Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Board of Governors

Wayne State University Statutes

2.26.04 Academic Senate The Academic Senate is the instrumentality by which the faculties of the University can express to the President of the University and the Board of Governors their considered opinion and judgments upon matters of educational policy affecting the University community. Although the privilege of direct communication by any member of the faculty is affirmed, this Senate is recognized as the official and major channel of communication on such matters between the faculties and this Board. Composition of Academic Senate
  The Senate shall be composed of 1) members elected at large by the University academic staff; 2) members elected from the several schools and colleges in numbers proportionate to their faculty size; and 3) members elected by the academic staffs of certain service divisions of the University. Any full-time member of the academic rank of instructor, or its equivalent, or any higher rank, shall be entitled to vote in any election of Senate members-at-large or at any referendum affecting the Senate. Eligibility to vote for school, college, or unit representatives shall be determined by the school, college, or unit concerned. The members of the Senate holding office at the time this statute is adopted by the Board of Governors are directed to hold a referendum on proposed formulas for representation of the three groups referred to as soon as it is conveniently possible, and to reorganize the Senate membership in accordance with the proposal receiving majority approval of those voting providing, however, that all members currently holding office shall be entitled to continue for the balance of the term for which elected notwithstanding the provision of this statute. Future changes in the formulas for representation shall be submitted to a similar referendum upon petition of 5% of the persons eligible to vote thereat, or by vote of a majority of the membership of the Senate; and if approved as herein provided shall take effect at the next regular election for members of the Senate. The term and place of elections to the Senate shall be included in the bylaws of the Senate. Any changes in the formulas for representation shall be subject to the provisions herein provided for changes in the Senate bylaws. Functions and Responsibilities
  This Senate has authority and responsibility for the formulation and review of educational policy affecting the University as a whole; but this responsibility shall extend to the internal affairs of colleges, schools, divisions and other units of the University only where they significantly affect the interests of other units or the University as a whole. The responsibility for the formulation and continuing review of educational policy shall give attention to the content and costs of academic programs together with those aspects of organization which have a substantive effect on the character of academic programs. The appropriate University officers, as designated by the President, shall work with the Academic Senate in the formulation of educational policy recommendations. 1 The Academic Senate shall, in particular, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, recommend to the President and the Board of Governors, except in those matters subject to collective bargaining, policies affecting faculty rights and responsibilities, faculty welfare, and generally accepted principles of academic freedom and tenure. In case of appointments to administrative posts above the level of deanships, the Senate may offer recommendations as to criteria and may provide for systematic faculty consultation in regard to particular appointments. Procedures
  This Senate may consider matters referred to it by the President, by other councils, or upon its own initiative, and may make recommendations with reference thereto to the President and/or such other councils, and pursuant to the procedures herein set forth, to this Board. The President will be expected to secure the judgment of the Senate upon any proposed change in educational policy or any matter affecting faculty rights and responsibilities, except in those matters subject to collective bargaining, before taking formal action thereon. Where these matters are to be submitted to the Board of Governors for approval, the Academic Senate shall be given a timely opportunity to provide a position paper for submission to the Board of Governors. When urgency precludes prior consultation, the President shall promptly report the action to the Senate for its review. Consequential matters as described in the first sentence of the preceding paragraph which may be proposed by the President are expected to be brought to the Academic Senate at a sufficiently early stage to allow for significant faculty input before decisions are taken. Actions of the Senate shall become University policy when approved by the President acting within the scope of his or her authority. If the President disapproves a Senate action, he or she shall either forward said action to the Board of Governors together with his or her reasons for disapproval, or return it to the Senate with a recommendation for reconsideration. After such a reconsideration, if the President still disapproves the Senate's action, he or she shall forward that action to the Board of Governors, together with his or her reasons for disapproval. In such a case the Senate, through representatives designated by it, presents its position to the Board. Bylaws and Procedures of the Senate
  The Senate shall have the power to establish its own bylaws and procedures, and amend same; also to appoint appropriate officers and committees, and to delegate to them such duties and responsibilities as it may deem proper and appropriate. Amendment of Bylaws will be reported by the President to the Board of Governors.

Legislative History
Adopted 5-0; Official Proceedings 6:892 (15 November 1961) Amended(1,2); Official Proceedings 11:1304 (20 October 1966) (text appears at Official Proceedings 10:1271) 1 Amended(3) 8-0; Official Proceedings 16:2l04 (10 February 1972) Amended(4) 6-0; Official Proceedings 20:2606 (11 July 1975) Amended(5) 7-0; Official Proceedings 27:3815 (10 June 1983) Amended(6) 8-0; Official Proceedings 34:4560 (27 April 1990) The role of the Academic Senate was discussed at Official Proceedings 35:4640 (14 December 1990) (7)

Compiler Notes
(1) Amended Sec. by deleting the last sentence and replacing it with the last sentence currently found in that section.

(2) The vote on this action was not recorded. However, it appears from the Proceedings that all 8 Governors were present and it is therefore reasonable to assume that the vote was 8-0.

(3) Amended Sec. by replacing the old section with the one which currently appears there.

(4) This Amendment re-published Sec. without change, created Sec., replaced the old Sec. with the one which currently appears there, and created Sec.

(5) Amended Secs. and by adding phrase "except in those matters subject to collective bargaining." It also made a minor rewording to Sec. which did not change the substance of that section.

(6) The Board of Governors approved a change in the name of the University Council from "University Council" to "Academic Senate." The University Council has amended its bylaws, and the amendments include changing the name "University Council" to "Academic Senate." Professor Martin Wechsler was President of the University Council at the time deliberations began about the amendments, and he explained to the Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday that the reason for the change is that the name does not really reflect that the organization is the representative body of the faculty and academic staff. The name is quite often misunderstood by those outside of the University who think it is an organization which represents all employees.

Although the University Council has the authority to amend its bylaws, the amendment to change the name requires the Board's approval because the Board created the entity with the name, "University Council." (Official Proceedings 34:4560)

(7) At the Board of Governors meeting on December 14, 1990, Governor Artinian stated that it appeared that a recent Academic Senate resolution professed to speak on behalf of the University. He did not challenge the right of the Academic Senate or any other unit of the University to take a position on any issue, but he raised the question to emphasize that the authority to speak on behalf of the University rests with the Board of Governors.

President Adamany said Governor Artinian advised him prior to the meeting that he was going to raise that concern, and President Adamany prepared the following sttement which was read into the record:

On October 3, 1990, the Academic Senate did adopt a resolution supporting the right of Dennis Barrie and the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati to exhibit the work of Robert Mapplethorpe without censorship or restriction. I would like to note that I strongly share the sentiments of the Academic Senate on this matter and I have publicly expressed these views.

The Senate's action did state that its resolution represented the views of both the Academic Senate and Wayne State University, and the resolution endorsed and supported artistic, academic, and constitutional freedom, supported the right of Mr. Barrie and the Contemporary Arts Center to exhibit the work of Mr. Mapplethorpe, and expressed the confidence of Wayne State University in the values and behavior of Mr. Barrie, who is one of our graduates.

An inquiry was made to the President's Office about the Senate's representation that it, the Senate, spoke on behalf of Wayne State University. As a result, on October 24, I directed an inquiry to the Policy Committee about this matter. My inquiry noted that while the Academic Senate is fully authorized to express its view on this or any other subject, it is not authorized to speak on behalf of Wayne State University. I also noted that the authority to speak on behalf of Wayne State University is vested by the Michigan Constitution in the Board of Governors or those delegated to speak on its behalf. The Academic Senate is not so authorized by University statutes.

In a memorandum dated November 6, 1990, Professor Charles Jeffries, the President of the Academic Senate, wrote to me that the Policy Committee believed that its action had merely paraphrased the University's mission statement. The Policy Comittee did not subsequently recommend to the Academic Senate that the phrasing of the resolution of October 6, 1990 be changed to show that it was an action of the Senate alone.

While the mission statement endorses human diversity, tolerance, mutual respect, and human liberty, I would note also that the mission statement does not delegate to the Senate the authority to speak on behalf of Wayne State University on these issues.

I want to note again that my personal views are the same as those of the Academic Senate with respect to the exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe's work at the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati. But I do feel obligated to note for the Proceedings of the Board of Governors that the Academic Senate was not authorized to speak on behalf of Wayne State University on this issue and that its resolution is not a statement on behalf of the University.

The Board of Governors acts with great concern and respect toward the Academic Senate. The statute establishing the Senate gives it wide responsibilities for recommending academic programs and policy, and the Senate's proposals are given great respect by the Board of Governors when they come to this body. Ours is the only governing board in Michigan that includes in its committees voting members representing the Academic Senate and the faculty. In addition, with the knowledge and encouragement of the Board of Governors, the administration seeks informal advice from the Academic Senate on a wide range of matters and gives great respect to the Senate's advice on those matters.

Respect and cooperation require mutuality. And I am hopeful that the Policy Committee will continue to consider whether respect for the Board of Governors should be shown by clearly representing actions of the Senate as its own actions rather than representing that they are actions on behalf of Wayne State University, thus intruding on the authority of the Board of Governors.

I do want to say, however, that I do not believe that the Academic Senate's particular action in adopting the resolution of October 3, 1990 has caused any specific harm to the University. And the incautious representation of its views as those of the University will be corrected by this statement in the Proceedings. I, therefore, do not recommend any formal action or statement by the Board of Governors on this matter.

Governor Artinian said he just wanted to set the record straight and to emphasize that the Board speaks for the University. (Official Proceedings 35:4640)

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