Today, the University Senate meets for its first plenary session, with two new representatives along for the ride.
Jerald Boak, associate director of training and communications for the Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance, beat out great competition when he won the senate seat for the administrative staff.
Even though the University Senate is believed to be a burdensome duty to most Columbia faculty, those in administrative positions were racing to take part this year.
Twenty people sought the vacant seat for the administrative staff of the Morningside Heights and Lamont campuses, which makes it the election with the highest number of runners this year for the senate.
After a runoff election against Jay Orenduff—necessary because of the volume of candidates—Boak was announced the winner with 290 votes, 50 votes more than Orenduff received.
Boak, who has worked at Columbia for 20 years, has held a slew of administrative posts across the University. He was a senator while he was a student at the School of the Arts from 2002 to 2003. During that time, he was elected Student Affairs Caucus co-chair and “participated in numerous Executive Committee discussions and attended trustee meetings,” according to his ballot.
During the election, he said that he has “a sense of empathy that will help me represent my constituency in an expansive manner. My commitment to the ideals of the University runs as deep.
Combined with my creative problem-solving abilities, I will be able to provide a STRONG AND ABLE VOICE for the general good of all administrative staff.”
Jay Orenduff, the advising dean for Columbia College and SEAS, was the runner-up.
Orenduff has been an employee of both Student Affairs and Student Services over the past 10 years.
“In my current role as an advising dean, I work closely with students, faculty, parents, alumni, and staff,” Orenduff said during the election. “I’m very grateful for the many relationships that I’ve been able to forge in this capacity.”
Another notable election for the senate is the election of Consuelo Mora-McLaughlin, a senior research worker in neurology, to the seat for the administrative staff of health sciences.
Yesterday, Mora-McLaughlin won the runoff election for this seat by 31 votes over her opponent Pamela Cooper, an administrator at the Columbia University Medical Center.
In the first round of this election, there were six candidates running for the seat, which is also higher than normal senate elections.
These seats are the only two seats open to the administrative staff in the senate, a body comprised of over 100 people from all areas of the University.