Today in NC State History: Senate votes down ombudsman

January 18, 2014
By Chris Saunders

historyIconThough it’s usually the NC State Student Senate that captures the headlines in theĀ Technician, the Faculty Senate can find itself in the midst of heated debates, too.

And it was one such debate that almost came to an even draw 40 years ago. On this day in 1972, the Faculty Senate killed a motion to employ a university ombudsman at NC State.

The vote against the motion that could have established a position on campus responsible for independently investigating and arbitrating matters was a shock to some who felt it would pass, according to an issue of the Technician. In December of 1971, in fact, the very same body had approved in principle the notion of creating the position.

It seems part of the Senate’s reservation was the perceived ambiguity of the proposed office’s jurisdiction. As the Technician reported, there was no real clear framing of whom the ombudsman would serve at the university (faculty, for example). Instead, it seems it would have been more of an arbitrary, case-by-case determination.

And when asked to specifically outline the duties, the ombudsman committee chairman presenting the proposal “said that would be hard to do, for the ombudsman would be largely responsible for determining the tenor of the office.”

But the measure almost passed anyway. It was defeated by a vote of 11-12, with one voter abstaining.

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