1/20/23 Hovde Stock, entrance columns

President Mung Chiang addressed the University Senate Monday afternoon, giving his first such speech as Purdue’s president since taking office.

Chiang expressed gratitude at being given the opportunity, acknowledging the importance of the University Senate in administering Purdue’s campus.

“I deeply appreciate your leadership, and all of your services,” he said. “It’s a deep honor to be able to service all of the faculty, staff, and students here at Purdue University, and of course to serve alongside all of you.”

Mung told the Senate he was “excited” about the formation of the Action Council on Student Housing and Wellbeing, which he announced earlier this month as a means to solve the “housing problem” at Purdue.

The President wrapped up his remarks by giving the floor to Provost Patrick Wolfe, who also expressed appreciation for the opportunity to address the Senate.

The address ended with Professor David Sanders, Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, asking the President if he had plans to expand charging stations for electric vehicles on campus.

Mung replied that he had no plans to do so.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Following Mung’s address, the Senate discussed incorporating a social justice-focused curriculum plan into Purdue’s core curriculum.

The plan, called the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Embedded Learning Outcome and introduced by Professor Eric Kvam, seeks to establish having an understanding of social justice issues as a requirement of Purdue’s curriculum.

The plan follows curriculum requirements established in other universities in previous years, according to Professor Kvam.

Some Senators raised concern with the proposed plan, with Professor Tony Vyn expressing doubt over the morality of requiring students to understand social justice issues.

“I’m a Christian, but I don’t mean to have anyone who is not a Christian act in solidarity by speaking approvingly of my particular faith,” Professor Vyn said. “I wonder if (the plan) is an encouragement of behavior that could not be in line with a particular personal identity.”

Saferide Program

Near the end of the meeting, Purdue Student Government Andrew Jensen took the floor to update the Senate on the affairs of PSG.

Jensen’s speech primarily focused on the Saferide Program, which was launched earlier this month to give undergraduate students discounts on Lyft rides after dark on the weekend.

Jensen said Saferide has so far been a “success”, with over 900 reported uses of the program since it was launched.

He also said there are plans to expand the program to graduate students and faculty in the future, at which point Provost Patrick Wolfe offered his assistance in the expansion.

The Purdue Way

The Senate meeting ended an hour and a half earlier than scheduled, with Senate Chair Colleen Brady showing the assembled Senators inspirational memes about changing Purdue and looking towards the future.

Brady expressed doubts about sticking to tradition, saying that the university must constantly modernize in order to deliver the best service to its students.

“I’ve heard a lot about the ‘Purdue way’ from my colleagues,” she said. “Maybe we can start taking a look at whether the ‘Purdue way’ that may have been relevant in 1965 or 1985 is still the best way to pursue the Purdue vision in 2023.”

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