Geological Sciences professor Jim Merriam was elected chair of University Council Sept. 21, although it took a bylaw change to get him there.
Two calls for nominations earlier this year produced no one willing to take on the position made vacant at the end of September when Biochemistry professor Joe Angel completed his term. In presenting the bylaw change, Rob Pywell, professor and head of the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, told Council the bylaws were “silent” about what to do when calls for nominations come up blank.
The Bylaws Committee met June 21 and agreed a change was necessary to address just such a circumstance. They chose to follow the procedure already in place to cover the election of a vice-chair when there be no second-place candidate for chair. In that case, the Nominations Committee nominates a member of Council to serve as vice-chairperson and that name is presented to the next Council meeting.
With Council’s approval, the bylaws now include provision for the committee to bring forward a candidate for chair should no one respond to the calls for nominations.
Council then moved on to deal with the committee’s appointments but not before Angel searched one more time for candidates: “It might be futile but I’ll ask anyway – are there any nominations from the floor?” There being none, Council approved Merriam’s one-year appointment as well as Angel’s appointment as vice-chair. The usual term for a chair is two years but Merriam will be on sabbatical in 2007-08.