University of Michigan Faculty Senate members will have a chance on Sept. 16 to weigh in on six motions, most of which are related to the university’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting will be from 3-5 p.m. on the videoconferencing platform Zoom.

The Faculty Senate is part of U-M’s central faculty governance system. It has about 4,300 members and consists of all professorial faculty, librarians, full-time research faculty, executive officers and deans.

Central faculty governance serves in an advisory capacity. Any actions taken by the Faculty Senate would be shared with the Board of Regents as the decision of the faculty through the Faculty Senate.

President Mark Schlissel will speak for 10 minutes at the beginning of the meeting, according to an agenda posted on the Faculty Senate Office website.

Six motions were submitted in advance. At the end of the meeting, there will be an opportunity for people to submit motions from the floor. The motions submitted in advance propose or call for:

  • Allowing the Faculty Senate to conduct electronic meetings.
  • A no-confidence vote in the university administration’s fall semester reopening plan.
  • The university to “implement a permanent policy requiring the administration to engage in substantive consultation on all matters relevant to faculty (including lecturers) with existing bodies of faculty governance at the programmatic, departmental, unit and university levels, including but not limited to the faculty’s representative bodies, SACUA, LEO and the Senate Assembly.”
  • Faculty, staff, the student body and administration to “engage constructively together” to overcome the challenges related to the pandemic and “work together to deliver the educational mission of the university to the fullest extent possible.”
  • The administration, and specifically Schlissel and Provost Susan M. Collins, to “release details about the models and assumptions that have guided university planning for the current ‘inresidence fall term,’ including the justification for the testing protocols adopted, the evidentiary ‘circuit-breakers’ that would cause the administration to discontinue current plans, and the arrangements the university will make to reduce the risk of spreading infection beyond the university community in such an eventuality or at the projected end of term.”
  • A no-confidence vote in Schlissel’s leadership.

Faculty Senate members will receive a registered link to attend the Zoom meeting in their own name by noon Sept. 16.

For a Faculty Senate meeting to have a quorum, at least 100 members need to be present. If there is a quorum, Faculty Senate members will vote anonymously on each motion during the meeting using Zoom’s polling feature. Motions must receive a majority of those voting to pass.

Senate Chair Colleen Conway said in a Sept. 4 email to members that there will also be a separate anonymous electronic vote taken for “informational purposes” during the 24-hour period immediately following the meeting.

That ballot will be open to all Faculty Senate members, including those who voted during the meeting and those who were unable to participate in the meeting but still want to express their support or opposition to the motions.

“We strive to hear from as many members of Faculty Senate as possible,” Conway said.

MaryJo Banasik, director of the Faculty Senate Office, said the votes cast during the 24-hour period will not affect decisions made at the meeting. However, she said they will serve to create a broad and inclusive snapshot of where faculty stands on the issues.

Banasik said the meeting will be recorded so people will be able to watch it before completing the electronic informational ballot.

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