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May 18, 2000

Hershey, Redmond re-elected to University Senate officer positions

Nathan Hershey has been re-elected president of the University Senate.

He will begin his third consecutive one-year term, the maximum allowed under Senate bylaws, on July 1. Hershey ran against fellow Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) professor Gordon MacLeod.

Re-elected as vice president was Carol K. Redmond, also of GSPH, who outpolled Sean Hughes of the education school.

The new Senate secretary will be Audrey J. Murrell of the Katz Graduate School of Business. She ran against Elizabeth A. Evans, of the University Library System, and the nursing school's Elizabeth A. Schlenk.

Elected to Faculty Assembly and Senate Council for 2000-2003 were: Ellen Ansell and Kathryn S. Atman, education; Deane L. Root, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) humanities; Robert Daley and Lewis Jacobson, FAS natural sciences; James H. Cassing and Janelle Greenberg, FAS social sciences; George H. Pike, law; Nicholas G. Bircher and Michael R. Pinsky, medicine; Steven H. Belle, public health; Helen E. Petracchi, social work; and James P. Cassaro, University Library System.

Newly elected members serve the first year of their three-year terms on Faculty Assembly. During their second and third years, they serve on both the faculty-only Assembly and on Senate Council, which includes faculty, staff, students and administrators.

Senate bylaws forbid public release of vote counts for individual candidates. That way, faculty are encouraged to run without fear of embarrassment should they fail to get many votes, said Senate office director Fran Czak.

Of 3,421 ballots mailed in this spring's election, slightly fewer than 1,000 were returned. The 29 percent return rate was the same as last year's and about average for a Senate election.

Among the units with the lowest return rates was the School of Medicine, where 22 percent of 1,469 eligible voters returned ballots, according to Senate elections committee chairperson Herbert Chesler. Still, medical faculty accounted for 32 percent of votes cast, he noted.

If medical faculty ever voted as a bloc, they would dominate Senate elections, Chesler warned at last week's Faculty Assembly meeting. He suggested that the Assembly or the Senate's executive committee study this potential problem.

But Senate president Hershey and medical professor Nicholas Bircher laughed off the threat.

Bircher said, "The likelihood of medical faculty voting as a bloc is extraordinarily remote" for two reasons: they are insufficiently organized, and they don't agree among themselves about anything.

Hershey referred to a recent lecture by Jeffrey Romoff, in which the UPMC Health System president likened organizing medical faculty to herding cats.

— Bruce Steele

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