I have started to consider the consequences of the University Faculty Senate's failures of response in the face of sustained faculty anger and frustration (however misdirected or wrong) including the fracture of faculty cohesion institutionally represented by its University Faculty Senate (e.g.,The Wellness Wars at Penn State--Is the Institutional Faculty Splintering?).
But a University Faculty Senate's failures can run deeper. Much of it might be a long time in the making--bad habits and the cultivation of cultures of servility against which I have spoken quite publicly in the past (e.g., Remarks on Assuming Duties as Chair of the PSU University Faculty Senate; and On the Institutional Role of a Faculty Senate: Part 1). Some of it might be deeply structural--that is it is built into the way in which the Senate is organized and operates.
Starting with this post I will consider some of the fatal structural or cultural deficiencies that may hobble a university faculty senate. This post considers the nature of the role of a faculty senator. My hope is to provide faculty at university senates with perspectives that may either trigger conversation or help in the analysis of their own situations, that is whether their own organizational structures are aligned with their institutional objectives. I will try to suggest the ways in which that may not always be the case.