UO Senate elections close Monday
The annual University of Oregon Faculty Senate elections are drawing to a close. Students can log in to Duckweb and vote for candidates within their constituency group.
Students and faculty determining who will receive their vote can see statements published by the candidates here. While statements are not required, they are highly encouraged.
“Statements aren’t required,” Senate Vice President Bill Harbaugh said in an email, “but I think they are a great idea, and I’m going to encourage more people to submit them next year.”
A small portion of candidates have taken advantage of their opportunity to express their goals should they be elected. Just 17 of the 40 candidates have opted in.
Nearly half of those statements come from seven of the nine candidates competing for the single Officer of Administration seat. Of the 27 vacancies, this position along with the two classified staff seats are the most competitive.
“Contested elections are a sign of health in a parliamentary body,” Randy Sullivan, Faculty President said. “We hope to see more contested elections in the future.”
Sullivan said that because more weight is not put on university service, it is hard to get faculty to participate. “They have no real career reason to participate in university service,” he said.
Despite the lack of competition, Sullivan praised all the members that are getting involved this year, specifically those that are running for classified staff and officers of administration.
“They play a crucial role in the senate and committees because upper administrators or faculty have what seems like a good idea,” he said. “But the officers of administration and classified staff actually run this university, in the sense of making things happen.”
One myth being dispelled, according to Sullivan, is that “faculty don’t serve because they don’t agree with what’s going on.”
Sullivan believes the election process is important to the integrity of the university. The Senate is in charge of “academic matters as commonly understood.” The opportunity for faculty as well as students to participate in electing the leaders of the institution is part of the university’s goal of shared governance.
“American universities are the best in the world because of our strong tradition of academic freedom,” Harbaugh said, “and because of the principle that the faculty, not the administration, controls the academic mission in all its details.”
Tangibly, the effects the Senate has on the school are felt in the forms of new courses and policies regarding majors. Academic matters can be loosely defined as well. The Responsible Employee Policy on sexual assault reporting will be discussed at the Senate meeting on May 11.
The current Senate has been active in the last year, approving 22 resolutions, legislation and policy proposals.
Moving forward, the role that the senate plays is set to increase. President Michael Schill “strongly believes in joint faculty control,” Sullivan said. “I think the senate is playing an increasingly influential role in academic reforms.”
This collaboration with the president is key for Sullivan and the rest of the Senate. “[Schill] has great things in mind for academic programs here at the University of Oregon, and he will be working closely with the senate to enact that.”