Faculty Senate to vote possible no confidence referendum

Cassie Buchman, Administration Editor

A referendum for a potential no confidence vote will be the topic at the Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday.

The vote is a potential vote of confidence or no confidence in the performance of Blair Lord, the vice president of academic affairs.

Faculty Senate Chair Jemmie Robertson said the Senate would hear from philosophy professor Gary Aylesworth and physics professor James Conwell about the referendum.

“They’re going to explain the referendum’s intended purpose,” Robertson said.

“I think a potential vote concerning no confidence is significant, so we just want to discuss that tomorrow.”

Because faculty senate is an advisory body, there is no direct penalty no matter how the referendum goes, Robertson said.

“I do think it is a strong statement to the President and the Board of Trustees,” Robertson said.

In the faculty senate constitution, if the faculty senate receives a petition with 20 percent of the faculty’s signatures, they are obliged to make sure a vote happens on the topic.

The petition already has 128 signatures.

“Someone on the faculty generated a petition and gathered around 128 of their faculty signatures in favor of holding a vote on the topic,” Robertson said. “Nothing has been voted on, this is simply just people signing their name in support of holding a vote on this topic. I like to think of it as people signing in support of the democratic process so that a vote could take place.”

If such a vote were to take place, the faculty senate would forward the results of the referendum to the president and Board of Trustees, who would then decide what to do with the information.

Robertson said he believes there have been referendums before, but he does not know if there has been one concerning the current provost.

Political Science Professor Andrew McNitt is also going to speak about the Commitment to Excellence Scholarship.

“He requested that the faculty senate send an email to all faculty regarding fundraising for that scholarship,” Robertson said. “I sort of held off on doing that because I wanted to talk to the full faculty senate about it.”

The faculty senate then decided they wanted to hear directly from McNitt about the email.

Robertson said he was hesitant to send it to the whole faculty senate because they would essentially be sending a request for faculty to make donations to a scholarship fund.

“A certain percentage of those faculty have already been notified of the termination of their employment,” Robertson said.

If there is time, faculty senate will start work on revising their bylaws.

Robertson said the faculty senate has a constitution and bylaws subcommittee that has been making proposals.

“If there’s time tomorrow, we’ll present those to the faculty.” Robertson said.

A lot of the proposals are to get in line with the constitution and with practices currently in the senate.

“There’s a lot of gray areas in there,” Robertson said. “Sometimes it says one thing in the bylaws, but it could be implied to mean another so we’re trying to clean it up so it’s really clear.”

Robertson said they are also planning fall elections.

“There’s one faculty senate committee seat we need to fill so there will be an election sometime within the next 30 days where we’ll see if we can fill that empty seat,” he said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]