The Faculty Senate will vote on whether or not to endorse a letter from President Glassman urging faculty to send positive messages to current and prospective students at their meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Room 4440 of Booth Library.
Faculty Senator Grant Sterling said in this case, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate spoke to Glassman, who raised some concerns about what the faculty had been saying to each other and other students.
In his letter, Glassman said he has received many emails from students and parents who were confused about Eastern’s fall 2016 semester.
“I am told that part of the confusion is coming from information students are receiving from faculty during class time and also outside of class,” Glassman said in the letter.
According to the letter, students have reported hearing a “variety of conflicting and inaccurate messages about academic programs being eliminated, the necessity of transferring to another institution and the closing of EIU.”
Sterling said Glassman wanted to set the record straight on what was going on.
By endorsing the letter, Faculty Senate would be saying they are behind the contents of the letter as well.
“It’s the president’s letter, but we would in effect as a senate be saying, ‘yes, what the president is saying here is reasonable, so faculty members should take it seriously,’” Sterling said.
Glassman said he has every expectation that Eastern will receive an appropriation and the university operation and instructional programs will continue into the fall semester and for years to come.
In the letter, he explained that even if Eastern does not receive an FY16 or FY17 appropriation, the university will quickly make plans to restructure itself financially to have operating expenses adjusted to meet tuition and fee revenues.
Glassman added that though some may have other thoughts about the future of Eastern, he asks them to set aside “any pessimistic views so as not to harm us even further by creating confusion or negativism among our current students that could also be transmitted to prospective freshman and transfer students.”
Sterling, while he does not dispute the fact that some could have pessimistic views on the future of Eastern, said he has not personally heard any faculty members telling students to leave or anything of that nature.
He has heard faculty members being concerned, however, especially among rumors that there will not be a budget until November.
Sterling said he ignores these rumors, as no one knows what is really going to happen.
“It’s silly I think to go around acting as though, ‘Oh well, this is what it’s going to be,’” Sterling said.
Glassman further explained that failing to stay positive could have a detrimental effect on fall enrollment, which in turn influences the university’s financial stability.
Sterling said it would not only be destructive to the university, but also to students themselves to transfer to another university now only to find out the Eastern has an appropriation and their classes are being offered.
“I certainly understand why the president might want to say ‘Let’s not tell students that they should panic and that they should be making these big decisions about their futures on the basis of some individual person’s opinion of what might happen,’” Sterling said.
Sterling said they will discuss the letter and then vote on whether to endorse it or not.
He said the discussion could be about the dangers of making decisions without sufficient information as well as possible harms this could bring to the university and students and whether people really do know what will happen in the future.
Sterling said his position was that nobody knows what the legislature will do, but it is virtually certain the university will have an appropriation though the specifics of when this might be or how much are unknown.
“There’s no particular reason to think we might close down during the summer. The president has committed himself to opening in the fall, so from my point of view, I am doing my job,” Sterling said. “I am assuming my classes that have been scheduled are going to be offered, and I am preparing to teach them.”
Rep. Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston) was supposed to be at the meeting this week, but because of a scheduling conflict he will not be present.
The Faculty Senate will discuss a new proposed date for him to speak at Tuesday’s meeting as well.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]