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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Faculty Senate addresses band, Athletic Board issues

biddy fac senate: Chancellor Biddy Martin addresses the Faculty Senate for the first time in her tenure. Martin spoke about issues she finds important and answered questions about the UW Marching Band's suspension.

Faculty Senate addresses band, Athletic Board issues

The tone of the first 2008-'09 Faculty Senate meeting Monday turned from a welcome for new Chancellor Biddy Martin to concerns over the suspension of the UW Marching Band from last weekend's football game and the recent resignation of a faculty member from the Athletic Board. 


Although Don Wiebe, an associate professor, said he thought hazing was inappropriate, he questioned the decision to suspend the entire band. 


If the same thing would have occurred [in the football team], that would have been handled internally,"" Wiebe said, adding he was under the assumption that only a small number of band members were involved. 


Martin said she did not know how many individuals were involved, but said she agrees with Band Director Mike Leckrone's decision. 


""I think it was sad and it is embarrassing,"" Martin said, adding she hopes the band will be able to play soon. 


Professor Mary Anderson asked for an update about professor Jeremi Suri's resignation from the Athletic Board last month, citing a Wisconsin State Journal article about Suri's reasons for leaving.  


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In the article, Suri said he thought the Athletic Board lacked oversight and used operational procedures in violation of the open meetings law. 


Several senators asked what Martin and the University Committee - the executive Faculty Senate committee - were doing to address the allegations, considering the Faculty Senate discussed possible oversight issues in May at its last meeting. 


University Committee Chair Ann Hoyt said the Athletic Board is conducting a self-study as part of a UW Athletic Department reaccreditation process. She said once the committee receives the report, any issues that arise will be brought to the Faculty Senate for discussion.  


""We're all awaiting a copy of that report,"" Martin said, adding she had not intended to act independently of the University Committee. ""At this point, I have formed no opinion."" 


In her first Faculty Senate meeting as chancellor, Martin also laid out initiatives she cares about, which include affordability for students and diversity. 


Martin said she considers academic freedom ""to be a research university's greatest contribution to society,"" and said maintaining academic excellence would require retaining and recruiting the best faculty.  


Martin said she would work as hard as she possibly could to work with and for faculty to make the university ""a great place to be.

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