New Staff Senate set to start in fall

Anisa Salazar
Staff Writer 

The University of La Verne is starting up a Staff Senate to represent non-faculty employees in the shared governance process, officials announced last month. All administrative, professional and classified employees will be eligible to serve as senators in the body, which will function similarly to the Faculty Senate.

Similar groups exist at most other universities, but this will be the first time La Verne has had a Staff Senate.

At a recent organizational meeting, administrative professional committee chairwoman Victoria Aleman, director of the regional and online campus in Ontario, explained the plan. University President Pardis Mahdavi was also on hand to offer an overview of what the body would look like, and employees were urged to sign up if they were interested in participating in the new governance body, which starts officially in fall semester. 

One of the goals for creating the Staff Senate is to promote greater transparency and agency across the University’s employee groups. 

Ebony Williams, administrative professional committee member and manager of student outreach and support, said the new body marks a big step toward including all voices in major decisions. 

“Advocating for staff’s needs, being a voice and participating in shared governance (is) a big thing,” added Brooke Grasso Lavin, administrative professional committee vice chairwoman and academic advisor. “Faculty has a senate, students have their student government, the president has her Executive (Cabinet). Staff Senate is a way for staff to have a seat at the table and better advocate for the greater staff as a whole.”

Williams and others are in the process of writing bylaws for the Staff Senate, which will determine, among other charges, when and how members will be elected. 

“Right now we are going through different universities’ (bylaws) to see how it looks on other campuses,” Williams said. 

The group is also reviewing ULV governance documents, including the faculty handbook.  

“If the board, administration and faculty can truly show that they appreciate and value staff, they will feel respected…, be more engaged, happier and stay longer at the institution,” said AP committee member Carrie Lewis Hasse, assistant dean for advising and retention service for ROC.

Though still in planning stages, Williams said that compensation, pay equity, promotion protocol, morale and work-life balance are among the issues the Staff Senate hopes to address. She added that they will talk about everything that is of interest to staff members.

Non-faculty employees at the University interested in getting involved with the staff senate should email ulvstaff@laverne.edu.

Anisa Salazar can be reached at anisa.salazar@laverne.edu.

Anisa Salazar is a freshman communications major with a concentration in public relations and a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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