Champaign Senate meeting.
The resolution, filed by D. Fairchild Ruggles, a senator and professor of landscape architecture, would have taken the issue of faculty hiring out of the committee's hands.
The committee was formed earlier this semester to investigate - and possibly correct - any statutory ambiguities that might arise during the process of hiring faculty. Members are asked to make a report on the issue by Nov. 24.
The committee comprises mostly faculty leaders co-appointed by SEC Chair Roy Campbell and Ilesanmi Adesida, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. There also is a member from the provost's office and from human resources.
Ruggles argued that the committee was unnecessary and that the statutes are already clear about the faculty-driven consultative process. She said the problem was that the chancellor did not follow those rules.
"We already have committees," she said. "The chancellor did not respect them. What changed was the will to listen to the faculty."
The resolution referred to a specific statute that says, "Appointments shall be made solely on the basis of the special fitness of the individual for the work demanded in the position," and goes on to include wording that gives the provost the final decision in such matters.
"Therefore be it resolved that it (the formation of the task force) would contradict the university's own guidelines."
Nicholas Burbules, a senator and professor of education policy, organization and leadership, said Ruggles' resolution was misleading and mischaracterized the charge of the committee.
Her contention that the task force would make recommendations "behind closed doors" is false, he said, noting that any recommendation for changes in hiring policy would be presented to the full senate and provost for consideration.
He said Ruggles' contention that the committee was planning to grant the chancellor new powers was without merit, as well.
The idea behind the task force, he said, was to identify any ambiguities and to "clarify the constraints on those powers" so that a case like Salaita's does not happen again.
"The ad hoc committee is simply responding to the fire alarms that many people on campus were triggering," said Matt Hill, a student senator. "There are no secret intentions."
Senators also turned down a resolution asking the body to take a stance against a massmail sent Aug. 22 by the chancellor, which supporters said constituted a policy stance on academic freedom that ran counter to university statutes.
"What we cannot and will not tolerate at the U. of I. are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them," Wise said in the email titled "The principles on which we stand."
Detractors said the statement suggested there are predetermined limits on campus free speech.
In other business, a revision of Standing Rule 13, part of the campus's governing bylaws that cover the closing of units, was sent back to the university statutes and Senate Procedures committee.
That committee will meet with members of the Educational Policy committee to correct inconsistent language in the resolution that was pointed out by a senator during discussions.
The revision prevents units from bypassing the senate's Educational Policy committee and making "unilateral" structural changes to academic units or downsizing the size of a class or program simply by not accepting new students.
It also would address situations that might affect campus organization, such as administrative decisions to rearrange disciplines.
The resolution was returned to committee after complaints that the term "educational programs" was too broad.