Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Resolutions Passed at Nov. 15, 2009 Assembly

I.Resolution addressed to the Board of Trustees:
The Assembly of Shimer College:

Welcomes and accepts the invitation of the Chair of the Board to dialogue with the Board of Trustees regarding the governance of the College,

Thanks all the members of the Board of Trustees for their ongoing service to Shimer College, and looks forward to working collaboratively with them, and

Urges the Trustees and the President to respect the moral authority of the Faculty and of the Assembly, as the embodiment of the College’s democratic ethos.

II. The Assembly of Shimer College adopts the following declaration:

1.All members of the Shimer College community--which embraces students, faculty, trustees, administrative staff, and alumni—have a stake in the identity and future of the College. They have both a right and a responsibility to participate in its governance and direction to the best of their ability.
2.All of the constituencies of the College are entitled to fair and adequate access to, and to means of influencing, the upper-level decision makers and governance bodies of the College.
3.It is an integral part of education at Shimer College, which requires participation in a “Great Conversation” that addresses far more than the particular concerns of the student, that students actively concern themselves with the welfare of the College community and of broader communities.
4.Shimer College recognizes and appreciates the value of experience, education, and expert knowledge in the making of decisions, in reaching them expeditiously, and in the general management of the College. Democratic governance does not mean that all decisions are to be made by plebiscite.
5.Decisions that substantially influence the identity, ethos, or future of the College are to be reached, even when the consent of others is not constitutionally required, after adequate consultation and discussion insofar as possible, and in accordance with the dialogal traditions of the College and the processes set forth in its constitutional documents.
6.To be worthy of the name, consultation must be in good faith and never merely perfunctory. It should involve persons who hold diverse opinions, and it should include honest explanation and full discussion of points of disagreement.
7.The mere general invocation of peril to the College, including legal liability exposure, is not a justification for decisions or conduct that violate the letter or spirit of its ethical norms or constitutional processes. When such peril or exposure actually exists, measures can and should be taken to protect the College while respecting its shared governance. The nature of the invoked threat should be explained as specifically as the welfare of the College permits.

The Assembly of Shimer College
November 15, 2009

Be it known that shared governance at Shimer College, and the authority and powers of the Assembly in particular, are based, first, on the history of the College, which testifies to the devotion and sacrifice of ordinary community members—students as well as faculty--who made it possible for the College to endure against odds; on ideas and values central to liberal education, to academic freedom, and to our curriculum; on innumerable precedents and public statements over the course of the last four decades; and, further, on the following specific constitutional and other official documents:
The Mission Statement of Shimer College
The Constitution of the Shimer College Assembly
The Bylaws of the Board of Trustees, Article V:4
The May 15, 2008 resolution of the Board of Trustees concerning the Assembly.
The 2008 Shimer Strategic Plan
The Ethics Statement of Shimer College
The Constitution of the Shimer College Faculty
The Shimer College Student Handbook
The Board Expectations of the Shimer College President, Expectation 6, from the fall of 2008
The accreditation criteria of the Higher Learning Commission, June 2009.

The Assembly instructs the Speaker to address and disseminate the resolutions adopted on this day to all the constituencies of Shimer College, including Trustees and alumni.

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