Faculty Senate votes to increase membership

Drayton Charlton-Perrin, Contributing writer

Amendments concerning the expansion of the Faculty Senate and senate officer positions were passed at the Feb. 7 Faculty Senate meeting and await a vote from the rest of the Murray State faculty body.

The first amendment passed will add a sixth at-large senate seat for a faculty member who is an instructor. Faculty members who are instructors will vote to fill this position. If the Senate does not receive a nominee with the proper rank, the Faculty Senate president will appoint an instructor to this position. 

The second amendment passed will add three new seats to the Faculty Senate, open up a new officer seat, move the officer election to early April and change officer terms from one year to two. The officers will receive the power to vote for members of the Senate in case of a tie to establish a two-thirds majority.  

In order to take effect, all amendments passed must be ratified in secret ballots from all faculty within six weeks of the bill’s approval, meaning the new amendments will likely not take effect until March. 

The first amendment received 23 approval votes and one to decline. The second amendment received 20 approval votes and three votes to decline. 

Senate President David Roach held a vote for an amendment to the second bill, but there was no support to recognize it. 

A few members of the senate considered breaking up the second bill into multiple parts and voting for each on their own merit. 

“I would vote for the April election, but I don’t like the two-year term for officers,” Senator Eran Guse said. “It gives them way too much power.”

Roach claimed splitting a bill wasn’t an option.

 “We have tried doing this in the past,” Roach said. “It just doesn’t work out.”

Although the votes resemble a landslide acceptance for the new bills, there were areas of contention. 

Guse was not happy with either bill. He believes adding more senate seats is a bad idea. 

“Some people don’t actually want to put in the work,” Guse said. “They just want to be able to check a box.” 

As it stands, there are 32 Faculty Senate members.

Others voiced their concern over the possibility of a single department gaining too much control in the senate. 

These concerns were shot down by the majority of the senate. 

Senator Michelle Panchuk said in order for a single department to gain too much power, members of the department would have to be voted on and vouched for by high-ranking members of the senate, and therefore collusion couldn’t take form. 

The faculty vote may begin after Sunday, Feb. 12. 

The next Faculty Senate meeting will be on March 7.