Faculty put off vote on motion protesting Iraq war

By Matthew Stone

Posted on Oct. 10 at 7:56 p.m. CST.Faculty members avoided the greater part of a potentially charged debate at their monthly meeting Wednesday afternoon by adjourning before voting on a motion that proposed suspending classes for a day next month as a protest against the war in Iraq. Professors will instead take up the motion in a special session next Wednesday.

If faculty members vote in favor of the motion next week, Macalester may become the first known college in the country to suspend classes on Tuesday, Nov. 6, for a day of talks and workshops about the war in Iraq.

Linguistics professor John Haiman brought forward the proposal Wednesday; 14 other professors from a cross-section of departments had signed on in support. President Brian Rosenberg and Provost Diane Michelfelder would make the final decision on whether to cancel classes.

Rosenberg declined to comment following the meeting on whether he would agree to cancel classes if faculty members ultimately vote in favor of the motion.

Haiman said in an interview Tuesday that he had not gauged faculty support of his motion.

“There’s a lot of faculty that may be wavering on this,” Haiman said in the interview. “I have no confidence that this is going to pass.”

At best, the outcome of a faculty vote remained far from certain as professors introduced amendments and spoke in opposition during the 10 minutes of debate that took place.

The faculty spent the bulk of their 90-minute meeting listening to status reports from Rosenberg, Michelfelder and others, and debating the wording of faculty handbook language that guides the process for a professor appealing a tenure decision. Since faculty protocol mandates that meetings end at 6:10 p.m., only six minutes remained for debate on the Iraq war motion. Professors voted to extend their meeting time by five minutes and spent much of this time debating proper procedure for extending the meeting.

See Friday’s Mac Weekly for more information.