Faculty senate revises, streamlines candidacy process

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

An amendment was passed regarding candidacy for Faculty Senate, lowering the number of signatures needed for a candidate to run to three and requiring a personal statement from each candidate, at the Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday.

Originally, the number of signatures needed for someone to be considered as a candidate was 10.

English professor C.C. Wharram said many departments were small enough that getting 10 signatures would be difficult for faculty members.

Chemistry professor Svetlana Mitrovski said she did not see any difference to having three, five, or ten signatures.

“The question is really ‘how important is it that people collect signatures?’” Mitrovski said. “Does it matter really how easy something is? Is that a criterion we should be using?”

English professor and coordinator of women’s studies Jeannie Ludlow said it did matter, because they had been having trouble getting people to run for offices.

“There are a lot of offices that are not getting filled,” Ludlow said. “So we’re trying to make it just a little easier so we can hopefully get more people to run.”

Mitrovski said if in addition to the signatures candidates also had personal statements, the numbers would not matter.

“I would simply combine the whole thing and just say we go with the personal statement,” Mitrovski said. “It could be one paragraph, or whatever, and just forget about the signatures.”

Mitrovski said it is important to get people on Faculty Senate who want to serve, and people who want to serve would want to write a personal statement.

“Collecting signatures is not work,” Mitrovski said. “It’s just manual labor.”

Wharram said collecting the signatures was just busywork, but reducing the numbers of signatures could make for less work done by candidates.

Some faculty senators such as Nichole Hugo liked the idea of having candidates writing personal statements.

Hugo said she really liked the personal statements because if they did not know the candidate before, the statement would be the only insight into the kind of person they are.

Chemistry professor Barbara Lawrence said the personal statement would help people who wanted to run for a specific reason but did not know how to express that reason before.

Psychology professor Steven Scher said statements were useful.

“A lot of times, it’s just which name do you recognize on the ballot,” Scher said. “At least with the statements you get some information. If you’re going to seriously consider it, about what the person’s positions going to be, it becomes less of a popularity contest and more actually focused on the issues.”

He said if they adopt the policy of making the statement optional, it would not really be optional because candidates would feel obligated to write one if other people running were.

Mitrovski said she thought there should be a limit to how long the statements are allowed to be.

Holly Cox, an office support specialist in the office of students affairs, as requested by Jeff Cross, associate vice president of academic affairs, and Lynette Drake, interim associate vice president of student affairs, wrote a letter to the Faculty Senate calling the Textbook Rental Service Committee to order.

The Faculty Senate asked for members to be on the committee.

Jeff Stowell, faculty senate vice chair, said the committee would be a very important one as they discuss the inclusion of electronic materials and a restriction on purchasing new textbooks.

Stowell said they wanted to have a meeting of the committee before spring break.

A call for candidates for Faculty Senate will be put out Wednesday, and faculty members will have the opportunity to respond and get the signatures they need.

Voting will start the week after spring break.