When the student guests arrived in Merrick Hall this Dec. 7, they were greeted by signs at the stairwells and elevators asking them to remain on the first floor.
A group of three faculty members waited downstairs with the students to relay messages about their admittance. After five minutes, the president and vice president of WCSA were allowed upstairs.
It took a half hour after this announcement before the reporter for The Transcript was permitted to join them.
The controversy over student presence at faculty meetings came to a head last month when faculty voted by a narrow margin to turn away student representatives from the Nov. 16 meeting out of concerns for privacy.
In the wake of that decision, articles about the meeting, first reported on by The Transcript, appeared in the Delaware Gazette and the Columbus Dispatch.
The publication of Transcript reports on faculty meetings in the Delaware Gazette, made possible by a sharing agreement between the two papers, initiated the three-month conflict. According to a campus-wide email signed by the Governance Committee, faculty were concerned that story sharing “could inhibit the frank and open discussion necessary in order to work through contentious issues.”
Other professors, namely professor Paul Kostyu of the journalism department, disagreed. And at the Dec. 7 meeting, while the motion to admit The Transcript reporter was still on the floor, Kostyu read a statement expressing his concerns.
Kostyu argued that “meetings shouldn’t be closed just because you think something might be said that you don’t like.”
After the faculty agreed to allow all students into the meeting, Provost Chuck Stinemetz announced that President Rock Jones was delayed in San Francisco and that there would be no administrative reports.
Professor Chris Wolverton, chair of the Governance Committee and a member of the department of botany and microbiology department, made remarks about the February board of trustees meeting. He said that it would be a “critical meeting” and that some faculty members might be asked to present information on their committee to members of the board.
Professor Dale Brugh of the chemistry department went on to present a proposed change to the wording of the faculty handbook. The amendment, which extends the deadline for those faculty applying for promotion, was approved.
Next at the podium was professor N. Kyle Smith, chair of the Academic Policy Committee and a member of the psychology department. Smith announced that his committee had approved a new math class, changes to politics and government course titles and numbers, and updates to the language of the existing academic catalog.
After a short reminder about the due date for final grades by professor Karen Poremski of the English department, the last meeting of the semester was adjourned.