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'Seven solutions' stir A&M faculty

Board of Regents Chairman Richard Box tried to quell a faculty uprising Thursday over the A&M System's embrace of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's "seven breakthrough solutions" by brushing them off simply as "suggestions."

It didn't appear to work.

The normally drama-free board meeting culminated with public remarks -- a rare occurrence at regents gatherings -- by a Texas A&M professor who ripped into the conservative think tank's ideas and earned a minute-long standing ovation from more than 100 faculty members gathered in the back.

"Every day there's an attack, and they're trashing us, and there's no response from the regents, from the president," said Jaime Grunlan, gesturing toward Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin sitting nearby. "The lack of anything is deafening and it suggests support of the attacks. We'd like to be defended ... This is why we're frustrated."

Some of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's ideas -- penned by Jeff Sandefer, a foundation board member and major contributor to Gov. Rick Perry, who has offered public support of the "solutions" -- have already been implemented at Texas A&M University.

They include a program initially called SLATE, or Student Led Awards for Teaching Excellence, that offers cash to teachers based on anonymous student evaluations, and the creation of a spreadsheet that aims to gauge a faculty member's financial value. Initially, the bottom-line number was in red and black, resembling a business spreadsheet.

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