In all the hoopla about midterm elections in the country, you may not have noticed an election that didn’t happen here at Cal State San Marcos – the election of the staff representative for the Presidential Search Advisory Committee!
On October 15, we received an email announcing an opportunity for a staff representative on the Presidential Search Advisory Committee for the replacement of President Haynes. It specifically cited the Board of Trustees Policy for the Selection of Presidents as the basis for committee representation.
We looked up the policy and found these instructions:
The ACTCSP is composed of the Chair of the Academic Senate on the campus, two faculty representatives selected by the campus faculty, one member of the campus support staff selected by the staff, one student selected by the duly constituted representatives of the campus student body, one member of the campus Advisory Board selected by that board, one alumnus/alumna of the campus selected by the campus Alumni Association, and one Vice President or academic Dean from the campus, and the President of another CSU campus selected by the Chancellor. Each of the campus representatives shall be determined according to procedures established by the campus. If the campus has a standing policy on campus representation to the ACTCSP that does not call for open election by each constituency, that policy shall be reviewed at the start of a new presidential search, and ratified or amended. The Chair of the Board or the Chancellor may appoint up to two additional members from constituent groups to the ACTCSP to strengthen its capacity to cope with the complex requirements of a specific search, including diversity of the campus, the service area or the state.
“Faculty representatives selected by the campus faculty” means election by the faculty, and so “one member of the campus support staff selected by the staff” should mean the same, right? Not according to the campus Human Resources.
CSUEU wrote Employee Relations Director Lisa McLean to ask for the staff election process. She responded:
“The campus has an existing Staff Administrative Appointment Committee (SAAC) which consists of one staff representative from each division - Academic Affairs, Finance & Administrative Services, Student Affairs, University Advancement and Community Engagement. These SAAC Committee members are charged with being impartial, responsive, deliberative and confidential. Their names are not shared to ensure fair peer review.”
When we asked what policy established the SAAC, we were told there is none. When we asked how they had the authority to replace the staff election of a representative for the Presidential Selection Advisory Committee, she told us:
“The campus does not have a standing policy on campus representation to the ACTCSP, therefore there was no policy to review, ratify and/or amend at the start of the current presidential search.”
So, the faculty can be trusted to elect a faculty representative but the staff cannot be trusted? We can’t even be trusted enough to know who is doing the picking for us? Are we supposed to be treated like children?
The Union has filed both a complaint (on the violation of the Trustees’ policy) and an unfair labor practice (for the use of an appointed staff group on matters within the scope of union representation). Both will force formal written responses from the administration.
We do trust staff and we are sharing this information here and on our CSUEU website so you know how this issue is being addressed. It is not enough to have a staff representative selected by the administration; we deserve to have our voices heard as clearly as any other constituency on our campus.
If you care about elected staff representation, let Chancellor White know when he comes to the campus on November 30. Send your anonymous comments to CSUEU (the staff representatives you did elect) and show up at the Presidential Forum with your union garb and bling. Just like the President’s Staff Forum, our representatives are bold enough to ask hard questions.
Thank you for your support!
Your Executive Board
CSUEU Chapter 321 – San Marcos
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