger about being forced to decide on an issue they feel is really between the staff and the administration. One professor felt that the faculty is best suited to allocate College resources because they have academics, the core purpose of the College, most directly at heart. Others debated how staff representatives on the CPR would be chosen.

Other business on the agenda included announcing this year’s honorary degree recipients, which include a variety of people, such as the founder of Wikipedia, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist and a South African anti-apartheid activist. The faculty also approved 38 new courses and the creation of the Mellon Senior Thesis Prize, a new award for a graduating senior who has completed an honors thesis deemed exceptional by their department. Each department can nominate one senior, and the winner will receive a $2,000 stipend and $1,500 for living expenses to remain at the College for the summer to prepare their thesis for publication. The senior’s advisor will receive a $5,000 grant towards research and the winner will be selected based on intellectual quality, originality and potential for publication.

Further discussion of staff membership on the CPR will occur at the next faculty meeting on May 20.

Issue 23, Submitted 2010-04-21 03:19:30