The University Senate held special elections for five committees at its meeting Thursday and outgoing chairman Jordan Goodman officially passed on the job to incoming chairman Daniel Falvey.
The special elections were for faculty, staff and students nominated to join the Senate Executive Committee, Committee on Committees, Athletic Council, Council of University System Faculty and Campus Transportation Advisory Committee.
While the nominations were mostly uncontested, undergraduate senator Dana Rodriguez, a junior finance and government and politics major, nominated undergraduate senator Daniel Katz on the floor of the senate for the Campus Transportation Advisory Committee to run against undergraduate senator Jane Lyons, a junior economics major.
Katz's name had originally been submitted through an email statement, but the Nominations Committee did not choose him as the undergraduate representative nominee for the committee position, he said. And there wasn't any follow-up after Katz was nominated until the list of nominees was released without his name.
"I don't believe the Nominations Committee is structured well if they are going off of one email and don't follow up to learn what experiences I have done that could help on this committee," the junior finance and international business major said.
Katz previously served on the Resident Hall Association's Transportation Advisory Committee as vice chairman.
"I'm sure [the other nominee] has great experiences and she seems really passionate, but I'm just upset by this treatment," Katz said. "I am not even allowed to give a statement after being nominated on the floor, so if I hadn't emailed all incoming undergraduate senators yesterday, no one would know my accomplishments or how they are beneficial to the committee.
Lyons was elected to the committee.
Goodman thanked the nominations committee for its efforts in choosing candidates during the meeting, and said being on the committee "is not an easy job."
Newly elected undergraduate senator Harry Huntley, a freshman agriculture major, was also nominated on the senate floor for the SEC. Undergraduate senators voted him into one of the two undergraduate committee positions. He was running against four other candidates for the two seats.
While this was the first senate meeting for newly elected senators, it was the last meeting for Goodman as chairman.
In his outgoing speech, he called for more cooperation between this university's senate and administration.
"The administration has generally not consulted the senate as it considers priorities and only engages the senate after decisions have already been made," Goodman said. "The senate seeks to provide input on those decisions, not to ultimately make those decisions, but to do this we must have information shared at an early state and the administration and senate must work together to establish a true dialogue."
Goodman went on to state that this is especially true concerning the university budget.
Faculty senator Joel Cohen agreed.
"I've been here for 42 years and I've never seen faculty that is more discouraged at what they see around them then now," he said at the meeting. "This is not a minor thing that we aren't having good relations with the president and that the faculty is not being consulted on budgetary funds. This is a major issue."
Incoming chairman Falvey, who has been a professor at this university since 1989, cited fostering more communication between the senate and administration as one of his goals for the upcoming year.
"I don't want the senate to run the budget process, but we should understand how the administration is making big picture decisions that involve resources," Falvey said, adding that he wants to set up meetings with different members of the administration and work with them on this issue.
Overall, Falvey said he is "honored" to serve as senate chairman.
"It's a very rewarding kind of experience and you get to learn how the university works," he said. "The joke is you can be a faculty member for 20 years and only know where one building on campus is because you get so immersed in your department, so I am excited to understand how different people experience this place."