Meeting materials for the 17 June 2016 meeting of senate were not distributed to members of senate until the day before, i.e. 16 June 2016. The clerk stated that meeting materials had been distributed to all senators the previous week, but – after subsequent investigation – only four of the 86 members of senate received these documents, one of those four recipients being the clerk himself. This is the second time in 2016 that senate documents have been lost in the electronic mail. The first time, blame was ascribed to some senators still being on the erstwhile in-house Carleton e-mail server, rather than the new microsoft 365 cloud server. This time, blame was ascribed to the new microsoft 365 cloud server. Even more insidious, complaints about non-delivery of senate documents went unheeded by the senate office. This was partly because the e-mail addresses (Senate@carleton.ca and SenateOffice@carleton.ca) listed on the senate website (http://carleton.ca/senate/ and http://carleton.ca/senate/contact/) apparently are not monitored nor read by senate staff. And, when senate staff did finally reply to queries, people were told that the senate agenda is a public document available on the website, which is a poor reply insofar as previous meeting minutes and documents for discussion at the upcoming meeting are not publicly available.
As a result of the delay in receiving senate documents, someone moved that senate delay approving minutes. This motion lost, with 9 in favour and 16 opposed. Thank goodness quorum is only 25% of members.
Immediately before the 27 May 2016 meeting of senate, the clerk of senate disqualified one of the three graduate students selected for a seat on senate. What precipitated this was that one of three graduate student candidates for senate apparently withdrew at the last moment. They were replaced by a candidate selected by the Graduate Student Association (GSA) council. The clerk of senate apparently investigated, finding that while senate rules and GSA rules were different, at least rules were followed. Furthermore, graduate student electronic elections are managed by Carleton IT (Carleton Computer Systems; CCS), adding trust and integrity to the process, at least if you are a member of the university’s administration. The good news is that this senate membership debacle was resolved amicably, with people adhering to due process. There is probably a valuable lesson here.
On all motions at the 17 June 2016 meeting of senate, the clerk voted. As a member of senate, this is allowed. But previous clerks have never voted, which honestly might be a good tradition.
Several days before 17 June 2016, Carleton held its spring convocation. Senate approves the awarding of all degrees, albeit in closed sessions. But once convocation occurs, names of degree recipients are public. So I can now report that senate approved the awarding of an honourary degree to our biggest male athletic supporter, John Ruddy, although I cannot say how thoroughly he was vetted by senate. Ruddy’s contributions to Carleton University have been exclusively focused on our men’s-only football team, to which he recently donated two-and-a-half million dollars (here). Football is a sexist and violent activity. The only women’s professional football teams have been in the misogynistic Lingerie Football League. Men’s-only football is sufficiently violent that approximately one-in-three National Football League players will eventually suffer from Alzheimer’s or moderate dementia (here, here, here). I previously wrote that, “Football is an officially sanctioned group of people physically assaulting one another. Tackling and blocking would be criminal offenses if you did that to someone on the street.” Unfortunately, football-associated violence does not just affect professional football and does not just affect players. See the huge sexual violence problems revolving around university football with Art Briles and Ken Starr at Baylor or Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno at Penn State, which were undoubtedly just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. And this at a time when Carleton management is dragging its heals on implementing any sort of sexual violence policy, as was highlighted at the 18 March 2016 meeting of senate by an effective student protest (here). There is also the issue that football almost always loses vast sums of money for universities (here and here). Why is Carleton honouring and glorifying someone with an honourary degree who advocates for and donates to such a violent, sexist, and expensive activity as football?
Senate on 17 June 2016 started at 10 am and adjourned at 11 am. One hour is remarkably short for senate. Many of the people at senate wanted to attend staff appreciation day, which started at 11 am. One of the highlights at that event was the Carleton football cheerleaders. Carleton’s cheerleaders are mostly scantily-dressed half-naked women, plus a few fully-clothed men. Do we really need that sort of sexism and objectification of women? Human resources threatened my job for simply blogging (here), so imagine how they would react if I were to teach while wearing one of our female cheerleader outfits, with a bare mid-section and short shorts (image), not to mention a big red bow in my hair (image). Sorry to close out this senate blog with such a disturbing image, but at least the big red bow would probably fall off of my balding head.
This blog is simply my opinion of what transpired at the open session of senate and is not meant as a surrogate for the official minutes. I truly welcome your comments.