Representation of a department in the Representative Assembly is not optional

[Advice to a department chair 9/24/2001]

Neither the CERJ nor any other body of the Academic Senate has the authority to grant a department's request that it not be represented in the Representative Assembly.  The Regents of the University of California have entrusted the faculty in the form of the Academic Senate with a much higher level of control over the academic affairs than is typical of universities in the United States.  This is both a privilege and a responsibility of the tenured and tenure-track (i.e., "Senate") faculty.  There are many tasks that must be done to keep the University functioning that the Regents have assigned exclusively to the Senate.  And the Regents forbid the Administration to take over these responsibilities.  These burdens cannot be shunted off simply because they have become inconvenient.

Participation in running the affairs of the Senate takes time and imposes other burdens on many, many faculty members.  They, nevertheless, take on those burdens to uphold the faculty's key role in the shared governance of the university.  The request not to participate is a request to abdicate that responsibility.  If every department took the same position, the Senate and important functions of the University would grind to a halt.