Jurisdiction and procedures for determining the validity of department voting procedures

[Advice to Chair of the Committee on Academic Personnel Linda Bisson 2/10/2003]

1) Can CAP request of all departments their actual procedures (not just who has voting rights, but how the voting process is conducted)?

On the one hand, CAP has a need to know that the votes that it receives are lawful; on the other, CAP is not authorized to render definitive judgments about correspondence with the bylaws.  CERJ believes that CAP may request documentation of voting procedures, even in the cases of procedures that do not require CAP approval.  What is more, they may ask for information on actual voting procedures.

2) Can CAP screen these for consistency with Bylaw 55 and either [sic] communicate back to the departments regarding ones that are in violation of Bylaw 55?

While CAP may form a preliminary judgment about the consistency of voting procedures with the bylaws, given that it is not authorized to interpret those bylaws, it should not communicate its judgments directly to departments.  The risk is that CAP's view might be regarded as authoritative or that departments might feel (incorrectly no doubt) that, given CAP's role in the personnel process, prudence would dictate compliance whether the judgment was correct or incorrect.  Instead, if CAP believes that a voting procedure is out of compliance, it should refer the matter to CERJ.

3)Who does have the authority to decide if the voting procedures violate 55 if CAP does not?

Subject to the procedures and limits set out in the Code of the Senate, CERJ has the authority to judge whether voting procedures comply with Academic Senate Bylaw 55.  CAP should refer all cases in which it believes that there is a problem to CERJ.

4) What recourse do faculty have if the claim is voting procedures were inappropriate if no voting procedures are actually on file anywhere nor approved by anyone?

A faculty member or CAP may bring the question of the consistency of departmental voting procedures directly to CERJ.  ASB 55 does require that voting procedures be formally adopted and documented.  This is an enforceable right of the Senate member.  However, CERJ is an interpretive body without any enforcement powers of its own.  Nonetheless, once CERJ has ruled that a voting procedure is inconsistent, it would then convey that information to the department.  In an ideal world, the department would rectify the situation.  If, however, the problem persisted, there are multiple avenues of redress.  a) Having a ruling in hand, CAP should decline to consider any cases that come forward under improper procedures.  b) The Vice-Provost for Academic Personnel can always directly intervene in a particular case, ignoring advice from the department inappropriately rendered.  c) A candidate who is judged on the basis of an improper vote and finds no other method of redress would have a strong case for an appeal to the Committee on Privilege and Tenure.