By Jason Luntz
Thursday afternoon The Tennessee Tribune reported that Dr. Jane Davis had won a vote to keep her position as Tennessee State University Faculty Senate president. Over the weekend, the Tribune received a copy of an e-mail from Ms. Veronica J. Oates, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, that was written as if she was the Senate Chairperson.
In the email Oates describes herself as “the Faculty Senate Chairperson by virtue of the unanimous vote of the Faculty Senate on August 20, 2012″ She continued to state that she is looking forward to working behalf of the Senate members to accomplish the important goals that include addressing curriculum issues, and finalizing revisions to the Constitution and Handbook.
The email ended by explaining that Oates “will be sending out an agenda for the next Faculty Senate meeting, which is scheduled for October 18, 2012.”
After the arrest and removal of Dr. Davis on August 20th, Ms. Oates was placed in the position of Senate leadership.
Veronica J. Oates
(Photo Courtesy of tnstate.edu)
After Thursday’s vote it was believed that Dr. Davis would be returning to her position in the Senate, but it is apparent that TSU will be disregarding the vote. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education:
Adding to the controversy surrounding the outcome of Thursday’s vote is that it may have hinged on a decision to reject a ballot as spoiled. Ms. Davis would have been removed from office if 16, or two-thirds, of the 24 Faculty Senate members on hand wrote “remove” on secret paper ballots. Fifteen ballots had “remove” written on them, but a 16th was tossed out because it was cryptically worded “No.” Just seven Faculty Senate members voted to retain Ms. Davis as chairwoman, while one member abstained.
University spokesperson Richard DelaHaya informed The Chronicle that the administration held Ms. Oates, and not Dr. Davis, to be the Faculty Senate’s chairwoman. The University is citing a pervious online poll of faculty, in which Dr. Davis’s removal was asked for by a vote of 104 – 46, the August 20 vote, and the number of 15 Senate members who opposed her Thursday.
As more details come to light we will be updating this story.