Faculty Senate makes reforms

Monthly meeting endorses changes to athletic policies

By Daniel C. Houston
Staff Writer

The Faculty Senate joined a national organization’s efforts to reform intercollegiate athletics policies, prioritizing four-year scholarships for some student-athletes, Tuesday at its monthly meeting.

The Senate voted to join the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, an association of faculty senates from various universities, although it stopped short of fully endorsing some of the coalition’s objectives, said religion professor Dr. Rosalie Beck, chair of the Senate.

Beck said the Senate was able to come to a consensus on offering student-athletes with full scholarships a guarantee that scholarship will last four years, even if they suffer injury.

The body, however, was split over other reforms the coalition has promoted.

“We couldn’t come to a conclusion about paying a stipend to athletes,” Beck said, “because one of the realities is, if you do something for one kind of athlete, you have to do it for all scholarship athletes. And, in reality, men’s basketball and football are the driving forces in most athletic programs that have those two sports. … So we heard a lot of good arguments, a lot of good discussion on whether to pay a stipend, [but came to] no conclusion.”

The Senate also set aside for the time being consideration of whether the university should grant transfer credit to students who have taken online courses from other schools.

After exploring the possibility of allowing students to transfer online credit hours, a Faculty Senate task force determined the data about the effectiveness of online courses were inconclusive.

“Some studies say you learn as much [in online courses] as you do in a regular classroom,” Beck said. “Other studies say ‘no, it’s a waste of time; you don’t learn anything online.’ So, basically, the task force decided to wait for more scientific evidence before they make a decision.”

In other business, the Senate voted to eliminate the Facilities Use and Campus Solicitations Committee, a standing committee whose main purpose is to field requests from outside organizations hoping to solicit funds from members of the Baylor community on university property.

The number of requests in recent years has been low enough that this responsibility has been handled by an office in the administration for some time, Beck said. Beck was unable to recall the name of the office.

Dr. Frieda Blackwell, professor of Spanish and associate dean for humanities, accompanied Beck to a the coalition conference and delivered a report at the Senate meeting, but could not be reached for comment by Tuesday’s deadline.

The Senate meeting was closed to the public.