Faculty Senate President Kathy Chwalisz steps down

By Amelia Blakely , Campus Editor

At Tuesday’s regularly scheduled Faculty Senate meeting, it was announced Kathleen Chwalisz was stepping down as president of the Faculty Senate.

The announcement was made by Faculty Senate Vice President Ahmad Fakhoury who read a statement from Chwalisz.

“I’m stepping down from my role as Faculty Senate president in order for the Senate to move forward without this unnecessary distraction,” the statement said.


Fakhoury said he was disheartened when he received Chwalisz’s statement.

In Chwalisz’s statement, she said over the past year she has worked hard to represent all faculty, to communicate with the administration and to practice shared governance.

“The key to a true shared governance system is that we work together. As a constituency group, our role is advisory,” she said in her statement. “For this shared governance relationship to function, there must be trust. We seem to be in a crisis of trust.”

Chwalisz’s statement said Faculty Senate is at a point of decision; to be advisory or adversarial. Chawlisz said her efforts to be friendly and cooperative towards all stakeholders in the reorganization has made her a target of opposition and a potential wedge to delay the university’s progress, the statement said.

“Therefore, I am taking myself out of the equation for the sake of progress,” her statement said. “I’m stepping down from my role as Faculty Senate President in order for the Senate to move forward without this unnecessary distraction.”

In the previous Faculty Senate meeting on Feb. 13, a resolution for civil conduct in shared governance was proposed but never passed.

The statement said, “constituency groups and their members should approach shared governance, members of governing bodies, and their efforts to address problems and concerns on campus in a civil and professional manner, through conversations characterized by honesty and a sincere desire to achieve agreements that best serve all of the parties involved and the institution.”


Chwalisz said instead of discussing the resolution that was being proposed, a series of personal attacks were made on her and her leadership.

While discussing the proposed resolution at the Senate meeting on Feb. 13, Faculty Senate discussion turned when Sequn Ojewuji, a professor in the Theatre Department, asked what motivated the resolution’s creation.

“It would help to contextualize how to respond to it,” Ojewuji said.

From reading the resolution it seemed that it was a response to a conflict rather than creating a dialogue, Ojewuji said.

“It looks like a cover, or another further attempt to divide the faculty,” Ojewuji said.

Earlier in the month at the special Board of Trustee’s meeting on Feb. 7, Chwalisz said to the Board, “I’m here to remind you that SIUC is alive and well, despite the ‘dog and pony show’ against change that you will likely see.”

She said in the remarks, the reorganization proposal has caused conflict that has taken on a mob mentality.

“Please don’t allow a small angry mob to scuttle this change process,” Chwalisz said in her remarks to the Board of Trustees.

“By ‘calling a truce’ so to speak, I hope we can again work effectively together moving forward,” Chwalisz said in a memo she sent to the Faculty Senate after the meeting on Feb. 13.

Chwalisz said in her statement she thinks everyone in the Senate agrees shared governance is important, although all may not agree on what it looks like.

Campus editor Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.

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