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Baylor U. Faculty Senate Rallies Against Racial Acts Following Election

This story was written by Ashley Corinne Killough, The Lariat

(UWIRE) -- In response to racially-ignited tensions on campus, the Baylor University Faculty Senate drew up a statement of disapproval Tuesday in its meeting, speaking out against the incidents and attitudes that took place on Election Day.

Baylor received national attention after a rope tied in the shape of a noose was found on campus, followed by heated arguments laced with racial slurs outside Penland Hall after the calling of Barack Obama's election. It was earlier reported that Obama-Biden signs also were found burning in a barbeque pit near Brooks Flats.

Interim President David Garland said in a statement Friday that investigators have since learned the objects set on fire were empty computer boxes.

Faculty Senate's statement reads: "Faculty Senate condemns any actions and words which express racial prejudice. Such expressions are contrary to fundamental values of Baylor University and are destructive of the spirit and goals of an institution of higher education. The Senate commends actions taken by Interim President David Garland to deal promptly with such expressions."

Dr. Georgia Green, chair of Faculty Senate, said she was shocked and embarrassed by the events that occurred.

"We were absolutely abhorred by the fact that that happened, and we wanted to go on record in the strongest way possible of saying that."

Senate member Matthew Cordon, professor of law, said he was satisfied with how the administrators handled the situation, saying they acted with a quick and appropriate response.

"I think it's a big concern on everyone's mind," Cordon said. "The motion passed tonight condemned those actions and supported the administration's response, which was so immediate."

Green said Garland echoed the Senate's anger and disapproval when he appeared at the meeting Tuesday. His primary reason for visiting, however, was to discuss the evaluation of deans, a process that began in Spring 2007.

Similar to end-of-term student evaluations of professors, the faculty evaluations of deans are periodic and only occur every few years.

The most recent evaluations involve two phases, the first of which was completed in Spring 2007 with the second set to occur in Spring 2009.

Garland, along with Interim Provost Elizabeth Davis, told senate members that despite a change in administration since the initial step, the process would still continue in the spring but with changes to the original plan, which have not yet been determined.

In other business, Dr. Larry Lyon, dean of the graduate school, proposed a new Graduate Faculty review and re-appointment policy.

Graduate Faculty members differ from general faculty members in that the former can supervise theses and dissertations, as well as sit on committees for master and doctoral students. In order to qualify, a faculty member must have tenure, be on tenure track or serve as a senior lecturer.

Once appointed, members remain on Graduate Faculty indefinitely. The proposal presented Tuesday, however, suggests a five-year re-evaluation and re-appointment policy, which would primarily be based on scholarship and productivity.

While senate members agreed on the need for faculty members to qualify for Graduate Faculty, Green said disagreement arose over the specific qualifications and timeline of re-evaluation.

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