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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Faculty Senate hears from University President Michael Schill, considers Ryan Field rebuild

President+Michael+Schill+stands+at+a+wooden+podium.
Leah Schroeder/Daily Senior Staffer
University President Michael Schill addresses the Faculty Senate Wednesday evening in the Guild Lounge.

University President Michael Schill spoke at the first Faculty Senate meeting of the academic year Monday night. The Senate discussed Wildcard access to campus buildings and the University’s proposal to rebuild Ryan Stadium. 

In his address to the Senate, Schill outlined ten priorities for research and innovation and community — amidst other updates — after a recent Supreme Court ruling striking down race-concious admissions, NU football’s hazing scandal and the current Israel-Hamas war.

“These ten priorities are not the priorities of the entire university,” Schill said. “Each team and each administrator is going to have their own separate set of priorities. Some of them will align with mine. Some of them will be different. And that’s good.”

Schill also emphasized the importance of supporting students and fellow faculty amid the current Israel-Hamas war.

His statement came after two emails last week in which Schill shared his feelings about the war but emphasized his belief he should not speak on behalf of the entire University on most social and political issues.

“I know many of you and many of our students and faculty and staff are hurting … The Israeli Palestinian conflict is an emotionally charged one for both supporters of Israel and Palestine and everyone in between,” Schill said. “We have an obligation to support our students and to support each other.”

Faculty Senate President Regan Thomson updated faculty members on progress the Faculty Senate made over the summer during a special meeting Aug. 9, which included three hazing-related resolutions.

The Senate also considered a resolution to temporarily pause planning and marketing of the new Ryan Field to the floor. 

Because the issue was not listed on the agenda and Senate members were not aware that they would be discussing the resolution, some members said they were reluctant to vote and had not spoken with other faculty in their departments. 

English Prof. Barbara Newman said she felt that the resolution should be passed after recent allegations of hazing on NU’s football team.

“In theory, the issues of hazing and abuse are separate from the stadium,” Newman said. “But in practice, they are not going to be, because these lawsuits are going to be all over the papers for years to come … The public is not likely to make distinctions between the two issues. It may look very bad in the public eyes if we go ahead with the construction.”

Former NU football head coach Pat Fitzgerald filed a $130 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the University earlier this month, and NU also faces several lawsuits from former football players related to the alleged hazing.

Other faculty members said the hazing scandal should not impact the proposed Ryan Field rebuild.

Feinberg Prof. David Kalainov said he felt the Faculty Senate had failed to consider the issue from the perspective of the athletics department.

“Hazing and building of the Ryan field are really separate issues,” Kalainov said. “I oppose this resolution. I think we need to talk to more stakeholders, to more student athletes, coaches (and) the athletic director and really gauge their opinion.”

The resolution ultimately failed, with 37 faculty members voting against and 20 voting in favor. 

Thomson said he intends to continue considering the issue at the Senate’s next meeting on Nov 15.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lmschroeder_

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