UB Faculty Senate and Professional Staff Senate celebrated the second annual Day of Shared Governance like a holiday.
The UB Offices of Shared Governance – Faculty Senate and Professional Staff Senate – met Tuesday afternoon in Center for Tomorrow. Along with the two Senates were 10 guest speakers – including Student Association President Matt Rivera and Graduate Student Association (GSA) President Tanja Aho – who participated in a Q&A panel. There were approximately 40 people in attendance.
Shared governance is the practice of “consulting all those affected in a decision before making one so the decision considers all parties involved,” said Faculty Senate Chair Philip Glick.
Last semester, shared governance was a big topic in the Faculty Senate. Glick and other faculty members said they had been “seeking transparency” from the UB Foundation – a private entity independent from UB that controls $1 billion of donations. The Senate questioned shared governance at UB when UB Foundation Chairman Francis M. Letro denied Glick’s request for a faculty member, professional staff member and a student to be added to the Foundation’s board.
President Satish Tripathi sits on the Foundation board and said the Foundation is transparent.
“The board makes a decision as a board and the Foundation has determined they are transparent enough,” Tripathi said in November. “It’s not my decision, it’s the board’s decision.”
The two Senates declared the first Tuesday of March to be UB Day of Shared Governance. This day is supposed to celebrate the five pillars: students, faculty, professional staff, administration and collection of boards and councils, according to Glick.
“Shared Governance is the bedrock of higher education in the United States,” said Domenic J. Licata, chair of Professional Staff Senate. “Networking from all the different organizations across campus does not just benefit the employee, but their departments and then the university as a whole.”
UB students also feel they can benefit from shared governance at UB.
Aho, the GSA president, said shared governance could fix the lack of communication between student-run groups and administration.
“Even though we have a number of ways to talk administration, it still is a challenge to get in touch with them,” Ajo said. “If the university opened more channels for communication, that would be key to make the effort more profound and sustainable.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, Glick also brought up whether or not UB will become a sanctuary campus. Last November, faculty members drafted a letter to Tripathi urging him to declare UB a sanctuary campus.
A sanctuary campus does not enforce immigration law and protects students who are undocumented immigrants.
“We have had hours of discussion on this, talking with the governor and the SUNY system,” Glick said. “It has become clear from SUNY Central that no campus has that individual right to do that and whatever we are going to do we are going to do as a system and I respect that.”
As of now, UB is not labeled a sanctuary campus.
Next month’s Senate meeting will discuss sanctuary campuses and other immigration issues students face, Glick said.
Glick also announced the Senate’s plan to change UB’s smoking policy. Glick said the current policy is ineffective in keeping the campus clean and smoke free. He said the discussion about changing the smoking policy had only recently started.
Licita also detailed plans for school groups to hold annual meetings that will “bring in more perspectives.” Inclusion and Diversity Committee will host its first biannual meeting this summer as an example.
Thomas Zafonte is the assistant sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Zafonte is a senior English major. He is a UB sports fan and enjoys traveling around Buffalo.