Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes - Wednesday June 3, 2020

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Zoom Virtual Meeting


Aaron Bloomfield, Alan Beckenstein, Aniko Bodroghkozy, Carol Manning, Ellen Bassett, Hanadi Al-Samman, James Fitz-Gerald, James Savage, Joel Hockensmith, Kathryn Laughon, Kevin Lehmann, Linda Duska, Natasha Heller, Patricia Jennings, Peter Hallowell, Peter Norton, Robert Hirosky, Susan Kirk, Susan Modesitt, Robert Patterson

Absent: Rasheed Balogun

Admin Support: Ashley Ayers, School of Medicine


Ryan Smith, Stanley Trent, Brad Kesser, Maxim Engers, Elizabeth Magill, NyShae' Carter, Philip Smith, Walter Heinecke, Maria Luisa Sequeira Lopez, Doug Grissom, Kevin McDonald, Michelle Busby, Ashley Ayers, Adria Laviolette, Valerie Bass, Sarah Ware, Beverly Adams, Ann Kellams, Ira Herbst, Kirk Martini, Jaclyn Shepard, Meg Keeley, Brian Wright, Venkataraman Lakshmi, Trinh Thuan, Mircea Stan, Donna Chen

17 participants participating (Joel noted), later increased to 20 including Rob Patterson by phone.

Meeting was called to order at 5:02 by FS Chair Joel Hockensmith.

Joel Hockensmith reviewed the guidelines for participation (slide visible on screen).

Ellen Bassett shared the draft proposed resolution following the death of George Floydon the screen with the group. Group given time to read the statement.

Aaron Bloomfield made a motion to accept the statement and Carol Manning seconded the motion.

Committee discussion around draft statement:

  • Kathryn Laughan – wants to add UVA’s historical role in upholding white supremacy. To call out the history and work to change it.
  • Kevin Lehman– proposes that the word “killing” be replaced by word “murder”.
  • (using a document to track changes proposed to original draft statement).
  • James Savage – “very fabric of our University” – vague language – includes enrollment, graduation rates, admission, etc.
  • Aniko B– statement lacks specificity “we commit to finding concrete ways…” we don’t say what that will be to respond specifically to situation at university. “We call on administration for student DEMANDS for action” - Black Student Alliance has list of demands and wants us to consider adding some of those demands into the statement. Increasing % of African American and students of color, faculty and administrators. White supremacists names of buildings. Response to COVID crisis – marginalized communities are particularly impacted _ SUPPORT the demands of the BSA.
  • Hanadi – “very fabric” – reference the history of the institution. Martese Johnson – mention this arrest on the Corner and acknowledging that this has been happening in our community (incident in 2015).
  • Susan Kirk– requested that the link to the BSA demands be shared with the group.
  • Walter Heinecke – can we add a sentence that says “we must support black voices and experiences in a time of injustice and struggle in order to reverse the university’s roles in building on a legacy.
  • Ellen got Kathryn’s suggested language and added it to the document. “as members of the faculty senate…”
  • “Heavily woven” – Susan Modesitt – requested a revision of that language.
  • James Savage – revision around word “fabric”.
  • Alan Bechenstein – expressing a different approach: focus on things we have effect on and can observe. The language around slavery building the University and Martese Johnson. Disagree with backing the demands of the students. Be firm in commitment to ideals, and firm in policies. Is there any code in the quote from the antiracist book? Doesn’t like how people are convicted broadly. In favor or the broad objectives but not agreeing with the zeal with which the university is convicting. Document was off base and got worse as the edits began to happen in the meeting. Wouldn’t give in immediately to the student demands.
  • Susan Kirk – document addresses the systemic racism that white people have all benefited from; different from bigotry. Document addresses the systemic racism.
  • Patricia Jennings – document expresses an understanding of the historical and systemic; it has to be an honest expression of facing IT.
  • Natasha Heller – students want this kind of language expressed. They want a clear accounting. No white washing or covering over the university’s history. They thing UVA still hasn’t’ dealt with its history.
  • Alan B. – the text overstates. Part of the character and it needs work but it’s improved in many ways. It’s a manifesto. Should be careful of what we say and what stance we take. Too short to get into the nuance and details.
  • Ellen Bassett – understands power of language and it may seem brutal but UVA has taken on its bad legacy. It’s just a statement of fact. History of eugenics. Makes it more incumbent upon us to speak about it. Need a statement with action items. What can we agree upon that the students have demanded? Power and direction.
  • Rob Patterson – distinction from “the students” and the “BSA” fuzziness to who is asking – is it students at large or certain student groups.
  • Kathryn – it’s a long list of student demands. This statement might not be the place to tackle their demands. Reparations to descendants of enslaved people, acknowledge eugenics, change the build of the environment, and change our materials to acknowledge our history.
  • Aniko– has seen drafts of student demands, broader that BSA. BSA’s demands are historically minded and go back to decades of demands. Those demands have been publishing. Listening to our students is important – especially students of color. Take seriously listening to the voices of color, not ourselves. They are concrete, actual, and legitimate. Action items are needed, not just statements of anguish.
  • Joel – can we give examples at the end of the statement for groups or individuals whose statements the FS supports and appreciates?
  • Kevin Lehmann – helpful to discuss PURPOSE of this document? Brief statement of what we are trying to accomplish by this document.
  • Patricia Jennings – to support the demands, she’d like more time to dig into them. Wants more time to look at them but in general feels supportive of listening to students and taking their thought seriously.
  • Aniko – purpose of statement is to put pressure on administration to address systemic racism historically at this university. Specially address racism here at UVA. What action items could FS get behind.
  • Natasha– purpose shifted with reading Jim Ryan’s statement. Before, writing into a vacuum, but now call for another commission. To get an actual response to student demands. Ask University to respond to the students. No one responds to the statements/demands of students.
  • Susan Kirk responds Natasha’s comment. To demand for a response to student demands. What we’re doing to hold ourselves accountable – be more explicit. To be stronger there.
  • Joel: is this urgent? Do we need this statement? Do we need more time to develop it, or should we get it out in a couple of days.
  • Susan M. – proposal from a timeline? Calling out racism when we see it. This statement could be a support for what we have to do to eradicate racism. What our role; what FS needs to do to work on it. Timeline – let people know FS is working on it.
  • Bob Hirosky– agrees with Susan. It’s more useful to say what the FS commits to, instead of putting action on the administration. Not blanket support for things they don’t have control over. Commit to something within the next academic year. Not pointing and asking someone else to commit to something.
  • James S. – MLK came to UVA in 1963. Trying to find a quote that might be more appropriate.
  • Ellen Bassett – Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Structural obstacles for low income/minority communities. Faculty can do actions within their role – can pledge to undertake analysis to help UVA be better.
  • James Savage – noted California changed policy on entrance scores
  • Kevin – document is coming out related to this week’s events. Going back into history isn’t as helpful as addressing what is happening NOW. Address the murder is good; supporting the students and asking for a response with them – ask for university to enter into dialogue with students. Address the youth protesting in the streets. Documents should be focused on the here and now. Responding to current events; should be focus of document.
  • Alan B. referenced Q&A statement that Walt typed – he said it was good basis.
  • Carol M. – some urgency to get something out and should hold ourselves accountable for actionable items. Should come back with those items.
  • Kathryn– no point in commenting in this week’s events without tying them to the history of this university, as the FS.
  • Aiko– agrees. Historical context is important in the face of any action items that are put forward. Need to address George Floyd murder and recent events but tie them into the history. Take the particular moment and make the demands for change. Should be in alliance with student groups and have a dialogue with them about the action items.
  • Peter Norton– thought it should be a shorter, more terse statement. But sees more evolved statement and is satisfactory.
  • Robert Hiroski – doesn’t agree that you need to have the history stated. More detail than needs to be given. Add some action item for the FS showing an interest in having dialogue with students. Can be worded in a positive way as something for the faculty senate to do.
  • Joel – asking questions. Who is the statement’s audience? Who are we trying to reach? How many take home messages do we want reader to know?
  • Can this be quickly put into an outline form?
  • Aniko – the audience is the upper administration, the BOV, and our students – whole UVA community. Sentiments that the faculty wants to say and do.
  • Ellen – take home message, dialogue with students, and commitment to action, to push the administration. Faculty senate and student will work together to do something.
  • Joel: table the statement, decide what to do (another EXCO meeting or a full Senate meeting, form a group). Administration is willing to listen to us Pres. Ryan heard what faculty were saying when we issued a second statement. What do you want to do to follow up?
  • Susan Kirk: there is a need for expediency. Event happened last Monday. We are being watched by the university community. Absence of a statement from the Faculty Senate will be noticed.
  • Susan Modesitt – need to get a statement out and then plans for action items coming. Doesn’t think tableling the topic is
  • Aniko– small group to rework statement to group. Bring it back to EXCO in next few days.
  • Joel – EXCO can vote on it, post it, then let the FS approve/vote on it. Tabling it doesn’t kill it. Give you opportunity to rework it and pick it up in the next meeting. Need to have another meeting this week. Can it go to the Diversity/Inclusion committee? Can also vote it down and start again. Initial conversation and discussion has helped and now we need a way forward. Vote? Table it if we adjourn.


Several motions to vote on it.

Susan Modesitt – We need to get this out soon, but it needs some work.

Joel – Can accept the original draft or move to revise it.

James Savage – vote down but then have another motion to draft edited version.

Original text is now back on the screen.

James Savage asked: should we vote? Joel: option to vote it down and someone asks for revisions. Then decide how to go forward.

Susan Kirk – second motion needs a timeframe attached to it.

Joel: ask group to vote. A “raised hand” means

Co-chairs – only one co-chair should vote. Need to decide before the meeting

Those in favor of accepting this statement as written? One hand is raised. Clear the vote. Raise hand if you oppose accepting the motion – 8 opposed. How many abstain? Motion fails by a vote of 8 no, 1 yes, and 1 abstained.

Susan: proposes that document be refereed back to Tish and Natasha for incorporation of comments from today’s group with finalization by EXCO electronically by COB.

The motion is Seconded and Thirded.

The version will be electronically circulated.

Tish and Natasha – willing to accept this task? Draft in 24 hours.

New motion vote: Natasha and Tish would generate a revised document and Joel would create a poll so it can be voted on electronically. Joel will print and forward the questions and chat log for consideration.

In favor: 9
Any oppose? None
Motion passes

Joel: Can we call schedule EXCO meeting as needed, during the summer. Joel requested feedback to being able to call meetings as needed. Health System should observe MLK day. Administration wants to incorporate faculty participation in conversations.

Carol Manning: motion to bring entire university into uniformity or participating in MLK Day particularly Health System and SOM.


Purpose of motion: So clinics can close.

In favor of motion: 9
Any opposed? None.
Any abstentions? None

Carol will send the written motion to Joel.

Joel will send the drafted language for the statement to EXCO.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:25pm