The Faculty Senate discussed the new athletic logo, the state of various committees and the CUPB at their meeting Tuesday.
Bob Martin, the vice president of university advancement, came to the Faculty Senate meeting to talk about the new logo and fundraising efforts.
Martin worked with the athletic director Tom Michael and put together a committee to come up with a new one.
“I didn’t like the old (logo) to be honest,” Martin said. “It had Panther on it, EIU was too small, and then I checked our logo sales for merchandise and for three years in a row, royalties fell 4.48 percent, 18.5 percent and 11 percent.”
He said with the new logo, sales at stores such as Positively Fourth Street have gone up.
Some of the discussion centered around the color of the panther, which changed from black to white.
Martin said logos from other schools use animals that are not their usual color.
Todd Bruns, assistant professor and institutional repository librarian, said they were sidestepping some of the social issues in the community and campus.
“It’s a potentially sensitive thing when our mascot changes from a black panther to a white one,” Bruns said. “It might sound overly sensitive, but I don’t think we can ignore that.”
He said if more logos were put forward to consider, it might have been better.
Jason Waller, a philosophy professor, said the change from black to white could be misinterpreted.
“Is the reasoning for that change anything other than simple aesthetics?” Waller asked.
Martin said there was not a political message in the logo change.
English professor Jeannie Ludlow asked Martin if there were any people of color on the logo committee, to which Martin said there were not.
“If I was still living in Florida, I could count my tan,” Martin said.
Teshome Abebe, an economics professor, said Martin should be ashamed of that statement.
After the meeting, Abebe said he found the comment very offensive, mocking and out of place.
Abebe said he felt Martin demeaned the importance of all the work that people are doing on campus, and he demeaned the senate.
“Shame on you,” Abebe said. “Shame on you, again. This is a body that you should respect, this is an institution that should be respected.”
Martin said he did have respect for the institution.
“No, you don’t,” Abebe said. “You only respect one guy—your boss. That’s it.”
Martin said this was not true, and that he disagreed with what Abebe said.
“You do not,” Abebe said. “You wouldn’t bring this junk in front of us if you did.”
Martin said it was not junk.
“It’s a business decision,” Martin said. “I have great respect for people of color.”
Abebe said it would serve everyone well at the institution if Martin would own up to his mistake.
“You made a huge mistake,” Abebe said.
Martin said this was Abebe’s opinion.
“Sales will tell different,” Martin said.
Abebe said Martin’s objective missed what the institution is all about.
“My objective is to bring in more money because it enhances your ability to do your job,” Martin said.
Abebe said the university does not define excellence by color.
“I don’t either,” Martin said. “I think you’re way off base.”
Martin apologized to Ludlow for his statement.
“If my statement offended, I apologize. I did not mean to offend you,” Martin said.
While Ludlow acknowledges he did not mean to offend her, she said the comment was insensitive.
Jemmie Robertson, Faculty Senate chair, said the discussion on the logo showed him the social implications of the logo change.
“This is a very sensitive issue on campus, and there are unintended consequences of decisions that are made without full transparency,” Robertson said.
Stefan Eckert, a music professor, shared his findings on different committees at the meeting after Martin left.
The email said in the past, former President Bill Perry had discussed a brand champions committee, but it had never been set in place.
There was some confusion when Eckert said he found out the committee of brand champions did not exist from an email he received from Martin.
C.C. Wharam, the director of the Center for the Humanities, said it does, and Ludlow said she knows someone on the committee.
Committees that had been disbanded were the parking advisory committee and philanthropy communications committee, and parking appeals committee did not meet as a group.
Some committees had not been active for several years.
Bruns said it seemed like there should be a more cut and dry process on whether or not committees are meeting or resolved or created.
Also discussed at the meeting was a resolution that suggested the Council on University Planning and Budgeting should change to one voting representative for every 150-faculty members.
Abebe said it would be difficult to do an effective job with the 29 people in the group now.
“Recognizing the inability of the CUPB to get a handle on the budget, if they were really doing a good job I don’t think we would be having the same stresses we are having,” Abebe said.
The Faculty Senate decided to discuss the matter further at the next meeting.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]