University Senate Executive Committee Meeting
January 26, 2004


Present: D. Armstrong, H. Charalambous, A. Lyons, C. MacDonald, G. Moore,
  J. Pipkin, M. Pryse, G. Spitze, T. Turner, L. Videka, D. Wagner, E. Wulfert


Guests: George Philip, Chair of University Council
  Sorrell Chesin, Secretary to University Council
  Marianna O'Dwyer, Chancellor's representative to the Presidential Search Committee

Approval of Minutes: The minutes of November 24, 2003 were approved.

President's Report: Due to the anticipated late arrival of the President, her report was postponed to later in the meeting.

University Faculty Senate Report: Senator Richard Collier reported that the University Faculty Senate would be meeting in Oneonta to discuss SUNY-wide Assessment.

Chair's Report: Presented by Professor Marjorie Pryse.

Old Business:

Ongoing discussion of Senate election of faculty representatives to the Presidential Search Committee: Professor Pryse reported that following the December 8, 2003 election she forwarded the names of the six faculty representatives elected to the Presidential Search Committee to the University Council. Over the winter break, Professor Pryse received numerous emails and phone calls concerning the absence of anyone from a professional school elected to the committee. She was also asked 19 questions about the balloting process by the University Council and, with assistance from former Senate chairs John Pipkin and Edelgard Wulfert and Chair-Elect Carolyn Macdonald, had supplied answers to these questions. University Council had subsequently asked for representatives from the professional schools. Chair Pryse had invited two representatives from the Council along with the Chancellor's Representative to the Presidential Search Committee to attend this meeting in order to resolve the situation.

Mr. George Philip, Chair of the University Council, then explained that he had received 17 emails from dissatisfied faculty members in response to having six members of the CAS faculty elected to the committee. Chair Philip agreed with the faculty that expressed dissatisfaction and said that there should be more diversity among faculty representatives to the committee. After some discussion, Mr. Philip suggested that a group made up of four representatives from the CAS faculty and two representatives from other areas of the University would satisfy the need for diversity. Mr. Sorrell Chesin, Secretary of the University Council, agreed that two representatives from other than the CAS would suffice.

Ms. Marianna O'Dwyer, the Chancellor's Representative, explained that her role is to ensure that the Executive Committee developed a credible election process. Ms. O'Dwyer explained that all faculty members should have been allowed to participate in the election. She indicated that it did not matter how the vote was actually done, by school, by department, etc. but all members should have been able to vote. Ms. O'Dwyer indicated that the Executive Committee members misinterpreted the wording in the Board of Trustees Guidelines for Selection of a President with reference to the election process. Ms. O'Dwyer clarified that any faculty is eligible to serve and eligible to vote, not just tenured faculty. Further, she explained that untenured faculty do not have to be elected, but they need to be eligible to be nominated. After some discussion concerning the burden of effort placed on faculty when serving on a search committee and the inappropriateness of putting this burden on untenured faculty, Ms. O'Dwyer reiterated her view that untenured faculty should not be excluded from the ballot.

There was discussion about the process a new election might entail and what might constitute a quorum. Ms. O'Dwyer explained that she needs to certify that a quorum of ballots are returned, whether the election is held with all faculty in one room, or by another method. Ms. O'Dwyer noted that a professional will be chosen by another process, but full time librarians and full time teaching faculty need to be included in a faculty election.

Professor Pryse then explained how the election had been completed, noting that the following occurred: 1) one written paper memorandum and one email was sent to all faculty soliciting nominations, 2) 23 people were nominated out of 633 faculty, 3) the teaching faculty members of the Senate, which consists of representatives of the whole University, then voted. There were two people from the library or professional schools in the top twelve after the first ballot, and Professor Pryse proposed to retain the names from the December 8th election, such that the faculty representatives would include the top four elected from CAS along with the top two from professional schools.

Ms. O'Dwyer responded that in this case, she could not guarantee the process would be certifiable, and the voting process used on December 8th might not be approved by the Board of Trustees.

Professor Pryse argued that the Senate is an elected representative body of the faculty, which delegates its authority to the Senate in the Bylaws. Nominations had been solicited from the entire faculty; the vote had been open to all teaching faculty Senators, elected representatives of that faculty. Ms. O'Dwyer explained that the process that was used for the vote would not be certified, especially since it was done differently than at all other SUNY schools. At all other SUNY schools, she indicated, the entire faculty voted for faculty representatives to the presidential search committee. Professor Pryse explained how the balloting took place. She again noted that there were members of the professional schools on the first ballot and explained that they were secret ballots. Professor Pryse asked for a compromise, suggesting that the Senate identify the top four CAS nominees and the top two professional school nominees from the existing ballots. She reiterated that there is an issue of credibility on both sides, that the Senate also has to have confidence in the Board of Trustees, and that the Senate had worked diligently, thoroughly, and attempted to reach out to all faculty members twice, in two different ways. She noted that anyone could have attended the December 8th Senate meeting. She reiterated her desire that the integrity of the election process be preserved, and proposed again that the Senate could give the Council the results of that election in a slightly different form. Ms. O'Dwyer responded that, for that proposal to be valid, it would have to be approved by the entire faculty.

Professor Pryse asked Ms. O'Dwyer if she was indicating that the original election and ballot is not acceptable and that she would not accept the compromise. Ms. O'Dwyer explained that she has to be able to satisfy people with knowing that there was broad participation. She is not telling the Senate they have to run the election a certain way, but that it has to be able to demonstrate that everyone was eligible to participate and that no one was excluded.

Several members of the Executive Committee voiced concern over Ms. O'Dwyer de-legitimizing the Senate as a body, noting that the election was a very careful process, and that, if she insisted on not certifying the election, she would hinder the ability of the Senate to continue to operate as a governing body for the University.

Chair Philip suggested that perhaps if the Senate offered faculty the opportunity to add to the list of 23 nominations, there would be more nominations from the professional schools. Professor MacDonald suggested keeping the six faculty members from CAS and adding two more representatives from the professional schools; Chair Philip explained that this would make the committee too large and therefore would not be possible.

Professor MacDonald asked for a ruling on DOH / SPH faculty, whether they should be included in the voting faculty category or not. Ms. O'Dwyer responded no, they are not included in voting faculty, only University employees have the right to vote. She further explained that only employees paid by the University have the right to vote.

Professor Pryse announced that the Senate meets in two weeks, and that the question of a new election would need to be taken up in the Senate meeting since there has been a question concerning the Senate's credibility. Thereafter, a solicitation for nominations could possibly be sent out. There would likely be a minimum of five weeks before the Senate could get ballots back from the entire faculty in a new election.

Chair Philip noted, it must be clear that there will be two ballots, one for the professional schools and one for Arts and Sciences. Professor Pryse agreed that there would be a ballot that has two separate categories, i.e., vote for 4 in category A and 2 in category B. After much discussion, it was decided to break up the categories as CAS and non-CAS faculty. Ms. O'Dwyer suggested having at least two alternates.

Professor Wulfert asked about a time frame for the selection of the search committee. Ms. O'Dwyer said as soon as the search committee is formed, they would begin to work. They will work straight through the summer. She noted that they will pick the search consulting firm tomorrow and the firm could begin their on-campus solicitation from all constituencies then. Chair Philip announced that presently the search committee consists of: 4 Council members, 1 dean, 1 alumni representative, 1 graduate student, 1 undergraduate student, 1 community person, 1 foundation member, and 1 University non-teaching staff person.

Professor Pryse inquired about the Dean of Undergraduate Studies' status on the ballot. She explained that the Senate had decided to keep the Dean on the ballot initially, but wanted clarification from University Council concerning whether they would accept a Dean as a faculty representative to the search committee, if she should be elected. Chair Philip ruled not to have teaching faculty who are management/confidential representing faculty on the search committee.

The meeting was postponed at 5:30 p.m.; it will be continued next Monday at 3:30 p.m. for the agenda items not covered at this meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Jayne VanDenburgh, Recorder