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May 12, 2017

Professors Elected to the Council of the University Senate

Two weeks ago, the University Senate elected 17 new members to serve on the Council of the University Senate. This past Tuesday, the Council elected seven members to form the new Committee of the Council, a smaller group of faculty that communicates directly with the president and the provost.  

The new Council’s term of service will begin on September 25. The new Committee’s will begin on September 1. 

Among the new members elected to the 2017–18 Council, four come from the biological sciences and medicine, four from the humanities, three from the physical sciences, two from Booth, two from the social sciences, one from the School of Social Service Administration (SSA), and one from the Law School. According to chair of the philosophy department Gabriel Lear, who served on the Council 2010–14 and was recently re-elected, there is no requirement for Council member distribution among the divisions and the professional schools. 

In the past, the Council of the University Senate has voted in favor of the University’s affiliation with the Marine Biological Laboratory in 2012, approved the creation of a Ph.D. degree at the Institute of Molecular Engineering in 2013, and adopted the changes to statute 21 recommended by the Ad Hoc Committee on Protest and Dissent in 2014. 

The University Senate consists of all tenured or tenure-track faculty. Each year, the Senate elects 17 new members to the Council of the University Senate to serve a three-year term. The Council consists of 51 members in total.  

The University Senate meets in its entirety at least once a year to hear a report from the president and discuss matters pertaining to the interests of the University. The Council meets at least once a month to discuss and vote on issues on campus. 

Agenda for the Council meetings is determined by the Committee of the Council. The Committee consists of seven faculty members on the Council, each of whom is elected to serve a one-year term. The president and the provost are chair and vice chair of the Committee without vote. The Committee meets once every two weeks. 

For all matters presented during the Council meetings, an elected spokesperson is responsible for delivering the Committee’s opinion on them to the Council. 

According to Lear, the Council could only vote on proposals whose details are determined before being presented to the Council. “There is that point of [the faculty’s] influence [obtained through voting], but when you consider that so much happened before anything is brought to the council, it’s a bit of a blunt instrument,” Lear said. 

Law School professor Lisa Bernstein, another newly elected member of the Council, told The Maroon that having different voices across disciplines is incredibly valuable. “I personally love meeting my colleagues across campus. When smart people who care about the institution come together, something good comes out of it,” Bernstein said. 

Bernstein also told The Maroon that one of the issues she wishes the Council to address next year. “From my perspective, the most important issue is maintaining the integrity of free speech on campus. I want my voice for free speech to be heard,” Bernstein said. 

The 17 newly elected members of the 2017-2018 Council of the University Senate: 

  • Lisa Bernstein (Law School) 
  • Shannon Dawdy (Anthropology) 
  • Michael J. Foote (Geophysical Sciences) 
  • Elbert Huang (Medicine) 
  • Kristen Jacobson (Psychiatry) 
  • Robert J. Keenan (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) 
  • Robert L. Kendrick (Music) 
  • Gabriel Lear (Philosophy) 
  • Shan Lu (Computer Science) 
  • Daniel Margoliash (Organismal Biology and Anatomy) 
  • Richard Neer (Art History) 
  • Angela V. Olinto (Astronomy and Astrophysics) 
  • Harold Pollack (Social Service Administration) 
  • Canice Prendergast (Booth School of Business) 
  • Eugene A. Raikhel (Comparative Human Development) 
  • Kenneth Warren (English Language and Literature) 
  • George Wu (Booth School of Business) 

The seven newly elected members of the 2017-2018 Committee of the Council: 

  • Erin Adams (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) 
  • Clifford Ando (Classics) 
  • William Howell (Harris School of Public Policy) 
  • John Kelly (Anthropology) 
  • Christine Mehring (Art History) 
  • Randal Picker (Law School) 
  • Kenneth Warren (English) 

Correction on May 15, 2017, 6:32 p.m. CDT:

This article incorrectly stated that Randal Picker had been elected as the 2017-18 Spokesperson of the Committee of the Council. The election has not yet taken place.

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