Tag Archives: Matthew Payne

Bylaws “not violated,” offer little guidance for faculty

According to a report just released by the Process Review Committee (PRC–um…), better known as the Payne Committee, the current and former deans of Emory College did not violate any bylaws in abruptly closing Educational Studies, the ILA, Journalism or Visual Arts and downsizing several other programs. However, the report also observed that the existing bylaws do not contain sufficient guidelines for how such restructuring should take place (read: the rules were not broken because they did not exist).

The eight faculty members who served on CFAC, the body which orchestrated the cuts, refused to be interviewed for the report. They were evidently wary of having one group of professors review the decisions of another “duly created faculty committee,” or of compromising a promise of confidentiality (read: no accountability) afforded by Deans Paul and Forman.

Since it’s a snow day, why not catch up on some reading about Emory’s record of scholarly integrity, treatment of researchers who raise alarms about the safety of clinical trials, and ambiguous advances on issues of labor and dissent.

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CFAC disbanded, members’ departments reap rewards

Remember CFAC? Well, almost immediately after Matthew Payne’s motion calling for a review of the decision-making process behind the cuts passed, and a review committee was formed, the 8-person committee responsible for orchestrating the cuts disbanded. As the Governance Committee wrote in a recent email to faculty, CFAC’s “members interpret the decision to establish the Payne committee at the February College faculty meeting as a vote of no confidence in the current CFAC. Consequently, they feel that any further advice to the Dean would be placed in question. GovCom thanked the committee members for their service and accepted their resignation effective immediately.”

One of the startling features of the CFAC was its lopsidedness: Of the 8 members, none belonged to departments that were subject to cuts or downsizing. None were in lecture-track roles and all, for what it’s worth, were white. The two women on the committee were also the only two humanists–both professors in the division of religion, which Dean Forman affirmed as being good for the Emory “brand.” Of three scientists, two were from the chemistry department (one, Stefan Lutz, is also the chair of the Governance Committee).

Well, the chemistry department has just announced it will start a $52 million renovation of its building–“an expression of the collegiality of Emory,” as a representative of the department put it. We’re not screaming blood money, since the project is “largely” funded by proceeds from an HIV/AIDS drug developed by Emory chemists, but we are demanding accountability. Why does one science building reap the visible rewards of “collegiality” when other science buildings are known to have leaky pipes and holes in the floor?

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Faculty votes to review cuts, censure Wagner

Tonight’s faculty meeting was momentous for everyone who is upset with the department cuts, among all the other symptoms of administrative bloat, systemic racism, and institutional complacency we have seen lately.

Here’s the rundown; we expect more details will emerge over the next few days (or hours).

  • Faculty agreed to a formal and neutral review of the decision-making process behind the cuts. Specifically, they voted 103-96 not to rescind Matthew Payne’s motion to conduct the review (PDF), which passed last month.
  • They also voted, by a large majority, to formally censure President Wagner for treating the Three-Fifths Compromise, a constitutional scaffold for slavery, as a model of university governance. Wagner will be asked to address the faculty and hopefully the student body as well.
  • Many also seconded a stronger motion, calling for a vote of no confidence against Wagner. The vote, however, was postponed.
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    Faculty governance means faculty governance

    As we noted a few days ago, college faculty are meeting next Wednesday, Jan. 23, to vote on a motion raised by Stefan Lutz and the Governance Committee to annul an earlier motion brought forth by Matthew Payne. The Payne motion called for an independent review of the decision-making process behind the cuts, to be carried out by a committee of 5 professors beginning in April.

    Here is the text of Dr. Payne’s motion, which passed by a vote of 64 to 54.

    Obviously, the SRC supports Dr. Payne’s amendment. It fulfills our third mandate, disclosure and investigation of CFAC operations. But it’s not a blanket solution; the text doesn’t mention the possibility of reversing the cuts, nor does it grant students any official power. As minutes from the December meeting show, the modest scope of the proposal was what allowed it to pass. We’re also disappointed that the Governance Committee is pushing against the faculty’s decisions, but since a few professors have remarked that the first vote felt muddled, it’s within the Gov Comm’s power to re-open it. As always, we encourage all faculty to attend and vote.

    As a student group that relies on and honors our faculty supporters, we respect the AAUP’s wish that we not turn 1/23 into a rally. (Yup, shelving the armadillo costumes for now.) Ultimately, what’s at stake is the integrity of faculty governance, and sometimes the best way to support that is to take a back seat. That said, individual students may choose to demonstrate in White Hall on Wednesday afternoon, and it is within their rights to do so (it is not in their rights to crash the meeting or be disruptive). Any actions on Thursday do not represent the SRC.

    TL;DR: Important faculty meeting. Students, focus your energy on building awareness and fostering conversation.

    Edited 1/20 to correct an organization’s name.

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    Gov. Comm. continues to intimidate faculty

    On December 12, the Faculty Council passed two motions: the first, initiated by Pamela Scully (WGSS), to reform faculty governance; the second, brought forth by Matthew Payne (History), to conduct a thorough review of the process leading to the cuts. You can read Dr. Payne’s very reasonable-sounding motion here (PDF). Each motion was subject to a vote and passed by a majority.

    Now, the Governance Committee has resolved (with 66 signatures) to “vacate”–that is, annul–the second motion. They will be presenting this resolution at the next faculty meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23. In other words, the GC is directly intruding upon professors’ democratic decision-making process and their demands for transparency.

    Stefan Lutz, professor of chemistry and chair of the Governance Committee (and one of the FFAC/CFAC “deciders”), has appointed an “expert parliamentarian” to run the meeting. Who is an expert parliamentarian? All we know is this individual has been hired by Emory to control who has the power to speak and, perhaps, decide whose remarks go on the official record. This is not third-party mediation and this will not be a fair vote. Indeed, the entire “parliamentary” procedure is a ruse to obscure the fact that the Governing Committee is trying to overturn a democratic motion made by the faculty.

    The AAUP is encouraging all faculty members to attend the meeting on Jan. 23. The event is for faculty only, which means that any “intimidation” will proceed from the administration.

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