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Unclassified Senate seeking candidates

The Unclassified Senate is seeking nominations for people to represent the interests of unclassified staff at KU.

Elections will be in April, and nominations are due March 16. There are 10 positions available, the majority of which have three-year terms. Anyone interested in serving or nominating an unclassified staff member should send an e-mail to unclassifiedsenate@ku.edu.

Individuals nominating themselves should also include a brief statement about why he or she would like to serve.

Danny Kaiser, assistant director of parking and transit and Unclassified Senate president elect, said the body makes sure the interests of unclassified staff are known.

The senate president meets regularly with the provost, and three representatives are members of the university senate, while another is a voting member of SenEx.

"The senate serves as the collective voice to the administration," Kaiser said. "Unclassified staff are so diverse, from research assistants to human resources staff to teaching support and people like me who work in parking. We make the university work, but we're often invisible in the process."

The senate also takes the interests of unclassified staff beyond campus. Last month, senate representatives made the annual trip to Topeka to meet with key legislators and inform them of the importance of unclassified staff to KU and the state.

Last year, the senate conducted a survey to determine what issues are most important to unclassified senate. Professional development was overwhelmingly listed as the top concern. In response, the senate has coordinated events such as a tour of the Dole Institute of Politics, educational equity programs and a volunteer fair.

Full unclassified senate meetings are held every other month. Officers are elected at the first meeting of the year, and they meet on alternating months when the full senate does not. The base requirement is to attend six meetings per year.

Kaiser said serving on the senate helps represent the financial and professional interests of unclassified staff as a whole, but can be good for individuals as well.

"It's given me the opportunity to get to know unclassified staff from around the university that I never would have met before," he said of his service with the senate. "When you do that you find the commonalities in what we do. Certainly more so than the differences."

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