Faculty Senate to meet virtually for first meeting


Photo by Katherine Kealey/Iowa State Daily

Annmarie Butler, associate professor in philosophy and religious studies, addressed the Faculty Senate about her concerns with only expecting students to meet three out of the four U.S. diversity requirements constructed by the Senate. The Faculty Senate met to discuss U.S. diversity requirements Oct. 12 in the Sun Room at the Memorial Union.

Katherine Kealey

For the first meeting of 2022, the Iowa State University Faculty Senate will reconvene in a virtual format due to the increased spread of the Omicron variant. 

After senators and Executive Board members voiced concerns about the potential disruption the Omicron could cause for the beginning of the semester, the Senate Executive Board ruled to host the meeting via Webex because traveling over break, among other reasons, according to an email sent regarding the meeting. 

“I do not underestimate the severity of the COVID-19 virus,” Faculty Senate President Andrea Wheeler said in an email response to the Daily. “I hope that the Omicron variant is weaker than previous versions of the virus, and evidence may suggest this. Faculty Senate is frustrated at the response of the Board of Regents to mask-wearing on campus.” 

Wheeler said the Senate Executive Board would continue to discuss the modalities for the next meetings. Wheeler joined the Faculty Senate Caucus Chair for Business in preparing another letter to the Board of Regents expressing recent concerns brought by faculty members regarding COVID-19 mitigation on campus. 

“While I am not trying to underestimate the risk and the need for faculty to take a high degree of responsibility and model good behavior, February and March may see a recovery and greater optimism about where we stand with this pandemic in the future,” Wheeler said.

During the meeting, the Senate will also vote on the president-elect and hear from Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Toyia Younger. 

The Faculty Senate has requested nominations for president-elect over the last couple of months and will receive nominations from senators during Tuesday’s meeting as well. The nominees will offer the Senate a pitch followed by a vote. The Senate will find out who the nominees are during Tuesday’s meeting. 

The Faculty Senate president-elect’s job includes organizing the bi-annual Spring Faculty Conference as well as supporting the work of the current Faculty Senate president.

Under unfinished business, the Senate will vote the proposed bylaw change relating to senate note-taking procedures for the Senate secretary. The change would limit meeting minutes based on Roberts Rules of Order, newly revised, which states minutes are a record of what was done at a meeting instead of a record of what was said. 

In the final meeting of the fall semester, senators heard the first reading of the bylaw change. Wheeler said this is an important item and there will be continued discussion Tuesday.

Minutes must be both accurate, and neutral and this can easily be impossible for anyone summarizing extensive, sometimes heated discussions at the Faculty Senate,” Wheeler said in an email response to the Daily. “This item has been discussed at length in our Governance Council and Executive Boards, and voting has been in support. As always, there will be those speaking for and against.”