Several Academic Senate (AS) representatives were nominated for the 2016-2017 executive board this past week and the nominees said they plan to pursue the executive board positions together due to their shared values of solidarity and student and faculty success.
Social sciences professor Lauren Arenson is nominated for treasurer, social sciences associate professor and former AS president Eduardo Cairo for president, engineering and technology assistant professor David Cuatt for vice president, and English assistant professor Tim Melnarik for secretary.
The nominees are running as a slate against the current board. Cuatt stepped down from the election and nomination committee to run for VP.
“So I am a firm believer that faculty needs to represent the voice of faculty and I’m running because I want to bring back stability to this campus,” said Arenson.
The nominees believe that the current board needs to change in order to better address the issues on campus, such as accreditation and new faculty hires.
Cairo, as well as the other nominees, want the AS to be more clear on what role they play in accreditation and how the process is going. Cairo previously served as AS president before he was defeated in elections last year by current president Valerie Foster.
Current board members Foster, vice president Shelagh Rose, secretary Stephanie Fleming, and treasurer Jay Cho are running for reelection.
“I think that the general sentiment on campus are things are better,” said Foster who has had several faculty members tell her that the board has been doing a good job.
The challengers are also concerned about the discussion the AS has been having about an additional 50 new faculty members.
“If we are going to be discussing 50 additional faculty, is the college prepared to have 50 additional offices or who are these people going to be sharing an office with and that’s a concern,” said Cairo.
According to Cairo, the current senate leadership has taken the AS in the wrong direction.
“There’s a lot of topics, such as [accreditation and new faculty], that we should be discussing to have a better college atmosphere,” said Cairo.
Cho disagrees with the notion that the board is doing a poor job in their leadership.
“I feel that last year we had good dynamics and a common goal to work together,” said Cho. “So I think it was a kind of productive year.”
Arenson believes that faculty isn’t being heard and there has been an atmosphere of contentiousness at past meetings.
“We want to bring back the idea that your position may be different from mine, but I still respect you as an individual and that’s something that’s been lost,” said Arenson.
Election results will be announced April 18.
This story was contributed by John Orona.
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