More than 100 University of Wisconsin faculty members gathered Monday at the Faculty Senate meeting to vote on a proposal for a campus-wide environmental action plan and updates to the Faculty Policies and Procedures chapters.
The Senate body passed both resolutions, but not without faculty members voicing concerns on the proposal.
A proposal introduced by Kurt Paulsen, professor of Urban and Regional Planning, and Dan Vimont, Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, called for the creation of a campus-wide climate action plan.
Under the plan, UW would make efforts to become carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner. Paulsen said other campuses, like Cornell and Stanford, have already either proposed or are carrying out similar climate action efforts.
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“There are lots of students who are deeply concerned about climate change,” Paulsen said. “They are looking to this university to provide leadership … on committing an institution to live up to its values.”
Some faculty members held concerns about the proposal, stating more research on the costs of this proposal needed to be done first.
Chad Goldberg, professor of sociology, also took issue with a number of changes to the FP&P chapters, chiefly, the right for faculty members to add new items on the agenda by two-thirds vote. He said he is strongly opposed to these changes because they “take away important rights of the faculty.”
Sarah Mangelsdorf, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said these rights had to be struck out of the FP&P, however, because the statements were illegal.
“He spoke out in favor of [adding agenda items], but that’s in violation of Wisconsin state law, because these are public meetings,” Mangelsdorf said.
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According to Wisconsin open meetings law, meeting agendas must be made available to the public at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
“Some people believe that [the proposal] is a violation of Wisconsin’s open meetings law, but I believe that’s a matter of controversy and I don’t think that’s a settled controversy,” Goldberg said.
Ultimately the proposal was passed and the changes will be made to the FP&P.