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Faculty Senate talks diversity issues, prepares for next year

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Dr. Benn and Dr. Walkes came to Faculty Senate to discuss diversity initiatives in response to recent issues on campus.
Dr. Benn and Dr. Walkes came to Faculty Senate to discuss diversity initiatives in response to recent issues on campus.

Photo by Sandra Sadek | Senior News Reporter

Faculty Senate announced senator election results, appointed faculty to committees and discussed diversity initiatives during their weekly meeting, April 18.

As Faculty Senate prepares for next year’s senate, they announced the results of the elections for next year’s senators.

Applied Arts: Michael Supancic, Criminal Justice

Liberal Arts: Elizabeth Bishop, History and Vince Luizzi, Philosophy

Science and Engineering: Rachel Davenport, Biology

The Fine Arts and Communication department has yet to announce a winner due to missing a second potential senator to move on in a run-off, as stated in university policy.

Sherri Benn, associate vice president of student diversity and inclusion, and Skyller Walkes, interim director of disability services, came to discuss diversity initiatives and see in which way the Senate can take part in these initiatives. This sparked a long discussion between senators on issues of diversity within the classroom.

“The demographic shift of the university has outpaced our ability to keep up with it,” Benn said. “We need to be prepared to engage our students. We need open and have honest dialogue.”

A task force created by the President’s Cabinet will review the results from the Campus Climate Survey. The results could potentially influence potential future initiatives.

Walkes argued students are being set up for backlash by not being exposed to a broad scope of ideas from different perspective.

“(Faculty) are the ones who are the most influential on the students,” Benn said. “The work is from the inside out.”

Senators reviewed appointments to senate committees for the next school year. The senate approved unanimously most of the committee recommendations.

The Committee on Committees and the Curriculum Committee is on hold until a replacement for one of the recommendations is found. The senate also changed the chair recommendation for the University Lecturers Committee.

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