At their weekly meeting Monday afternoon, the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs discussed the reorganization of several Senate Assembly committees.

SACUA also reviewed procedures related to the University’s Office for Institutional Equity and the Fitness for Duty and Professional Standards for Faculty. Both were discussed during a private executive session, which are not open to the public or the press.

The Fitness for Duty policy offers protocals for situations when faculty are deemed physically or mentally unable to perform their jobs. The policy provides for the possibility of financial compensation during a University investigation of competency and one year of severance pay if their employment is terminated due to their condition.

Last year, SACUA considered revisions the policy to mediate conflicts between provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the University’s current policy.

The ADA does not require faculty state the reason they are unable to perform their job. SACUA concluded that the University could rework the language of the policy to make that provision explicitly applicable to faculty with physical or mental illness.

The committee also discussed restructuring the body’s committees to reduce the number of committees under SACUA.

“We’re looking to economize SACUA,” said SACUA Chair Scott Masten, a professor in Public Policy and Business Economics.

He said the meeting did not finalize any decision, but determined what matters would be taken up in the next Senate Assembly meeting.

For example, a merger of the Tenure Committee with the Rules Committee was suggested during the meeting.

The Rules Committee currently works with bylaw changes within the Senate Assembly. It was recommended that the Rules Committee be granted the responsibilities of looking at University Standard Practice Guides and technology information before proposals are sent to SACUA.

SACUA member John Lehman, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, did not favor the proposal to increase Rules Committee responsibilities.

“From my perspective, when you start adding all of that extra responsibility, the jurisdiction expands and it becomes a big burden,” Lehman said.

While it was decided that the Tenure Committee would not be recommended for merger with the Rules Committee, it will be recommended that the Rules Committee be renamed the Rules, Practices and Policies Committee. This change would give the committee more leverage to deal with policy related issues.

SACUA also recommended the addition of two committees.

The Information Technology Committee was proposed to address technology issues. SACUA also proposed the Buildings Facilities and Infrastructure Committee to confront matters within the University’s facilities.

The next Senate Assembly meeting will be held Feb. 16. The next SACUA meeting will be held Feb. 23.

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