Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Transparency in Senate Elections--Reform From the Bottom Up

Faculty Senate elections at Penn State have traditionally been secret affairs.  The numbers are tabulated and the results announced with no indication of vote totals.  That fits in nicely in a system that traditionally sought to manage the nominations in a way that was meant to avoid plurality votes.

I am happy to report that at its January 28, 2014 meeting, the University Faculty Senate voted to approve a motion to make voting more transparent.  The motion was made by Senator Jim Ruiz (Harrisburg).

The approved motion follows.

Ruiz Motion:
Introduced on December 10, 2013

"I move that all elections conducted for the purposes of filling (1) regular elections, and (2) such other elections as are required to fill vacancies, for any of the Officers of the Pennsylvania State University Faculty Senate shall amend its governing documents as appropriate to provide that the following procedure be applied from and after the end of the 2013-2014 academic year.
a. That the Secretary of the Senate shall announce to the Senate in writing, and the Senate Executive Director shall cause to be posted to the Senate website, the results of the elections by showing the names of the candidates and the number of votes cast for each.
b. Such announcement and posting shall occur: (1) for regularly scheduled elections of officers, no later than the close of business on the day of the last meeting of the Academic year, and (2) other wise no later than five business days after the end of the voting period specified for any other election for any Senate officer.
c. Further, I move that for the officers elections scheduled for the Spring 2014 term, the results of the balloting for such elections shall be published to the Senate website no later than the close of business on April 29, 2014, the day the results of the elections are announced at the Senate meeting scheduled for that day."

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