Sept. 25, 2007
By Eva Simeone and Anita Martin
Ohio University's Graduate Student Senate passed by a 13-6 vote Monday evening a resolution calling for revisions to the presidential evaluation process.
The resolution states that for the evaluation process to be substantive and objective, a third party should conduct it. Without that switch, Graduate Student Senate would not participate in the Board of Trustees' presidential evaluation at the end of the 2007-08 academic year.
"I don't think it's unreasonable to think that (the trustees) have a vested interest in the success of the president," said Drew Pusateri, lead sponsor of the resolution and a senate representative for the College of Education. "The main issue here is really the lack of transparency."
Under the current process, Pusateri said, representatives of constituent groups such as the graduate student, student, faculty, administrative and classified senates share feedback with the Board of Trustees, but are prohibited from providing supporting documentation. "This leaves no trail from the constituency input to the report that the trustees put out," Pusateri said.
Other members of the Graduate Student Senate expressed concern that the senate would lose its voice if other senates didn't pass the resolution as well.
"I agree with the concern, but even a flawed process is better than having no voice at all," said Erin Schwartz, a senator representing the College of Fine Arts. "There may be no accounting for constituency voices (under the current process), but at least theoretically we have some input."
Faculty Senate, at its last meeting, discussed basing a resolution of its own on the Graduate Student Senate version. But Senator Joe Bernt, after hearing feedback from other Faculty Senate members, withdrew the resolution in hopes of bringing a revised proposal before the senate in October. Student Senate is expected to discuss a similar resolution at its meeting Wednesday.
The executive council also passed a resolution to create a new Graduate Student Senate commissioner position related to housing, programming and graduate student life. The senate will begin accepting applications immediately for the position on a one-year interim basis, said President Dominic Barbato. The senate will consider permanent implementation after a year-end evaluation.
In other meeting highlights:
- Barbato reported that the Graduate Student Senate's proposed revisions on free speech soon will be sent to the appropriate university standing committees for possible implementation. He also expects to hear soon from President Roderick McDavis on the senate's recommendations regarding the academic calendar.
- Brittany Buxton, vice president for committees and legislative affairs, said the majority of the senate's proposed student health insurance plan recommendations had been accepted by Hudson Health Center, including 100 percent coverage of contraceptive prescriptions filled there by individuals covered by the plan.
She also discussed the possibility of a waiver of student health insurance for married international students who are covered by their spouse's insurance plan. The senate plans to meet with members of the International Student Union and representatives of International Student and Faculty Services to explore potential options.