Thursday afternoon, the Brandeis faculty met and discussed - what else? - the plan to close the Rose Art Museum. A vote was taken to have the Faculty Senate take up the issue. I e-mailed a series of questions to William Flesch, its chairman.
What will the Faculty Senate do now that the faculty asked for a committee to be formed to examine the Rose situation?
We're discussing the formation of such a committee. I believe we'll announce its membership this weekend.
What do you understand the Faculty wants the Faculty Senate to do?
We're discussing our understanding of this questions as well. At a minimum, we'd expect the committee to consider whether there are any alternatives to closing the Rose. We imagine that they might also think about ways of displaying and making parts of the collection available, even after the museum closes.
Has the faculty senate had any role in this so far?
We've had some email discussion of the issues. The Senate, however, was informed on Monday night, just like everyone else.
Does the faculty senate have any authority in this issue?
The faculty handbook gives the Senate authority to discuss issues important to the faculty. We can bring motions to the floor of the faculty meeting; and we can offer our views on a number of topics. I don't know that we have any authority beyond that in this case, but I think we can and do put moral and political pressure on people whose actions we don't have authority to govern. The faculty handbook, which it is part of our brief to defend, clearly requires substantive deliberation, by standing committees it designates, on all decisions that have a significant effect on the intellectual and academic mission of the faculty.
How do you feel about the decision to close the Rose and sell the art?
I think it's very sad.