[CAFR-L] Some more laughs from the new reappointment process

Robinson, Thomas robinson at uleth.ca
Sun Jan 15 14:35:44 MST 2012


I think we all agree that this article will not be nominated for a clarity award. Was it intended to be so riddled with riddles? Or is that the way people--in committee mode, perhaps--write? What really was intended?

We need a clear article that does not lower the bar for reappointment from the threshold established by the article being replaced.


On 2012-01-15, at 11:52 AM, Kent Peacock wrote:

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> Dan (and everyone) --
> 
> My charitable reading was that Y (the number of yes votes) must exceed (M+1)/2, where M is the number of people who are supposed to be on the committee (regardless of whether some are absent or abstain).  I emphasize that this was a charitable reading; I was trying to find a reading that at least made some mathematical sense.
> 
> Here is another reading, more consistent with Dan's conspiracy theory.  Suppose the rule actually is trying to express the idea that reappointment fails if the number of negative votes equals the threshold function.  (This is plausible since, as Dan says, the wording says that the number of negative votes is somehow important, though in an unclear way.)  
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> We have the threshold function T(M,Y) = M - Y + 1, where as before M is the number of people who are supposed to be on the committee (ignoring concerns about absences and abstentions for the sake of simplicity), and Y is the number of yes votes.  Under what conditions can a motion to reappoint fail?
> 
> Well, that would be when the number of no votes (which is given by M - Y since I'm ignoring abstentions and absences) equals the threshold function.  This would give
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> M - Y = M - Y + 1.
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> That is, the motion fails only if 
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> 0 = 1.  
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> This is satisfied by no integral values of M and Y, so on the less charitable "conspiracy theory" reading, there are no circumstances under which the motion can fail.  
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> One can play with this forever, and I'm not going to because I have a vindaloo to make today.  The point is that the new rule is simply incoherent.  I cannot believe that it won't be rewritten.  
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> Kent
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> On 15/01/2012 10:39 AM, O'Donnell, Dan wrote:
>> 
>> Postings to this list are *Publicly Archived.* This is an unmoderated list and posters are solely responsible for the content of their messages.
>> 
>> --------------------
>> 
>> 
>> I wish you and Kent were right because then it would imply that the millions of dollars in salary we have paid to the admin in the time it took them to come up with this was not being spent to draft nonsense.
>> 
>> But I don't think you can dismiss the mention of negative votes casually. The article says that *negative* votes are to be counted and state that the test for whether somebody is reappointed or not is whether there are sufficient *negative* votes to unseat. 
>> 
>> They clearly mean 'count' in the sense of 'does this count' (i.e. used to determine outcome) rather than just 'tally', since the method in fact requires you to tally all votes. And the threshold they are creating is clearly intended to be the thing you use to see whether there are sufficient negative votes. Positive votes in this system are only there to set the bar high enough that the incumbent can't be rejected.
>> 
>> So the point here clearly is to reverse the burden and remove the significance of absence or abstention.
>> 
>>  To think of a hypothetical example: let's say you had a committee on which the president, say, wasn't able to make the vote and a student member wasn't appointed or didn't show. Well on the old system we would not count those votes and the incumbent would be stuck looking for 7 positive votes out of whoever is left.
>> 
>> You might think a rational solution to that problem would be to say an incumbent needs some plurality of the votes cast--say 70%--to be reappointed. 
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>> But that is only rational if your intention is only to solve the problem you are presented with. It is irrational if you goal is to ensure that no adminstrator can be held accountable and to protect the salaries and perk you and those closest to you enjoy.
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>> If that's your goal, then you want to count negative votes and base the threshold on the total committee size, because that way abstentions and absences in the incumbent's favour. The absent president and missing student from our hypothetical example suddenly help rather than hinder reappointment. 
>> 
>> And our goal of ensuring nobody we work with runs any risk of being put back in the classroom is accomplished.
>> 
>> Sent from my Samsung Captivate(tm) on Rogers
>> 
>> "Robinson, Thomas" <robinson at uleth.ca> wrote:
>> 
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