President Ruth Simmons discussed the departure of Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98 and recent cases of bullying concerning sexual identity that resulted in suicides at college campuses nationwide during Tuesday's faculty meeting.
Simmons explained that bullying happens in some environments more than others and that the University must fight these attacks. "Failure to challenge this behavior" can result in similar incidents, Simmons said.
She said it will take enormous effort and involvement to tackle problems that "threaten civil rights."
"We should set examples," she said. Simmons said the University is a "privileged community" in terms of respecting rights, but she explained that the University must continue to fight against incidents of discrimination.
Simmons also discussed Kertzer's decision to step down at the end of the academic year. The "provost position is a challenging one," she said, adding that the position is vital "for the future of the University." There will be a search for a new provost starting in the next weeks. "We should search nationally but be open to internal candidates," she said. She mentioned she also wants to "encourage thoughts and comments" about the search.
Simmons briefly spoke about the budget and said that the University does not anticipate additional budget cuts. She explained that one of the concerns is the financial aid budget, adding that many families were affected by the difficult economic times and there is now more need for financial aid.
Kertzer discussed the new tool for concentrations called Focal Point. He said there has been much effort to create "tools to enrich the faculty-student advising relationship." He also mentioned a few proposals that must be examined by faculty soon, including a proposal for the Program in Public Health to become four different departments and to evolve into a school of public health. He also mentioned a proposal to change the name of the Department of American Civilization, and the Literary Arts Program's request to change its status from a program to a department.
Kertzer also introduced a presentation on the United States National Research Council Review of Research-Doctorate Programs, which is important to graduate students who are looking at Brown, he said. He said that though the council generates "a certain amount of controversy in some parts" because there are frequent mistakes and inaccurate statistics about the University, the council does provide some useful information.
Professor of Education Cynthia Garcia Coll, chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, said the committee will spend next month working on the motion concerning tenure passed at last month's faculty meeting. There are "a couple of different proposals" on how to divide the motion up, Garcia Coll said. She said that dealings with the motions will last until April.
Garcia Coll said the faculty committee held a meeting with the Medical Faculty Executive Committee, adding that the faculty committee is trying to work on how to foster the collaboration between Brown, Alpert Medical School and hospitals where faculty work. The hospital-based faculty have no access to the Brown network, and there are a "bunch of problems with e-mail," she said.