Faculty Senate Poses Questions to President Merten

Posted: December 3, 2009 at 1:01 am, Last Updated: December 2, 2009 at 5:44 pm

By Robin Herron

    In lieu of his twice-yearly address to the Faculty Senate, President Alan Merten instead took questions from senators at the group’s monthly meeting on Dec. 2.

    Among his comments were the following:

    • Mason administration had been “in touch” with all the Virginia gubernatorial candidates before the election and has since met with the governor-elect, Robert McDonnell, as well as the incoming lieutenant governor and attorney general. In addition, members of Mason’s administration have met with members of the General Assembly. In these meetings, Mason is urging more state support to educate students and no limits on tuition or the number of out of state students that can be admitted. The university is also stressing its facility needs.
    • In his meetings with other university presidents, Merten says the consensus is “The biggest challenge we see is what happens when the federal stimulus money goes away. “ Mason received stimulus money for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years, he pointed out.  However, in fiscal year 2012, no stimulus money will be available.
    • In response to a question about the George Mason University Foundation fund raising, Merten explained that Mason is continually raising funds; however, much of the money raised goes to designated projects or programs and cannot be used for general fund purposes.
    • Merten feels that a strong Board of Visitors is essential to the university, and he makes recommendations to the governor regarding appointments.
    • In response to a question about health insurance for part-time faculty members, Merten said he felt “it’s time to look at the status of non-tenure-track faculty members.”
    • Merten noted the impact of Mason’s World AIDS day observance on Dec. 1 and the AIDS quilt display, commending communication professor Gary Kreps and other organizers for an exceptional event.

    In other announcements, School of Management professor Robert Johnston noted the passing of Hale Tongren, Professor Emeritus of Marketing, and his long years of service to the Faculty Senate and the university.

    The Organization and Operations Committee presented a motion regarding voting eligibility of Faculty Senate members. However, it was suggested the motion was improper, according to Robert’s Rules of Order, and that to effect the desired change, the senate’s charter would need to be amended. Chair Peter Pober urged senators to review the senate’s charter and bylaws before the next meeting to continue the discussion.

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