Policy Board Minutes—22 February 2017
Present: Nola Agha, Rachel Brahinsky, Brandon Brown, Robin Buccheri, Suparna Chakraborty, Jennifer Dever, Joe Garity, Sharon Gmelch, Candice Harrison, , Richard Johnson III, Gabe Maxson, Elliot Neaman, Gleb Nikitenko, Mary Jane Niles, Meera Nosek, Julia Orri, Sonja Poole, Stefan Rowniak, Steve Roddy, Calla Schmidt, Brian Weiner, Maggie Winslow
Guests: Ed Munnich, Brian Thorton, Dorothy Kidd, Danny Plotnick, Karyn Schell, Beth Hoffman, Teresa Moore, Ron Sundstrom, Naipaka Zimmerman, Steve Huxley, Paul Zietz, Steve Devlin, Jennifer Chubb, Paul Lorton, Jr., B. Barker-Plummer, Stephanie Vanderick, Emily Nusbaum, Michelle LaVigne, Ted Matula, Hwaji Shin, Cathy Gabor, Sherise Kimura, Kathleen Coll, Greg Benson, Courtney Masterson, Zach Burns, Christina Purpora, Stephanie Sears, Evelyn I. Rodriguez
Minutes from 25 Jan (2 abstentions) and General Membership meetings were approved
I. New Business
A. Ballot options—Neaman. Neaman said they we hired Intelliscan to oversee the voting for the contract. They guarantee the security of the website. He said that the proposals were run by the math department faculty. Our goal is to get to a consensus today. Neaman explained that the ballot will be very simple and will only state the choices to the membership. We would like a decision by Friday March 3. Agha was concerned about the long voting time. Neaman said that the voting period may have been a week in the past. Chakraborty asked whether the PB will make a formal recommendation.
Neaman discussed the 4 ballot models.
A. 15, 17 Abstain (first round); winner versus NO (second round). Devlin said that if a majority were to win in the first round then there would be no need of a second round. Neaman said that this option would include an abstain option versus no. LaVigne was concerned about the wording of “15, 17”. Neaman said that the two options would be explained on the ballot.
B. 15, 17 and NO (first round); 2 top choices go against each other
C. 6 year contract versus No; if No loses then 15 v. 17
D. Question #1 and Question #2: Support for the 6 yr contract or No. If Yes wins, voters are taken to a second screen to choose between 15 and 17. Brahinsky asked about the screens—would there be an option to choose between 15 and 17. Weiner explained that this would be possible (NO people have a chance). Zeitz asked about C and D.
A discussion began.
Brown had an issue with C and D—some voters may support 15 or 17 (not both). He said that model B was his preference. Devlin said that when there are 3 or more options, it is never guaranteed to be fair—strange outcomes could occur. His preference was options that force the voter between 2 options (least unfair). Neaman asked if the cleanest option was A. Devlin said C or D was the cleanest. A guest said that C and D do not allow results of the first round. Zeitz said that if there are 3 options, a second choice could turn into a third choice—there is no completely fair method. Schmidt asked if A was the fairest—15 versus 17. Devlin was fine with A. Matula asked about rank-choice voting as an option. Devlin said that this allows for strategic voting—voters may not vote for their true preference, only try to get an option out. Nikitenko said there should be 3 votes. Devlin said A is better. People can vote or not vote. They have an opportunity to vote NO in the second round.
Roddy said the best option was D. Weiner said the highest turnout was the goal. Benson asked about the technology (Intelliscan).
Devlin clarified the 2 choices versus 3. Three or more options violate the basic tenet of fairness. Two options give a clear majority, he explained. Nosek asked if you know who wins. Munich said the 15% option should be called the “equitable workload”. Hunter said that D does not give the NO voter an option.
We discussed having “no preference” on the second screen. Rowniak said this is possible in C. Brown asked about C versus D. Neaman said that option B can be edged out. Devlin said that was better than ranked choice.
Roddy said that no preference may win in C or D. Munich said that he prefers B from a psychological standpoint. Devlin said that there is no perfect option. Maxson was in favor of C—it allows people to rally etc.
Agha made a motion to remove B. Neaman said the discussion should continue. Brown said that there was not a lot of support for A. Schmidt said that A makes sense logically (15 versus 17). Barker-Plummer said that A works against the NO voters. Nosek suggested having an abstain option for A.
Garity said that A gives those who oppose 17% option 2 votes.
Kidd said that she would like an option to vote strategically in both rounds, therefore NO should be in both rounds.
The PB took a straw vote:
Brown agreed with Roddy that D, with a one-time vote, versus two separate rounds, is the best chance for maximizing participation. Dever agreed, this does not disenfranchise those who are opposed to the contract. Nikitenko asked about setting up the ballot for a one-time vote.
Gabor asked if there was a minimum number of voters needed. Neaman said that there is nothing in the bylaws on that issue. Buccheri said that D was cleaner than the rest—it provides the most clarity. Maxson said that the presentation of D should be clear. He asked about the validity. Neaman said that the voting results are certified—only one vote allowed.
Zeitz added that the NO voter should be able to abstain in D for question 2. Garity asked what happens if none of the above wins? Devlin said that it can’t “win”. Brahinsky said that B was the best choice—people will vote; make a choice based on what has happened. Nikitenko said that in B the choices are equally weighted. Another guest said that voting is about making a decision.
The PB voted on the 4 options.
We discussed “none of the above” for the second question on D. Zeitz added that this will not be counted. Brown added “I choose not to vote on this question” for all voters. Munich said that a drop in vote in the second round may be a protest.
A motion was made on Brown’s language. We will find out if the software will do this. This will not affect the first round.
The vote was unanimous. The PB decided that the voting should be Friday 24 Feb through Friday 3 Mar.
B. Follow-up. In an online vote, the PB approved the ballot and kick-off letter explaining the voting process to the faculty. The vote for the kick-off was 22 in favor and 1 opposed. The vote for the ballot approval was 18 in favor, 1 opposed and 1 abstention.
The meeting was adjourned at 17:07.
Submitted by Julia Orri