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NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

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Faculty Senate Discusses Removal of ‘Robert’s Rules of Order’

During the recent NEIU Faculty Senate meeting on Oct 10th 2023, Vice Chair Adam Goldstein proposed that the Senate end its usage of Robert’s Rules of Order for their meeting procedures. This was followed by discussion and clarification from many in attendance.

According to the Robert’s Rules Association, “Robert’s Rules of Order (RRO) is America’s foremost guide to parliamentary procedure. It is used by more professional associations, fraternal organizations, and local governments than any other authority.”

That being said, Goldstein said that this structure “is a fully non-inclusive, white supremacist, inequitable system that was created out of a white supremacist environment, for white exclusive spaces.” He continued, saying, “We are at a minority white institution. So why are we using this?”

After being asked to soothe fears that without this structure the Senate may fall into disarray, Goldstein said, “Nobody actually uses Robert’s Rules of Order, which is hundreds of pages long…the only things we actually use are motions, seconding, and voting…in fact [RRO] actually creates more chaos.” The first necessary step, according to Goldstein, is to eliminate the requirement of following these rules.

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Professor of Psychology, Dr. Shanon Saszik said, “Our mission is access, and Robert’s Rules of Order is a non-access process…that goes totally against our mission as a university and so, I would recommend that it be stricken from all organizations on campus.”

Goldstein said, “This committee needs to talk, [it] needs to debate, to engage. Robert’s Rules of Order, intentionally, looks to quote ‘restrain the individual to the benefit of the whole.’” He provided further context and explained that the College of Arts and Sciences Academic Affairs Committee (CASAAC) has already undergone a similar process and has removed the requirement of RRO from their bylaws with great success.

A motion was briefly presented to vote on this but given the Senate is still under RRO, there is a requirement that the body must wait until the following meeting to vote on any bylaws changes so it was tabled for the time being.

Faculty Council on Academic Affairs (FCAA) Co-Chairs Dr. Tracy Luedke and Dr. Lesa Davis, whose department is currently undergoing revision of the Faculty Assembly Constitution and Bylaws, echoed what had been said by Goldstein. “We have arcane, non-inclusive, unproductive bylaws and constitution…that is rigid and static…and has a tendency to be tangled up in the minutia.” They added that, in regards to certain aspects of these documents, “We are examining, if we need this at all…we don’t think carefully defining the word ‘policy’ will get us anywhere.”

Given the continued issues experienced around the implementation of WorkDay, a Joint Shared Governance Meeting will be held Nov. 3 or 10 – pending confirmation of attendees – and will be accessible university-wide via Zoom.

Interim President Katrina Bell-Jordan also spoke during her report where she discussed the recent “big picture meeting,” she was a part of which addressed issues around the economic standing of the university and its prospects for growth. One of those issues being the University’s upcoming Outdoor Marketing Campaign that is to be headed by Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Chris Childers.

There were also tandem public comments from Department Chair Dr. Denise Cortez and Educational Inquiries Professor, Dr. Erica Meiner, calling for a postponement in the search for a new NEIU President until spring 2025 at the earliest.

Additionally in a 17-2 vote, Professor of Accounting, Business and Law, Dr. Tung Cu became an At-Large Member of the Faculty Senate.

Due to the State of the University Address being scheduled on Oct. 24, 2023, the next Faculty Senate will be held at 3:05 p.m. Nov. 7, 2023 in the Fine Arts Building, Room FA 203. All members of the University community are allowed to attend.

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Zachariah Simmons
Zachariah Simmons, Opinions Editor
Zachariah is an English Major focussing mostly on journalistic and theoretical writing (though he does branch out creatively!). New to the school as a non-traditional student, after beginning at NEIU in the Fall of 2023 he became involved with the Independent, first as a Contributing and Staff Writer, and now as the Opinions Editor. While here he hopes to grow his skills as a journalist and a writer and to put forward the idea that media isn't just for consuming, it can challenge and ultimately change us, if we let it

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