DePauw University faculty met for their monthly meeting via Zoom at 4 p.m. on March 4. With over 100 faculty and administrative members in attendance, the meeting covered a wide range of topics, including merit pay, Senate Bill 202, the use of donor funds, and more. 


Chair of Faculty Dr. David Guinee opened the meeting with information about three motions put forth by faculty members. The first motion, put forth by Professor Gregory Schwipps, sought to adjust the wording of DePauw’s Religious Holy Days Policy. Schwipps argued that the policy was slightly outdated, as it mentioned an office that no longer exists at DePauw. He also suggested adding mentions of other offices that students can turn to with questions or concerns about the Holy Days policy. This motion passed with 69 votes in favor, 2 votes opposing, and 0 abstentions. 

The second motion was put forth by the Faculty Priority and Governance Committee, led by Dr. Howard Pollack-Milgate, and requested that faculty endorse compensation based on rank and years of experience rather than merit pay. Dr. Pollack-Milgate noted that this motion would endorse this concept as a principle for discussion, rather than an established rule. There was much confusion about the meaning and ramifications of this motion, which prompted faculty members’ discussion for several minutes before voting. The motion passed with 44 votes in favor, 32 votes opposing, and 17 abstentions. 

The final motion of the session was put forth by Dr. Kevin Howley and was seconded by Professor Richard Cameron. The motion asked faculty to approve a statement opposing Indiana Senate Bill 202, which Dr. Howley viewed as a threat to academic freedom in Indiana. President Dr. Lori White also shared that the DePauw administration is opposed to this bill, in line with the position of the university’s lobbying body. Faculty members passed this bill with an overwhelming 82 votes in favor, 2 votes opposing, and 5 abstentions. 

Committee Reports 

Following these motions, faculty committees reported on their announcements and upcoming motions, before taking questions from their fellow faculty members. The University Strategic Planning committee, led by Dr. Joe Heithaus, shared updates about capacity building, noting that the committee will continue to push for DePauw to reduce its endowment spending from around 7% to 5% or less. 

After Dr. Heithaus’s report, one professor queried if the push for reduced endowment spending would lead to further budget cuts to departments. Vice President for Finances and Administration Andrea Young responded that DePauw would focus on “flattening non-salary overhead budgets” in the next academic year, but that cuts would not go beyond what has already been communicated with faculty. 

Another professor voiced concerns about endowment allocation, sharing that she feared alumni donations were being misplaced or misused by administration. These concerns were backed by another professor, who noted his alleged experience with Asher Grant funds being diverted from their designated departments. VP Young responded, insisting that “this institution has never misused donor funds.” Another professor voiced concerns that the university was “operating in bad faith with [its] donors,” before the next committee shared their reports. 


Once committee reports were complete, President White, who was joining from Washington, D.C., shared her remarks. She shared information about the recent Board of Trustees meeting and addressed concerns about last semester’s cybersecurity incident before elaborating on the American Council on Education conference that she was attending in D.C. Major topics of discussion at the conference included the future of higher education, transparency and public relations, accessibility for transfer students, freedom of expression, and DEI initiatives. 

President White also discussed the recent Lily Endowment Proposal, which DePauw University and the City of Greencastle have submitted. This proposal includes plans for development of Seminary Street, downtown improvements, an incubator fund for small businesses, and the addition of a natatorium in the new Greencastle YMCA. One film professor asked President White about the fate of the only movie theater in Greencastle, Ashley Square Cinema, which would be removed during Seminary Street renovations. President White deferred this question to VP Young, who shared that the proposal includes budget plans to relocate Ashley Square Cinema. 

After President White concluded her remarks, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Dave Berque took the floor. He shared that the Schedule of Classes for Fall 2024 would be released to students on March 20, and that 3 to 4 more First Year Seminars were needed. He also shared the results of a recent faculty poll, which measured which of the three schools DePauw faculty affiliate with. This poll found that 71 faculty members affiliate with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 22 with the Creative School, and 10 with the School of Business and Leadership. 31 faculty members affiliated with two or more schools, and 4 opted not to affiliate. 

Changes to Event Planning 

Following President White and VP Berque’s remarks, Dean of the Creative School Marcus Hayes discussed changes to the campus events planning policy. These changes apply only to faculty event planning, such as department-hosted events, and not student organizations’ events. 

Dean Hayes explained that the new system will require faculty members and departments to submit their event ideas and budgets by March 18 for the Fall 2024 semester via Google Form. An event planning working group, formed of individuals representing many aspects of campus life, will review events and provide feedback or approval by the end of the Spring 2024 semester. Dean Hayes also recognized the upcoming deadline for event applications, and apologized for not sharing more information with faculty sooner. He acknowledged that this new process, while much needed, will take some time to perfect. 

Professors commended Dean Hayes for taking on this challenge, which many viewed as long overdue, but shared some concerns. One professor worried that this new event system would be used to filter out event content, to which Dean Hayes assured: “Content is not a part of the conversation.” Instead, he explained, this new event system will be used to streamline the event planning process, increase student attendance to events, and avoid event overlap. It will also require all faculty events to be listed on Campus Labs, in order to allow students and alumni to learn about events ahead of time.