Faculty Senate voted to allow Unit B faculty

Debby Hernandez, Administration Editor

Faculty Senate members voted to extend their membership qualifications in their constitution to include Unit B faculty during their meeting Tuesday.

Members voted to make changes to the membership section of their constitution, which restricted membership to Unit A faculty members with a title of instructor or department chairs.

Unit A members are defined as tenure faculty, while Unit B members work under an annual contract.

Currently all committees the Senate appoints members to accept Unit B members, but changes to the constitution would extend the ability to serve in elected committees the Senate deals with.

Under its constitution, the Faculty Senate is defined as the “representative voice of the faculty.”

Senate member Steven Scher said the change would give a voice to Unit B faculty members.

“To me, the issue is not really who is going to serve in the Senate, it’s who has a voice and who has a representation,” Scher said. “The more important element is that it will allow them to vote and have a voice.”

Meanwhile, member Jeff Ashley said there could be a conflict with trying to include Unit B members since they are not required to do service as part of their contract.

“I can see where we want Unit B to be an integrate part of what we do,” Ashley said. “For them to have some a say is great, but at the same time they don’t have to do service as part of their contract where as Unit A (members) do.”

Senate member Jim Conwell said another problem could be the need of faculty members who would be willing to speak on matters without fear of losing their job.

“The trouble is that Unit B (members) are annually contracted which means they are much more easily pressured than a tenured track person,” Conwell said. “If the need arises to have sharp voices within the faculty senate perhaps Unit B people might be a little more intimidated.”

Senate Chairman Grant Sterling said it is not likely for Unit B members who would be afraid to lose their job to run to serve in Senate-related committees.

“I think very few Unit B faculty are likely to run for Senate, but if you get any, it will generally be people who are brave,” Sterling said.

Senate member Jemmie Robertson said a possible solution could be to comprise in allowing Unit B members to have a voice by having a representative of the unit in the Senate, similar to how a student representative is incorporated.

“One thing we can consider is perhaps we could create provision for there to be to have an annually elective unit be representative,” Robertson said. “Perhaps we can have a representative for each college or a single representative.”

Robertson said as a faculty member who was a Unit B member during his first two years on campus, he would have liked to participate in Senate related concerns.

“Personally, I would have liked to have the opportunity to vote—even if I was voting for a Unit A person,” he said. “Occasionally I would be in a conversation with a Unit A person asking me for their signature and be like ‘But not you because you’re Unit B and I can’t get a signature from you because it has to be Unit A person signing the form.’”

Members approved the provision as written to include Unit B faculty members as possible members of the Senate.

Senate members also voted to approve two new Booth Library advisory board faculty members, including Stephen Lucas and Kristin Brown, who will replace vacant positions.

Members also announced the Chicago State Board’s re-recognition to its faculty senate.

The next meeting will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 in Room 4440 in the Booth Library Conference Room.

Debby Hernandez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].