Notes on the History of the Academic Senate
When Thomas MacQuarrie was inaugurated as President of San José State University in 1927, the institution had 2000 students and 100 faculty. When he retired in 1952, there were nearly 6000 students and 400 faculty. In 1964, when his successor, John Wahlquist, retired, there were more than 18000 students and 1000 faculty. The area occupied by college buildings had expanded from about half of Washington Square--three of six blocks--to 20 blocks. Between 1950 and 1960, some 20 new buildings were built; displaced were the San Jose high school and Carnegie library.
The increase in numbers of students and faculty meant more than just new buildings and parking problems. Before World War II, the "old Normal School" at San Jose and other state colleges were quite autonomous, not part of a "system" each with its own budget. Officially they were under the supervision of the State Department of Education, but each president was, for all practical purposes, lord and master of his own little campus, unhindered by an administrative hierarchy, considerations of due process, or requirements of faculty consultation. It was from these beginnings that San José State grew into a "comprehensive university," and its faculty, through the Academic Senate and its predecessors, gained a voice in the shaping of university policy and the direction of campus affairs.
The claim of the faculty of a university to take part in making university policy is subject to obvious limitations. One is the legal control of the trustees or regents and whatever limits or conditions have been established by their authority. Another is the practical need for external support, financial and other, from political forces and community and alumni groups. On the campus, effective faculty participation may be difficult without the information and expertise of administrators. Further, a cumbersome committee process is the usual mode in which proposals are developed or consultation takes place. And, finally, for most faculty, playing a part in governance is an uncompensated part-time activity. Subject to, and in spite of, all of these constraints, it is now generally accepted that faculty bodies, such as academic senates, should have a significant part in institutional policy decisions. However, the precise scope of participation and the specifics of its forms and processes vary. This is a record, albeit brief and selective, of the efforts of the San José State faculty, working through the Academic Senate and its predecessors, to define and develop its place and part in making policy and overseeing administration.
Before the formation of the Faculty council in 1952, the only agencies for faculty involvement in campus affairs were the local chapters of such organizations as the California State Employees Association (CSEA), the Association of California State College Instructors (ACSCI), ("Instructors" was soon changed to "Professors"--so ACSCP--and later "College" became "University"--so ACSUP) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). These were later joined by a California Teachers Association chapter (CTA) and an American Federation of Teachers local (AFT)--later United Professors of California--(UPC). Many faculty were members of more than one of these groups for insurance and other reasons, and cooperation between them for faculty objectives was not unknown. Before collective bargaining, these organizations remained a possible channel, in addition to Council or Senate, for faculty action.
Men's Faculty Club
In the late 40's, the state acquired the four blocks between 7th and 9th and San Fernando and San Carlos streets. Existing structures were demolished as funds became available to build new college buildings--Music and Engineering were the first. In 1948, another organization that deserves mention was given permission to use one of the old houses on 8th Street (later part of the Art Building site). This was the Men's Faculty Club.
Primarily the club was a place to eat lunch. (The only alternative on campus was a cafeteria in the Home Economics Building, now the Central Classroom Building). Parking was also available for members on a vacant lot next door. The club's membership is said to have been around forty; no official roster survives. The majority of its members seem to have been faculty hired right after World War II.
The facilities the club offered were on the primitive side, but it was a place for congenial colleagues to talk, as well as eat a "brown bag" lunch. Conversation was wide-ranging, sometimes intellectual, "sometimes even witty," to quote Harrison "Benny" McCreath (Speech and Humanities). It was, of course, a convenient venue for discussion of campus affairs and a safety valve for any faculty dissatisfaction.
Establishment of the Humanities program was one important consequence of club conversation. One of the leaders in creating this selective two-year sequence of team-taught interdisciplinary courses was Richard Tansey (Art), and its long-time chair was O. C. "Clint" Williams (English). Both were club members, as were most of its original faculty.
Another contribution of the Men's Faculty club to the college was the active role played by some of its members, first in the Faculty Council and then in the Academic Council. Some half-dozen of the first members of both bodies were club members, including the first chair of each, Dudley Moorhead (History) and George "Bill" McCallum (Biology).
The Faculty Council
Establishment of an official body elected by and authorized to speak for the faculty would require the approval of the college president. It was clear that President MacQuarrie would not approve. (He is said to have referred to such groups as "soviets.") When, in 1951, it became known that MacQuarrie would retire the following year (at 75, after 25 years of service), faculty began to make plans for an organized approach to the new president. As soon as the appointment of Wahlquist was announced, efforts were made--even before he took office--to obtain his consent to the creation of such a body. Somewhat reluctantly, it is said, and disregarding MacQuarrie's advice, he agreed. It was to be the first of its kind of any of the California state college campuses.
It should be acknowledged that not all faculty agreed on the need for representation. Theodore Balgooyen (Speech), then CSEA chapter president, recalls that the chapter agreed to support the proposal for a representative body only after long and heated debate in a full membership meeting. Dudley Moorhead, president of the AAUP chapter, together with Olive Gilliam (History), the ACSCI president, and Balgooyen, took the lead in preparing a plan for the new body. The plan was approved by faculty vote in April 1952, and in May eighteen members were elected, fifteen from teaching faculty and three from staff. President Wahlquist showed his good will by seating them on the stage of Morris Dailey auditorium at the general faculty meeting that opened the next school year.
The charter of the Faculty Council was a statement of purposes, not of powers. It was to be the official channel for bringing faculty opinion to the attention of the administration - - when and if the administration wanted such information. It also, at Wahlquist's invitation, accepted responsibility for nominating faculty to serve on college committees. The president appeared at its meetings from time to time to discuss particular issues, but Council chairs are said to have found tactful ways to discourage more than occasional presidential participation.
Positive changes were made during the 1950's. In addition to the establishment of the Faculty Council, the format of the college catalog was modernized somewhat, a manual for faculty and staff was issued, general education requirements were instituted, and the Humanities program developed. The Academic Fairness Committee, to consider student complaints about grades, seems to have originated then. In themselves, however, the changes were not sweeping and the basic power structure was not altered. Many of the faculty, particularly the newer faculty, certainly hoped for more and faster change.
The adoption of the state's Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960 was to make further and faster change possible, but the limited role it assigned to the state colleges has always been a source of dissatisfaction. Both the Master Plan and the Wahlquist administration were criticized in an anonymous article that appeared in Dissent in 1964. The authors are said to have been disgruntled younger members of the SJS faculty. The tenor of their comments can be gathered from the title, "San Jose: Portrait of a Second-Rate College."
Nevertheless, the new administrative structure created by the Master Plan made further development possible. Under the Plan, a state college "system" was established, with a single board of Trustees, a single budget and a Chancellor and central administration. While this limited the autonomy of the individual campuses, it also limited the powers of campus presidents. Furthermore, the Trustees soon mandated the formation of faculty councils or senates on every campus.
At San José State, a Faculty Council committee (of which Gladys Gilmore [History] was chair) had already drafted a proposal for real faculty participation in policy-making. Briefly, it provided for an elected Faculty Assembly - all faculty - and an Executive Council composed of representatives from the Assembly and the principal administrators. There were to be two separate bodies, and policy was to be made through the Executive Council. The Trustees' directive was issued before this draft could be acted on. The initial instructions from the Trustees required that the new bodies include "administrative faculty" (i.e. administrators) as well as teaching faculty. Although this requirement was later dropped, the result at San José was that the proposed Faculty Assembly and Executive Council were condensed into one body, an Academic Council, made up of both elected faculty representatives and administrators. An Executive Committee composed of faculty elected to Council offices and the administrative leadership was to act as a steering committee. This is, of course, the pattern that we still have.
The Academic Council was authorized to recommend policies to the President. It also took over the structure and staffing of college committees and linked them to the Council through its policy committees. Faculty representatives were to be elected from the academic divisions (later "schools" and still later "colleges") in order to assure broad representation. There was also, at least initially, an informal understanding that the faculty leadership positions would be rotated among the divisions.
The Academic Council's charter, ratified by faculty vote and approved by the Chancellor in 1963, was entitled "Constitution for the Organization of the Faculty," and it described the Council as the official representative body of the faculty. The document's preamble stated as the Council's purpose participation of the faculty in campus government. However, as noted, the Council had a substantial administrative membership. Included were the President, Vice President, all deans and the Business Manager. In fact, the President was designated as the Council's chairman, with the elected Faculty Chairman as, in effect, only vice chair. Early on, however, in the council's first year, the Faculty Chair, George "Bill" McCallum (Biological Science), had occasion to call the meeting to order because the President was late, and did not relinquish the chair when Dr. Wahlquist Arrived. From that time on, apparently, the President did not take the chair again. The nominal presidential chairmanship was eliminated by amendment in 1966.
The administrative membership of the Academic Council grew larger as the institution grew. As new deanships and vice presidencies were created, those appointed became members, as did the Library Director and the Provost of the new College when they were classified as deans. During the later 60's, student members were added, and the council ended up with more than 60 members: 20 administrators, 34 faculty, and nine students. Experience showed this body of 63 to be too large for constructive debate, and it obviously was not a distinctively faculty body.
In 1970, an ad hoc Council committee was appointed to revise its constitution and provide for a more balanced membership. Its draft, as a whole, was not accepted by the Council, but one important proposal, that the vice chair should be chair-elect, was passed and approved by faculty vote.
A substantially revised constitution was adopted in 1974. A new preamble stated that its purpose was to provide for participation in campus governance by the SJSU academic community. The new document was entitled "Constitution of the Academic Senate," and the Senate was described as the "principal agency for formulation of policy for the University." The new membership was seven administrators, six students, and 24 faculty - 37 in all. By 1992, it had grown to 54: nine administrators, seven students, and 38 faculty. The principle of two-thirds faculty membership was confirmed by a specific amendment.
The Academic Council/Senate has never had a permanent, official meeting-place. In 1965 it was meeting in Education (now Sweeney) 431, in the later 60's in Library (now Wahlquist) North 629, and in Engineering 327 in the 70's. The Council acquired its own office and full-time secretarial assistance only in 1970.
In 1964, President Wahlquist was replaced by Robert D. Clark, Dean of the Faculty at the University of Oregon. Wahlquist's retirement was commemorated by an Academic Council resolution acknowledging 12 years of "extraordinary growth" and expressing its "appreciation for a job well done."
Under President Clark's leadership, the Council developed a long series of measures aimed at moving San José State from the teacher's college level to that of the much larger and more complex institution it had become. Bob Clark believed in faculty participation in policy-making and worked with and through the Council to reform and improve what was still in name a state college. Indicative of his belief was his invitation to the Council chair to address the Fall faculty meeting that traditionally opened the academic year.
One of the Council's primary concerns was establishment of standards for faculty recruitment, retention, and promotion. In the old state college pattern, these decisions were made by department heads and other administrators, and the major criterion for tenure and promotion was seniority. A beginning was now made in development of a system of collegial evaluation of teaching and research.
A more dramatic innovation was faculty review of department heads, then appointed by the President with no requirement of faculty consultation and serving indefinitely, at the President's pleasure. A policy allowing faculty nomination with review every four years was adopted by the Council in 1964, with Clark's blessing. It is said that nearly half of the incumbent heads resigned the following years. (The title was soon changed from "head" to "chair.") Review of higher administrators and procedures for designation of interim appointees were provided for in 1971, following recommendations from a Council special committee. The Council helped devise new administrative structures, changing "divisions" to "schools" and separating Science from Applied Sciences and Social Sciences from Humanities and Arts. Of some symbolic importance was a 1972 Council resolution, originally proposed by Peter Buzanski (History) in 1967, to end the practice of ringing bells or sounding buzzers at the beginning and end of class periods.
Some policies developed and recommended by the Council emphasized faculty responsibilities. In 1967, the AAUP Statement on Professional Responsibility was adopted. The following year, policies more clearly defining instructional obligations, i.e., meeting classes and holding office hours, were put in place. It was another ten years, however, before student evaluations of teaching were required.
The first efforts at student evaluations were made in the mid-60's by Tau Delta Phi, the student honor society. For several years it conducted its own surveys and published the results as the years it conducted its own surveys and published the results as the "Tower List." A few faculty expressed outrage; one threatened to sue. The Council merely recommended that Tower List ratings not be used in retention and promotion proceedings. Then some departments began to make systematic attempts to measure teaching competence. Finally, in 1978, the Senate provided for preparation of uniform instruments and required that evaluations be included in retention and promotion dossiers.
The structure of the Council and Executive Committee, with both faculty and administrative membership, favored cooperation more than confrontation. This, plus Bob Clark's leadership, meant that changes were made to a considerable degree by consensus. Such opposition as there was came as much from incumbent administrators as from older faculty. For example, when, early in 1966, a motion from the floor commending Clark for the achievements of his first 18 months was adopted, opposition was expressed by John Gilbaugh, Dean of the College. (A few months later, the title Dean of the College was changed to Academic Vice President, and Hobert Burns was appointed as its first holder.)
Gilbaugh, before his appointment as dean at San Jose, had been a superintendent of schools in rural Kansas. Later, after his return to teaching in the School of Education, he became something of a thorn in the side of SJS and its faculty. He began to write a column on education which ran regularly in a number of newspapers, particularly in smaller California communities. He was critical of San Jose and similar institutions for encouraging faculty research and participation in governance, and for failing to require that faculty be on campus five days a week. There were also vague charges of faculty misconduct. In 1968, he published much of this in a book entitled A Plea for Sanity in the Public Colleges and Universities. His criticisms and charges led the Academic Council to appoint a special committee to draft a response. The committee, composed of Harold DeBey (Chemistry), Robert Gordon (English), James Heath (Biological Science) and Gerald Wheeler (History), drafted three and a half pages of refutation. The Council approved this statement, with instructions that copies be sent to the Trustees, Chancellor, members of the Legislature, the CSU state-wide Senate and all local presidents, councils and senates in the system. The effect on the recipients is unknown, but eventually the press lost interest in Gilbaugh's attacks.
The high degree of cooperation overall between faculty leaders in the Academic Council and the administration appears from the appointment of many former Council officers to administrative positions, following the pattern established by Dudley Moorhead's long service as Dean of Humanities and Arts; Moorhead had been the first chair of the old Faculty Council. Lester Lange (Mathematics) and Gerald Wheeler, after serving as Academic Council chairs, became deans of, respectively, Science and Social Sciences. Hal DeBey, also Council chair, served as provost of the new College. H. Brett Melendy (History), the Council's second chair, was acting Academic Vice President while Bert Burns was acting President, and some years later, Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Burton Brazil (Political Science), the first chair of the Committee on Committees, served as Executive Vice President. William Gustafson (Men's Physical Education), who was elected Council vice chair and would have succeeded to the chairmanship the following year had he not resigned to accept a leave earlier deferred, was, on two occasions, acting dean of Applied Arts and Sciences. A list of all those who held Council/Senate office and also served as department chairs, associate deans, etc., would be long indeed.
Time of Troubles
The later 60's saw the beginning of an era of student unrest at San José State as on most university campuses. In coping with it, much improvisation was necessary. Existing, mostly informal, procedures based on the in loco parentis tradition were not adequate either in terms of riot control or of due process. As one of the few lawyers on the faculty, I served on several ad hoc tribunals. In 1968, a committee, headed by Hal DeBey, drafted and the Council approved a comprehensive policy on student rights and responsibilities. I remember meeting with President Clark and several students at the Council's annual week-end retreat at Asilomar, late Sunday night, to hammer out the last few clauses.
This was also a period of some faculty unrest. In late 1968, following the example of faculty at San Francisco State, some members of the AFT local at San Jose announced that they were on strike. The Academic Council expressed its willingness to consider their demands, but the offer was spurned; the strikers regarded it as too limited in its power and too closely involved with "the administration." As a strike, the activity was rather curious. Some of the group actually stopped teaching and walked a picket line. For others, however, it was enough to meet their classes off campus, or, at least, at different times and places than scheduled; some gave reading and writing assignments in place of lectures. A kind of climax was reached when a part of the group "sat in" in President Clark's office.
The Council held a series of special meetings in January, 1969, first to condemn the sit-in and then as a degree of sanity prevailed and the strike came to an end, to provide for a special committee to advise on the loss of pay to be suffered by each striker. Peter Buzanski, Bob Wrede (Mathematics), and I served on this committee, and our efforts to be reasonable may have helped to restore a degree of harmony. (Most unusually, the three of us were rewarded for our services by Bert Berns, the Academic Vice President, with a bottle of liquor apiece.) Clark, in his formal statement of the ending of the strike, emphasized the "key role" played by the Council and praised its "responsible approach."
Dr. Clark had come to San José from the University of Oregon. In 1969, he returned to Eugene as president of that institution. The Academic Council's farewell resolution expressed its "deep appreciation for the years of valued and constructive cooperation" he had given it in "five years of outstanding service." In 1982, the library bearing his name was dedicated; the bronze plate on the building commends his "vision and leadership."
Burns and the Council
The appointment, in 1966, of Hobert W. Burns as Academic Vice President was one of Clark's major contributions to San José State. After a year as acting president following Clark's departure, Burns continued as AVP through the Bunzel era and into the Fullerton years, providing both continuity and direction. He gave much attention to curricular development. With President Clark's support, experiments such as the Tutorial program and, later, the New College were presented to and endorsed by the Council. In 1970, Burns appointed a Mission and Goals Committee (George Sicular [Civil Engineering] served as its chair), which, in its 1971 report, proposed a comprehensive restructuring of the state college system from the Trustees on down. Of more practical import was its advocacy of greater emphasis on liberal education. A few years later, a special committee, with Burns as chair, proposed an innovative general education program for San José State. It was approved by the Academic Senate in 1978, and it served as something of a model for the statewide GE policy adopted a few years later.
With Clark, Burns had supported faculty participation in academic government and in academic senates as the medium of that participation. His faith may have worn a little thin in his later years here, however. At the time of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, there was strong demand for Council action, mostly (but not exclusively) from students: the campus should close down, ROTC should be abolished, etc. There was a special meeting of the Council on May 6, 1970; then Governor Reagan closed all state campuses for four days. On May 11, there was a long and tumultuous council meeting. Resolutions were finally passed to the effect that teaching should be "redirected" to current problems and that grades should be calculated on the basis of work to date.
When the San Jose Mercury got wind of the Council's actions, it interpreted them as a vote to close down the institution and informed the world in a big black headline that the faculty had voted to strike. At a general faculty meeting the next day, Burns announced that, as president, he could not approve the grading resolution, calling it illegal. There was obvious conflict between his veto decision and his personal faith in academic self-government, and there may have been pressure from higher state levels; in any case, he then told the meeting that he was resigning as acting president and withdrawing as a candidate for the permanent appointment. At another special meeting the following week, the Council watered down its resolutions and expressed its confidence in Burns. He was persuaded to reconsider his resignation and withdrawal, but eventually it became clear that the Trustees would not appoint him to the presidency, a result to which the Council's imprudence must have contributed.
The regular search process for Clark's successor dragged on for more than a year and was, in the end, unsuccessful. A reopened "search" with candidates hand-picked by the Chancellor's office (including John Gilbaugh) led eventually to the appointment, in 1970, of John H. Bunzel, Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State. Burns continued to serve as Academic Vice President until his retirement in 1983. The Senate honored him with a lengthy resolution; further recognition came even from the Trustees who appointed him interim president of a troubled Sonoma State.
In the Gilbert and Burdick account of the proceedings at John Bunzel's installation, the following appears:
At the ceremony, Professor Theodore Norton, Academic Council chairman, welcomed Bunzel into office and remarked that the president was determined to seek excellence in accordance with the college's past tradition. Norton stated that during the past year Bunzel had experienced difficulties with the faculty, "but he is a man of principle and integrity, a man who fights hard, but fights fair." The student body president, Michael Buck, urged the Bunzel administration to allow students to participate in the democratic process in "their spheres of interest."
There are two reasons for quoting this language here. The first is that the summary of Buck's remarks is euphemistic. The most conspicuous portion of his speech was a diatribe against conservative politicians and the Trustees for having imposed a president on the campus without student or faculty consultation. But Buck was wrong as regards faculty consultation, although it would not have been appropriate to try to correct him then and there. The selection committee, which included faculty, had interviewed Bunzel and had concluded that he was acceptable and would probably be appointed if the committee did not raise objections, as it had to the other last-minute candidates. The conscious decision was made to say nothing and let the appointment go forward.
The second reason for the quotation does not involve any inaccuracy. I did say then that Bunzel "fights hard." After some further experience, however, it developed that he was not really much of a fighter. His provocative pronouncements were seldom productive.
In response to some of the new issues and claims of the 70's, San José State created a number of new majors and minors: Black Studies, Mexican-American Studies, Women's Studies, Asian-American Studies, Environmental Studies, and a new, minority-oriented Social Work program, some as separate departments and some housed with existing units. Establishment of the new Social Work program created a problem for the Senate because it was adorned, by administrative decision, with the title School of Social Work and headed by a dean. The Council/Senate had always used the groupings until recently called schools, now colleges, as its electoral constituencies. Those classified as faculty but not assigned to a school were joined to the General Unit. Giving the title "school" to what was, in fact, a single small department would guarantee it a senator and representation on policy and operating committees. The Senate was unwilling to accept this, and so for some years the anomaly existed of an academic unit treated administratively as a school, but represented in the Senate only as part of the General Unit. Eventually the Social Work school was somewhat enlarged by the addition to it of other departments, and a compromise was worked out that gave it one faculty representative in the Senate, but limited its committee representation.
Growth in enrollment (and state funding) had been taken almost for granted at San Jose in the early 70's, when more than 20,000 FTE students were registered. In 1974 and subsequently, enrollments slipped below this figure. The loss of students was not evenly distributed across the campus. With the end of the Viet Nam conflict, career-oriented programs began to attract more students than some of the liberal arts and social sciences. Some departments, staffed on the basis of past enrollments, now lacked the FTE to support their total faculty, and the specter of lay-off was evoked.
There was consensus that every effort to avoid lay-offs should be made, and this was formally declared in a policy adopted by the Senate in 1978. The Enrollment Patterns Committee created by the policy -- a committee elected by the faculty, contrary to the usual practice of appointment by the Senate -- was assigned responsibility for analyzing enrollment changes, and all schools and departments were encouraged to make and accept temporary reassignments of under-employed colleagues. Supplemented by state-backed measures encouraging early retirement, the policy was a success; there were no faculty layoffs at San José State.
Bunzel's presidency was marked by a good deal of controversy, some of it with a strong ideological flavor. The appointment, in 1973, of author Jessica Mitford as a visiting professor of sociology became something of a cause celebre because she refused to be fingerprinted, then and for many prior years a requirement for all faculty. She was supported by a Council resolution; the case was actually resolved by a court ruling in her favor. Ms. Mitford's account of all this appeared in the Atlantic Monthly; in the end, the fingerprinting requirement for faculty was formally eliminated.
Bunzel and the Senate
In 1974, the year the Council changed its name to Senate, a good deal of the body's time was taken by the great Economics Department controversy. The faculty of that department were split, almost equally, into two hostile factions. The hostility was based, in part at least, on competing views of the objectives of the discipline, abstract science versus social justice. The strong feelings and equal division made it difficult for the department to function and evidently impossible for it to make decisions on recruitment and other personnel matters. After an accrediting body took notice of the situation, a School of Social Sciences committee was appointed by the dean to seek a remedy. The committee recommended that the department's personnel functions be turned over to the faculty selected from other departments. Bunzel approved this, but many members of the Senate expressed strong opposition. The opposition was based partly on ideology and partly on the failure of the administration to consult with the Senate on such an unprecedented move. Attempts were made to involve the national AAUP, the American Economics Association, and the state-wide Senate. None of them, however, found cause to intervene, and the "receivership" of the department remained in effect for several years.
Much less controversial were various changes in the Senate's management of its paperwork. At first, every pronouncement of the Academic Council was automatically submitted to the president for his approval, whether it established or modified policy or merely expressed opinion. President Bunzel, however, apparently did not like having to take a stand on every issue the Council/Senate saw fit to comment on. So, in 1974, the practice was developed of labeling opinion resolutions, measures not affecting policy, as "sense of the Senate" resolutions, which did not require presidential approval. A separate numerical series for all such resolutions adopted was initiated in 1978. In 1982, a by-law recognized the policy-opinion distinction and added a third category, the "Senate management" resolution, which deals only with the organization and procedures of the Senate. The practice of assigning an "AS" number to all measures presented for Senate action originated during the 1977-78 year.
Perhaps I should remind all concerned that there is a hierarchy of authority here. Senate measures are ranked by their scope and by the votes and procedures required for their adoption. A lower-ranking measure cannot alter or override one of higher rank. The provisions of the Senate Constitution are at the top. It can only be changed by the vote of an absolute majority of the Senate plus approval by majority vote of the faculty. By-laws, which require a two-thirds majority Senate vote and a first reading are second. Policies are third. All of these measures also require the approval of the president. Senate management resolutions are binding on the Senate and its committees. Sense of the Senate resolutions rank last; they are simply not binding on anyone, although they may sometimes be given weight by, or provide guidance for, administrators.
The relationship between the President and the Senate deteriorated over the years of Bunzel's presidency. He was not an effective leader, and, at the end, the situation had become quite confrontational. His lack of support among the faculty is shown by a campus-wide poll taken in 1977 by the various faculty organizations jointly on the issue of faculty review of the president. A substantial majority favored such a remedy. He remained in office through the 1977-78 academic year. Although his resignation--to accept a fellowship at the Hoover Institution--had been announced, the Senate went ahead with the proposal for presidential review. At the same meeting at which it commenced consideration of procedures for selection of his successor, the Senate adopted a resolution calling for establishment of a system-wide review policy. A little later, it proposed a campus presidential review policy, which Bunzel vetoed. The Senate expressed no regrets at his departure.
Bunzel's successor was Gail Fullerton, the first SJS faculty member to be appointed President since Morris Dailey in 1900. Not only had she taught sociology here since 1963, she had served on the Council and was elected chair of its Committee on Committees for 1972-1973. She resigned this post to accept appointment as graduate dean, and then served briefly as Executive Vice President. Familiar with and to the Senate, she started her administration, therefore, on a better footing with it than her predecessor.
Fullerton and Management
President Fullerton, it is fair to say, tried hard to maintain an appearance of good relations with the Senate. Her faculty background, furthermore, made it easy for her to respond to faculty concerns in acceptable ways. On the other hand, "management" became a key word in her vocabulary, although its precise definition was never spelled out. Over time it became clear that she liked to have her own way in what she considered management matters, that she did not welcome dissent or opposition from members of her management team, and that consultation with the Senate in management concerns was likely to take the form of an exhaustively detailed report--after the decision had been made.
Fullerton's primary interests as President appear to have been campus planning and construction, and intercollegiate athletics. She avoided Senate controversy in these areas by involving the Senate as little as possible. Even so, occasional conflicts arose. Her enthusiasm for athletics led the Senate, at the urging of Roy Young (Political Science), to oppose increased expenditure on sports from instructional funds. Agreement was finally reached to cut back such spending.
Many faculty expressed dismay and disapproval when, in 1983, Fullerton summarily removed Brett Melendy as Associate Academic Vice President for Undergraduate Studies, because he disagreed with her about an administrative matter. Melendy was, after all, a senior and respected faculty member and an early Council chair with a long and creditable record in scholarship and administration. However, the President's authority was clear, and the Senate could only pass a resolution praising Melendy for his many contributions.
The following year, the Senate passed and sent to the President for approval a policy for the university's archives which, among its other provisions, gave increased status to a University Archivist. But Fullerton, it appears, never took action on this policy, either approval or disapproval, notwithstanding the provision of the Senate Constitution requiring prompt action on Senate policy recommendations. It may not be just a coincidence that Melendy, on his "return to teaching" in an overstaffed History Department, had been designated as part-time Archivist.
Honorary degrees were another topic on which Fullerton and the Senate did not see eye to eye. Back in the 60's, the Council had not opposed such honors. In fact, San José State had actually conferred honorary doctorates, with the Council's approval, on Buckminster Fuller and John Gardner. Then the Trustees intervened with a regulation that gave the Trustees sole authority to award such degrees, excluding any faculty participation. In 1975, an SJS Senate committee made a report on the subject which noted the Trustee policy and also argued that there might be something almost fraudulent about institutions having no authority to grant earned doctorates handing out honorary ones. It recommended that San José State avoid any involvement in the honorary degree game; the Senate agreed.
President Fullerton, however, decided to institute (with the approval of the Trustees) the practice of awarding an honorary doctorate to a distinguished SJS alumnus/a as part of the annual commencement ceremony. Since the Senate was not consulted, there was no occasion for conflict. It should be noted, however, that Fullerton was always careful not to say that the degree was awarded on the recommendation of the faculty.
The Senate Chair
One controversy in the Senate late in the Fullerton years did not involve the President. Since 1970, the Senate's Constitution had established a pattern of rotation in office: the vice chair automatically succeeded as chair the following year and the past chair remained in the Senate and on the Executive Committee.
The intention was that the vice chair would have a year on the Executive Committee as preparation for her/his term as chair and another year as "elder statesperson" afterwards. Some continuity among the faculty members of the Executive committee would be assured. However, to allow a new chair's seat as an elected representative to be filled and to avoid the problem of a past chair's terms having expired, both are designated as ex officio members, who could not be elected to Senate offices. The net result is than an incumbent chair could not be re-elected the following year.
In the 1990 and in 1991, the Executive Committee twice proposed amendments, in different forms, that would have made it possible for a chair to serve for two successive years. The proposals were actively supported by 1990/91 chair John Galm (English), 1991/92 chair Bobbye Gorenberg (Nursing), and 1992/93 chair James Smart (Mathematics). In support of these proposals, it was argued that a single one year term made it difficult for a chair to exercise any real leadership. Likewise, it was said, a chair limited to a one year term was at a disadvantage in state-wide meetings. Opponents argued that the chair was simply a presiding officer; that the Senate's leadership was collective, including the Executive Committee and the policy committee chairs. The importance of rotation as assuring continuity was also emphasized. (No reference was made to the convenience for the Senate, and, perhaps, also for the President, of the automatic rotation out of office of an unsatisfactory chair.) No consensus was reached, and neither proposal received the absolute majority required for constitutional amendments.
Fullerton resigned in 1991, taking advantage of that year's "golden handshake." While there had been differences, the Senate generally accepted her leadership. At its last meeting of the year, in May, a resolution to sponsor a farewell dinner for her was adopted, and another was passed the following September asking that "at an appropriate time" a campus building be named in her honor.
Collective bargaining for state university faculty was authorized by state law, the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA), in 1978. One immediate effect was a sharp change in the status of the organizations that earlier had sometimes served as agencies of faculty participation in university affairs. CSEA and UPC became bargaining agents for some non-faculty employees. AAUP and CTA joined in the new California Faculty Association (CFA), the faculty bargaining agent. ACSUP, which had opposed collective bargaining, retained members for a while by offering its own health insurance plan, but eventually the local chapter dissolved. The 1977 poll on presidential review was the last joint effort of these groups to play a political role on campus.
While HEERA recognizes the responsibility of academic senates for educational policy, the conditions of employment are, of course, to be dealt with through the bargaining agent and the bargaining process. Campuses and campus senates had never had any control of faculty salaries. But retention and promotion, prior to 1978, had occupied much Senate time and produced a steady flow of policies. Now the basic decisions are made in the contract, and campus senates are limited to implementation only.
Reference has been made to President Fullerton's enthusiasm for "management." This notion was reinforced by the initial hostility of the Trustees to collective bargaining, which led the Board and the Chancellor to argue that its institution had somehow expanded the role of management as against both the bargaining agent and the senates. The scope of the SJS Senate's activity under its Constitution is broad, and it is logical to say that whatever is not expressly assigned to collective bargaining and the bargaining agent, remains within the Senate's authority. In other words, the Senate is not restricted from recommending policies simply because they relate to management. Nevertheless, the CSU position led eventually to a kind of treaty negotiated between the CSU Academic Senate and the Chancellor.
This document, entitled "Responsibilities of Academic Senates in an collective Bargaining Context," attempts to define the areas in which "faculty" (i.e., senate) initiative in policy-making is appropriate and those in which measures should be initiated by the Chancellor or President. While this agreement was never, I believe, formally approved by the SJS Senate, it was invoked once or twice by Fullerton. However, if its provisions limit the formal authority of either the SJS or CSU Senates under their constitutions, they would be, in effect, constitutional amendments, which would require an affirmative faculty vote for approval; there have not been such votes. What it is, at most, is a working agreement between Chancellor or Presidents and Senates; it does not cancel out the broader statements of senate authority in their constitutions. Be that as it may, frequent resort to the details of this document should be unnecessary if there is, in fact, good communication and cooperation between the President and the Senate. Communication and cooperation strengthen both. Very simply, the Senate cannot play a constructive role without the President; if a President lacks Senate support, she or he is more dependent on others (e.g., the Chancellor or Trustees). If San José State University is to maintain its identity and some responsibility for its own future, President and Senate must work together.
On Gail Fullerton's retirement, at the end of the 1990-91 academic year, the Chancellor named Executive Vice President J. Handel Evans acting president of San José State and made it clear that Evans was precluded from being a candidate for the permanent appointment. Evans, an amiable Briton, was a professional architect who, before his vice-presidency at San José, had served as teacher and administrator at the San Luis Obispo CSU campus. As already noted, President Fullerton did not welcome dissent or opposition from members of her managerial team, and, in this respect, Evans was a good team player.
Earlier presidential searches all involved a local committee, but the mechanism for selecting its members had varied. At President Clark's retirement, the Academic Council merely appointed a faculty committee. (Although numbered as a policy, this resolution states in so many words that it need not be presented to the president for approval.) The Chancellor also appointed a committee which included faculty and Advisory Board members. Notwithstanding the faculty's expressed preference for Hobert Burns, this was the committee that eventually accepted the appointment of John Bunzel.
By the time of Bunzel's resignation in 1978, the Trustees had in place a more formal structure for presidential searches which kept the process firmly under Trustee control. There was provision for a local "advisory committee," but it was subordinate to the Trustees' committee. The local committee was to have only two faculty representatives; it also included a student, a staff member, and an Advisory Board member. Needless to say, the Academic Senate vigorously protested the limited faculty representation, and, needless to say, the Trustees' position prevailed. The Senate was only allowed to establish the procedure for choosing the two faculty representatives.
A proposal originated by William Tidwell (Biological Sciences), later to serve as Senate chair, was adopted which provided for elections in each school (now college) of nominees, from whom the Senate would then select the two to serve. The time-lines were extremely tight, by academic standards. The whole process had to be completed in less than a month. This was, with some effort, accomplished, but it gave rise to concerns about future presidential searches that might require selection of faculty representatives at the end of the academic year or during the summer.
It was these concerns about timing that led to the decision for the search that followed President Fullerton's retirement. Trustee policy now allowed for three faculty representatives on the local committee, and had added alumni and community representatives, but the problem of time constraints in selecting the faculty remained. The Senate's solution on this occasion was simply to designate its chair, vice-chair and past chair to serve on the committee whenever a presidential search might be necessary.
The selection process followed by the Trustees in 1991 did include meetings with the faculty members of the SJS Senate's Executive Committee. The Senate also sought to make its voice heard in regard to the job description drafted in Long Beach for the San José presidency. This included a specific reference to NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics. The Senate adopted a resolution requesting the deletion of this language, because it implied a commitment to continue Division IA participation. The resolution was ignored.
In the end, this presidential search failed. Partly, perhaps, because the field of candidates was not impressive, but in greater part because of the exaggerated significance given the university presidency in the context of local community politics. The Trustees, in appointing community members to the committee, had given representation to various ethnic groups. Unfortunately, the Board and the Chancellor apparently did not realize that in San Jose, the SJSU president is almost as conspicuous a figure on the local scene as, say, the mayor. A conflict seems to have developed between various groups, each seeking the appointment of one of "their people." A similar situation would probably not have arisen in communities where the president of a CSU campus is less visible, or where ethnic politics is less competitive. Be that as it may, it does seem clear that academic considerations were not the local committee's primary concern, notwithstanding the efforts of the faculty representatives.
All of the presidential candidates finally withdrew, and interim president Evans was appointed by Chancellor Munitz to a three-year term as president. The Chancellor did convene a campus meeting of senators and others to discuss this appointment, but made no effort to consult the Senate as a body. At the behest of David Elliott (Communication Studies), a former chair of both the SJS and statewide senates, a resolution was adopted which expressed both the Senate's approval of the appointment and its displeasure with the Chancellor's failure to seek its recommendation before deciding to designate Evans.
The controversy over intercollegiate athletics was renewed in 1993 by the appointment of a special Senate committee to review athletic funding. The committee report recommended that expenditure for athletics be reduced by AY 1995-96 to not more than 1% of the total university budget. After heated debate, the report was approved by a 20-19 vote. The resolution was, in form, only advisory ("sense of the Senate"). It was not implemented. The administration went ahead with its plans to move up from the Big West Conference to the Western Athletic conference. While the initial cost of this move was substantial, the hope was that the new affiliation would result in greater revenues and, at some unspecified future date, in a self-supporting athletic program.
Evans was, in general, not inclined to interfere with normal Senate policymaking. New policies adopted and approved during his tenure included, for instance, a revised Curricular Priorities document, one on Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibility and one on Program Planning.
Evans did insist on presidential prerogative on one subject. The agreement between the statewide Senate and the Chancellor entitled "Responsibilities of Academic Senates in a Collective Bargaining Context" specified that in matters of selection and review of administrators the president need only consult the local Senate. At San José State, however, policies for selection and review of administrators had all been drafted, debated, and passed by the Senate in the same manner as other policies. In view of the pending search for a new Academic Vice President, Evans decided to rewrite the applicable policy and issue it as a presidential directive. The Senate found it hard to oppose this initiative because both presidents and senates had been willing to resort to this "Collective Bargaining context" document whenever it strengthened their respective positions to do so. Eventually a procedure was devised whereby the presidential draft would be submitted to the Senate for its review, and the final version of the directive did include most of the Senate's recommendations.
The existence of "military science" programs on campus had been controversial in 1970 when one of the student demands had been the elimination of ROTC. With the increased tolerance of differences in sexual orientation in the 80's and 90's, university ROTC programs again became controversial. A number of resolutions, many introduced by Aimee "Wiggsy" Sivertsen (Counseling and Sociology), who served as Senate chair in 1988-89, were passed protesting against military discrimination against homosexuals. In 1994, the Senate finally adopted a policy requiring the university to "disassociate with" the military programs. The federal government, however, had the last word. In 1997, Congress passed legislation cutting off all federal funds for any campus that excluded ROTC, and the disassociation had to be abandoned.
Faculty participation in presidential searches again became the subject of Senate action in 1994, after the Trustees required campuses not electing their faculty representatives on the local committee directly, to review or ratify their policies. Additional incentive came from the announcement in January that there would be a new search for a president of San José State. The existing policy designated the incumbent Senate chair, vice-chair and past chair as the faculty representatives. Now, however, the Senate decided that each college would nominate a candidate and the Senate would then elect three from these nominees. This, of course, was somewhat similar to the procedure followed in 1978, although no one seemed to remember the precedent. Once again, timelines were tight; the policy had to be, and was, drafted and passed and the elections held before the end of the academic year.
As it turned out, Evans was not a great success as president. His limited tenure undoubtedly weakened his leadership potential. Whether or not this was the sole cause, there was, it appears, a lack of consistent direction or guidance. Arlene Okerlund (English), who had been appointed and re-appointed as Academic Vice President by Fullerton and had continued to serve with Evans, found her position difficult enough to resign in 1993 and return to teaching.
Nevertheless, in the ensuing presidential search Evans was one of the short-listed candidates and was believed to have the Chancellor's backing. It came as something of a surprise, therefore, when the Trustees appointed Robert L. Caret, vice-president at Towson State University in Maryland. In January, 1995, the Senate approved a farewell resolution praising Evans for his seventeen years of service to San José State. In February, President Caret attended his first Senate meeting.
Restructuring the Senate
The interregnum period saw the beginning of an economic decline in California that
resulted in a sharp contraction in state revenues. All state agencies suffered, but
increased commitments to public schools below the university level and to prison operations
put extra pressure on university funding. One consequence was a change in CSU budgeting.
Instead of the "formula" budgeting, driven by enrollment, that had long been the rule,
the CSU and its campuses were given greater flexibility and responsibility.
For years the Senate had attempted to gain a role for faculty in budget matters, but an inflexible budget process and a generally uninformed faculty had combined to frustrate these efforts. Finally, in 1993, a new Budget Advisory Committee was created, consisting of the non-administrative members of the Senate Executive Committee, i.e., the Senate officers and the student body president, with broadened authority as part of the campus budget-making process.
A major step in Senate reorganization was the decision, in 1996, to restructure the Executive Committee. Policy committee chairs were now to be elected by the whole Senate, and these chairs, together with the other Senate officers, would constitute the Executive Committee's faculty membership. To avoid undue enlargement and maintain balance, the functions of the Chair of the Committee on Committees were transferred to the Secretary and the Faculty-at-Large position eliminated.
Election of policy committee chairs by the Senate, it might be noted, resolved a controversy that had developed in 1991, when a proposal for appointment of chairs by the Executive Committee was hotly debated and eventually defeated. In the early days of the Academic Council such appointments had been the rule, but this had been changed to allow each committee to elect its own chair, probably reflecting an inherent professorial preference for loose structures. Since these elections traditionally had taken place in hasty gatherings during the first meeting of a new Senate at the end of the academic year, serious consideration of merits or qualifications may sometimes have been lacking.
Further structural changes took place in 1996. They were impelled by an unprecedented situation. At the time of the May election of officers, all of the suggested candidates for vice chair were either not available or declined to run for a variety of personal and professional reasons. If no vice chair were elected, of course, there would be no Senate chair the following year. The improvised solution was to postpone the election to the fall semester. Several vacant Senate seats would be filled by special election in the fall, and it was hoped that candidates might then be found.
Various measures to find a solution were attempted. The new chair, Kenneth Peter (Political Science), convened a meeting of past chairs during the summer to seek their advice. Informal efforts were made to recruit likely candidates for the vacant seats. The question of allowing a chair to serve more than one term, an issue that had stirred heated debate in 1990 and 1991, was raised again.
The postponed election finally took place and a vice chair was elected. The issue
of a second consecutive term for a chair was also resolved, this time with surprisingly
little controversy. The required constitutional amendment was accepted; the implementing
by-law allowed a chair, after her/his first semester in office, to request re-election
for the year following. If the Senate approved the request (by a secret ballot and
a two-thirds majority), the chair would serve the additional year. The incumbent vice
chair would retain that position and succeed to the chairship at the end of the second
The thinking behind this innovation seems to have been to maintain continuity and, at the same time, to suggest that the chair's term should not be extended as a matter of course. The basic scheme of a vice chair succeeding to the chair's position annually was assumed to be the natural order of things. Consistently, a chair thus re-elected would be limited to a single extension. The new procedure was activated in the spring of 1997, when Chair Peter was re-elected for an extended term.
Yesterday, and Tomorrow
It would be premature to attempt any evaluation of an administration still in progress. For one important development, however, primary credit should be given to former presidents Fullerton and Evans. Expansion of the original campus across San Carlos street had created problems both for students and motorists. The city of San Jose had earlier agreed to the closing of 7th and 9th streets as the campus expanded, but the concern of city planners for easy access to and from the downtown area, as well as the state's failure to provide funds for landscaping the closed streets as promised, made city officials reluctant to close San Carlos. Thanks to the efforts of Caret's predecessors, an agreement was worked out both for the street closing and the landscaping. The results were impressive. The traffic problems were eliminated, the landscaping (on San Carlos, 9th and 7th) included planting, paths and fountains, and there was a new awareness of the physical identity of the campus. Caret's formal installation was enhanced by the striking improvements.
The university's financial problems have not gone away. In effect, the promise made by the 1960 Master Plan, to make higher education available to all, has been weakened to the point of extinction. It was announced that public higher education would become "state-aided" instead of "state-supported." The major portion of the state's General Fund still goes to education below the baccalaureate level and to the expanded prison system. Between FY 1990-1991 and FY 1997-98, the academic affairs budget of San José State was reduced by more than $36 million, and nearly 500 faculty and staff positions were lost. Student fees have been increased; CSU campus presidents have been given fundraising quotas. Although state tax revenues have recovered and the political climate may have improved, the fiscal pressure on California's public universities is still intense. If predictions of a future surge in enrollments turn out to be correct, San José State, President Caret and the Academic Senate face formidable challenges.
1A detailed account of the formation of the Faculty Council, by Dudley Moorhead, its first chair, is preserved in the Senate files.
2As McCallum greeted the president and then continued with the agenda, Edward Laurie (Business), a member of the first Academic Council, remembers that McCallum winked at him.
3San Jose qualified for university status in 1972 as California State University, San Jose. In 1974, it recovered its identity as San Jose State University. The institution's enthusiasm for the title "university" was moderate, at best; it was made clear that no additional resources were to be expected, and doctoral programs remained off-limits.
4Washington Square, 1857-1979, p. 194.