Faculty Senate Resolution Passes After Lengthy Filibuster
After serious disagreement over a subsection of a Faculty Senate resolution, Christopher Mullin of the College of Agricultural Sciences used the last option at his disposal. With no time limits on the debate and not enough votes for cloture, Mullin just started talking… and talking… and talking… for the next 24 hours. His filibuster, which lasted from Tuesday night to Wednesday, concerned a specific provision of the Faculty Senate resolution establishing a Faculty Senate Music Festival.
The overall resolution has widespread support in the Senate, but the provision in question has raised the hackles of many Senators. It seeks to have the Festival in the Fall, instead of the Spring, the traditional Penn State Music Festival season.
The mission of the FacSen Music Festival (its working title) is to spread awareness about the role of the Faculty Senate on campus. Often referred to by students as “the UPUA but for old people,” the Festival seeks to correct such misinformation. While the Festival is an example of wasteful spending, which puts it right up UPUA’s alley, Senator David Babb of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences was quick to note that “we actually do a lot of important stuff too.” When pressed to divulge some of what those things were, Babb just scratched his head.
In his lengthy diatribe, Mullins said, “If we hold this thing in the Fall, none of the kids will show up. Football is kind of a big deal on Saturdays, and by night time, they’re usually too shitfaced to do anything. UPUA and ARHS must know something, right? We now have two Music Festivals in the Spring, but none in the Fall. If a Fall Festival were a viable idea, wouldn’t we have one already?”
The final question was largely rhetorical. Mullins went on to speak for the next 21 hours. After six hours, Senate staff were seen wheeling in cots for the tired Senators to nap on. After Mullins read through all seven Harry Potter books and a random doctoral dissertation, Lee D. Coraor, Senate Chair, screamed out, “Enough! We’ll do whatever you want, just shut your mouth.”
With that, the Senate passed the FacSen Music Festival resolution by a 222-4 roll call vote.
An amendment to the resolution limiting the groups that could perform to aging punk-pop bands that were popular in the 90s also successfully passed following Mullins’ speech.
After the meeting adjourned, Mullins was quoted as saying, “This is a great day for the Faculty Senate. I look forward to seeing this Festival flourish on the HUB lawn on the second weekend in April of 2011 and beyond.”
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“As we work together to make the impact as least disruptive as possible to our students and employees, we strongly urge Congress and the president to end this impasse.”
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