Considerations in the Choice of Method of Governance
At the request of the faculty the Constitution Revision Committee drafted two Constitutions so that you could see how each document would organize faculty governance. Both documents were written to clarify and codify existing procedure with as few changes as possible. The resolutions presented with the Constitutions are intended to highlight those areas where changes occurred or clarification is needed.
The Faculty Senate Constitution was drafted to encourage broader faculty participation in faculty governance. The Senate would encourage this by debating faculty organization issues at the division level. Because division meetings are generally better attended than Faculty Organization meetings, this would strengthen faculty voice on issues that are important to the faculty.
Many believe the Senate would also be more efficient. The Senate is smaller and therefore has to assemble fewer people for a meeting. The Senate could meet more often and act faster in an emergency. For these reasons, the Senate may be able to do more and get its business done faster.
The Senate would be comprised of about 34 Senators elected by academic divisions and 4 Senators elected at large. The number of Senators for each Division is based on the number of faculty in that division. At present, no division would have a majority of Senators. Elections for division Senators will take place in the divisions. Representation of minority viewpoints would need to be addressed at this level.
The Senate may make division meetings longer because issues pertaining to faculty governance would have to be discussed in these meetings. Further, the division meetings would have to generally proceed the Senate meetings. In effect, the Senate would convert the Executive Committee into a voting body. Faculty could still congregate in assemblies but no voting would take place there.
Faculty Organization is more familiar and has the advantage of the committee of the whole where all faculty can congregate and vote. All faculty can attend Senate meetings but only Senators can vote. We attempted to strengthen the Faculty Organization by giving the Executive Committee emergency powers to act. We also tried to insure fundamental fairness in meetings by requiring notice of agenda items to be addressed at the meeting and limiting discussion to items on the agenda.
Unlike the Senate, the Faculty Organization is not a representative body. In the Faculty Organization, any faculty member can attend meetings, speak and vote for himself or herself. This insures that all viewpoints, both the majority and the minority, can be presented for consideration.
It also creates a forum for the free exchange of ideas and debate. On a small campus, the Faculty Organization meetings give faculty a opportunity to meet and get acquainted with their colleagues. Meetings also serve as an information exchange between faculty and administrators. If a senatorial form of governance were chose, Faculty Assemblies can be called by the President of the Senate or by the Chancellor for these purposes, but it is not likely they would be called every month.
The challenge with Faculty Organization has been getting enough participation to make faculty voice strong and united. At present the meetings are attended by less than one-third of the faculty. Decisions about campus governance and faculty views are made by this minority group of faculty. In some cases, faculty want to participate in Faculty Organization, but cannot do so because they teach on Friday. These faculty have few meaningful ways to participate in faculty governance.
Another challenge as been efficiency. Often topics of minor interest generate more discussion than the business at hand. Because the meetings are not more structured, some faculty find them boring and nonproductive and choose not to come. For this reason, faculty voice is clouded, often not truly representative and sometimes appears divided.
Before you are two Constitutions with attached Bylaws; one creates a Faculty Senate, the other creates a new Faculty Organization. With each Constitution is a set of resolutions that highlight the major policy questions in each document. We will be discussing and voting on the resolutions to determine how the documents should be written. In reviewing the resolutions you will find that the documents are similar in many respects and the same policy decisions need to be made for both forms of governance.
Each Constitution will be presented for first reading in Faculty Organization on February 19. A Faculty Assembly will be called for Friday, February 26 to discuss, question and make changes to both Constitutions. The goal at the Faculty Assembly will be to make both Constitutions the best they can be. The members of the Constitution Revision Committee will be present and will take an advisory vote on key policy issues. After the Assembly, the Constitution Revision Committee, in its sound discretion, make as many of the changes that can be reconciled.
Each revised Constitution shall be submitted for second reading at the Faculty Organization meeting on Friday, March 26. At this time, the faculty will debate the two forms of governance and vote on the resolutions. The Constitution creating the Faculty Senate will be submitted to the faculty on a mail ballot for a yes or no vote. If it loses, the Constitution creating a new Faculty Organization will be submitted on a mail ballot for a yes or no vote. If that vote loses, we will amend the current Constitution.
We urge you to attend the Faculty Organization meetings, the Assembly and to vote. We believe we do need a new Constitution. The old one is almost impossible to amend, is disorganized and does not answer many critical questions about faculty governance. In order to create a workable Constitution, we need everyone's input to guarantee the new document serves faculty's needs.