USF President Judy Genshaft assured faculty the confusion would never happen again.
After the administration failed to consult with faculty while developing a set of temporary misconduct rules, Genshaft said she wanted to establish stronger communication between both parties.
In trying to achieve that, Genshaft agreed with the Faculty Senate that the USF Board of Trustees should meet with faculty to discuss its concerns about shared governance. But now, nearly a month later, there is no clear sign a meeting will occur.
The suggestion was made by some faculty members at a Jan. 29 general Faculty Senate meeting in response to concerns for the state of shared governance with the birth of the Board of Governors on Jan. 7.
Faculty Senate President Greg Paveza said there is no set time for when the meeting will be held.
“As soon as we come up with a plan for the president and the provost, we can have a meeting with the Board and Faculty Senate,” Paveza said. “We’re not sure how we want the meeting to take place. Some ideas have been floating around about potential ways for faculty and the Board to meet.”
But BOT Chairman Dick Beard said he was never notified of suggestions for a meeting between the Board and the Faculty Senate.
“I didn’t even know about that,” Beard said. “I don’t know why the Board would be meeting with the Faculty Senate. We’re not involved in the day-to-day operations of the university.”
Beard said if it came down to the Board having to meet with faculty as one collective “body,” then they would be glad to arrange a meeting. However, Beard said the Board would not get involved with a Faculty Senate meeting, but instead a committee the BOT organized would be responsible to meet with faculty to discuss any concerns or negotiations.
Beard added that the Board now has Paveza as a member to represent faculty issues with trustees.
The Faculty Senate discussed its concerns last week about the possibility that the temporary misconduct rules may be extended for an additional 90 days. The 16 misconduct rules replaced the rules that were under the collective bargaining agreement, which expired Jan. 7.
As the USF faculty union still waits for an employer to be named so negotiation can begin for a new contract, Paveza said shared governance remains too narrowly defined.
“A meeting between the Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees is an opportunity for both groups to better understand each other,” Paveza said. “Shared governance is the academic life of the university.”
Faculty union president Roy Weatherford could not be reached Monday.
Michael Reich, USF’s director for media relations, said Provost David Stamps will continue to meet with the Faculty Senate to talk about ideas for shared governance. Reich said Paveza’s attempt to organize a meeting between the Board and faculty could eventually establish an understanding of shared governance between both parties.
“Nothing has been set up with the Board,” Reich said. “But I think from the general faculty meeting that was one of the recommendations that came up several times. As the president said, we would be happy to facilitate that.”
Until then, Paveza said the faculty has always held an influence in areas related to employment rules. He said, however, it is important they have an established line of communication with administration.
“The issue isn’t do you have influence or not, but is there an appropriate working relationship with the Board, faculty and administration,” Paveza said.