The Faculty Senate welcomed incoming provost Persis Drell this week and discussed the University’s response to the presidential election.
Drell articulated her commitment to ensuring Stanford’s continued excellence across many fields. She also expressed excitement in starting to make an impact as Provost.
After Drell’s introduction, Provost John Etchemendy shared his thoughts on the stunning presidential election results. This discussion led the Faculty Senate to release a resolution affirming the Senate’s commitment to Stanford’s inclusive community and its focus on education, especially in light of the election.
“Be it resolved that, in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, the Senate of the Academic Council of Stanford University reaffirms its commitment to an open and inclusive community that embraces all members, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, race, political diversity, sexual orientation, citizenship, ability and that celebrates and learns from diversity,” the final resolution states. “Our nation and the world face extraordinary challenges. We should all be engaged in understanding and addressing these challenges and making a difference in meeting them. As faculty, our most important responsibility is to provide a broad and purposeful education that serves this end.”
Etchemendy also showed optimism about the situation, citing his own experience transitioning to his position as Provost. He mentioned that he had no prior experience regarding budgeting, a key role within the position, when he first became Provost.
According to Etchemendy, the bureaucracy prevented him from potentially ruining the University. He argued that the Federal government has faced similar situations beforehand and that the bureaucracy performs the same way in the Federal government.
“It is not supportive to our students to act like or say that the world is coming to an end,” Etchemendy said.
Instead, he argued that the faculty should focus on supporting students during this time.
Throughout its session, the Faculty Senate mulled over the wording and content of the resolution.
“Our nation and the world face extraordinary challenges,” an initial draft read. “Rather than being fearful, we should all be engaged in understanding and addressing these challenges and making a difference in meeting them.”
This part of the draft concerned some professors who wanted to remove the line about not being fearful, believing it was somewhat condescending and that people have the right to be fearful.
In addition to these concerns, Etchemendy and others felt that the resolution should include all types of diversity, noting political ideology as one such type.
Both suggestions were incorporated into the final resolution, which passed almost unanimously with only one abstention.
Contact Christina Ashley Pan at capan ‘at’ stanford.edu.