Faculty worried about current presidential search process

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Amidst the presidential search, campus has been presented opportunities to ask questions about the proccess. Forums took place last week for faculty, staff, students and alumni.

     The success of these forums differed. Some forums allowed those who wanted to ask questions to do so while getting answers. A student forum on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 12:15 p.m. was canceled due to a lack of student attentance.

     The faculty forum brought up some concerns about the transparency of the search process. Faculty members are trying to advocate for increased involvement of the faculty with the search process.

     Because of this concern, the Faculty Senate called a meeting to vote for motions involving the Presidential search.

     The Faculty Senate met on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. to discuss the problem. They discussed topics that they wanted to bring up to the Board of Visitors and the Presidential Search Committee.

     Two members of the faculty, Paul Thomas and Kim Gainer, introduced two motions to the Senate for them to vote on.

     The first motion was brought to the group by Thomas. This motion was asking for the Presidential Search Committee to add three more faculty members to represent each of the undergraduate colleges. At the time only three of the six colleges are represented.

     “When the search committee was constituted, I wrote the executive committee and I pointed out that this is a problematic committee. That’s going to lead to problems down the road,” Thomas said.

     Faculty were originally told that the problem would be discussed at a meeting last week and solutions would be brought up. The faculty were given no solutions which resulted in this meeting.

     Some members of faculty did not know if the motion would be productive. If the motion went through the Faculty Senate, it would still have to be brought up to the Board of Visitors who could turn it down.

     Thomas acknowledged those concerns, “Regardless of what happens here today, whether these motions pass or not, I’m going to be able to leave this meeting knowing that I stood up for this faculty and what this faculty thinks is right,” he said.

     Once the motion was up for vote by the senate, the results were just shy of unanimous. The vote was 41 yes and 1 no.

     Another motion was introduced by Gainer. The point of her motion was to recommend that the presidential search process give opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to meet the finalists and pose questions to them.

     “There is no comparison between those forums and what we are asking for in this motion. Personally, I found them somewhat patronizing because I thought they were an afterthought,” Gainer said.

    This was the motion that people in the senate wanted to see. Many of

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them spoke about how this would be a key way to decide on a new President.

     The vote for this motion was also close to unanimous. The results were 40 yes and 1 no.

   On Tuesday both of these motions were approved by the Board of Visitors and the Search Committee.