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The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs met Monday to discuss restructuring committees and the upcoming debate. 

The meeting started off with members approving the notes from their previous meeting. Joy Beatty, chair of the committee, put forth issues to be discussed such as upcoming visits from the Student Relations Advisory Committee and the Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service Learning regarding civic engagement among students. 

Committee members discussed having Catherine Carver, the operations co-lead for the 2020 Presidential Debate Initiative, meet with members and inform them on the presidential debate planning at the University of Michigan in October 2020. 

“Part of the goal for that would be to have Senate Assembly members engage briefly in how all of us can be thinking about how to build the presidential debates into our already existing classes and thinking about the themes of participation and democracy,” Beatty said.

The committee also discussed lighting standards for the University and Ann Arbor light pollution. The city of Ann Arbor is in the final stages of its light pollution policies. The committee said the University needs to keep up with the city’s policies and outline the steps they are taking to address this issue.

Senate Assembly Member Neil Marsh brought up electronic voting as a potential agenda item. The members also discussed the policies surrounding the proper use of e-voting and whether e-voting was a good way to carry out SACUA elections. MaryJo Banasik, director of the Faculty Senate Office, outlined the issues that need to be addressed before the electronic voting platform is in place. 

“I just want to make sure that the system is up and ready in time,” Banasik said. “If we’re going to use the voting platform then it needs to be set up so that there’s a U-M login, so that it’s secure and our IT surfaces are working on securing that and may have to have a contract for procurement services and they have been working on finalizing that. So if all those items are done then it should be available to use.” 

The committee also addressed the possibility of reorganizing underutilized committees. Members drafted their reasons for merging, discontinuing or starting new committees and sent those concerns out to other senate advisory committee members. 

The committees discussed merging the committees that are not as active, like the Tri-Campus Committee and CIU, with those that are more productive like the Committee on Civil Rights and Liberties. They said this would increase their overall reach and give them more of a mandate to act on issues. 

“We thought if we could put those three together that would be a way to make sure that there would be enough meat for all of them to sink their teeth into,” Beatty said.

Senate Assembly member David Potter led the discussion on  forming a committee for judicial review. They acknowledged these mergers would also result in some members being bumped off of certain committees due to lack of space.

“A faculty judicial committee is a pretty standard feature on campuses,” Potter said. “Potentially we might be able to find a way to expand the curve especially in cases of grievances.”

Senate Assembly member Sara Ahbel-Rappe reintroduced the One University Campaign and supporting the Dearborn and Flint campuses, which was brought up in previous SACUA meetings. 

“It seems like a time we really need to try to think about the One University issue and how to support the other campuses,” Ahbel-Rappe said. “We should devote some love to answering this question.”

Reporter Shehrez Chaudhri can be reached at shehrez@umich.edu

 

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