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UCS discusses dean of the college search, renewable energy, bookstore

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Members of the University’s Dean of the College Search Committee solicited feedback last night from members of the Undergraduate Council of Students regarding desirable attributes in a replacement for Dean of the College Paul Armstrong, who will step down from his position this summer.

The council also heard from members of the Save the Bookstore Coalition and proponents of the council’s “Resolution Recommending that Brown University Invest in Renewable Energy.” No official business was passed, however, as not enough members were present to meet the official quorum.

Professor of English Kevin McLaughlin, chair of the dean of the college search committee, said the committee is seeking nominations from within the Brown faculty, though he later added that nominations of people from outside the University are also being considered.

Specifically, the committee is looking for a candidate who would be willing to step away from research and formal teaching endeavors for a minimum of five years.

UCS members brought up various suggestions about what to look for in a candidate. Appointments Chair Benjamin Boas ‘06.5 suggested Armstrong’s replacement should promote independent undergraduate research, while UCS President Sarah Saxton-Frump ’07 mentioned that the undergraduate advising process should be improved under the new dean and suggested speaking to the candidates’ current advisees for feedback.

UCS also heard from proponents of a resolution recommending that Brown invest in renewable energy. The proposal, authored by Communications Chair Michael Thompson ’07, is based largely on the results of UCS’s most recent WebCT poll, which found that 77.4 percent of respondents favored Brown’s potential investment in renewable energy and that 72.7 percent of the respondents would be willing to pay a fee of either $10 or $25 per semester in support of renewable energy.

The resolution recommends the University charge each student $25 per semester, a move that would raise at least $200,000 to be used to purchase renewable energy. Council members agreed to return to discussion of the resolution after spring break.

Members of the Save the Bookstore Coalition also appeared at the meeting. The main focus of their visit was to ask UCS about how much support they would need to see from the undergraduate student body in order to take up the issue. Saxton-Frump explained that UCS is waiting for more evidence about what kind of changes would be made to the bookstore should it remain under independent operation.

One of the orders of business on the agenda was for UCS to vote on a resolution to end the Ivy League ban on postseason football play. However, Saxton-Frump soon noticed that there were not enough members to constitute a quorum, and therefore a vote could not be held. “There is no quorum right now, so we can’t pass any official business. Technically we couldn’t even approve the minutes,” Boas said nearly an hour and a half into the meeting.

UCS also addressed the application process for appointments to University committees, the deadline for which is April 4. Tristan Freeman ’07, chair of the Academic and Administrative Affairs Committee, brought up his committee’s forthcoming report on Departmental Undergraduate Groups. Freeman said the AAA committee wants to maintain contact with many DUGs and try to improve the DUG program as a whole.

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