Volume 92, Issue 81

Wednesday, March 3, 1999


Four-year BA gets the nod from Senate

Another stabbing punctures downtown

Early exit for Harrison

Argument consumes faculty meeting

Martin's budget includes students

Tan plans for future presidential position


No vacation from campus

Caught on campus

Caught on campus too

Caught on campus again

Argument consumes faculty meeting

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

Arguments erupted during yesterday's University of Western Ontario Faculty Association meeting over the format of a mail ballot recently sent out to association members.

The UWOFA decided to send out a ballot last month to allow the membership the chance to vote on proposed amendments to equity principles under consideration. One of the most controversial principles states that if two applicants for a position are deemed equivalent, the applicant of the lesser represented group would be recommended.

Psychology Prof. Stephen Lupker was allowed to include a 500 word write up with the ballot in defence of the amendments he proposed, as was the executive, as to why they opposed these amendments. However, the executive also included a lengthy position paper on equity principles in general, which some members felt further supported the executive's position.

"This was completely out of the blue," Lupker said. "They are taking unfair advantage of their position in power."

Lupker said he was also unhappy because the ballot requires members to either vote for the equity principles as they are originally stated or to vote for the amendments. "It became impossible to vote against the whole thing," he said.

Albert Katz, a psychology professor, said the ballot could have been phrased differently to avoid this problem. "If we don't want to vote for the amendments we are stuck voting for the motion – this sets a very bad precedent."

The best way to have handled the situation would have been to vote on the amendments and formulate the mail ballot based on these results, Lupker added.

Aniko Varpalotai, president of the UWOFA, said the ballot went out the way it did because that is how the membership voted to send it out. "This is the way it was left at the last meeting. People would have opposed it if it didn't make sense," she said.

Varpalotai added it has always been the practice to send out an informative position paper with mail ballots for the benefit of faculty members not at the meeting. "I don't think there is any unfairness here. It is easy to stand on the sidelines and criticize but the executive sees things from a different perspective – this sometimes means making unpopular decisions."

Lupker said if the amendments are defeated and the original principles stand, members could still try to have the principles rescinded, but he was not sure what his involement would be. "If [the amendments] lose by a large margin I would recognize it's not due to the fact [the executive] played some tricks."

The results of the ballot should be known by Friday.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999