Senate to consider undeveloped land use

The University Senate will once again look at plans to log UK-owned Robinson Forest at this month’s meeting, the Senate Council decided yesterday.

The council examined a two-part proposal that the University Senate could vote on at its meeting Monday.

Sen. Susanne Arnold of the College of Medicine put forth the first section of the proposal, which recommends that UK develop a set of policies for the university’s undeveloped land.

The second half of the proposal, presented by Senate Council member Judith Lesnaw, extends Arnold’s motion, stating that the university should halt the plan to commercially log 800 acres of Robinson Forest until guidelines for evaluating and using university-owned land have been developed.

If approved Monday, the Senate would create a non-binding “sense of the Senate” statement expressing its overall viewpoint on the issue to UK President Lee Todd and to the Board of Trustees.

“No one is saying these researchers are not well-qualified to conduct this research, that the research does not have controls,” Lesnaw said. “This is an ethical issue.”

The Senate will discuss Robinson Forest strictly in terms of the proposal this month, said University Senate Chairman Kaveh Tagavi.

“We are going to only discuss the motion,” Tagavi said. “No more debates on the merit of logging.”

The resolution could pass in its entirety, or a senator could make a motion to exclude the part of the recommendation calling for a temporary halt to the logging of Robinson Forest.

“I want desperately for both of these motions to fly, but I would hate to see nothing,” Lesnaw said.

Debate over the worth of logging the forest reached its apex in September. The project would serve as research, testing the effects of logging on streams.

The Senate Council also talked yesterday about how the University Senate will handle discussion of the University Studies Program reforms.

Initially, the Senate planned to talk about changes to the USP program during its November meeting and vote on the proposal in December.

Last week, UK Provost Kumble Subbaswamy announced that USP discussion in the Senate would wait until spring, giving the USP Steering Committee time to revise the suggested program based on recommendations made at three faculty forums last month.

Subbaswamy will give a presentation on the progress of the new USP program at this month’s Senate meeting. However, a discussion like the one initially planned will not happen, Tagavi said.

“If a senator decides to raise their hand and say ‘I disagree with this,’ I’m not going to stop it,” Tagavi said. “However there will be no (USP) agenda in front of us.”