Chancellor Syverud Addresses Jan. 17 University Senate Meeting
At the University Senate’s Jan. 17 meeting, Chancellor Kent Syverud reported on upcoming events to honor Chancellor Emeritus Kenneth “Buzz” Shaw, provided a fundraising update and discussed the forthcoming evaluation of the University’s policies regarding relationships between faculty and students.
Chancellor Syverud also encouraged attendance at the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in the Carrier Dome.
Below are the Chancellor’s remarks as prepared for the University Senate meeting:
Winter Message Recap
Good afternoon. I am glad to be with you today as we begin 2018 and another academic semester.
Thanks to all of you who were able to attend the Winter Message event yesterday. As I said during my remarks, there is a lot happening on our campus and much work to accomplish this semester. If you weren’t able to attend, the video and my full remarks are available at news.syr.edu. As always, I welcome your feedback and ideas.
I have three short matters to report today.
First, in April, we plan to hold a series of events to honor former Chancellor Buzz Shaw and his wife, Mary Ann. This will coincide with the upcoming publication by SU Press of the book titled “Syracuse University: The Shaw Years.” The book will be the sixth volume in the SU Press series on the history of the University.
As part of those events, we plan to welcome Chancellor Shaw and Mary Ann Shaw back to campus. We hope to rededicate the Shaw Quadrangle and celebrate the installation of the new Hendricks Chapel stairs. In addition, we plan to host a panel discussion focused on the book and the impact the Shaws have had on the University, Central New York and higher education as a whole. The exact dates for these events will be finalized very soon.
Second, I want to give a fundraising update. Fundraising is going well. There has been excellent work this academic year by our Advancement team and by our deans. Six months into the fundraising year, we have raised $80.4 million in new gifts and pledges. This is a 57 percent increase over last year at this time. It means we’re more than 50 percent of the way toward accomplishing our very ambitious goal of $150 million this year.
We also continue to see positive trends in the numbers of donors giving to Syracuse University. As of December 31, we had a 26 percent increase in donor participation over last year. In the coming weeks and months, you can expect to see great focus on achieving this year’s goals, as well as continued focus on fundraising for undergraduate scholarships in support of Invest Syracuse. I think we are on track in Advancement to support our academic and student life plans.
Finally, let me reinforce what I said yesterday about Student/Faculty Relationships: there has been a remarkable awakening as many step forward to recount their experiences of sexual abuse by those in power or authority over them in workplace, academic and athletic settings. At the December Senate meeting, I suggested that this is an appropriate time for the University to re-examine all of our programs and policies. We need to make sure we are doing the best we can to address this issue.
I am therefore grateful that the University Senate Agenda Committee has charged the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure and Professional Ethics with reviewing these policies. The committee is currently assembling a working group. That group will consist of members of both the AFTPE and Women’s Concerns committees. It will review the University’s policies regarding relationships between faculty and students.
In particular, the working group will be tasked with reviewing existing University policies, such as Section 4.1 of the Faculty Manual, with studying the campus climate, with consulting with campus stakeholders and with surveying best practices. Following that important work, I hope and expect that the group will recommend to the full Senate proposed improvements to the University’s policies in this area by May of this year.
The provost and academic deans are also in close contact on this subject and will remain involved in these important conversations. I look forward to hearing their views as well on these issues.
I look forward as well to joining the University community in the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, which will take place in the Carrier Dome on Sunday, January 28, at 4:30 p.m. The organizing committee has done a terrific job putting together an excellent program. I encourage you to attend. To learn more about the event, visit MLK.syr.edu. That is my report.