The Students’ Association Senate recognized the group Students for Academic Freedom at the meeting on Feb. 9 after a lengthy discussion.
“Students for Academic Freedom is part of a national organization that aims to encourage political diversity while discouraging biased presentation,” Students for Academic Freedom leader and senior Clarence Hardy said. “We seek tolerance for political diversity.”
Some of the avenues the group will take include gathering information to determine if things such as political ideology might influence hiring, grading, book assignments and guest speaker selections.
“There are not too many problems, but we want to prevent the growth of them,” Hardy said. “We want to make sure there is a review for things like book selection to show both sides of debate.”
“I believe professors are highly educated and capable of selecting their books,” sophomore and SA Senator Robert Cavanaugh said.
Hardy did not characterize this group as a form of affirmative action for political beliefs but instead said that they were arguing for allowing ideas in, rather than balancing.
“This is already an apolitical campus, which is not necessarily a good thing,” sophomore and SA Senator Brian Clancy said. “Too much protection may lead to discouraging discussion.”
The goals of this group may ultimately bring down the group – with the result of no conversation.
“We have a group of students who feel they’ve been discriminated against,” junior and SA Senator David Leibowitz said. “They want a forum where they are comfortable. They have no power. This just opens discussion. They just want others to recognize that there are other views than their own.”
“If we don’t approve this group, we are doing just what they’re complaining about,” junior and Senator Tyson Ford said. “We should be looking at their constitution, legitimacy and plan for longevity.”
Some senators also expressed concern about the lack of formal processes for dealing with issues once they arise.
However, the group was ultimately approved for SA recognition with a vote of 13 in favor and three opposed.
Most new groups are easily approved by the senate, as evidenced with the rapid approval of the Belly Dancing Club just before Students for Academic Freedom.
New information security officer appointed at UR
Kim Milford has recently been appointed Information Security Officer at UR.
Milford will serve on the Information Technology Services leadership team.
She intends to focus on reviewing information technology policies on campus.
“Right now, I’m just gathering information by speaking to students and staff on campus, and trying to assess the various issues,” Milford said.
“I would also like to improve awareness on campus about information technology.”
Prior to joining UR, she served as an information security officer and manager at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Before that, she worked under Helene Curtis as information security officer.
Milford was also the financial reporting manager for the American Hospital Association for four years.
Reporting by Jeff Keesing and Shweta Krishnan.