From: Peter Gillett
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2018 4:32 PM
To: Jane Gilman; Sanjib Bhuyan; Robert Boikess; Jon Oliver; Mary Mickelsen
Cc: jerome williams; Nancy Cantor
Subject: Senate Meetings
I placed your response on the Agenda for discussion at the most recent meeting of the Senate Executive Committee, on June 8.
The Executive Committee asked me to respond on its behalf to two main matters.
First, you write: "Gillett’s e-mail indicated that there were to be further discussion and response from the Senate this AY, but to date none has been forthcoming." This appears to be based on a misunderstanding. In my earlier email, I wrote:
The Executive Committee is aware of, sensitive to, and sympathetic to, the Newark Faculty Council’s wishes. However, it did not decide to add extra meetings in Newark this forthcoming year - though it plans to revisit this issue later in the year prior to setting the meeting schedule for the following year.
As I indicated earlier in that email, we had just recently promulgated the schedule of meetings for 2018-2019. Work on creating the schedule for 2019-2020 will commence early next Spring semester, and so a natural time for the Executive Committee to reconsider its choices and priorities would be just before then, at the end of the current calendar year. I neither said nor intended you to think that it would be later this academic year. To do that would be unnecessarily anticipatory - and fail to respect the fact that a different Executive Committee (elected to serve 2018-2109) will be making those decisions.
Second, the Executive Committee takes the role of the Senate as the leading voice at Rutgers representing the whole community University-wide very seriously and is keen to solicit participation from members of the community who are able to rise above their affiliations with one specific grouping (faculty, students, staff, etc) or campus and work for the good of the whole University. To be honest with you, we are often troubled by how many individuals (from all over the community) sign up to do this without understanding the extent of the commitment involved. To take one salient point, it requires a commitment of a whole Friday once a month or so, not just a few hours. In my own personal experience, it makes little difference whether that day is in New Brunswick or Newark. As a faculty member reporting to Chancellor Cantor, I'm already used to attending many meetings of various sorts in Newark, and travel by train or bus so that I can work at the same time. Senate days involve preparation, committee meetings, and caucus meetings, in addition to the meetings of the full Senate. The need on most occasions to travel to New Brunswick where Rutgers' central administration is based may be more of a psychological burden than actual, in the context of a day-long commitment.
Nevertheless, to the extent to which it is, in fact, a practical problem, it needs to be addressed. One option might be to raise with the Chancellor the possibility of providing a bus or van to transport Newark Senators to and from Senate meetings. Previously, the Chancellor's Office in Newark has expressed willingness to provide a bus for students - who voiced a concern that at the time was not being articulated by faculty members - but there was essentially no take-up and the idea withered on the vine. I appreciate that Newark senators comprise not only faculty members and that Newark faculty members do not necessarily serve on your Faculty Council. Even so, if you were minded to initiate a conversation with the Chancellor's Office about this, the Executive Committee would be happy to join you in advocating for it, and wanted me to communicate this to you. This could presumably be done in time for the first Senate meeting of 2018-2019.