Faculty Senate encourages faculty to vote

Cassie Buchman, Administration Editor

The Faculty Senate voted to extend voting for the fall special elections and confidence/no confidence vote in Blair Lord, the vice president of academic affairs, and encouraged the faculty to vote.

The voting, which was originally Nov. 2 through 6, will now continue to the 9th.

An extension was the suggestion of physics professor James Conwell.

Conwell said he thought the voting was going to be for the full week as opposed to the original five days.

Three more days were added to the voting period so it would be available for the full week.

The vote of confidence/no confidence comes from a petition the Senate received asking to have the vote.

Grant Sterling, a philosophy professor, said he thought it would be unfortunate to put Lord through the trauma of a confidence/no confidence vote and the faculty through a potentially divisive and controversial event without a clear outcome.

“I think we as a senate should formally encourage all faculty members to cast an informed vote,” Sterling said.

Sterling said he did not think the senate should endorse faculty vote either way, just that they cast a vote so he encouraged the Senate to send out emails Monday through Friday of the voting period telling people to vote and to do all they could individually to encourage voting.

“The percentage of the faculty who votes represents the degree in which you can be confident in what the vote says,” Sterling said. “Thirty percent is better than 20, 40 is better than 30, and 80 is better than 70.”

Sterling said he would like to see 60 or 70 percent of the faculty vote.

A faculty forum on shared governance was discussed during the meeting.

While the referendum on the vote of confidence or no confidence may come up during the forum, what has been done in the past in regards to shared governance as well as what should be done in the future, will be the main topic of discussion.

The forum will be next Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 1 p.m. in the Effingham Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Teshome Abebe, an economics professor, said in the past when the Senate has sponsored forums, it has sometimes turned into complaints that do not add much value to the discussion.

“If Faculty Senate is going to be associated with these types of things, we have to plan it, we have to organize it,” Abebe said. “We all have responsibility in the kinds of statements we make.”

Todd Bruns, the dean of library services, said they have several reports on shared governance that will give the forum some structure.

Bruns said the Senate could come to him with other suggestions for forums.

Jemmie Robertson, the Senate chair, said it seems that there are discussions on Lord’s views on shared governance and his effectiveness in enforcing shared governance.

Robertson asked Lord if he could express his views on shared governance with the Senate.

Lord said he understands shared governance from being a faculty member for 25 years before becoming provost.

“I’m here every single Faculty Senate meeting, I’m here every single CAA meeting, I listen carefully, I try to consider it,” Lord said.

Lord said he sometimes has obligations that cause him to go in different directions, but he is a believer in shared governance.


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]