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The Murray State News

Faculty Senate leads discussion session over legislation

Jill Smith
Michael Bordieri (left) and David Roach (right) discuss legislation impacting higher education.

In light of recent legislation aimed at higher education, Faculty Senate hosted a discussion session for faculty members to share their concerns. 

Michael Bordieri, chair of the governmental affairs committee, highlighted current legislation in the state that will impact higher education, specifically House Bill 9, Senate Bill 6,  House Bill 228 and House Bill 400

Bordieri said while these bills are concerning, it’s important to note, just because a bill was introduced does not mean it will pass. 

“In fact, the vast majority of the almost 1,000 bills collectively in the House and Senate… will not get a committee assignment,” Bordieri said. “Part of our job in monitoring is also to recognize where bills are.”

House Bill 228 would require the Board of Regents at each public university and Kentucky Community and Technical College System to establish a process to review a faculty member’s “performance and productivity” every four years. 

Bordieri said faculty feedback indicates concerns on how it impacts tenure. 

“In fact, the word tenure is not mentioned in the bill, but there is a provision in here that does have concern regarding how it was temporary,” Bordieri said. “In this case, it does change the law that governs tenure faculty appointments to add a mechanism where faculty can be removed for failure to meet college or university performance and productivity requirements.”

Bordieri later shared an anonymous comment from a faculty member prior to the discussion, which calls for a tenure review to be handled by the department. 

“What they want to include to really be flexible and accommodate the ways in which faculty members’ workloads and priorities change over the course of their career,” according to the anonymous form. “For example, some faculty might want to focus less on research and shift to more administrative or service.”

Faculty Senate is currently developing a post-tenure review. David Roach, Faculty Senate president, said Murray State is one of the only institutions in the state without a post-tenure review and it’s important for the University to have a process in place. 

“There should be a general process, so if you get a bad review what happens,” Roach asked. “We don’t want this to be a punitive process, but we do want there to be some ways to deal with problems. If there are some concerns, how can they be addressed?”

HB9 and SB6 target DEI in higher education. 

Under SB6, Kentucky’s public colleges and universities couldn’t ask students or staff to endorse certain concepts that the bill describes as “discriminatory.”

HB9 would prevent public post-secondary institutions from providing any “differential” or “preferential” treatment to a student or employee based on race, religion, sex, color or national origin.

Ray Horton, an associate professor of English and at-large senator, said faculty in his department are concerned about their courses. 

“We have the Gender Diversity Studies minor and we have courses in African American literature, queer literature- a lot of the things that these bills are dealing with are really drafted to target,” Horton said. “Faculty members of my department, including myself, are very concerned that the law gets passed after the books are closed on the course catalog for next year… the university putting book lists and syllabi on the website feels a whole lot like a sort of kind of entrapment.”

The next listening session is Tuesday, March 5.

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About the Contributor
Jill Smith
Jill Smith, Co-Editor In Chief/News Editor
Jillian Smith is Co-EIC and News Editor at The News. Smith is a graduate student pursuing a Masters of Science in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Smith is also a Graduate Assistant in Student Affairs. Beyond working and class, Smith enjoys reading, coffee, and listening to music.

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