Voting by non-Senate academic personnel

[Advice from Kevin Hoover, Chair of CERJ to Vice Provost Barbara Horwitz 4/15/2004]

Vice Provost Horwitz inquired about the acceptability of voting procedures propose by the Faculty of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.  The advice draws on and confirms a previous opinion of CERJ dated 17 October 2001 (see above).

The proposed voting procedures seek to divide the evaluations of A&ES employees into I&R and AES components and to report the votes separately.  The key distinction as far as Bylaw 55 and the Code of the Senate generally is between Senate and non-Senate personnel.  I'm not sure whether "I&R" is co-extensive with "Senate," so I am not sure whether the line is drawn quite right in this proposal.  The rule is simply this:  only members of the Senate are permitted to vote on the instructional components of the performance of Senate and of non-Senate personnel.  (What is more, although this point was not made in our earlier opinion, only Senate members can vote on advice of any kind given to Senate committees.  Therefore, inasmuch as departments are providing advice to CAP, it is only the Senate members whose votes can be recorded.  You can, of course, take advice from anybody directly on the non-instructional components of personnel performance.  That advice is to you and not to CAP.)

From Jim Quinn's explanations to me, it looks like only a few people are completely AES with no I&R component.  If those with some I&R component are Senate members, then the fine division of their voting into different percentage components hardly matters.  All that is important is that non-Senate members, which I take to be the status of the few pure AES personnel, do not vote on the evaluation of the instructional component of anyone's performance and they do not vote on advice that is given to CAP (which would violate ASB 35.C.2).  If these voting procedures achieve that separation, they are OK.  As you can tell, were I writing them, I would adopt different language that drew the distinctions along the Senate/non-Senate line, rather than along I&R/AES line.  But it is the substance that matters.

An aside, going where angels fear to tread:  Jim Quinn's memo reports the objection to Bylaw 55 that it confers a kind of second-class citizenship on non-Senate personnel.  It is important to recognize that it there are indeed two classes -- whether one is higher and the other lower, it is unnecessary to decide.  ASB 55 is not the source of this distinction.  It arises in the Standing Orders of the Regents.  In creating the Senate, it vested it with rights over the curriculum, including the right to decide who are competent instructors and to evaluate their performances, that cannot be ceded to other bodies.  We should think very careful as we multiply classes of personnel who operate in domains that are restricted to the Senate but are not made members of the Senate, enjoying both its rights and privileges and subject to its personnel processes.  The cost of doing this is to multiply the occasions for friction.  There is, however, no way in which the Senate can readily accept non-Senate personnel as its peers in every respect without surrendering the autonomous role that the Regents have granted to it.  The Senate must jealously protect that.