In search of a new president for Stony Brook University, faculty members were elected to the school's Presidential Search Committee. But because of faculty dissatisfaction with the committee and voting process, administrative officials had to address faults with the election.
At this month's University Senate meeting on September 9th in the Wang Center Theater, Judith Greiman, Pamela Wolfskill, and Nancy Tomes took to the stage to discuss the procedures behind faculty members who were elected to the Presidential Search Committee.
Only full-time faculty could vote in this election, while professional staff could not, a rule decided by the Board of Trustees. Faculty who were on sabbatical also didn't receive a ballot. Pamela Wolfskill, Administrative Specialist, said, "There were all kinds of problems where people who were eligible to vote didn't end up with a ballot. I don't think it was a huge number of people, but we can't say it was perfect."
Another issue was only full-time faculty could be nominated. Many people who were nominated, such as adjunct professors, were not eligible to run. These names had to be filtered out. From the almost 1000 names nominated, about 450 were able to be nominated.
After nominations were closed, emails were sent to each of the nominees. But due to some faculty being nominated in incorrect categories, those faculty didn't initially receive emails, an issue that was ultimately resolved. To be considered a valid nomination, nominated faculty had to complete a Google Form by August 16, a deadline that caused more voting issues. "When I sent that email out, people were on vacation," Wolfskill said, "People weren't checking their emails and sometimes it was going into spam."
The elected committee consists of seven faculty members who represent different academic fields, including Humanities/Fine Arts/Library, Natural Sciences/Math/SoMAS, Social and Behavioral Sciences/Journalism, CEAS/College of Business, Early Career, Medical/Dental Schools, and Nursing/SHTM/Social Welfare. Judith Greiman, Chief Deputy to the President, explained that she and Wolfskill based the categories on the 2008 election and added an Early Career category.
Greiman said, "Some people have already told me at length why they thought this was not a particularly good lineup."
Margaret Schedel, Associate Professor of Music at the university, said, "When I was voting, I noticed the diversity of candidates was lacking. When putting together the rest of the committee, I would encourage everyone to seriously consider that as an aspect of something that we care about here."
Greiman agreed about the lack of diversity in the group but said that Kevin Law, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, is working to ensure diversity for the rest of the committee. Greiman and Wolfskill invite commentary and encourage people to email them with any issues so any mistakes made with this election can be fixed for future elections.