Saturday, October 19

UCLA Faculty Center election process raises concerns



The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Billet's email was released on a blog post on the faculty center's blog. In fact, it was released on a post on the blog of the UCLA Faculty Association, which is not connected to the Faculty Center.

The UCLA Faculty Center Nominations and Election Committee presented a slate for next year’s Board of Governors presidential positions consisting of current presidents last week, instead of considering nominations by general members.

The Nominations and Election Committee has only suggested the current presidential representatives once before, said Julie Sina, president-elect and chair of the Nominations and Election Committee. Faculty members will vote to approve the slate by June 10.

The board elects a president-elect, president and outgoing president, who each serve a one-year term. After finishing a term, the president-elect becomes the president and the current president takes the outgoing president’s position. If the current slate is approved by the board, current presidents serve an additional term.

Despite opposing views from other faculty members and those initially nominated for the presidential roles, Sina said the Nominations and Election Committee does not believe it is violating any bylaws.

“The (slate was) composed according to the bylaws and we believe we were following their intention,” Sina said.

Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, president of the board, said the committee nominated the same people for the positions to further improve the financial status with strategies developed this year.

The faculty center accumulated a deficit after 2008 when a policy was enacted that required the university to contribute to employee retirement plans. This year, faculty members hired a consultant group to outline finances over the years and suggest improvements, said Mitchell-Kernan.

New candidates who were nominated for the presidential positions were instead offered positions as general board members. Though the decision to renominate current presidents is not a violation of the bylaws, some members think the election process should be redone.

“The election process (this year) was clumsily, rudely and undemocratically handled,” said Joseph Nagy, a former president of the UCLA Faculty Center. “The ballot that was sent out to the members last week is a farce. I am embarrassed and shocked by what the members of the current board in charge of the election have done.”

Bette Billet, president emerita of the UCLA Faculty Women’s Club, expressed her concerns about the election in an email, which was released on a post on the UCLA Faculty Association blog.

Billet said the election process concerned her because it seemed to be an unconstitutional irregularity.

“The seemingly endless confusions and irregularities in this year’s electoral process are ill-designed to promote member participation at a time when the need for member support and contributions are ever more urgently needed,” Billet said.

Despite concerns, the Nominations and Election Committee will not make changes to the slate, Mitchell-Kernan said. If faculty members do not approve the ballot, the committee will re-elect candidates for the positions.

Compiled by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Bruin reporter.

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