Thursday, May 3, 2012

Updated Botman Update

I said I'd know more later today, it's later today and thus I know more.

Here's what isn't in dispute:

The no confidence vote took place.  The vast majority of those who voted voted no confidence.  The exact numbers were 194 no confidence, 88 voted against no confidence.  This means that 68.8% voted no confidence.

It also means that 51.5% of all full time faculty voted no confidence.  All full time faculty is a category that includes people who aren't even in the country, and thus had no way of voting under the rules set up.  100% turn out was impossible.

Furthermore, that means that the turnout was 74.8%.

Here's where it gets tricky:

The vote needed a two-thirds majority.  What does that mean?

In almost every instance, including in the set of rules that govern how the faculty senate operates that means 2/3rds of the vote.  Which means that the no confidence vote passed with room to spare.

Under one set of rules, the rules to which Selma Botman is pointing, it means 2/3rds of the electorate.  In which case, since only 51.5% of the total faculty voted no confidence (with 23.3 voting against and 25.2 not voting) the vote failed.  Hence USM President Selma Botman put out a statement yesterday claiming victory.

Now people have to go around today explaining to the media that just because someone claims they won doesn't mean they actually did.  Just because someone says that 68.8% is less than 2/3rds doesn't mean it is.  And, also, people need to do a hell of a lot of work to figure out exactly which set of rules is actually in force.  That will be a massive headache.

It may turn out that she was right to claim victory, though even if right it seems strange to do a victory dance after the majority of voters, and the outright majority of the electorate, vote to be rid of you, it may turn out that she was wrong.  It remains to be seen.

It actually looks like Botman's stance was based solely on taking something completely out of context.  When placed in context the rules don't actually conflict, the ones she's pretending don't exist inform the interpretation of the ones she's taking out of context, and everything agrees that two thirds means two thirds of the voters.  But I'm not ready to get into details about that right now*.

In other news, there's been a press release.

[Additional Added:]
* Now I am.  It was much simpler than I thought.  It litterally says "a two-thirds vote of those voting" which is about as straightforward as something can be.

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