[The following proposal was approved by the Faculty Senate on March 6, 2000.]

Bylaws Committee
March 6, 2000

To:   Faculty Senate
Subject:   Request for Mandate To Streamline Senate Bylaws

The Bylaws Committee requests authorization from the Senate for a thorough rewriting of the Senate Bylaws. Specifically, we ask that the Senate approve this resolution:
Resolved, That the UT Faculty Senate asks the Bylaws Committee to prepare and submit to the Senate for its consideration a thorough revision of the Senate's Bylaws.
The purposes of the rewriting would be: This rewriting of the Senate's Bylaws will require considerable time in order to consult with various constituencies, study the literature on governance structures, and prepare and submit for review by the Senate successive drafts of proposed revisions. We should not ask the Bylaws Committee to undertake a task of this magnitude unless there is a consensus that a restructured Senate would promote the goals of shared governance and academic freedom.

There is a useful description of the process of restructuring the Senate at the University of Texas by Alan Warren Friedman, "Good Governance," Academe July-Aug. 1996: 41-43. Friedman says of their process:
"We then proceeded, as deliberately and openly as possible, to consult with faculty, administrators (and their legal advisers), staff, and students; to receive as much input as we could and to take all views into account; to meet regularly to share our reactions to the input we received and to refine our views; to consider where we would hold firm and where we would compromise; and to draft and redraft until we arrived at a version (it took fifteen in all) that we thought we could successfully present and defend in public. Our arriving at this point took a year longer than many had hoped, but the deliberate pace proved worthwhile: we considered (and either accepted or answered) all points of view; everyone had opportunity to comment along the way; we avoided backing anyone into a corner; and we preempted any possible charge of haste."

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