University community invited to listening sessions on travel policy March 28 and 30
As the Task Force on Off-Campus Travel nears the end of its deliberations, I want to thank everyone for the perspectives shared, publicly and privately, over the past month.
It has been obvious in reading dozens of e-mail messages and letters that faculty and staff members have strong and deep feelings. I take these opinions to heart as I reflect on the issues, and I applaud those who have endeavored to conduct the debate in a civil manner. I know it can be difficult to keep emotions in check when one feels so passionately about an issue. Maintaining a high level of civil discourse demonstrates the respect with which members of a community hold each other.
After the task force concludes its work and submits its recommendations this week, I would like to hear from the broader university community. A summary of the recommendations will be published in Bulletin Today on Friday, March 17. I will hold two open listening sessions for faculty and staff the week of March 27, after we return from spring break, to hear directly what is on their minds and how they feel we might resolve the issues at hand.
The first forum will be from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium on the St. Paul campus. I have asked the University Senate Executive Committee to cancel the Senate meeting scheduled for that hour in favor of the forum. Faculty members will recall that extra Senate meetings were scheduled this year in order to accommodate consideration of the proposal from the Ad Hoc Committee on Shared Governance. That consideration has been concluded successfully.
The second forum will be from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 30, in Thornton Auditorium on the Minneapolis campus.
I hope to make my decision on the travel policy issues early during the week of April 3.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all as we continue our discussions and deliberations on this issue and other challenges that we must face – together – in the future.