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After two months of debate, UK's Board of Trustees has voted to dissolve the University Senate

Josh James

The new shared governance structure pivots the Senate from a policy-making body to an Advisory Faculty Senate which would operate alongside the Staff Senate and the Student Government Association.

UK President Dr. Eli Capilouto says the new structure draws from the UK-PURPOSE strategic plan adopted in 2021, which emphasizes the inclusion of more voices in leadership.

"Especially our staff," says Capilouto, "They don't see themselves represented in a University Senate. They are one of the constituency groups, but they don't hold positions from which they could cast a vote. Our students felt like, even though they are represented in a small number of seats in the Senate, what are ways they could be better heard?"

The new structure gives equal governance to faculty, staff, and student groups on campus. Faculty members opposing the change voiced worries about potentially being removed from the decision-making process around academic programs and admissions standards. However, Capilouto says faculty voices aren’t threatened by the addition of student voices.

"[Students] understand that the faculty has the responsibility to develop the curriculum and teach the courses but, in a whole host of other things we do associated with educational policy, they'd like to have a voice."

Of the Board of Trustees’ 16 members, only one – Hollie Swanson, one of two faculty members on the board – voted against the change.