Faculty senators voiced concerns at their March 6 meeting about the input of student and faculty opinions when large decisions are made, referring to the termination of the Bobcat Tram Interurban services.
Senators told Presidentand Provost they understand economical reasons behind such decisions but feel the administration should consider more input from faculty and student perspectives.
Vice Chair Debra Feakes said two faculty members on the transportation committee have quit representing on behalf of the senate because of the feeling their voices are no longer being heard.
Feakes said faculty members would like to head off this issue before it becomes a growing epidemic.
“It really raised some concerns about things that are not under Academic Affairs and what role faculty can play in having their input valued at some level,” Feakes said. “It’s a bigger issue.”
Senators said Joe Richmond, the outgoing transportation services director, assured them at the beginning of his tenure the BTI Austin and San Antonio routes would not be cut. The services were eliminated Jan. 31.
The way the university looks at buses and parking is going through an evolution, Trauth said. This discussion is timely because of the current search for the new director of transportation services.
Trauth said the underlying problem seems to be communication with faculty and students.
“One of the things we’ve been talking about is communication,” Trauth said. “Communication with students I think is really, really important on a campus like ours—but also communication with faculty.”
Trauth said parking must pay for itself since it is a self-supporting auxiliary service, which has caused an increase in permit fees for fall 2014. Parking services is looking for ways to monetize every space on campus.
The Associated Student Government, Residence Hall Association and other committees were asked for input before the permit fees were modified, said Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Services.
Nance said merging of the parking and transportation services departments has been a hurdle, and administrators are looking for “the sweet spot” in managing the newly formed system.
“It’s never been anyone’s intent to eliminate theor the staff council or the student government from policy decisions,” Nance said.
Nance said he believes there was micromanagement in the parking and transportation services departments in the past.
“We work very hard to incorporate faculty input,” Bourgeois said. “I’ve always thought that dialogue up front as those decisions are being made helps.”
Feakes said she hopes the senate can be a resource for committees and vice versa. Senators asked the faculty role be considered an important part of the decision-making process.
“As we have gone down this road, we have made some decisions at the institutional level that then, in effect, preclude making other decisions at the committee level,” Trauth said. “I recognize that.”