Faculty members have been in an identity crisis since the release of the Wainstein Report a month ago.
At Friday’s Faculty Council meeting, Jim Thomas, a professor in the school of public health, said it begins with the faculty defining who they are. He spoke of the shock many people have felt over the report’s findings.
“These (events) are not us. We are something else,” he said. “But we’re having trouble articulating what exactly it is that we are. We don’t really have a shared language to appeal to and say these are the things that we are.”
He said the University needs to clarify what its identity is. The failure to articulate the foundation of the University’s identity could lead to drawing too tight of a circle around a particular problem, he said.
“If that circle is too tight, we could neglect other issues,” he said. “Also, if that circle is too tight, and we’re focusing on that, it fills our whole field of vision, and when we react to it, we’re at risk of overreacting.”
Faculty members then engaged in a discussion about what brought them to the University and what they believed its core values should be.
Some of the most commonly named values were honesty and integrity.
“(Honesty) should be the core value at the University mainly because honesty leads to trust and a sense of faith in each other,” said Brian Sturm, a professor in the school of information and library science.
“And when you can’t assume that there is honesty, then the whole sense of community begins to dissolve.”