Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year In Review

So, like many in the popular culture, this is the time of year to do a year in review. This has been a year, “not without incident.” Where should we begin?
January brought us the Computer Usage Policy. I am sure we all remember that monstrosity of a policy, one that didn’t just infringe on that inconvenient detail called the First Amendment but obliterated it. After much shuffling about and some clearly post facto negotiation the Computer Usage Policy was re-written, or was it.
In February we learned that sick days at the Chicago City Colleges are far more valuable than here at CSU. For example, the former chancellor, amongst others, cashed out $300K for sick days accrued during his service there. It’s great work if you can get it.
March brought us all the delight of the university’s  Communications and Media Relations Policy. That completely incompetent and abhorrent statement actually garnered the university some publicity which resulted in it being rescinded shortly thereafter. It became evident to your humble narrator by the Spring that the university was incapable as currently manned, of creating policy that was Constitutional much less functional. This institutional inability would continue unabated through the rest of the year.
Maybe April would be brighter, but alas it was revealed that 34 audit findings would be reported for the previous fiscal year, bringing the President’s two year total to 75. It took his predecessor nine years to reach that level. Work continued in April on preparation for the Higher Learning Commission visit.
May brought the university a major personnel addition, namely a new Athletics Director. After a yeoman’s effort by an attorney for Labor & Legal Affairs, CSU launched itself into a new level of professionalism. May also saw a huge outreach effort to employees to complete the Noel Levitz Employee Satisfaction Survey as participation flagged a bit.
The summer, should have been uneventful but alas, faculty became roiled as several probationary faculty received extra-contractual do overs on retention and a completely illegitimate DAC process was foisted upon the faculty. Of course the administrative spin was that neither of these events happened except for the fact that they did happen and faculty was incensed by clear violations of the faculty contract. We also witnessed many of the lowest paid workers at the university not being paid and the fallout from the Web Time Entry implementation process.
The fall opened in September with word that enrollment was down for the second straight year and there appeared to be no plan in sight for correcting the decline. The community also learned that the hiring process for tenure track faculty was badly flawed and as a result hirings were conducted that had the appearance of cronyism, a charge vigorously denied by the university’s President. The university continued to diligently prepare for the impending HLC visit and congratulations for the preparation effort go out to faculty and staff who contributed countless hours to what should have been a successful accreditation visit.
November welcomed the HLC team but not before the Faculty Senate voted in favor of a motion of No Confidence in the President. Two, rather lengthy documents outlining the faculty’s concern were considered by the Senate and the motion overwhelmingly passed. Much discussion was had with the HLC team about the faculty concerns and lo and behold a new more expansive model of shared governance emerged from the administration. The month also saw the passing of Steven Moore, a faculty member who brought energy, enthusiasm and wisdom to teaching our students.
December ushered in the end of the Fall semester and the calendar year. The university presented the happiest of events, the Fall Commencement Ceremony and received the sad news of the passing of a long serving faculty colleague, Atha Hunt. The university also chose to join the Western Athletic Conference after a brief foray in the Great Western Conference. The Board of Trustees met for the last time in 2012 and faculty spoke about the break down in policy adherence during a faculty search process at the BOT meeting.
Perhaps the most memorable and sobering event was the shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut. It reminded me the lesson I learned September 11th, 2001, namely that at the end of the day, the only thing I really have are my relationships. So my commitment is to work on those relationships, personal and professional during 2013.
For your humble narrator, this event chastened me about my critique of the dysfunction of the university and reminds me to keep my eye on the highest ideals of the institution. I invite all in the community to do the same.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Financial Storm Clouds on the Horizon

So now Moody’s has downgraded the credit rating of the eight public universities in Illinois. It cited

"The problems there include lawmakers’ inability to pay for an estimated $96-billion in future pension commitments as well as $9-billion in unpaid obligations to state agencies. The extra cost of borrowing brought on by a downgrade could be a double whammy if the universities are forced to borrow money to cover the state’s delinquent payments."

For those who follow the public universities and their tenuous relationship with the legislature, it is well known that some of the public universities struggle mightily with keeping the doors open when the state withholds money appropriated for higher education. What concerns your humble narrator is the continued absence of fund raising at this institution. The amount of the endowment is decreasing and there appears to be no credible, strategic plan for a capital development campaign. In the face of higher borrowing costs, the potential for sequestration at the federal level and declining student enrollments, projected to be flat for 2013-14, it appears the university has been positioned for a catastrophic financial collapse. I would imagine pro-active leadership would make an announcement to allay fears of students, staff and faculty. A robust, innovative and ambitious capital campaign would be announced for the New Year after all of the ground work was laid by those expert in capital development and the most senior university officials would then spend a significant amount of their time engaged in reaching the target goal. I would imagine that the Provost would continue managing the core activity of the institution as the Chief Academic Officer, the Vice President for Administration and Finance would continue working toward more financial controls and increased accountability while the President and other various and sundry non academic administrators would work toward realizing the university’s capital campaign goal. I would refer you to a post I made here on April 15th, 2012 where I referred to Stanford University and its multi-year campaign which succeeded in raising $6.23 billion. It is possible in an unstable economy to raise a significant amount of money if the will is there, the plan is sound and those able to execute are empowered. If any of those three are absent the project is doomed to failure and the institution will suffer as well from that failure. 

Is this institution up to the task of protecting its 145 year existence for another 150 years? That is what legacy is about, not constructing more buildings or starting more programs. Legacy is about ensuring the institution does more than survive. It is about ensuring it thrives.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Now Here's an Idea: "You can sit around and complain and withdraw from everything, or you can get angry and get active and get motivated...I got angry."

Interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education --what one university did to rectify egregious violations of shared governance on its campus. Perhaps another step is to revive a chapter of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors). CSU had one before it was unionized, but the two institutions are not mutually exclusive. Northeastern University recently started one.

And while I'm wondering about shared governance in universities, I am also wondering what the preliminary report of the HLC said? Will the faculty get a summary?  It was supposedly received this week or last.

Lastly, look for more changes in the new year. There is no word as to whom our new provost may be, but apparently Dr. Westbrooks will be gone...

December 17, 2012

A College Creates a Chair for Shared Governance
By Audrey Williams June

At one point in the 42-year history of Francis Marion University, the public liberal-arts college's shared-governance system was so dysfunctional it drew national attention.

But in recent years the South Carolina institution—whose tense faculty-administration relations had earned it a spot on the American Association of University Professors' sanction list—has shed its image as the poster child for shared governance gone bad. Faculty members, along with the current president and Board of Trustees, have worked to rebuild the university's governance in a way that gives faculty a meaningful voice. And a new endowed chair in shared governance is viewed by many on the campus and elsewhere as a symbol of just how far Francis Marion has come.

"We went through a very torturous period to get where we are today," said Luther F. Carter, president of Francis Marion, who made overhauling shared governance a priority when he arrived, in 1999. "This chair seems like a logical progression of all that we've done to recognize the contributions of faculty in shared governance."

The endowed chair, which officials expect to award at the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year, is reserved for the head of the Faculty Senate, formally known as the chair of the faculty. That person will hold the endowed chair until his or her chairmanship ends. The chair is named after a retired professor of history, E. Lorraine de Montluzin, who was a leader in the faculty's fight to restore shared governance at the institution.

"She worked so hard to save this university back in the 90s," Mr. Carter said.

Ms. de Montluzin, who began her academic career at Francis Marion in 1974, remembers those years well. They were marked by a climate of fear on campus, she said, particularly during the tenure of Mr. Carter's predecessor, Lee A. Vickers. After Mr. Vickers arrived, in 1994, the board shut down the institution's fledgling faculty senate, dissolved elected faculty committees, and set aside the faculty constitution, among other things. Professors protested along the way and ultimately pushed back with an overwhelming vote of no confidence in his leadership in 1996, but the Board of Trustees continued to strongly back the president.

Francis Marion U., whose administration building is shown here, once drew national attention for shared governance gone bad. Now faculty members feel they have a meaningful voice.

"You can sit around and complain and withdraw from everything, or you can get angry and get active and get motivated," Ms. de Montluzin said. "I got angry."

From Sanctioned to Model

The AAUP, after visiting the campus to investigate, voted in 1997 to sanction Francis Marion. The sanction list comprises institutions that the association has found to have violated widely accepted faculty-governance standards. A year later, a South Carolina legislative audit—conducted after Ms. de Montluzin and a small group of Francis Marion professors met secretly with lawmakers to urge them to do so—confirmed that shared governance at the university was broken. It also revealed that scholarship money had been misused, enrollment was dropping sharply, and that Mr. Vickers's house had been remodeled at a cost of more than $235,000 without competitive bidding.

In 1999, following the audit, Mr. Vickers left and took a job as president of Dickinson State University, from which he retired in 2008. Mr. Carter, who succeeded him, made it clear from the outset that he "wanted to get off that sanction list," said Ms. de Montluzin, who organized the AAUP chapter at Francis Marion and served as its first president. "When he came it was just like a big weight had been lifted off of us."

She is credited with working closely with Mr. Carter and the new board early on to restore shared governance at Francis Marion, including rewriting the faculty handbook.

"We got to see Lorraine in a different role as she led the faculty, not in resistance, but in how you rebuild shared governance," said Kenneth Kitts, a former associate provost and professor of political science at Francis Marion who is now provost at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. "She was a very engaged partner with the administration, once she had an administration she could work with."

Rebecca Flannagan, current chair of the faculty, said she could tell right away that Mr. Carter's presidency would be different. When he arrived at Francis Marion, Mr. Carter "spent a lot of time right away learning what the faculty's needs were," said Ms. Flannagan, a professor of English.

"We weren't really used to that," she said. "He always makes the faculty feel important and valued. He wants faculty input on anything that affects faculty."

In 2000, the AAUP removed the institution from its sanction list—making it the first institution to have been sanctioned and then redeemed by the association's governance committee. In 2002, Mr. Carter received a national award from the association in recognition of his efforts to restore the institution's governance system.
"With amazing rapidity, Francis Marion has gone from the AAUP sanctions list to a model of what shared governance ought to be," the AAUP said in a news release about the award.

As chair of the faculty, Ms. Flannagan works closely with Mr. Carter and the Board of Trustees, which is not always the case for faculty leaders at other institutions. Mr. Carter, she said, "makes it attractive to be involved in shared governance."

Ms. Flannagan, who is serving a one-year term as chair of the faculty, plans to run for re-election. If she wins, she would be the first occupant of the endowed chair in shared governance.

Ms. de Montluzin said she is "tremendously honored" by the endowed chair that is named after her.

"So many institutions struggle to find the right type of shared governance," Mr. Carter said. "Now that we have that, there's a certain zeal that we have about protecting it."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Response to My Colleague

This is a response to the most recent post from a colleague.

Having read your post, I must say that I find it a disappointing mix of innuendo, convoluted logic and special pleading. I will respond to each of your points in order.

Your first paragraph seems to suggest that somehow the absence of one candidate's inclusion in the criticism “validates her hiring.” You then assert that “if the criticism is about the process then the publishing record of all the applicants should not matter. The process is the problem and not the candidates, correct?”

I do not see how the material that precedes this statement and subsequent question supports your conclusion. In fact, if the problem is with the process, it seems like an individual’s failure to meet basic qualifications for a position should be particularly relevant to this discussion. Simply put, neither Lew Myers nor Andre Grant met the minimum qualifications as listed in the job announcement. As for the other candidate, she possesses the requisite qualifications. That is why she is not mentioned. Nonetheless, her hiring (through no fault of her own) is associated with a tainted search and its subsequent dubious outcome. As Dr. Thomson noted at yesterday’s board meeting, no one will know what the list of finalists would have looked like had the faculty been involved, since this search proceeded essentially without any faculty participation. No one from the Criminal Justice faculty interviewed the qualified candidate, a disservice to her.

Your next three paragraphs offer a red herring argument in support of the hiring of Lew Myers, with a perfunctory nod toward Andre Grant. You begin by discussing the “recurring criticism” of the two attorneys and its basis in “their publishing record”–which you declared irrelevant in your opening paragraph. You then note that Andre Grant has been criticized for his lack of teaching experience, which your claim in the opening paragraph also renders irrelevant. You then proceed to shower fulsome praise on Lew Myers for his work as an advocate for social justice. Who has questioned his credentials in those areas? To what criticism are you responding?

The special pleading in your final paragraph makes your meaning clearer. You argue that the community and legal activities of these two faculty should substitute for their lack of scholarly accomplishments, seemingly advocating for an “exemption” from the customary professional standards of the social science disciplines for these two faculty. Your stance raises some questions for me: Should we ignore the UPI-CSU contract for these two persons? Should they be retained, promoted, or given tenure in case of their inability to meet minimum requirements for such action? If so, should not other faculty be given special consideration for their work outside the university? Why have standards in research, teaching and service at all, if activities in those areas are interchangeable?

Let me be clear here, this search deserves to be questioned. One administrator involved in the process described it as “dirty.” Unfortunately, it cannot be undone and all the rhetorical contortions in the world cannot make it right. As a result, those three new faculty will always be associated with a search that should not have been. Blaming the faculty for administrative excesses, as a number of administrative apologists did at the yesterday’s board meeting, will not change that fact. Neither will the arguments you make in your post.

Friday, December 14, 2012

From One of Our Colleagues Re: The Criminal Justice Search

I have listened to the criticism of the Criminal Justice hires for some time now and find it interesting that the initial criticism was of three new hires in Criminal Justice. Since one of the candidates ostensibly has a significant publishing record, her name is now not included in the criticism, a retraction I assume that validates her hiring. I raise this point because if the criticism is about the process then the publishing record of all the applicants should not matter. The process is the problem and not the candidates, correct?

This brings me to my larger point. One of the recurring criticism of Lew Myers and Andre Grant is their publishing record and in the case of Mr.Grant, his teaching experience. I will plead ignorance and admit I now absolutely zero about their publishing records (as I now little about most of my colleagues publishing record). However, I know Lew Myers and was familiar with his name for years before actually meeting him. Mr.Myers is a highly regarded Civil Rights Attorney and advocate. Activist and scholars that I know throughout this country think it is quite a coup to have Mr. Myers in our fold. He has taught for years at Kennedy King College and provides a wealth of experience and expertise on the prison industrial complex, civil rights movement, the justice system, and the intercession between race, class, and law.

Dare I say that it is a common practice for universities of all stripes to hire people of note in their field. Black activists across the country know and respect Lew Myers. Advocates for political prisoners and prisoners rights know and respect Lew Myers. One of Wayne Watson's critics a few years ago, Haki Madhabuti, knows and respects Lew Myers. Mr. Myers has been involved in the Black freedom struggle in Chicago for over 30 years and has served as the legal counsel for Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson. In short, he is no lightweight.

Finally, in my role as co-chair of the Chicago Council on Black Studies, Mr. Myers and myself have been organizing to incorporate the prison re-entry program he had at Kennedy King College at CSU. We are working assidously with grassroots organizations and ex-felons. Our goal is for CSU to be the leading advocate for ex-felon voting rights, empolyment rights, and human rights. This is a huge step for CSU and any effort that strentghens our connections to local communities should be applauded.

An applicants publishing record is only one element used to assess the value of a candidate. In fact, I do not think I am the only faculty member that finds the 4/4 load and committee and community responsibilities as an obstacle to publishing vigourously and widely. I have heard my colleagues lament about all we have to do AND publish. Therefore, when taking into account Mr. Myers and Mr. Grant, we should consider what they have accomplished and assess their publishing record with that context in mind.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Events As They Happened, Not As You Wish They Had Happened

Since Dr. David Kanis, the interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, desires to “provide some context for my decisions” during the recent Criminal Justice search that has “received much attention,” his recent memorandum deserves a close reading. In particular, the accuracy of the end-justifies-the-means tenor of the memorandum should be scrutinized, as should the Dean’s portrayal of himself as controlling the search.

Going paragraph-by-paragraph, it appears that the first two paragraphs, which provide background for the Dean’s subsequent discussion, are essentially accurate. Much of the material in the second paragraph is included in the recent investigative report submitted to the Faculty Senate. Unfortunately, paragraphs three, four, and five demonstrate sophistry at best, and mendacity at worst. No one acquainted with the trajectory of the Criminal Justice search would find credible the scenario sketched by the Dean in these three paragraphs.

In paragraph three, the Dean details the myriad problems with the Criminal Justice Department and claims that the decision to hire new faculty in August came from President Watson, who “heard my (Kanis’s) deep concerns,” about the program and “told the Provost to hire criminal justice faculty immediately.” This account completely contradicts the comments Dr. Kanis made to at least two Criminal Justice faculty that the search had been ordered by the President and that he essentially “had to do it.” Also in paragraph three, Kanis claims that in "the first week in August," the Criminal Justice “chairperson sent out an email to her three peers notifying them of this opportunity, and that they were invited to participate in the search.” There is no record of this e-mail being received by any faculty in Criminal Justice and none of the faculty have any memory of such an e-mail. Kanis must be referring here to the e-mail of August 14 that went out to Criminal Justice faculty after five interviews had already been conducted. In fact, as the Faculty Senate investigation reveals, not until August 10, when the Dean told one Criminal Justice faculty member about the search, did any of the faculty know anything about the possibility of hiring new faculty. In fact, one of the department’s senior faculty learned about the search after the list of final candidates had been promulgated and interviews scheduled. Dr. Kanis contradicts himself in this paragraph when he acknowledges that “I expressed my concern to the Provost over running a search in such a short time period, particularly with faculty involved in student registration or on vacation.” In any event, the "opportunity" afforded Criminal Justice faculty extended only to participation in interviews that had already been arranged by the administrators conducting the search.

The final sentence in paragraph three seems nothing more than an attempt to spin the improper search by claiming that the applicants’ were so impressive that the Dean “was stunned at [their] quality, with at least twelve having qualifications superior to the candidate recommended by the faculty and rejected by the President.” Without going into the qualifications of all eleven finalists, it seems fair to say that the qualifications (as detailed in the job announcement) of Lewis Myers and Andre Grant hardly deserve to be described as “superior.” In fact, neither of those two candidates possessed any record of publications nor did they list anything resembling a research agenda on their applications. In addition, Andre Grant listed no teaching experience on his application.

In paragraph four, Dr. Kanis again presents a narrative that contradicts the sequence of events established by the Faculty Senate investigation. In particular, his assertion that an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates included faculty input is ludicrous. According the documentary evidence, the only conversation about the candidates between Dr. Yan Searcy, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Douglas Thomson, a senior faculty member in the Criminal Justice Department, occurred after the three successful candidates had already likely been selected. There was clearly no “consultation with faculty,” as the Dean claims.

Paragraph five contains what appears to be a completely fabricated account of the Criminal Justice faculty being afforded the opportunity of “weigh[ing] in” on whether or not to halt the search, which the Dean claims he was considering. He describes the department as containing “four . . . faculty,” a complete distortion of the facts. At the time of the search, the department included Drs. Mohammad Salahuddin, Douglas Thomson, and Professor Marc Cooper. The Department Chair, Professor Marian Perkins, is not faculty, as the Dean obviously should know. In any event, none of the faculty received a request to “weigh in” on whether the search should continue. In fact, Dr. Thomson has protested the irregularity and impropriety of the process from August 14 until the present day.

The remainder of the memorandum is mainly meaningless verbiage about how the university and the Dean plan to protect the integrity of future searches, spiced with another reminder that faculty have limited authority in this area. After all, the Dean will decide who the best candidate is for a particular job, and “it doesn’t have to be the candidate chosen by the faculty.” Given that search committees for faculty hires do not rank candidates and in essence to not make a choice, the Dean’s comment here seems somewhat disingenuous.

While I have no desire to speculate on Dr. Kanis’s motives in sending out this memorandum, I will make several observations based on its contents.

First, nothing in the memorandum ameliorates the completely improper nature of the Criminal Justice search of 2012. No rationalization or obfuscation can change the fact that Criminal Justice faculty were not involved in the selection of finalists for the positions, those selections were made by administrators. The complete control of the search by university administrators violated a number of university policies and professional “best practices.” In addition, the improper search likely violated a number of accreditation standards.

Second, there was extremely limited faculty participation in the interviews, with Dr. Salahuddin apparently attending one and Dr. Thomson three. Thus, in seven of the eleven interviews, there were no Criminal Justice faculty present.

Third, none of the administrators who participated in the search operated in the best interests of either the program or the university. The claim that the search produced stellar candidates is disputed by at least one of the Criminal Justice faculty. Had any faculty input on the candidates been considered, two of the eventual hires would not have been on a list of finalists.

Fourth, perhaps most important, Dr. Kanis had an opportunity to go on the record during the Faculty Senate investigation and chose not to do so.

There are others who can speak to caliber of two of the new hires' teaching, and whether their hiring has been a great boon to the Criminal Justice Department, but I would invite anyone who is interested to revisit the investigative report on the Faculty Senate website and determine for yourself which narrative seems more credible.

CJ Search Apologia--received this morning

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cafeteria workers' one-day strike

     Cafeteria workers, employees of Thompson Hospitality, were on strike on Thursday, protesting Thompson's unfair labor practices. This was the first strike of university cafeteria workers in the history of Chicago, according to the UNITE website: I was giving make-up finals in my office, which looks out on the student union building when I heard, "I don't know but I've been told...," the sing-song military cadence. I figured it was an ROTC drill, but when I looked out I saw a group of workers with signs saying "On Strike." When the last student was gone, I went over to join the pickets and show support.
     Union organizers soon greeted me as I joined the chanting workers. I was asked to accompany a worker and a student in going to meet with university president Wayne Watson. The workers had received a letter three days earlier informing them that, because the university was in arrears in payments to Thompson, the food service at Chicago State would shut down and all workers would be terminated. We went to the president's office and were soon ushered into a room to meet with university lawyer Patrick Cage, vice president Angela Henderson, and a third man whose name I did not fully catch (but his first name was Lawrence, I believe). The cafeteria worker took the lead, stressing Thompson's unfair labor practices and the hardship of having her hours cut by Thompson so that she could not receive employment benefits. It was hard for her to support herself and her child, and Thompson was offering them $8.25/hr. Now they were being told that they would lose their jobs because the university had not paid Thompson. Cage responded that the university was only $50,000 in arrears for catering services (a small fraction of the university's $2,000,000 contract with Thompson) and that the bill would be paid within 24 hours. He insisted that the university believes that all workers should receive a living wage.
     Our worker-leader pressed him on how this was possible given the conditions under which she and other cafeteria workers were working. It was impossible for her to provide for her family on the pay Thompson was offering. When asked what he meant by "living wage," Cage responded a wage comparable to what other workers doing the same work receive at universities in the Chicago area. We asked him to make a statement that this was the university's moral stance, that all workers at CSU, including contract workers, should receive a fair wage in that sense. He said he "would have to consult with the ethics officer" before articulating such an ideal on behalf of the university!!
     We soon left and reported what had happened to the picketers. As background, readers should know that the cafeteria workers voted 39-2 in the spring to be represented by UNITE. Thompson is trying to punish these workers for insisting that they be treated with respect and dignity.
     It turns out that Thompson is a black-led firm allied with Compass food services, specifically to served historically black and predominately minority campuses. It seems that black capitalist bosses specialize in racist oppression and exploitation of black food service workers! On Wednesday they had brought in four scabs at $14.40/hr. to intimidate the union workers, workers whom they refuse to pay such a wage.
     I hope that Professor Pancho and others will supplement this post with more information about the history of this struggle.
     In January there is likely to be further action, even a strike. Whatever happens I encourage faculty, staff and students to support our brothers and sisters who work for Thompson. We are all part of one class, the working class.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

No Confidence???

So it is pretty widely known that the CSU Faculty Senate recently debated and voted on a motion of No Confidence brought against the President. This was not an action taken in a fit of pique. Rather it was the result of a sober, incisive analysis of a failed administration that has stumbled since a failed search yielded two ill-suited presidential candidates in 2009.Whether it was the mishandling of the Senior Thesis, declining enrollment, 75 audit findings in two years, or academic hirings that are being characterized as scandalous, the faculty, sans the regime apologists, have had enough.
One of the ways that faculty communicate their displeasure is through a vote of No Confidence. Though not binding on the governing body of the institution, in the Academy, it is a strong statement of the faculty in the behavior and/or performance of the administrator in question. Some faculties have voted no confidence in both the Provost and the President. No suggestion was ever raised in the debate about including the sitting Provost in this motion.
It is likely that the first vote of No Confidence in the British Parliament occurred in 1782 after news of the British defeat at Yorktown reached London. Dozens of college and university faculties have used the no confidence vote to communicate to the institution’s governing body that as a body it has lost confidence in the ability of the President to continue to manage the affairs of the university. In an academic context, there is no requirement to provide a reason for the vote. The instruments of faculty governance can simply vote. Faculty tend not to behave impulsively, especially in a matter as serious as a No Confidence vote.  There appears to be no standard procedure on how these votes are conducted. I can assure you that the Faculty Senate performed its due diligence in having verifiable evidence as its basis for action. Using the institutional mechanisms of its committee structure, the Senate conducted a performance evaluation of the President based on (and not limited to) criteria in his contract with the Board of Trustees. The full report is available at Subsequently, when a Senator raised concerns about the hiring process used to fill tenure track lines in an academic department, the Senate conducted a thorough investigation. There must have been irregularities in the hiring process because the Human Resources Department conducted its own investigation. Though the Senate report is publicly available in its entirety, the administration report has yet to be released. After both reports were made available to the Senate, the body voted to empower the Senate Executive Committee to draft a No Confidence motion for presentation to the body for debate and a vote. That debate was held at a regularly scheduled meeting. With 32 Senators voting, 28 voted in favor, 2 against with 2 abstentions. Part of the debate revolved around the timing of the vote, just prior to the arrival of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation team. A visit to the HLC website will provide a plethora of information on institutions whose faculty voted No Confidence and the institution was re-accredited. A university is highly unlikely to lose its accreditation due to a faculty No Confidence vote. It is likely to raise questions though. It may also lead to increased scrutiny through monitoring. Those questions deserve answers and if the faculty is not given the answers maybe the accrediting body can prompt some action on the part of the Board.
After the vote was conducted the Senate informed the administration of the vote and provided copies of the reports used by the Senate in its debate. The HLC accreditation team was also contacted so as not to blind side them should the issue have come up during the faculty session with the evaluators. Other external entities were contacted as dictated by the debate had by the Senate.
On a final note, there seems to be a belief held by a few that ‘dirty laundry’ shouldn’t be aired publicly. It is a ridiculous assertion as dirty laundry in private is still dirty laundry. Sometimes clean air and sunshine can cleanse dirty laundry. Keeping it in the dark only keeps it in need of laundering. Some uninformed faculty may be curious about what the ‘end game’ of the Senate action is. Sometimes, even in the Academy, or because it is the Academy, faculty do principled things, simply because it is the right thing to do. It may be difficult to understand if one is not experienced or is uninformed about the workings of a university.
Contrary to the want of some that CSU remain equivalent to a local high school, it is not. Thus its faculty behaved in the way that faculty at many universities behave.
And so the journey continues.......