Faculty Senate concerned over shared governance

Jacob Abbott

Faculty Senate members met to voice their opinions on the administration’s recent disregard for the senate’s ability to make a nomination for the Selection Advisory Committee on Sept. 11.

Two weeks earlier, Chiang Wang, Administrator in Charge of the College of Business Administration, announced President Alexander Gonzalez’s proposal for two committee candidates for each division of the CBA by Sept. 12, and he will hire a new dean by November.

During the two hour meeting, supporters from both sides of the controversial issue debated whether policy had been broken or not.

A senate representative for the CBA, whose name was withheld from the roster, opposed the idea that the college had broken policy and said there was overwhelming support from the faculty to move forward with the search for a new dean.

Suzanne Ogilby, CBA’s Senior Associate Dean for Faculty, agreed the college followed procedures.

“The college [CBA] does have a policy that says that the dean, associate dean, or a faculty member may seek an immediate vote on non-policy items that have been moved and seconded due to an emergency or other urgent circumstances,” Ogilby said.

Senate member Katherine Pinch fears the governing body is headed towards a slippery slope if policy continues to be misinterpreted.

“It would behoove us as a faculty senate to make sure that procedures are followed,” Pinch said. “Rather than be contentious, simply reinforce that procedures are followed, and people are happy because they’ve had their voice.”

The faculty senate released an updated “Statement on Shared Governance and Consultation at California State University, Sacramento” to its website on Aug. 28.

It stated “an effective system of shared governance within a university recognizes the president ultimately has authority and responsibility for the decisions affecting the institution.”

The document also said “at California State University, Sacramento, the faculty and the administration have determined that the Faculty Senate is the primary consultative body for instructional and academically related professional matters on campus.”

Former Chair of Faculty Senate, Anthony Sheppard, spoke strongly against the administration’s approach on adopting a new procedure without first consulting with the senate.

“My understanding is that the faculty council [College of Business] approved a way of moving forward, in terms of how they would select representatives to be recommended to the president to include on the slate,” Sheppard said. “As the policy states, they’re wrong.”

Senate members also communicated their concerns about future procedures being susceptible to policy decisions by other councils.

Faculty senate member Matt Schmidtlein spoke in favor of the senate’s proposal to the administration for a revision of certain policies.

“If indeed policy has been circumvented, I am dissatisfied with that outcome, regardless of the views of the faculty in that college because it sets a precedent that can then be followed that would disregard policy in other areas that will directly affect me, and it will directly affect them in ways that they might not appreciate,” Schmidtlein said.

Other items discussed during the meeting included the use of electronic voting devices, commonly known as clickers, as well as resolutions to the Faculty Senate Standing Rules.