These 6 incidents pitted faculties against their administrations

It's not uncommon for administrative decisions to rub faculty the wrong way. Typically, they'll retaliate with a no-confidence vote, which can sometimes carry weight. Over the past several weeks, faculty at various colleges and universities have voiced displeasure about their presidents and other leaders with varying levels of success.

Here are seven of the more prominent examples of recent incidents where faculty clashed with presidents or trustees, and how their institutions’ boards responded.

Despite faculty thrashing, Florida State goes with Thrasher

At Florida State University late last month, trustees hired Republican state Senator John Thrasher as its president. While the trustees touted Thrasher’s leadership skills, fundraising abilities, and connections with Florida legislators, students and faculty objected to the hire primarily because he had no education experience. Just before the trustees announced their choice, the university’s Faculty Senate voted unanimously, to no avail, for a resolution calling for the hiring of one of the other three final candidates, who all had academic backgrounds.

Faculty chide West Florida president for athletic focus, pay, loose admissions

In the wake of a September no-confidence vote, the University of West Florida’s Board of Trustees showed their support of the university’s president, Judy Bense, by passing a resolution supporting her. This came in an emergency meeting just a few days after the faculty senate's vote. The case against Bense: That she made the fielding of a Division II football team a priority over academics, took substantial pay raises while withholding raises for staff, and loosened admissions requirements. The state had given the university a low rating and withheld $4 million in funding, but Bense said the university was toughening its admissions standards and pledged to listen better to faculty. Trustees praised her for growing the school and boosting its standings with college rankings, while the Pensacola News Journal also supported Bense with an editorial in her favor.

Repeated no-confidence votes lead to Rocha resignation 

Pasadena City College President Mark Rocha resigned effective Aug. 31, following two no-confidence votes — with a third planned — by faculty. The college’s trustees gave Rocha, who had been at the reins since 2010, a severance package worth $404,000. Faculty criticized him for failing to follow policy of the college because he didn't consult with them on major decisions. In September, trustees appointed Robert Miller, Pasedena’s vice president of business and college services, as interim president.

Contract tensions and alleged misspending at College of DuPage

In September, the full-time faculty union of the College of DuPage in Illinois passed a resolution of no confidence in President Robert Breuder, saying that he had helped create a distrustful environment at the college. A college spokesman attributed the statements to tensions over union contract negotiations that had dragged on since 2011. Breuder had revealed, in a leaked email, that he planned to seek $20 million from the state for a building already constructed with the college’s money. Of course, that wasn't the only complaint to come in about Breuder: He allegedly hid $95 million in spending, including private membership to an exotic hunting club. He is, however, still president according to the college's site.

A trustee meeting and a resignation cancel two votes at Athens State

At the end of September, Athens State University’s Faculty Senate had scheduled a no-confidence vote on President, Robert Glenn. But the vote was called off when the Athens’ Board of Trustees extended an invitation to meet on Oct. 17 or Oct. 23. The faculty’s grievances included low morale and spending issues. The senate had also scheduled a no-confidence vote in the university’s provost, Ronald Cromwell, before he announced he would resign effective Sept. 19.

U of Hawaii chancellor's firing leads faculty to censure president

The University of Hawaii-Manoa Faculty Senate met in September to consider a vote of no confidence in President David Lassner, but instead opted for a censure, which is considered a less-strident show of disapproval. Faculty members were upset by the firing of the university’s chancellor, Tom Apple, a few weeks before fall classes began. Apple’s termination came after his efforts to fire the director of the University of Hawaii’s Cancer Center, and some faculty members said the Board of Regents was aligned with the Cancer Center’s officials.


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Filed Under: Higher Ed Policy & Regulation