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January 2007

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This article began as an exercise in self-education. At a recent faculty meeting, my colleagues were preparing to vote on a slate of candidates. Because discussion had become heated, a tenured faculty member moved for asecret ballot on the appointments committee's recommendation. The main argument in favor of the secret ballot was that, for the protection of untenured professors (who have equal votes with tenured professors on questionsof hiring new faculty), neither their senior colleagues nor the Dean should be permitted to know how they voted. The ensuing discussion on whether to hold a secret ballot was no less heated than the original discussion on thecommittee's recommendation. The secret ballot motion was never put to a vote, and an open vote on the recommended slate followed.