Sands absent as February Faculty Senate meeting covers current controversies

Senate members covered four major points on their agenda during the first Faculty Senate meeting of the spring semester

The Feb. 2. Faculty Senate meeting featured four key topics, from historical teaching to healthcare plans, which interested many in attendance in the Moot Courtroom.

Dr. Robert Krebs, Faculty Senate President, introduced these primary interests of faculty members, beginning with a vote on passing a joint resolution compiled by senate members for the protection of historical teachings.

This “historical truth resolution” goes against the construction of Ohio House Bills 322 and 327, which both aim to eliminate the teaching of controversial pieces of American history. This could include teachings about race, feminism, and sexuality.

Only one “nay” was received, making CSU one of only two nearby universities to develop a joint statement declaring its stance on the House Bills.

The second main point of the meeting was faculty healthcare plans. Currently seen as insufficient, Krebs mentioned that the administration is working to develop a solid plan for workers’ coverage.

Next on the agenda, Provost Laura Bloomberg opened the conversation about renaming and regrouping colleges (specifically Education/Urban Studies, Health Professions and Arts & Sciences) with a quote from award-winning author James Baldwin, in acknowledgment of Black History Month.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” Dr. Bloomberg said.

The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, which was recently the subject of a Cleveland City Council resolution urging the university to change its name, may also be included in the plan. The controversy, stemming from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall’s legacy as a passionate slaveholder, has gained much attention in recent months.

With CSU President Harlan Sands absent from the meeting, Bloomberg handled the showcasing of a possible flowchart for how renaming the colleges will be carried out.

University Curriculum Committee Chair, Dr. Marcus Schultz-Bergin, also gave insight regarding the university plans for reconstructing the business degree requirements. Three pre-business pathways are in the works, which students will enter before they can pick a specific business major.

As a last point of emphasis, Student Government Association President Martin Barnard gave a few updates about the controversy over the COVID-19 protocol that has recently created waves on campus.

Barnard explained to senate members that a few adjustments to the current COVID-19 plan may help create a healthier environment for all students. As demonstrated by the Students for Safe Learning activist group on campus, there is a portion of the CSU community that is unhappy with the limited safety measures and inconsistency of reported data.

In December 2021, Cuyahoga county reported the most COVID-19 cases in Northeast Ohio, as the omicron variant grew stronger. In February 2022, cases have dropped, and the area now has its least number of reported cases since the start of the wave.

However, the data chart that is given to the CSU community presents numbers relating to isolation and quarantine, instead of exact numbers of reported cases. It also lacks previous data, obscuring trends.

Barnard gave the following possibilities for administration to consider:

“More advertisement of ‘grab and go’ dining options, remote learning for COVID-positive students, better tracking for at-risk students through academic departments and extra mask enforcing by all campus leaders.”

His reasoning stemmed from the monetary and educational losses that CSU community members can’t afford to sit through, due to imbalanced attendance policies across each college.

More information on the Faculty Senate is available on this website. The next Faculty Senate meeting will take place on March 2nd.