Staff concerns get new voice

Mai Hoang

Pat Jordan feels that someone who isn’t involved at Western can’t complain when something goes wrong.

That is one reason Jordan, who is an academic adviser for the Gordon Ford College of Business, decided to run for staff regent.

“It’s just another way I can have a voice for people who do not want to speak up,” Jordan said.

Jordan, 47, was elected the new staff regent June 24, defeating incumbent Howard Bailey, dean of Student Life. Jordan defeated Bailey 309 votes to 232 votes.

Jordan was born in Louisville but lived all over the world before settling in Bowling Green in 1991 to start her job at Western.

She is married to Lee Jordan Jr., a district technology coordinator for Bowling Green Independent Schools. She has four children, Lee, 31; Jennifer and Kasey, 27; and Jacob, 24.

While working at Western, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1999 and a master’s degree in 2002. She is currently working toward a doctorate in post-secondary administration.

She has been involved in several committees on campus, including the benefits committee and the women’s advisory committee to the president.

“I really think Western is good, and I want to be part of it,” she said.

She said she wants to make sure that the other regents know the staff members’ views and opinions on issues that directly affect them, but she realizes that she isn’t there to completely transform the regents either.

“That’s what the learning curve is, figuring out what you can do and how to go about it,” Jordan said.

She said she feels that Western staff employees have it pretty good with pay and benefits – but she knows that committees throughout the university are constantly trying to improve them.

“I’m just one person in this university that thinks I talk a lot and can help,” she said.

Jordan’s road to becoming a regent was a month-long process.

On June 10, Jordan won with 259 votes over Bailey (with 242 votes) and Chester McNulty, a Maintenance Services elevator mechanic (with 33 votes).

But when there are several candidates for the regent position, the winner must get 50 percent of the votes. Since Jordan only received 49 percent of the votes, a run-off election was held between Jordan and Bailey.

Jordan won the run-off election on June 17 with 325 votes to Bailey’s 258 votes.

But that election was declared invalid after Jordan sent a staff-wide e-mail on election day encouraging staff to vote.

Administrators and the staff council said the e-mail could be considered a violation of a staff council ban on campaigning on election day.

Jordan said she did not have any bad intentions in sending the e-mail, but understood why it could be considered campaigning because her name was attached to it.

Elizabeth Paris, chair of the staff council, said the e-mail was probably not campaigning.

“She was just encouraging people to vote, no matter who they voted for,” he said. “Just to get involved.”

Although the next staff regent won’t be elected until 2006, Paris said the staff council guidelines are being reworked to make them more specific.

Regardless, Paris said she felt Jordan was a good choice to represent the staff.

“I think she knows the ins and the outs and the workings of the university,” she said. “I think she will represent us well. I think having the knowledge of the university will help her understand the issues.”

Bailey said he wishes Jordan a “great deal of success” as the new regent. He said he has plenty to do without being the staff regent.

“I’m still available for any staff member that feels I can assist in any way, whether I’m a regent or not,” he said. “That hasn’t changed.”

Jordan started as the new regent on July 1 and has attended one meeting – what she described as an interesting learning experience.

“It really gave me the picture of the scope of the university,” she said.

Although Jordan has not been a regent for long, people such as President Gary Ransdell have already taken notice.

“She’s taken the job quite seriously,” Ransdell said. “She wants to do her homework and have a positive impact, and I’m encouraged by that.”

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]