Student Senate

Senate delays motion for Faculty Senate appointment

The Student Senate delayed a motion to appoint Computer Science professor Chris Carothers to Faculty Senate Tenure and Promotion Committee Representative as they did not have enough information about the candidate.

The original results for the position, which were collected during GM Week, was revealed to be a three-way tie, but two of the winners were not eligible to serve and the other refused the offer. The names of the winners were not revealed during the meeting. As Carothers had previously served as a committee representative, he offered to fill the vacancy.

Graduate student and Grand Marshal Caitlyn Bennett elaborated that although the position is supposed to be elected, it would not be feasible to hold another student-wide vote for the position. Therefore, the Senate would act as a representative for the student body and decide whether to appoint Carothers instead.

The discussion was split into two parts: the first half examined the situation, while the second half examined Carother’s suitability as a committee representative.

During the first half of discussion, Elections Commission chairperson Evan Wadley ’23 remarked that it was a “weird precedent” to choose Carothers for the position without looking at the candidates who lost during GM Week. Bennett replied that Carothers was chosen because he had experience as a committee representative and was interested in taking the position.

Class of 2023 Senator Alex Patterson ’23 motioned to delay the appointment until next week, but it did not pass. During the motion to delay, Class of 2025 Senator Philip Paterson ’25 asked if there was a time constraint on the appointment; Bennett replied that the Faculty Senate wanted a result by September 23.

Community Relations Committee chairperson Talulah Patch ’24 motioned to close the queue for discussion, which passed with a majority.

During the second half of discussion, Graduate Senator Alexander Lutsevich noted he felt “a bit worried” about appointing someone he never met to a representative position, but would be open to hearing from Carothers directly or reaching out to candidates who lost during GM Week. Patch observed that Carothers’ willingness to volunteer for the position made him a strong candidate.

Patterson remarked that he could not vote in good faith for someone who circumvented the natural voting process. “Even though it’s a single [GM Week] vote, every single vote, I believe, matters,” Patterson said.

Lutsevich commented that the Senate does not have enough information about Carothers to make an informed decision about the appointment.

Paterson expressed that “it’s not really a vote” if the Senate felt pressure to appoint Carothers by Friday. “This feels like it was shoved onto us,” Paterson said, suggesting that the Senate needs more information about who ran for the position during GM Week.

Patterson motioned for a 10 minute recess to look over the Faculty Senate bylaws for clauses about succession, which passed.

After the recess, Bennett concluded that there was no information in the Faculty Senate bylaws regarding succession. By voting on the appointment, the Senate is thus “creating a new procedure to then be codified in [the Faculty Senate] bylaws,” Bennett said.

Class of 2023 Senator Olin Ryan ’23 motioned a call to question, which would halt discussion and shift immediately into voting procedures; this motion failed. Class of 2024 Senator Austin Jefferson ’24 then motioned to close the discussion queue, which also failed.

Graduate student and Student Life Committee chairperson Zach Barringer noted that there is “some urgency beyond just an arbitrary deadline” as the position in question is responsible for reviewing and approving tenure. These responsibilities will “impact students for the next 40-50 years,” he said. Barringer then asked Bennett if she believed Carothers was suitable for the position or if Carothers was just the only candidate she was aware of. Bennett replied that Carothers’ willingness to volunteer himself for the position indicated that he was a good fit.

Lutsevich motioned to table the discussion until next week with the expectation that Carothers is present during the next Senate meeting. The motion passed with a majority.

The Faculty Senate Tenure and Promotion Committee Representative is an elected position held by a full-time professor and is responsible for deciding which faculty members get tenure or a promotion.

This meeting was held on September 21. The Student Senate meets Wednesdays in the Student Government Suite at 8 pm.