The LSU board proposed – but then rescinded – a motion to restructure the university’s faculty groups on Friday after a professor complained that the board was trying to silence professors at the university .
“This will cause national embarrassment for a university whose reputation is already at its lowest because of how this board responded to last year’s Title IX scandal,” said Bob Mann, professor at the Manship School of Mass Communication. “If you vote to abolish the faculty council, you will not silence the faculty. “
At LSU, the faculty has two representative bodies: the faculty council and the faculty council. The proposed resolution would have eliminated one of those representative bodies “at the discretion of the faculty,” but the board dropped the measure after hearing Mann’s complaints.
“President (William) Tate, when you got here you said you would focus on research,” Mann told the president of LSU at Friday’s meeting. “Attacking the teachers will have the opposite effect. You’re going to undermine this university, alienate your faculty, and make it harder to attract these researchers and their grants. “
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Tate, who was attending his second board meeting as chairman, said having two representative bodies for the faculty created confusion. The resolution to eliminate one of the bodies would have brought “some clarity on who we are engaging with.”
“Frankly, I would never work in an institution where governance of the faculty is not an essential part of what we do,” Tate said.
Yet the resolution was proposed at a time when tLSU’s board of directors and its faculty disagree over COVID-19 protocols on campus.
The board initially refused the faculty council’s request to require COVID-19 vaccines for students. A stricter vaccination policy was recently adopted, supervisors have consistently refused to let more professors teach their courses remotely due to the pandemic.
Tate said the faculty and the board should “be in a better state of confidence and being able to govern together” once it is clear which representative body will speak for the faculty.
“I want to know who I should talk to on a regular basis and who represents the faculty so that we can govern together,” he said. “I don’t intend to be president of this institution without that kind of ability.”
After the resolution was tabled, Mandi J. Lopez, president of the LSU faculty senate, also addressed the board of directors regarding students’ non-compliance with COVID-19 mitigation measures “in terms of mask wearing and social distancing “.
“The administration has tools and information to not only identify, but also mitigate issues related to lack of social distancing,” she said. “It’s time to prioritize social distancing at the highest level for the safety of our LSU. “
Board member Lee Mallett told Lopez that “we will do everything in our power to help the faculty, but at the same time we will be more positive.”
“I think sometimes you think we are the adversary. We’re on the same team, ”Mallett told Lopez. “Over and over at board meetings it seems like we disagree, and I don’t want to disagree. I don’t think anyone on the board wants to disagree.