NDSU faculty raise concerns about constitutional oath
FARGO - North Dakota State University's Faculty Senate passed a pair of resolutions last week raising issue with the state's requirement that faculty members sign an oath to uphold the state's constitution - including its definition of marriage a...
FARGO – North Dakota State University’s Faculty Senate passed a pair of resolutions last week raising issue with the state’s requirement that faculty members sign an oath to uphold the state’s constitution – including its definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
The proponents of those resolutions said they were meant to “show solidarity” with faculty in Grand Forks at the University of North Dakota, where the school’s own University Senate passed similar resolutions earlier this month.
State law requires University System faculty members to sign an oath affirming their support for the state and U.S. constitutions. That oath had gone largely unnoticed on campus until UND’s University Senate passed its resolutions in early May.
Sean Sather-Wagstaff and Kristen Benson, NDSU professors who serve in the Faculty Senate, both pinpointed the state constitution’s traditional definition of marriage as a concern with the oath.
“It doesn’t necessarily fit for the inclusion and diversity that NDSU really strives for,” Benson said.
On Monday, the Faculty Senate passed two resolutions, the first of which proposes making space for employees to make a “conscientious objection” to the oath. The second resolution encourages the school to include an advisory about the oath, as well as a link to the state and U.S. constitutions, in online job listings.
For Sather-Wagstaff, the second resolution was an attempt to ensure “new faculty members have their eyes open to what they’re signing.”
Faculty Senate President Harlene Hatterman-Valenti said they will eventually approach the provost’s office with proposed policy changes.
Sather-Wagstaff said their resolutions were meant only to try to address the issue on campus, and not to send a message to the system office or state lawmakers about the oath or state constitution as a whole.