Faculty Senate notebook: Scholar review policy passes; email policy draws concern


Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Provost Jonathan Holloway. A motion requiring faculty to conduct due diligence before granting scholars or researchers official status passed unanimously at Faculty Senate’s Wednesday meeting.

Danny Vesurai, Reporter

The first Faculty Senate of 2019 met on Jan. 16. Here’s a look at some of the issues discussed. For our main story about the budget deficit, click here.

Official status for scholars requires ‘due diligence’

A motion requiring “due diligence” before granting scholars and researchers an official status at Northwestern was unanimously passed by Faculty Senate at their Wednesday meeting.

The motion comes after the psychology department allowed controversial visiting scholar Satoshi Kanazawa, whose work many say promotes racist and sexist beliefs, to spend his year-long sabbatical at the University, although Faculty Senate President Baron Reed clarified that the motion wasn’t indicting any specific individuals or departments.

The motion, which requires “an appropriate degree of due diligence,” is intentionally vague so departments can accommodate different needs, Reed said.

Robert Hariman, Faculty Senate’s past president, said he was surprised the motion passed without any discussion.

“I think it shows a comprehensive commitment to academic integrity,” he said.

In his statement introducing the motion from the executive committee, Reed emphasized the importance of reviewing potential scholars.

“When we invite someone to become a part of Northwestern’s scholarly community, we are extending to them the academic freedom we have,” Reed added. “We need to do our due diligence when we thus invite them.”

Concern over appropriate use electronic resources policy

The Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee expressed concern about proposed changes to the University’s appropriate use of electronic resources policy that would allow Northwestern to access information transferred on its network.

The proposal includes “broadly worded” language that “fails to specify conditions” when the University could access users’ information, committee chair Jennifer Cole said. She added that the committee recommends looking at the privacy policy for electronics by the American Association of University Professors as an example.

The proposal will be available for public review until Feb. 1, an extension from the original deadline of Jan. 1.

Email: [email protected]edu
Twitter: @dvesurai

Related Stories:
Controversial visiting researcher — heavily criticized as having racist work — sparks pushback
Students petition Northwestern to ban a visiting scholar whose work attempts to link intelligence and beauty to race
Proposed electronic appropriate use policy proposal raises concerns over privacy