The UCSB Faculty Legislature failed to meet its minimum attendance requirement and did not vote on a proposal to ban military recruiters from campus at its special meeting Friday afternoon.
After waiting an additional 15 minutes past the meeting’s 3 p.m. starting time, only 14 professors of the 50-person legislature were in attendance, falling short of the 20 members required to reach a quorum. The legislature will not meet again until June 2 for its last meeting of the school year. Professor Walter Yuen, Faculty Legislature chair, said the body would not vote on the resolution at that meeting because of potential conflicts with the legislature’s bylaws. Yuen said the group would attempt another vote in the fall.
Sociology professor emeritus Thomas Scheff said he was hopeful the resolution would be passed if put to a vote. He said only three or four of the 17 professors who signed his resolution were able to attend Friday’s meeting.
The UCSB Academic Senate sponsored a town hall meeting May 4, during which supporters and opponents of Scheff’s proposal debated in front of a packed crowd of students and professors. Supporters argued that military recruiters should be kicked off of campus because the Defense Dept.’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy, which prevents openly gay men from serving in the U.S. armed forces, conflicts with university nondiscrimination regulations. Opponents generally argued that restricting the military’s presence on campus would violate individual rights to free speech and free association.
Any decision reached by the faculty legislature is only a recommendation to Chancellor Henry Yang, not a formation of campus policy. Yang must approve any new policy adopted by the faculty legislature before it can be implemented.
Yang has not said whether he will support Scheff’s resolution if the faculty legislature passes it.
“The Faculty Legislature is an independent body of the faculty,” Yang wrote in a statement. “We respect and are committed to the principles of shared governance. I am confident that the Faculty Legislature will take on this issue at an appropriate time.”
Yuen said he was disappointed more faculty members did not attend Friday’s special meeting, but he said they might have been busy with midterms and classes. The legislature normally convenes on Thursdays, and Yuen said the different meeting day and time might have conflicted with other engagements.
However, Yuen said he would prefer to have the legislature vote on the proposal soon.
“My sense is that [the resolution] is so controversial I would have liked to have resolved it by the end of the year,” Yuen said.
The 50-member Faculty Legislature is a sub-committee of the UCSB Academic Senate, which is comprised entirely of professors. The legislature votes on all matters not pertaining to a specific academic department.
Yuen said the legislature will not vote on the resolution at its June 2 meeting because professors who do not sit on the committee must be allowed to protest a decision by the governing body.
According to the Faculty Legislature bylaws, professors have five days after a vote to submit a written request to appeal a decision by the legislature. At least 25 professors must submit written requests, and all UCSB professors would vote on the appeal. A minimum of five more days must be granted before a vote takes place to inform all about the special election.
Allowing for this time period would push the vote at least two days past the end of finals, Yuen said.