Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Bonner gives ‘State of the University’ address to Faculty/Staff Meeting

After giving out a number of awards and hearing reports from three different faculty/staff assemblies, University of Alabama President Judy Bonner commended the faculty and staff for their work over the past year.

“I have the best job on campus,” she said on working with the faculty and staff.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bonner issued her “State of the University” address in the fall Faculty/Staff Meeting.

Bonner discussed positive changes within the University, such as a growing freshman class and the introduction of Schedule Builder, but also expressed a “sense of urgency” in the balance of tuition and the student experience.

“It is incumbent upon us to insure that this university is accessible and affordable,” Bonner said.

Bonner said she plans to continue to recruit the “best and the brightest” to the University and to ensure the “Alabama experience is second to none.” Specifically, Bonner commended Dean Charles Karr of the College of Engineering for his success in recruiting.

However, Bonner said there is still a need to improve graduation rates.

The University currently has a 68 percent six-year graduation rate, while the University of Florida has an 85 percent graduation rate, according to Bonner. She said our rates fall in place with Florida from two decades ago, and when she became provost, she contacted the Florida provost to learn how they increased their rates. Since then, as both provost and president, Bonner has modeled her plan to increase graduation after Florida’s.

In addition to Bonner’s speech, the presidents of Faculty Senate; Professional Staff Assembly; and Office, Clerical and Technical Staff Assembly issued reports.

Both Steve Miller, president of Faculty Senate, and Sonya Dunkin, president of PSA, commented on issues of diversity on campus.

The meeting came one month and two days after The Crimson White published “The Final Barrier,” which reported that at least two black students were not given sorority bids primarily due to alumnae interference.

Miller said, despite the negative press, the University will continue to press towards diversity on campus.

“We get undue attention, at times, from the media. When anything, for instance racial, comes up, it just hits us. It’s part of our history,” Miller said. “But I tell you what, when these things happen, The University of Alabama stands up. Our administration has stood up. Our faculty senate stands up to meet these challenges that come on.”

Since “The Final Barrier,” the Faculty Senate has created a task force to address issues of diversity on campus. Since its creation, Miller said the 10-person task force has met weekly to find solutions to the University’s pressing issues.

“This kind of institution is messy at times. It is a messy kind of democracy with some push and pull happening, different priorities for different people,” Miller said. “Generally we all get on the same page, and we certainly are all on the same page now.”

The PSA has also taken action to promote change on campus, according to Dunkin. Recently, the PSA passed a resolution supporting the task force.

“As stated in our resolution, we are committed to being a part of the solutions for our institution and its students,” Dunkin said. “And we are further committed to advancing diversity, reflecting integrity and embracing changes that help us achieve these goals.”

Miller closed his speech hopeful of the future.

“We may reach points where we disagree along the way, but we always come up, jointly deciding what’s best for this University. I’m proud to be here,” Miller said.

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