On Thursday night, the Faculty Senate unanimously passed a resolution questioning President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.
The Senate also received a law school report, opened up discussions about how to best improve the situation of non-tenure track educators and listened to President Marc Tessier-Lavigne present his plan for the University’s long term vision.
Resolution against Trump’s order
The resolution against Trump’s travel ban states the Faculty Senate’s concern that the executive order “threatens [Stanford’s] educational mission as well as a free and open society.”
“The senate will do anything in its power to protect all its members of our community who are vulnerable to these measures and will remain vigilant on future actions that threaten our mission and core values,” the resolution reads.
Tessier-Lavigne announced that he, along with 47 other university presidents, condemned the order.
“[We] urge you to rectify or rescind the recent executive order,” the letter Tessier-Lavigne signed states. “If left in place, the order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country.”
A representative of the Emeriti Council echoed the sentiment, saying, “We find ourselves [on] the cusp of an Orwellian nightmare.”
Planning for Stanford’s future
Tessier-Lavigne, along with Provost Persis Drell, laid out a plan to collect data that would help form Stanford’s vision for the next decade.
The three-part process includes collection of proposals, analysis of the collected information by a steering group and presentation of findings to a newly formed Executive Cabinet (EC) to create a unified vision.
Tessier-Lavigne and Drell will focus on four main areas: education, research, community and engagement beyond the University. A steering committee will be created for each topic, and committee members will be chosen by the EC. Members will consist of representatives from the faculty, student body and academic staff.
Several Faculty Senate representatives expressed reservations over the EC’s power to select members. MS&E Professor Ross Schachter suggested that the Committee on Committees should recommend members. Drell was open to recommendations from faculty and groups such as the Faculty Senate but gave the final vote to the EC.
Tessier-Lavigne stated that all members of the Stanford community can submit proposals, which are due June 1. More information can be found online at planning.stanford.edu.
Elizabeth Bernhardt-Kamil, professor of German studies, Mehran Sahami ’92 M.S. ’93 Ph.D. ’99, professor of computer science, and Christine Alfano Ph.D. ’95, associate director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), presented on issues that non-tenure track instructors face. The three faculty represented three large cohorts of non-tenure track instructors: the Language Center, the School of Engineering and PWR.
Alfano brought up cost-of-living, an acute issue for non-tenure track instructors due to their lower salary.
All three noted that contracts lasting one, three or even five years generate significant stress. In addition, the non-tenure track instructors expressed interest in other teaching opportunities such as leading introductory seminars.
Sahami criticized Stanford for its treatment of non-tenure track instructors, pointing to the University of California system and the University of Toronto as examples of schools instituting ways for non-tenure track instructors to advance and even gain professorships in teaching.
Law School report
Richard E. Lang Law Professor Elizabeth Magill briefly presented about the state of the Stanford Law School, which she is the dean of.
The Law School consists of only 65 faculty. However, Magill called it a “big tent” that boasts diversity among its peer law institutions, with 16 percent faculty of color and 35 percent of students belonging to underrepresented minority groups.
Magill also expressed interest in combining technology and law to provide better access to legal services.
Contact Christina Pan at capan ‘at’ stanford.edu.