It is well known generally that the early 21st century has seen a cultural shift toward authoritarianism--either in the form of authoritarian democracies in the political sphere, or in the form of corporatism in the private and civil society sphere.
(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)
The university has not escaped these larger socio-cultural trends. And indeed, many within it have succumbed in large respect to the blandishments of control, monitoring and management of subject populations that they have been elected or appointed to represent. As a consequence, the ability of groups to hold their leaders accountable have been increasingly replaced by regimes designed to separate people from the systems set over them for their governance. For U.S. universities, this should be a disturbing trend, yet many have sought to turn their representative institutions from democratic into managerial spaces. In the process the character of faculty governance will change and change dramatically.
While I have written from time to time on these trends as they affect university administration (see HERE, HERE and HERE), I have rarely had occasion to observe and comment on the way these trends are also shaping the internal governance of university faculty senates.
This post considers one such effort--the quite misguided effort to extinguish the authority of university faculty senators to interpose resolutions at open meetings of the Senate and to replace it with a system in which such authority is managed by the very Senate leadership who are the object of the accountability enhancing character of this "right to resolution."