Senate Assembly discusses revisions to election procedures
The Senate Assembly voted on procedures for how new SACUA are nominated at their Monday meeting. SACUA will lose six members by the end of this year due to ending terms, sabbaticals and leaves of absence.
The Senate Assembly will vote on the nominated candidates at the next Senate Assembly meeting on March 21. There are 12 nominees as of now; however, additional nominations from the floor could be made at the next meeting.
The Senate Assembly voted on two issues within the current nomination procedures: the term allocations for newly appointed members and the continuation of member terms who have taken a leave of absence.
Weineck told the Senate Assembly this seemed like the most efficient way to address the multiple-termed positions opening up.
“We felt that holding different elections for each different period would get insurmountably difficult and would last forever,” Weineck said.
The current policy for term allocations limits members to three years; members are free to set a shorter term if they want to. There is no current policy on what happens when members take a leave of absence.
The assembly voted unanimously to hold a term-blind election, in which the desired term a candidate would like is not associated with their candidacy. After Senate Assembly votes at the next meeting, the nominees will be ranked in order by results. The person who receives the most votes will serve for longest term they are willing to hold, up to three years in length. The candidate with the next highest votes will then get their choice, provided there is space available, and so on.
SACUA member John Lehman said term-blind elections are how SACUA has addressed term lengths in the past.
“I ran the SACUA elections for 20 years,” Lehman said. “That’s the model that we follow; there’s no difference from anything we’ve done before."
The assembly also discussed the meaning of a term. The body specifically considered whether a SACUA member may defer their term until after they return from a leave of absence.
Lehman said he felt strongly that a SACUA member’s term ends the number of term years after the vote. He said leaving deferral up in the air could cause confusion with half-term sabbaticals and leaves.
“I had asked that it be sent to the Rules Committee because it seemed to me that we didn’t even need to vote on this,” he said. “We’ve always followed (strict term limit enforcement).”
Engineering Prof. Robert Ziff said he agreed with Lehman and reminded the assembly SACUA is supposed to rotate a third of its members each year.
“It’s my understanding that a three-year term is a term for three years,” Ziff said.
The assembly unanimously voted to define a term as ending the number of term years after the votem meaning SACUA members will not be able to defer the term until after a sabbatical or leave. They may still return to their term upon the completion of the absence if there are years left in the term.
The next SACUA meeting is March 7 and Senate Assembly will meet again on March 21.