The Senate Executive Committee voted on Monday to move two gridlocked bills — a proposal to help students change their identities on university records and databases and a proposal to revise the university's intellectual property policy — to a vote at the April 6 University Senate meeting.
Both bills have been in the senate since 2014 and 2010, respectively.
The SEC also moved some new proposals into the next stage of the process and tasked them to certain committees, while rejecting others.
Policies Governing Gender Markers in University Databases bill
The SEC voted unanimously to move the bill forward to the senate. The proposal, first introduced in 2014, calls for a more streamlined and cohesive process for students — such as those in the LGBT community — to express their identities on university records and databases. Currently, students' names appear differently in the student records versus the personnel records, which affects how names are shown on student IDs and rosters.
"This has the affect where if a student goes through a change of name or gender identity in student records and is also an employee at the university, then their employee records overwrite what is in student records," said Charles Delwiche, chair of the Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Senate Committee. "This creates a situation that is unfriendly in particular to people who are transgender or gender nonconforming."
The proposed policy would prohibit this overwrite by having all of the university systems "talk" to one another, Delwiche said. He noted that it might potentially cost millions of dollars to update all of the databases.
For Delwiche, if the bill is approved at the senate meeting, it will be a long-awaited accomplishment.
"I agreed to chair this committee because it is ridiculous that we don't have a policy like this in place already," he said. "The senate actually came to me and asked me to be the chair this year in order to fast track this bill, and I agreed because I felt it was an important proposal."
Updates to the Policy on Intellectual Property bill
The SEC voted unanimously to move the 2010 bill forward to a vote next week. The proposal concerns condensing and revising this university's policy for when the university, faculty, staff or students own specific intellectual property. The five main areas addressed in the revisions are: copyright, online courses, software, revenue sharing and scope of employment.
As of now, the 13-year-old policy governing intellectual property is 39 pages long, but if approved, the revised policy would only be 10 pages long, said Robert Dooling, the chair of the IP Policy Subcommittee that is part of the Research Council.
"Right now the policy is almost unreadable," Dooling said. "We are going to shorten and amend it so you can actually really read it."
The current policy separates online courses and other related materials from copyrights, but if the bill is approved, online courses would be included under traditional scholarly work just as in-class courses are. Software is also currently treated separately from patents and inventions, but under the proposal, policy would incorporate software with that area.
Policy that wouldn't undergo changes includes the statement that students own all rights for anything they create in the performance of their academic work, Dooling said.
Gender Inclusive Facilities proposal
The SEC tasked the new proposal to the EDI Senate Committee. The proposal looks to create gender neutral bathroom facilities and establish a clear policy on access to bathroom facilities. This university does not have a written policy in place that allows transgender students to use the restrooms of their choice.
"The legislation recognizes that our transgender population … may not be safe in a gendered space, so we need to increase the number of gender inclusive facilities on our campus," said Luke Jensen, director of this university's LGBT Equity Center, who proposed the bill.
Besides creating more gender inclusive bathrooms, the proposal also suggests that signage for gender inclusive facilities be uniform across the campus. It also proposes that the new policy "should clearly state the right of individuals to use gender-specific facilities in accordance with their gender identity," according to senate documents.
Multiple members of the SEC committee asked during the meeting if this university should repurpose old buildings to include gender-neutral facilities — an expensive undertaking. New buildings already have this requirement. The EDI committee will address this specific question when it researches the proposal, said Senate Chair Jordan Goodman.
"We recognize that there are a lot of buildings on campus that are not going to have major renovations let alone new construction, so we need to have a plan," Jensen said.
This university's Student Government Association has advocated for gender neutral bathrooms in the past, passing three resolutions in December 2015 that urged university officials to consider placing gender-inclusive bathrooms in campus dorms and dining halls, Eppley Recreation Center and Ritchie Coliseum.
The senate decided to reject a newly introduced bill that would eliminate the sale of Under Armour products at the University Book Center following CEO Kevin Plank's recent comments supporting President Trump's business tactics.
"The senate did some investigation when a similar proposal to get rid of Chik-fil-A came to us awhile back, and we found that this is not policy related and therefore not within our purview," Goodman said.
The senate also decided not to move forward on a bill that would give bonuses to academic administrative chairs, deans and faculty.
"This is not generally done in higher education," Goodman said. "I thought it was a nice idea to give bonuses, but it's just not within our purview to do it."
Senior staff writer Lexie Schapitl contributed to this article.