CAA to discuss OMA bylaw revision Thursday

Eastern’s general counsel maintains opinion that CAA is not subject to OMA

Logan Raschke and Corryn Brock

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The Council on Academic Affairs will discuss CAA and the Open Meetings Act again during its Thursday meeting, and Eastern’s general counsel Laura McLaughlin said she still stands by her opinion that CAA is not subject to the OMA.

CAA and the Open Meetings Act

On Feb. 6, The Daily Eastern News reported that McLaughlin cited Pope v. Parkinson during the CAA meeting, arguing that CAA fails to be a “creature of the agency” because its creation was not traced by any state body within Eastern. The Daily Eastern News reported its own research explaining the origin of CAA — a question McLaughlin could not answer definitively during CAA’s Feb. 6 meeting. Research found that former Eastern President Quincy Doudna first created it in 1959, according to “The Emerging University,” a definitive text of Eastern’s mid-20th Century history.

In an email addressed to JJ Bullock, editor-in-chief of The Daily Eastern News, McLaughlin brought up two points in response to research published on Feb. 6: For one, she argued that courts would not view CAA as a “creature of the agency” because its members are appointed from a “variety of entities — not just a Senate.”

However, also in Pope v. Parkinson, how members are appointed or to whom the council is accountable to are looked at by judges to determine whether a committee is subject to the OMA.

“(The Daily Eastern News) is arguing that the CAA is 100 percent accountable to the president, the Faculty Senate and to Eastern in general because the president can reject or accept anything the CAA brings to him, and the Faculty Senate and the Faculty Senate’s constitution essentially puts CAA under the same umbrella as Faculty Senate,” Bullock said.

Faculty Senate’s preamble states, “The Faculty Senate, along with the Council on Academic Affairs, the Council on Graduate Studies, the Council on Teacher Education and the Council on Faculty Research constitute the comprehensive shared governance system of Eastern Illinois University.”

Bullock said this alone should be reason enough to explain that CAA is a creature of the agency because Faculty Senate recognizes CAA as being a body that “represents faculty in all matters affecting the university, excluding anything to do with collective bargaining.”

The second point McLaughlin mentioned in her email was that CAA would likely not be considered “advisory” because, as illustrated in Pope’s case, bodies created and appointed by university presidents could be “merely one of the several hundred committees that dealt with internal university matters” and “the same conclusion likely would be reached for CAA.”

Bullock said nothing can be done to courses or the curriculum unless they are approved by CAA.

“I would argue that it’s more than advisory — it’s almost legislative in a way,” he said. “Although the president can affirm or deny what they say, you can’t do things to curriculum or courses without going through CAA.”

In Board of Regents v. Reynard, a 1997 Fourth Appellate court case, the opinion pertained to the Athletic Council at Illinois State University, whose members are appointed by the Academic Senate.

“If there’s ever a discrepancy or complaint about CAA, that discrepancy or complaint would go to the Faculty Senate. The CAA also, in its bylaws, says that if there’s ever a vacancy on CAA that needs to be filled, it will fill that vacancy that the Faculty Senate does, in the same way that this Academic Senate can appoint Athletic Council members,” Bullock said. “And this Board of Regents v. Reynard said that Athletic Council was 110 percent subject to OMA.”

Considering the research reported on Feb. 6 in The Daily Eastern News, McLaughlin said in the email that she still stood by her original opinion that CAA is not subject to the OMA.

Bullock said The Daily Eastern News has written to the Public Access Counselor at the Attorney General’s Office to make a case that CAA is, in fact, subject to OMA and awaits a ruling.

“We’re fairly confident that ruling will side in favor of us and say that CAA is subject to OMA,” Bullock said.

Items to be acted upon during Thursday’s meeting

Items to be acted upon include:

• Revision to neuroscience minor

• New course: honors independent study

• Revision to television and studio production

• New course: message strategies and influence

• Revision to message strategies and influence course

• Revision to television genres: production and development course

• Revision to advertising minor

• New course: introduction to public history

• New course: public history internship

• New course: public history practicum

• New minor: public history minor

Revisions to the neuroscience minor will require students with the minor to have four biology electives in place of the original three courses that were required if approved. The change will also change the grouping of electives

CAA will vote on a new course called Honors Independent Study, and the course will allow the student to engage “in (an) intensive individualized study on a self-selected topic relevant to his/her/their further academic and/or pre-professional development.”

A potential revision to studio production will change the courses intention from being an introductory course to being a class to further build production skills.

A new communications course called Message Strategies “will teach students to direct and develop messaging strategies to achieve desired outcomes through promotional media and communication” if approved.

Revisions to the communications course Television Genres would change the course so that it is a “bridge course for undergraduate students who were interested in entering the accelerated M.A. or for our current masters students who wish to take more production courses,” according to the rationale on the proposal.

CAA will also vote of revisions to the advertising minor that would lower the number of required hours for the minor and change the required course and electives to achieve the minor.

The council will vote on a Public History Minor due to a “strong student desire for training that would prepare them for careers in public history or for entrance into graduate programs in public history.”

The council will also vote on new courses called Intro to Public History, Public History Internship, Public History Practicum to further the minor.

Logan Raschke and Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].