Faculty Senate may change qualifications

By Gus Bode

The Faculty Senate is considering a change regarding whom it accepts as a member.

Members on Tuesday discussed a revision to the senate’s operating paper that would eliminate any faculty member with greater than 50 percent administrative appointment from being eligible for nomination as a senator.

The revision would eliminate department chairs and anyone of higher ranking from being appointed as a senator.

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The report highlights a conflict of interest that would arise. Faculty senators are supposed to act in the best interest of the faculty in the case that faculty and administrative interests are not the same, and being both a faculty member and administrator would create the conflict, according to a report delivered at Tuesday’s meeting.

Faculty Senate President David Worrells said the revision would not affect current members.

Worrells said the revision has merit, but he’s concerned it might disqualify some potentially useful senators.

“If a department has chosen an individual to represent them on the Faculty Senate, that person ought to, and we ought to honor that,” Worrells said.

He said there is potential for a conflict of interest, but feels more strongly that allowing anyone to serve on the Faculty Senate breaks down barriers of communication between the two.

“I think we have better lines of communication when anyone can serve on the Faculty Senate,” Worrells said.

Interim Chancellor John Dunn asked the senate to think about its decision carefully.

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“Shared governments should never exclude their colleagues,” Dunn said, adding that he respects the Faculty Senate but feels it may be losing sight of the purpose of shared governance.

Worrells said the final decision rests on the Faculty Senate floor.

After discussion, the senate decided it would be best for the proposal to be sent back to committee for further discussion.

Senators also discussed a recommendation for changing the guidelines and procedures for faculty searches. They sent that issue back to committee as well.

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