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The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs met Monday afternoon to discuss updates and changes within the Faculty Senate. 

SACUA Chair Joy Beatty, associate professor of Management Studies at U-M Dearborn, announced the committee will provide the names of six nominees to fill three spots on the honorary degree committee, which recognizes and praises individuals who have advanced their field. The nominations are due April 1.

“It’s kind of a high-power committee because Schlissel is there, the provost is there, a bunch of the executive officers are there,” Beatty said. “You kind of have these lofty discussions about what kinds of people we should be honoring.”

SACUA then discussed procedures for the Office of Institutional Equity regarding the guidelines for faculty action following a report of sexual assault. Currently, there is no written procedure outlining the actions department chairs should take following sexual assault claims reported against faculty members. This issue is closely tied to the ongoing debate of revising the tenure bylaws. The discussion was then moved to continue during an executive session. 

MaryJo Banasik, the director of the Faculty Senate Office, gave a presentation updating SACUA on changes in the office since the start of the new calendar year. Banasik and Robyn Snyder, who serves as the faculty governance coordinator for Faculty Senate, are working together to upgrade the infrastructure for tracking all the committees and assemblies within the Faculty Senate, including streamlining the process for filing and keeping records of attendance and minutes from each meeting.

“It’s just easier for people to look at information when it’s always in the same format,” Banasik said. “We don’t want people to have to try to guess what information we’re providing to them.”

Other changes include a new web design for the Faculty Senate website, which is planned to go live May 1. The new design is visually-oriented and features comprehensible and cohesive explanations of the distinct bodies within the senate and its function, Banasik explained.

The public portion of the meeting concluded with a discussion on a national program that the Medical Center recently subscribed to. The program is operated out of Vanderbilt University and serves to provide a place for faculty to voice complaints of colleagues.

SACUA member Sami Malek, professor of internal medicine, introduced the program as something for SACUA to keep an eye on for adopting in the future.

“(The program) is not meant for you to get advice, it’s meant for you to complain about others in your environment,” Malek said. “It’s really a behavioral modification program. As you can imagine, it’s going to be quite involved.”

Reporter Rebecca Hirsh can be reached at

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