Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Faculty Center Election: Concerns Raised

Yours truly is in receipt of three recent emails related to elections now underway at the UCLA Faculty Center. They are reproduced below. The first two are from Bette Billet, President Emerita of the UCLA Faculty Women’s Club, to Julie Sina, president-elect of the Faculty Center. They were circulated to multiple Faculty Center members. She tells me that these emails are “public.” Both of them express concern about the electoral process. There apparently was a response to the first email from Julie Sina which I don’t have. The third email is an official communication from the Faculty Center concerning the elections. (Attached to that message was a pdf file containing election statements by the three candidates for the office of Member at Large which are not reproduced below.)

Note: Yours truly is not making any judgment about the Faculty Center elections and is simply reproducing the emails FYI. I have corrected some typos, etc., in the messages reproduced below.

May 15, 2015

Dear Julie,

I am in receipt of a letter you sent to Mike Rich indicating that despite the fact that he has been duly nominated for the open slot for the Faculty Center presidency, he cannot do so and must run for the open Board seat for reasons to be presumably later to be explained to the membership. This is a matter of great concern to me because of the mystery of this seemingly unconstitutional irregularity. In addition, as you know, I am a nominee for the Board position, because I understood that the duly nominated Mike Rich would not run for the Board position, since he was running for the presidency. I am now in a quandary and need your help. Is it the case that Mike Rich is being denied the opportunity to run for the presidency and must, if he chooses to run at all, pursue the Board position? If so, as I have indicated to selected numbers of members who are copied on this email, I will not run against Mike for the Board position and withdraw my nomination. 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. Given the iconic status of the Faculty Center on this campus, the extraordinary efforts of its members to save it from demolition and the fine efforts of this year's Board to reverse the ongoing fiscal drain, it seems urgent to remedy the errors with this year's nominations. Please let me know if I am a candidate for a Board position or whether my withdrawal is accepted because Mike Rich, being unable to secure the nomination for president for reasons of mystery, is  a candidate for a Board position for which, I am told, he was not nominated. I look forward to a speedy reply, as the curtain is about to fall on most unusual drama.

Bette Billet (Elizabeth Billet), Emerita President UCLA Faculty Women’s Club, 2013-2014

May 18, 2015

Dear Julie:

I appreciate your prompt reply, and, yes, I do wish to withdraw my nomination for a Faculty Center Board position. I must admit, however, I am disturbed by what seems to be a considerable departure from our normal electoral process.   Your response seems to imply that former Faculty Center president J F Nagy's nomination of former Faculty Center board member, Mike Rich, for Faculty Center president is rejected without explanation.

It is true as you state, that I did attend the last Faculty Center Board meeting as a visitor -non- voting member of the Faculty Center.  The meeting was chaired by our able past president, Liz Cheadle, but neither you nor Claudia Mitchell-Kernan were present.  During this meeting   secretary Al Aubin offered the proposal that the entire Board endorse Claudia Mitchell Kernan for the open Faculty Center presidency slot in order to enable her to continue the fine work she has been doing during this year; I fully share Al Aubin's and the Board's view of the many initiatives and successes of Claudia's current tenure.

At no time was there any indication that Al Aubin or the Board were agreeing to override the Faculty Center bylaws  by "appointing " Claudia to be  president  without going through the mandated Faculty Center membership  electoral process, which includes accepting other nominations for the open position(s). The refusal by the elections committee to accept past president JF Nagy's nomination of former Board member, Mike Rich, for the Faculty Center presidency, in effect indicates a decision precisely NOT to do this.  I am sure that you are aware that at the very same time nominations were being closed, calls for nominations for the presidency were being posted on the Faculty Center bulletin board, and on the web.

All this seems to undercut Claudia' Mitchell-Kernan's well-known commitment to the democratic process and her excellent work.  By undermining the validity of her status, it undermines her many contributions and would weaken her position as she pursues negotiating with Executive Vice Chancellor Scott Waugh on behalf of the fiscally fragile Faculty Center.  In addition, this highly irregular "appointment process" seems also to be extraordinarily disrespectful to the entire Faculty Center membership, to past president JF Nagy and to Mike Rich, who has personally donated hundreds of hours and considerable personal financial resources to saving, maintaining and enhancing the Faculty Center.  It appears to bring the reputation and viability of the Faculty Center Board into question: something that none of us would want to project.

Julie, as chair of the election committee, which includes Al Aubin, Anita Cotter and Dan Salcido, I hope there is sufficient time and will, for you and the election committee to reflect on all this and to consider reversing course and opening up the electoral process to bring it into conformity with the Faculty Center constitution. I wish you, the election committee, the Board and our membership the very best in this endeavor.  Please forward this email to the entire Faculty Center Board at your earliest possible convenience.

Bette Billet, President Emerita, UCLA Faculty Women’s Club

May 18, 2015

Members of the Faculty Center Association

Dear Colleagues:

I hope you have had time to read the note and materials emailed to our membership from Board Chair Claudia Mitchell-Kernan. The studies speak to the momentum of planning activities toward our strategic plan.

These developments form the background for our elections. You may recall that a Call for Nominations for the FC Board Elections was e-mailed to you on January 15, 2015. That CALL invited nominations for the position of President Elect as this position was the sole vacancy to be filled in the election scheduled to be held in the Spring of 2015.

Subsequent to circulating the Call for Nominations referenced above, a second vacancy on the Board was brought about by the resignation of current a Board member.  In the context of the unanticipated resignation and progress made by the Board in 2014-2015, Nominations Committee Chair and President Elect Julie Sina recommended that the current FC Board President and Past President be asked to serve an additional year to avoid interruption of the substantial momentum that has been established in Board planning activities during 2014-2015.  This recommendation was considered by the full Board at its April 28 meeting and endorsed unanimously in the interest of maintaining momentum and continuity in planning at what it deemed a critical juncture in FC history.

Thus, the Nominations Committee slate would appear as follows:

2nd year term for Julie Sina as FC Board President Elect. 

2nd year term for Claudia Mitchell-Kernan as FC Board President 

2nd year term for Elizabeth Cheadle as FC Board Past President

_____Approve the Slate

_____Disapprove the Slate

___________________________Write-In Candidate

Note: Consistent with the recommendation approved by the Board on April 28, current President Elect Julie Sina would assume office as President in 2016-2017 rather than 2015-2016 and current President Claudia Mitchell-Kernan and Past President Elizabeth Cheadle would remain in their current roles for an additional year.

Member at Large (vote for one)

____Ludwig Larry Lauerhass, Librarian and Lecturer in History Emeritus

____R. Michael Rich, Research Astronomer, Department of Physics and Astronomy

____M. Belinda Tucker, Vice Provost, Institute of American Cultures, Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences Center for Culture and Health, Geffen School of Medicine

__________________________Write-in Candidate

Your ballot your ballot will be mailed to you today. Please let us know if you do not receive your ballot in the mail by Monday, June 1, 2015. Please return your ballot to the Faculty Center by Wednesday, June 10, 2015. 

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