Faculty Senate Passes Resolutions on Patriot Act, Agreements with Foreign Entities

Posted: April 15, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

At its monthly meeting on Wednesday, the Faculty Senate passed the “George Mason University Resolution to Protect Civil Liberties” to address its concerns about the USA Patriot Act. Several provisions of the act are set to expire this year, a situation that has sparked a new debate over federal policies that give law enforcement broad powers to investigate citizens. The senate joined the George Mason chapter of the American Association of University Professors in supporting the resolution.

The senate also passed a resolution drafted in response to George Mason signing an agreement, since nullified, with a representative wishing to establish a university in Syria. The resolution urges that all future agreements between George Mason and other foreign universities or entities have input from the faculty of the academic units involved, as well as the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate if more than one college, school, or institute are involved. The resolution further urges that such agreements guarantee academic freedom and adherence to the university’s nondiscrimination policy.

The Faculty Matters Committee of the senate also presented a report, which was accepted, that reviewed operations of the Office of Sponsored Programs and made recommendations regarding staffing levels, communication with principal investigators, evaluation of processes, and other administrative procedures.

The resolutions and report on Sponsored Programs are available as attachments to the April 13 meeting agenda on the Faculty Senate web site.

The Faculty Senate also heard a presentation from Board of Visitors (BOV) Rector Sidney Dewberry, who said each member of the board has “adopted” a school or college in the university and will follow its activities and report back to the full board. Another BOV initiative is to conduct a study of sports and athletics at George Mason. Dewberry also commented on the broad goals of the 2010 Plan and praised its “bottom-up” approach. “It’s a tribute to you,” he told the faculty. “I’m real proud of what we have.”

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