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May 10, 2010


D. Resolution from the Faculty Council Executive Committee in Support of the Cactus Café (D 8003)

Chair Staiger said the FCEC had drafted the following resolution regarding the Cactus Café situation for Council action at the April meeting, but the item could not be voted upon due to the lack of a quorum:
Given the renown of the Cactus Café, including it’s historical and cultural importance to The University of Texas community and to Austin, and the critical role of the Cactus Café in fostering the musical arts and providing community outreach services to Austin and to Texas. The University of Texas at Austin faculty believe that any decisions changing the administration and functions of the Cactus Café should have a full and open discussion among the various groups who have an interest in its mission. Such discussion should include the students, the faculty, the staff, and the administrators of The University of Texas at Austin, as well as the Austin community.
Chair Staiger said there had been more public information about shifting explanations for possible changes, but she thought the resolution expressed faculty beliefs about the importance of openness and full participation of stakeholders in the situation. Professor Palaima said he thought the decision process had been “seriously and deeply flawed” and should be investigated. He believed the administration needed to examine how the decisions regarding closure of the Cactus Café and Informal Classes were handled to prevent the “same kind of distortion of due process” from recurring in the future. Calling the resolution “good and healthy,” he said he thought this situation should not just involve a simple resolution and wanted to go on the record as saying, “this is a much more serious matter than even this resolution suggests.” Professor Palaima closed his statement by telling how an outstanding plan II honors student’s thesis had been motivated in large part due to an artist, who appeared at the Cactus Café, giving an inspirational talk and performance to plan II students. He said he could not think of a better way to illustrate the cultural value and importance of preserving the Cactus Café. Chair Staiger called for the vote on the resolution, which unanimously passed by voice vote.

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