Text of Prepared Comments,
Chairperson's Report to the University Senate, March 2014
Senate Chair Ann Gould
Two issues have surfaced in recent
have served to foment lively discussion, and in one case, almost
university community. The first issue [The Proposed Merger of the
College of Nursing – Newark and New Brunswick, and the Rutgers
Nursing - Newark] will be addressed as a formal report a bit later in
meeting, so I will set that aside for now.
second issue is the selection of Condoleezza Rice as the 2014
Speaker and recipient of an honorary degree. I'm sure that everyone in
room is well aware of the controversy that surrounds the selection of
degree recipient, both pro and con: the faculty have circulated
faculty councils have considered the issue; the students have engaged
discussion and debate, e-mail exchanges have occurred, and the issue
media attention as well.
Senate Executive committee has also weighed in on the matter, and after
deal of discussion and without complete agreement I might add, has
the issue of greater disquiet is not the actual name of the candidate
but the process by which these candidates are selected and if
from the university community has been considered.
2011, a Faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees, that included
from all three campuses who were appointed by the president, was tasked
solicit nominations for the honorary degree recipients about 18 months
advance and then to confidentially prepare a slate of candidates. The
composition of this committee was changed in 2013 to include: President
the New Brunswick and RBHS Chancellors, a member of the Board of
member of the Board of Trustees, and two professors.
it is important to note that these committees, regardless of structure,
to advise the Board of Governors. Any confidential slate of candidates
by the selection committee is forwarded to the Board, who we must note,
to solicit nominees from other sources. Thus there is no guarantee that
forwarded to the Board from any selection committee will be chosen.
the question remains if the current process provides sufficient input
celebrants of commencement, the students, and the faculty who shepherd
through the educational process, and if not, how may this be remedied?
was decided at the March Executive Committee meeting that we would call
review of the selection process and procedures relating to selection of
commencement speakers and recipients of honorary degrees. A charge was
to the Student Affairs standing committee as follows:
S-1405 - Procedures for Selecting Commencement Speakers and Honorary
Consider, and make recommendations to ensure that, the procedure for
Commencement speakers, as well as those who receive honorary degrees,
and provides sufficient opportunity for, input from the Rutgers
Respond to Senate Executive Committee by November 18, 2014.