Following a disagreement over the voting rights of “clinical” faculty (RPI’s term for non-tenure-track, full time faculty that focus on teaching), Robert E. Palazzo, the school’s Provost, suspended the Faculty Senate in August, 2007.
More background information at The Chronicle of Higher Education – “Rensselaer Professors Want Their Senate Back”
And here: Disenfranchised (published in the Poly) (.pdf)
The suspension of the Faculty Senate is one piece of a larger set of grievances felt by Faculty, Staff, and Students, including:
- the complete gutting of faculty governance
- arrogant disregard of students evidenced in the recent handling of the “Greek Initiatives”, WRPI takeover, etc.
- the instatement of hyper-security measures on campus such as transponder systems, building lockdowns, etc.
- the privileging of research related to the military
- the tyranny of so-called financial officers within the various schools who have enormous power to influence programs and policy,
- the aggressive policies against staff unionization – staff are extremely unhappy and they need a voice.
- the underdevelopment or destruction of various programs on campus in order to feed big-box projects like Biotech and EMPAC (which has no input or relationship to the Arts department or the surrounding community). This includes the Bridge program that was designed to provide on-campus transition programs for incoming minority first year students
- the glut of administrators who are put into positions of decision-making that are the provenance of faculty and students
In response to the Faculty Senate suspension, a Teach-In on Democracy was organized and held at the Chapel and Cultural Center. This meeting brought together a broad community with a shared concerned with democratic governance at RPI.
The entire conference can be viewed on the RPI Concerns channel on YouTube
And the following papers are available for viewing or download:
Woodhouse – Handout on democracies: Representative, Associative, and Participatory Democracy: The Potential Intelligence of Democracy – (file –> .doc)