A faculty member defended the recent decision to strip student committee members of their voting rights during faculty meetings at the ASLC Senate meeting April 26.
Scott Smith, chair of the Faculty Executive Council and associate professor of history, went on the record, after two weeks of Senate requesting the presence of a faculty member, to explain in detail the decision made by the faculty at its April 12 meeting to reorganize faculty committees and, in the process, to remove the voting power of the students on those committees.
Students have been included in faculty committees for at least a decade, always wielding the right to vote. However, Smith said, during the years he has been on faculty committees, he cannot recall a time when a matter was actually put to a vote. He said that influence is garnered through engagement and persuasiveness to reach consensus.
Not everyone agreed.
Senior Katrina Peavey, outgoing Associated Students of Linfield College vice president of programming, said that the committees are meant to foster a symbiotic and collaborative relationship between students and faculty, but she worries that students on the committees will feel that they have no voice as they cannot vote.
Smith said, because of the low number of students in comparison to faculty on the committees, that the right to vote was more symbolic than anything. In response, Peavey said that if the vote was nothing more than symbolism, then students should retain the right.
As reported in the last issue of the Review (“Faculty removes student vote,” TLR, April 23), Smith said that the faculty committees were tasked to carry out faculty duties, so voting members should be faculty, not students, staff or administration.
Per the ASLC Student Handbook, these committees have been called student/faculty committees; however, Smith said that this is not true and that no faculty record has them titled as such. They are, first and foremost, faculty entities, Smith said.
He said student input is still desired.
Other than a few questions from Cabinet members, Senate was silent about the matter.
On the same topic, Senate also finished a draft of its resolution to send to the faculty regarding its decision. Some changes, mostly nominal, will be made before it is presented again to the Senate.
Another major agenda item centered on proposed changes to the ASLC Bylaws. Junior Colin
Jones, ASLC president-elect, explained the two-page proposal.
Proposed changes dealt with the Communications Board (of which the Review is a member), creating a separate election during Fall Semester for matters regarding ASLC and club guidelines, among others.
The list of proposed changes went to the Senate Standing Rules/Bylaws Committee for review. No questions were asked by the senators. Senate will vote on the matter at its May 3 meeting. After that, the proposed changes will be sent to the student body for a vote.
In other news, M.E.Ch.A. was granted a permanent charter. The A Cappella Club was granted a temporary, six-week charter. (Both votes were unanimous.) Cabinet evaluations are underway.
The Campus Improvement Committee is still working through the Observatory questionnaire results and plans to have a report for Senate soon. The board of trustees will also be on campus April 30-May 2.
To read the Review’s live blog of the Senate meeting, click here.
Editor-in-chief Dominic Baez can be reached at email@example.com