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Staff Senate updated on university governance

By Netta S. Eisler

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 14 - December 1, 1994

The Staff Senate heard a report from Larry Moore, head of plant pathology and an active participant in the university's governance structure, at its November meeting. Moore has been involved in recent revisions of the university's constitution and by-laws.

"If there's one thing exciting in the time I've been working on governance, it's that we have developed a shared governance system," Moore said.

The process began with a 1987 report that said the university needed the administration, staff, faculty, and students to work together in governance, Moore said. The result was today's system of governance, which includes faculty and staff senates, undergraduate and graduate governing bodies, committees and commissions that include representatives from each of those sectors.

"Within this democratic system of shared governance, every one of the groups--up and down the line--can make a difference," Moore said. He reminded the senate that most standing committees include staff members.

Revisions in the governance system are intended to streamline the structure and insure balanced representation on commissions and committees. Some committees will be combined, while others will be eliminated. "There will be a total of 15 standing committees," Moore said.

In the business session, the senate heard that the governor's strike force committee report is available through the gopher or by calling 1-804-786-3088.

Senator Sheri McConnell reported that the Virginia Tech Employee Fund, established in 1990 to assist employees who have been laid off or who face extraordinary expenses due to catastrophic events, has been approached by an employee of 20 years. "This employee has a son and daughter in college," McConnell said. "She is a single mother with breast cancer." The employee, Karen Board, is attempting to raise $150,000-$200,000 for a bone-marrow transplant not covered by insurance.

In response to McConnell's report, the Staff Senate declared the week of December 5-11 Karen Board week. A major fund-raising push during that week will include distribution of pink ribbons, the international symbol for breast cancer.

In other business, Billie Cline was elected to the Commission on Faculty Affairs and Rebecca Brim to the Transportation/Parking Committee. The names of Wendy Biggs and Julie Petruska were submitted to the president's office for his consideration for appointment to the Library Committee.