University Senate Approves Motion to Expand LS Representation

The USenate voted to give the Dean of Liberal Studies a seat after a year-long effort by a faculty member.


Sayer Devlin

University Senate meetings are held on a monthly basis in the colloquium room. Attendees include members from the Student Senators Council, the Tenured/Tenure Track Faculty Senators Council and the Full-Time Continuing Contract Faculty Senators Council, among others. (WSN File Photo)

Mansee Khurana, Deputy News Editor

The University Senate overwhelmingly approved a resolution which will allow the Dean of Liberal Studies, currently Julie Mostov, to sit on the Dean’s Council of the University Senate on Thursday after a proposal to table the resolution indefinitely was struck down.

The resolution will now be sent to the Board of Trustees, which will make the final approval or rejection.

The only LS faculty senator Heidi White proposed the resolution on Thursday, aiming to provide greater representation for Liberal Studies. The resolution includes giving a Senate seat to the Dean of Liberal Studies. Currently, Liberal Studies only has two seats in University Senate — one for School Senator and GLS junior Antonio Kieschnick and one faculty member, White.

Due to urges from members of LS faculty, White contacted different committees within the Senate for over a year in hopes of having them propose this resolution.

“[The faculty] feels like there is something fundamentally wrong when the Dean of a unit so large is denied a seat at the table,” White said.

During the discussion of the proposed resolution, Vincent Renzi, a clinical professor in the Foundations of Contemporary Culture and of Classics, spoke on behalf of the Faculty of Arts and Science Faculty Assembly. Renzi recommended for the motion to be tabled indefinitely, citing that it had not been brought to the FAS Faculty Assembly. The assembly had not been able to discuss the merits of the resolution beforehand.

“This resolution, I regret, would very much erode confidence in shared governance,” Renzi said.

Renzi said it was also an issue that the Organization and Governance Committee, which reviews and makes recommendations based on organizational policies of the Senate, had not clarified criteria for the expansion of the University Senate.

Director of Operations of the Student Government Assembly and CAS Senior Rose Asaf, who attended LS her first two years, expressed her support of White’s resolution. Asaf said the resolution would work to help legitimize Liberal Studies, which is sometimes viewed differently by NYU students because it’s a two-year program.

“Internal faculty quibbles are less important than what this [resolution] means to students,” Asaf said.

After the motion to table to resolution was not passed, the University Senate passed the resolution with majority support.

The University Senate briefly discussed Michael Steinhardt’s sexual harassment allegations after a Senate member asked a question about changing the name of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development in the near future. University Provost Katherine Fleming said the issue is currently being discussed among the Board of Trustees, of which Steinhardt is a member.

Also discussed at the meeting were the recent hiring of Lauren Duca and Talia Lavin by the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Both women have received criticism from right-wing public figures and publications. Asaf brought up that threats had been made toward the journalism school and its new faculty members. Associate Vice President of Emergency Preparedness and Continuity Jack Briggs said that the Office of Public Safety is aware of the threats.

Email Mansee Khurana at [email protected]