The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Faculty Senate resolution challenges Bush order

The Faculty Senate approved a resolution Wednesday challenging an executive order from President George W. Bush that would allow presidents to keep records classified indefinitely. The Senate also passed a resolution listing concerns about the Bush Library complex.

A third resolution with questions about joint and concurrent appointments for staff at the proposed Bush Institute was tabled.

According to English professor Dennis Foster, “It was the first time that the Senate has gotten to really discuss the nuts and bolts of what the relationship between SMU and the institute might be.”

Faculty Senate President Rhonda Blair described one of the resolutions approved during the special session as a formalized version of one drafted on Feb. 5.

“It’s a general resolution … that points out issues and concerns,” she said.

Among those concerns are procedures and standards for appointments at the institute, the relationship between the institute and SMU, and how closely linked the institute and SMU will be.

The resolution doesn’t give suggestions as to a course of action.

“We’re asking him to respond to a set of issues that are very much in the public eye,” said Foster.

Several senators drafted a resolution to be voted on last week, but the proposal for a referendum on the library dominated that meeting’s discussion.

The second resolution endorsed a letter from the history department about Executive Order 13233. The letter, which ran in The Daily Campus on Feb. 8, says the order goes against the Presidential Records Act, which generally de-classifies presidential records after 12 years.

The act has several provisions for exceptions, but with Bush’s order, a former president or family member could override those. Only a sitting president could veto the former president’s wishes.

“It calls on Turner to ask Bush to rescind it,” said Foster, adding that it wasn’t a necessary condition to house the library.

“The order will detrimentally impede inquiry into the history of the U.S. and detrimentally affect the value of the library to SMU,” he said.

The third resolution concerning joint and concurrent appointments was shelved because of confusing terms.

According to one senator, “The faculty itself is far from clear what the issues are, what’s at stake or what we can do once we understand all the issues.”

The resolution suggested that joint appointments, in which two parties pay for an official position, be disallowed. Concurrent appointments involve two different positions held at one time, “even if they are both at half time and half salary,” the senator said. Some senators were concerned that people hired by the Bush Institute could hold positions at SMU without having to meet the university’s standards.

In any case, Senators Tom Knock and Jim Hopkins will have heard the concerns about joint appointments when they begin discussions with the Academic Planning Committee for the Bush complex.

And according to Foster, when the Senate resumes regular meetings next week, the significance of the Bush Library won’t have diminshed.

“There’s a sense of the importance of the Senate’s being actively engaged in this process and a commitment to continue these issues,” he said.

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