Faculty Senate Update: Zoom Fall 2020

Faculty Senate and Steering Committee meetings will be held virtually via ZOOM during the Fall 2020 semester.  The meeting schedule remains the same.  A decision about the format for Spring 2021 meetings will be made at a later date.

Karen Steckol Academic Regalia Loan Project

To encourage the participation of faculty at commencement exercises, the Faculty Senate has assembled a collection of academic regalia. This project was initiated by the late Dr. Karen Steckol, former President of the Faculty Senate, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Communicative Disorders; in her memory the program was named the Karen Steckol Academic Regalia Loan Program.

The regalia are maintained by the Senate and loaned to faculty on a first-come, first-served basis immediately prior to each commencement ceremony.

Please contact Linda Knowles (lknowles@cba.ua.edu; 348-6635), Administrative Secretary to the Faculty Senate, to reserve regalia and to arrange pick-up.  Clean regalia must be returned to room 401 Martha Parham West between 8:00 am and 4:45 pm on Tuesday or Thursday of the week immediately following Commencement.

Regalia donations may be delivered to room 401 Martha Parham West between 8:00 am and 4:45 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Please contact Linda Knowles (lknowles@cba.ua.edu; 348-6635) to ensure that she is available to accept the donation or the return of borrowed regalia.

The Faculty Senate was one of only 3 Platinum-level sponsors for SAFE Center Banquet

  • April 18th, 2023
  • in News

The UA Faculty Senate was an early and strong proponent of the need for a sexual assault forensics examination center to be established in Tuscaloosa to serve the West Alabama community.  The SAFE Center was established in 2018 through joint cooperation between UA, DCH Regional Medical Center and the City of Tuscaloosa.  The Center is a 24/7 sexual assault crisis center providing comprehensive medical care and support to sexual assault survivors 14 years and older.  For the past 6 years, the UA Faculty Senate has been a proud sponsor of the annual banquet fund-raising event that is organized by the UA student organization Not on My Campus.

Faculty Senate Service Projects

The University of Alabama’s Faculty Senate Statement on Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

  • March 22nd, 2023
  • in News

The University of Alabama’s Faculty Senate expresses condolences and stands in support of the UA community members who were affected, directly or indirectly, by the February 6th and 20th earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.  The well-being of our UA family, faculty, staff, students, alumni, visiting researchers, research partners and their families is uppermost in our minds.

The Senate encourages its members and the UA community to lend their support in concrete ways, including helping those in need through the organizations recognized by US AID: (https://www.cidi.org/disaster-responses/turkiye-earthquake/).  Additional resources for both Turkey and Syria can be found here.  Faculty, Staff, and Students affected should seek out available UA resources such as those listed by the UA College of Education.

Faculty Senate Statement in Response to Antisemitic Chalking

  • January 27th, 2023
  • in News

The University of Alabama Faculty Senate unequivocally condemns the antisemitic messages scrawled on campus sidewalks on the morning of January 26, 2023. We respect and stand in solidarity with our Jewish students, staff, and faculty and renew our pledge to cultivate a campus community that rejects hate and fosters equity and inclusivity. We support the University’s investigation and commitment to hold the culprits accountable, ensuring the safety of our Jewish students and colleagues.

Approved by the Faculty Senate Steering Committee per the Faculty Senate Constitution, Article II. Section 2. Steering Committee

January 27, 2023

Faculty Senate Statement in Condemnation of Attacks on Iranian Students

  • December 15th, 2022
  • in News

Statement in Condemnation of Attacks on Iranian Students

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham, Alabama jail, 1963.

 

On September 16th, women-led protests erupted across Iran in reaction to the death of Mahsa (Jina) Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman arrested and beaten to death while in custody of Iran’s so-called “Morality Police” for allegedly wearing her hijab “improperly”. The protests have not abated despite severe internet blockades, an all-out violent crackdown by security forces using excessive and lethal force, and a growing death toll. According to human rights groups, more than 402 protesters, including at least 58 minors, have been killed [1-3]. As many as 18,000 protestors have been arrested, including 524 students [3].

On October 2nd, 2022, students at Sharif University of Technology, the most prestigious university in Iran, were participating in peaceful protests. Anti-riot forces stormed the university campus and started attacking and arresting the students [4]. Since this attack, there have been many similar attacks in different schools of different ranks [5,6]. Tear gas has been fired in a school, and several high schoolers have been arrested or killed by the armed forces [7-10].

These unspeakable attacks against students, especially on campuses, are assaults on the sanctity of education, academia, and fundamental human rights.

Women’s rights are human rights. Freedom of expression is a foundational tenet of universities around the world. We, the University of Alabama Senate, condemn these attacks and severe acts of aggression against universities, schools, and students in Iran, and stand in solidarity with those in Iran and elsewhere who stand up for equity and speak out against injustice.

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

– Nelson Mandela

Zan, Zendegi, Azadi

Woman, Life, Freedom

 

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/nov/20/iran-protests-children-killed-reports-mahsa-amini
  2. https://www.iranintl.com/en/202211190258
  3. https://www.npr.org/2022/11/28/1139625631/iran-acknowledges-more-than-300-are-dead-from-unrest-from-nationwide-protests
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/made-by-history/2022/10/13/iranian-students-violent-repression/
  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/11/04/iran-protests-students-hijab-amini/
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/09/iranian-security-forces-arresting-children-in-school-reports-claim-state-tv-hackers
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/nov/04/dozens-arrested-as-iranian-security-forces-attack-university-campuses
  8. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-63200652
  9. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/oct/07/another-teenage-girl-dead-at-hands-of-irans-security-forces-reports-claim
  10. https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/parents-tehran-schoolgirls-dispersed-by-teargas-twitter-2022-10-24/

Approved by the Faculty Senate-12/13/2022

The University of Alabama’s Faculty Senate Statement on the Crisis in Ukraine

  • April 20th, 2022
  • in News

The University of Alabama’s Faculty Senate condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has given rise to a terrible humanitarian crisis.  Two million Ukrainians have sought refuge in Europe, primarily in Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, and Romania.  Nearly 2 million Ukrainians are displaced within Ukraine itself, and others can only shelter in place as the war rages around them.  The UN estimates that as many as 4 million people may flee Ukraine in the coming weeks.

The UA Faculty Senate is deeply concerned for the safety of the people of Ukraine, including those who are members of the UA family: faculty, staff, students, and their families, as well as alumni, scholars who have visited UA, research partners, and their families.  We also worry for the safety and well-being of members of our community who come from other countries in the region, who face the prospect of extended military conflict and instability.  Our concern is heightened by the recent damage to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Enerhador as well as the abhorrent bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol.  We are troubled by emerging reports of dire living conditions and human rights abuses in the areas of Ukraine under Russian occupation.

The UA family includes students, faculty, and staff from around the world, including Ukraine and Russia, as well as other nearby countries.  Many members of our community have family members who live in this region and have been directly impacted by the invasion.

We stand with the international community in urging a restoration of peace in Ukraine so that the Ukrainian people, as well as those of other nations in the region, can return to their lives, secure from the tragedy of war.  We support the immediate establishment of humanitarian corridors.  We also intend to lend our support in other concrete ways, including helping those in need through the organizations recognized by US AID (https://www.cidi.org/disaster-responses/ukraine-crisis/) as effectively responding on the ground in Ukraine and nearby, and we encourage members of the UA family who have asked how they can help to do the same.  We are hopeful for a swift end to the bloodshed and a return to peace in Ukraine and we offer our continued compassion and support for all of those affected during these troubling times.

In line with our own support, we request that the UA administration reach out to help Ukrainian students, faculty, and staff who may be experiencing anxiety and trauma over these disturbing events.  This is especially critical for those whose periods of study, fellowships, or employment were scheduled to end this spring semester and who are now facing visa issues and other legal and economic hardships.  We ask that the UA administration ensure that these individuals receive the support they need and that their immediate and future concerns are addressed with urgency and care.  Other academic institutions, such as Michigan State University, have even appealed to the U.S. State Department for assistance on behalf of their students and have delivered public statements accordingly. We also ask the UA Administration to consider additional support for UA employees and students whose loved ones in Ukraine have been displaced by the conflict and are in need of urgent humanitarian, legal, and / or medical assistance.

We therefore ask that our administration, using both public and private channels, include  a statement that condemns this invasion, that highlights the specific tangible actions UA is taking to support affected individuals, and that provides information on resources available to affected members of our community, including, but not limited to, the Counseling Center; The Capstone International Center; the Financial Aid Office; and The Employee Assistance Program, among others.

 

STORIES ON UNIVERSITY RESPONSES

ORGANIZATIONS OF SCHOLARS

ORGANIZATIONS OF UNIVERSITIES

U.S. PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES

U.S. PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES

CANADIAN UNIVERSITIES

EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES

AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES

CORPORATE RESPONSES

UA Faculty Senate Statement on Ukraine (PDF Version)

Faculty Senate of The University of Alabama Resolution in Defense of Academic Freedom

  • December 16th, 2021
  • in News

The Resolution in Defense of Academic Freedom was passed by the Faculty Senate at the December 14, 2021 meeting.

Faculty Senate of The University of Alabama
Resolution in Defense of Academic Freedom

WHEREAS, The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama recently released a “Resolution Recognizing Commitment to Freedom of Speech and Expression;” and

WHEREAS, The Board resolved that “the Board, and each of its campuses, is committed to free and open inquiry and expression for members of its campus communities-faculty, staff, and students” and recognized “it is not the proper role of an institution to shield or attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive;” and

WHEREAS, The Board resolved to continue to exercise its broad power, granted by the Constitution of Alabama, to manage and control the institution’s activities, affairs, operations, business, and property. See Ala. Const. Art. XIV, §264, as amended by Amendment 399. See also Ala. Code §16-47-34; Opinion of the Justices, 417 So.2d. 946, at 947 (Ala. 1982); Opinion of the Alabama Attorney General 2019-029 (March 20, 2019); and

WHEREAS, Freedom of Speech and Expression under the First Amendment is foundational to academic freedom which is a “transcendental value” entitled to protection by the First Amendment (See Keyishian v. Bd. of Regents, 385 U.S. 589 (1967); and,

WHEREAS, our students’ opportunity to maximize their intellectual potential depends in large part on the ability of faculty to employ academic freedom and freedom of expression in their pedagogy; and,

WHEREAS, in 2004 the University of Alabama’s Faculty Senate defended the ideal of academic freedom in a resolution stating that “the purpose of academic freedom is to allow college and university professors to develop knowledge and to challenge existing truths by thorough investigation and by speaking and writing about their findings and theories” (p. 1, para. 1); and,

WHEREAS, it is the continuing obligation of the Faculty Senate at The University of Alabama to uphold and defend this basic ideal; and,

WHEREAS, any pending legislation in the Alabama legislature that infringes on academic freedom and expression is anathema to this ideal and contradicts existing law and precedents as cited above; therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate at The University of Alabama expects the President to acknowledge that The University of Alabama opposes proposed and future legislation that undermines academic freedom and, therefore, the historic purpose of higher education, and expects the Board of Trustees to maintain its stated commitment to academic freedom; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, in the event such legislation passes, the Faculty Senate at The University of Alabama urges the President, Administration, and Board of Trustees to heed and appeal to long-held precedent set by the Supreme Court of the United States affirming the importance of academic freedom. See Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957); Keyishian v. Bd. of Regents, 385 U.S. 589 (1967).