Graduate records position resolution tabled

Cameron Coyle

A resolution to fill the graduate records position at WKU was tabled by the University Senate last week.

The bill, introduced by Senator and Graduate Council Curriculum Chair Kirk Atkinson, urged provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs David Lee to fill the graduate records specialist position. Atkinson said the resolution would prevent delays when graduate records are processed.

The resolution was tabled indefinitely, according to University Sen. Colin Farrell. Only two votes were cast against tabling the resolution, coming from Atkinson and Sen. Matthew Shake.

In a now-deleted tweet, Graduate Records Assistant Lisa Meyers said intimidation was used to make sure the vote would fail.

“They left out the fact that intimidation was used to ensure the vote would fail,” Meyers tweeted on Nov. 20.

Meyers was contacted for further comment, but did not respond in time for publication. Atkinson declined to comment further on the resolution.

The role of the vacant position is to process and approve graduate programs of study, articulate graduate transfer credits, supervise the graduate records assistant, serve as a point of contact for all graduate advisors and perform “other duties related to maintaining the Graduate Catalog and supporting the curriculum workflow process,” according to the resolution proposed by the Graduate Council.

The position was left open after the recent resignation of Graduate Records Specialist Laura Upchurch.

“I certainly understand the concerns that motivated the resolution, but the university is facing some serious financial issues,” Lee said in an email. “We have to think about different ways to do some of our work, and I’m asking the Graduate School office to go through that process.”

At the Nov. 16 University Senate, Budget and Finance Committee Chair Jim Berger said he had concerns because “this is essentially an enrollment management office on a graduate level.”

Other senators voiced concern because of the precedent it would set for resolutions passed by the university senate, according to University Senate Chair Eric Kondratieff.

“Some senators raised concerns that passing any resolution regarding a specific personnel action would set an undesirable precedent and open the door for a series of similar resolutions which do not naturally fall under the umbrella of senate responsibilities,” Kondratieff said in an e-mail.

At the University Senate meeting, Farrell asked Lee if the funds would be “appropriated elsewhere” if the position went unfilled. Lee said if the position remains unfilled, then the funds would “probably” go into “any kind of budget reduction we do down the road.”

“I personally hope that the Graduate Council, Graduate School and Provost of Academic Affairs can quickly work out a mutually agreeable solution to solve the staffing problem in Graduate Records, and thereby ensure that our graduate students’ records, etc., will be processed, as ever, in a timely fashion,” Kondratieff later added.

Reporter Cameron Coyle can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].