minutia press.
Is this the party with whom I am speaking?

It's a well known tactic among faculty that if you want to avoid being nominated (or worse, elected) to do something in the Engineering School, you have to attend the Faculty Assembly held 4 times a year to make sure you are not put in such a position.

Indeed, it's the singularly most important factor that can explain why anybody shows up at all; when it comes time to find names for some position, we look on the roster and pick somebody who did not show up. Why? There's little chance that person would object.

In fact, I nominated none other than Phil Bayly for such a position, because he usually comes to the Faculty Assembly but wasn't at the meeting last Friday. Actually, Phil is a great guy and would have done a great job at this position. But my nomination backfired as his department chair spoke up and told us Phil would be on sabbatical so he couldn't serve.

Then came time for the "Speaker" election, the grand pu-bah of the Faculty Assembly (of the Engineering School). I'm on the assembly committee, whicih means I automatically get nominated. But I showed up to the meeting specifically so I wouldn't get elected.

It came time for our "speaches" and all I said was (and this was calculated so as to keep me from getting elected):

I promise to be brief. Thank you.

Thinking smugly I had avoided election, my opponont rose and said he had served as speaker once before; once is enough; his votes should go to me.

So now I'm speaker for the next year; I'm not sure what this means exactly but as I learn I'll post what I can.