The Senate Assembly elected three faculty members to the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs on March 16 and 17 via electronic voting. 

The Assembly intended the vote to be conducted in person, but due to the University of Michigan’s guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Senate Assembly voted through the newly-implemented Simply Voting online platform. 

Speaking to the University Record, MaryJo Banasik, director of the Faculty Senate Office, said she thought allowing voting to take place online was an important way to promote participation.

“We feel that because people were able to vote remotely, particularly in this kind of situation when people are working remotely, we got a lot more participation than we normally would have had,” Banasik said. 

From a field of nine candidates, the Senate Assembly chose J. Caitlin Finlayson, associate professor of English at U-M Dearborn; Allen P. Liu, associate professor of mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and biophysics; and Kentaro Toyama, W. K. Kellogg Professor of community information, professor of information and chair of the Academic Advisory Committee to succeed Joy Beatty, Sami Malek and Neil Marsh respectively, who are term-limited. 

In her candidate statement, Finlayson said she seeks to expand SACUA’s awareness and inclusion of voices from across the University’s three campuses. 

“There is strength and value in faculty governance when diverse voices across the three campuses are heard and we act collectively to promote the interests of the faculty as a whole,” Finlayson said in her statement.

Liu said sharing governing responsibility between faculty and administration is the key to make institutionally beneficial decisions.  

“As a SACUA member working with our colleagues and administration, I will work to build shared vision, shared engagement, shared mutual respect, shared information and shared risk,” Liu said in his candidate statement. 

Toyama said in his candidate statement that his experience on multiple faculty governing bodies and committees has given him an understanding of the workings of faculty governance. 

Finlayson, Liu and Toyama will begin their three-year terms on May 1. 

Reporter Julia Rubin can be reached at

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