Motion US08/09-1 - provide a mechanism to fill vacancies on the UO Senate

Sponsored by: Peter B Gilkey

For Senate Action: 8 October 2008

Effective upon passage of this motion, Section 3.8 of the enabling legislation is amended to read:

Section 3.8 The Secretary of the Faculty shall arrange the filling of vacancies by notifying the next eligible candidate, determined in descending order of the number of votes received in the most recent election for the represented unit. If no eligible candidate is available to fill the vacancy, the following procedure will be followed:

Section 3.8.1 If the vacancy is for an Officer of Instruction Senator or for a Library System Senator, the Secretary of the Faculty shall ask the Dean's Advisory Committee or a similar elected body for the appropriate College, School, or Library System to appoint an eligible replacement senator from the constituency in question. If, following such a request, a suitable replacement is not appointed within 2 calendar weeks during which the University is in regular academic session, the Secretary of the Faculty shall appoint an eligible replacement Senator selected using a random process from the constituency in question.

Section 3.8.2 If the vacancy is for an Officer of Administration Senator or for a Classified Staff Senator, the Secretary of the Faculty shall appoint an eligible replacement Senator selected using a random process from the constituency in question.

Section 3.8.3 Appointments made by the Secretary of the Faculty using a random process pursuant to Sections 3.8.1 and 3.8.2 may be declined; however, if 5 such appointments are declined for a given position, the position will be declared vacant until the next election. Senators appointed under Sections 3.8.1 and 3.8.2 serve until the end of the academic year and are eligible to stand for election.

Section 3.8.4 If the vacancy is for a Student Senator, the Secretary of the Faculty shall ask the President of the Student Senate for an appointment of an eligible replacement student Senator to fill the vacancy.


There is no financial impact to this motion.
Explaination.

Sections 3.2 and 3.8 of the enabling legislation read:

Section 3.2 In each school and college and in the University of Oregon Library System, the Dean's Advisory Committee or a similar elected body shall nominate at least two more candidates than the required number of senators to be elected for that unit.

Section 3.8 The secretary of the faculty shall arrange the filling of vacancies by notifying the next eligible candidate, determined in descending order of the number of votes received in the most recent election for the represented unit. If no eligible candidate is available to fill the vacancy, the seat shall remain vacant.

Section 4.8 of the Senate Bylaws currently read:

Section 4.8 With a total of 51 Senators, or less if constituencies are not represented, the quorum for the University Senate is one more than half, as presently constituted. No business shall be transacted unless a quorum is present. The fact that one or more vacancies may exist in the Senate roster has no bearing on this quorum requirement.

At present, there are 8 unfilled Senate seats; all for Officers of Instruction: 2 from Social Science, 2 from Humanities, 1 from School of Architecture and Allied Arts, 1 from Law, 1 from the Lundquist College of Business, 1 from the School of Music and Dance. There have always been more candidates who were officers of administration or who were classified staff so there are always “candidates waiting in the wings”. There is no point in having another election to fill vacant seats as the problem is that there were no candidates willing to stand for election! This year, we will have a real potential problem in meeting the quorum requirement. It does not seem feasible to amend Section 4.8 so the only alternative is to provide a mechanism to fill vacancies by amending Section 3.8. Given existing legislation in Section 3.2, this seems the appropriate mechanism.

In the College of Arts and Sciences, the Deans Advisory Committee fulfills both a personnel function and an advisory function. The faculty handbook refers to an “elected school or college personnel committee” that plays a crucial role in the promotion and tenure process - see http://academicaffairs.uoregon.edu/tenureguide/dossier/dac.html

Thus every School or College is required to have such a committee and that body is presumably the advisory committee to be consulted by the Secretary of the Faculty; s/he may consult the appropriate Dean for details. The Deans Advisory Committee is, of course, at liberty to refuse or decline to act and then the responsibility devolves on the Secretary of the Senate to fill the position using a random process.

It is anticipated that the random process be along the following lines. A list of all the eligible members is created, sorted in alphabetical order. Numbers are associated to each name on the list and a suitable random number generator used to select names from the list.


Passed at the 8 Oct 2008 Senate meeting.
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