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Rare Faculty Assembly Vote Pending

Ballot question on giving lecturers voting rights

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The first Faculty Assembly vote in approximately five years is asking members to decide if BU lecturers with more than a half-time appointment should become voting assembly members. Currently, lecturers cannot vote.

The question is one of several amendments to the Assembly constitution on the ballot. The 2,300-member Assembly is the representative body for professorial-rank faculty with at least quarter-time appointments. Background on the questions and a link to the ballot are here.

Online voting opened in November and runs until March 1. A quorum of about 1,500 is necessary for the vote.

Among the other amendments are changes rescinding membership for teachers with limited connection to the University, such as visiting and adjunct professors, says Faculty Council chairman Adam Sweeting, a College of General Studies associate professor of humanities. The Council, a liaison between faculty and the University administration, is comprised of Assembly members elected by their individual schools and colleges.

In addition, the ballot contains “housekeeping” improvements to the Council’s efficiency, says Sweeting, who believes the proposed amendments have wide backing. “I do not know of anyone who has advanced an argument against the initiatives. Once folks understand the ballot, they express support.”

Giving lecturers voting rights is in keeping with the spirit of the University’s strategic plan, One BU, “since lecturers represent an important part of our academic community who have extensive contact with our students,” says Sweeting. “They would be able to vote for the representatives to the Faculty Council and stand for election as representatives. In short, they would be able to participate in faculty governance.”

To pass, the initiatives must win a two-thirds majority of those voting. “Ballot initiatives are rare,” Sweeting says. “It’s not easy to amend the constitution, so we do not undertake this task unless we really need to, in order to better represent the faculty.”

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Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

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