At the Undergraduate Senate meeting Tuesday, senators threatened each other with censure and impeachment following a discussion about UNC's music B.A. and textbook costs.
The Senate passed two resolutions on textbook affordability and reforming the Music Bachelor of Arts major. Rules & Judiciary Chairperson Tanner Henson also claimed he would file an ethics complaint against Senator Corry Dauderman, threatening impeachment if his behavior continues.
Music Bachelor of Arts Reform
The Senate passed a concurrent resolution calling for a reform of the Music B.A. degree.
According to the resolution, UNC’s 33-hour Music B.A. is in the 28th percentile of total degree hours among the Senate's self-defined peer institutions. And while peer institutions require individual lessons and piano requirements, UNC’s B.A. does not.
Oversight and Advocacy Committee Chairperson Wil Wiener said most music students and professors agree that music is best learned by playing, not through classroom lectures.
“Just on the whole, students are reporting that they’re not getting anything out of the Bachelor of Arts,” Wiener said.
Although the Bachelor of Music, equivalent to a Bachelor of Science in most majors, is more intensive, B.Mus. has 63 credit hours, which some say is not feasible for students who want to double major. It also focuses more on theory than performance.
Therefore, he said the Bachelor of Music program should reform its curriculum, as outlined in Student Body President Ashton Martin’s executive memorandum.
“I hope the administration can do something with this,” Wiener said.
The Senate passed a resolution that supports instituting the textbook affordability pledge. The Senate now formally supports the University enacting the pledge as a policy.
The Affordability Task Force and NCPIRG formed the pledge to lower the cost of course materials without affecting the quality of education.
The resolution, introduced by Senator Dede Gbikpi Benissan, said at least 50 percent of undergraduate UNC students found textbooks unaffordable. It also said at least nine percent of faculty have signed the pledge.
Censures and Complaints
During the meeting, Senator Dauderman called for a motion to censure Rules & Judiciary Chairperson Tanner Henson because Henson canceled an R&J committee meeting. On the morning of the scheduled Oct. 22 meeting, Henson canceled because he said there was no new legislation, appointments or information on bills referred back to the committee.
A censure is an official reprimand to a standing senator.
“We as a body do not think it was appropriate to cancel the committee meeting because there was ‘no new business’ to address,” Dauderman said.
No senator besides Dauderman voted in favor of censure.
Henson, in turn, said he would file an ethics complaint and would start impeachment proceedings on Dauderman if his behavior continued.
“Anytime Senator Dauderman doesn’t like what’s happening in the senate it becomes a character issue,” Henson said after the meeting.
Henson confirmed he is filing a complaint to the ethics committee.
“I’m not going to file a bill of impeachment at the moment because it would perpetuate this mess,” Henson said. “But it’s not something that’s off the table.”
Dauderman has not yet responded to a request for comment.
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