Provost Urges Civility on Campus

Posted: September 5, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

At the first Faculty Senate meeting of the academic year, Provost Peter Stearns addressed what he called “a serious problem”–a recurrent lack of civility in personal exchanges on campus. “This is worth talking about,” he told the senators. “People need to phrase things in a way that doesn’t necessarily impede solutions.”

The provost particularly decried “expressions of grievances phrased in nasty terms and presented in a belligerent manner.” He added, “As a university we’re wasting too much time working around unforgotten grudges. I don’t think this helps us.” He suggested that individuals often “don’t take the next step” in seeking appropriate outlets to present problems or grievances, and he asked the senate for help on dealing with the problem. “We need to clarify the channels where complaints can be taken, and, as appropriate, acted upon.”

In other business, Faculty Senate Chair James Bennett announced that the Board of Visitors has agreed to have a faculty member sit on its Faculty and Academic Standards Committee, and that the senate’s Executive Committee was committed to pressing for a faculty seat on the board itself. He also announced that President Alan Merten had rejected the senate’s recommendation to revise the University Libraries’ reporting structure and had instead created a library task force. Other announcements included information about efforts to establish a faculty lounge and to provide inexpensive last-minute tickets for faculty to attend Center for the Arts events.

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