by John Stephen
VSU’s highest officials will attend today’s faculty senate meeting to discuss a report detailing the senate members’ numerous problems with VSU’s administration and current condition.
“The last couple of weeks have brought to light a number of issues at VSU we cannot ignore, distracting us from our success stories, and holding us back at a time when we can ill afford it,” Dr. Michael Noll, faculty senate president, said in an introductory letter to the report that was released March 10.
The report summarized what faculty said at an emergency senate meeting on Feb. 26. The meeting was called after an anonymous document – allegedly sent by several VSU professors – called for a no-confidence vote on VSU President William McKinney, Provost Hudson Rogers, and Chief of Staff Kimberly Luse as a result of poor leadership.
Today’s meeting, taking place at 3:30 p.m. in the UC Magnolia Room, will mainly focus on the report, Dr. Noll said.
The complaints listed in the report are wide-ranging and include not being heard by the vice president of academic affairs (Dr. Rogers), the administration’s lack of vision, budget cuts to Odum Library, and the surplus of interim positions.
In all, the report lodges 22 complaints against VSU’s current condition.
Dr. McKinney said he is looking forward to attending today’s senate meeting.
“I was delighted with our faculty senate’s decision to hold an open faculty forum on Feb. 26, and to provide me with the subsequent opportunity to address their concerns at this month’s senate meeting,” Dr. McKinney said. “An academic community is built on a foundation of honor and accountability. It does not give credence to anonymous claims.
“Rather, it deals with its issues in a civil and open forum. That is the spirit of transparency and collaboration that has been the hallmark of my administrative career, for it is the essence of who we are as academics. I stand ready, as I always have, to work with my partners in the faculty senate, and across our campus community, to address our current challenges so that we may continue to serve in the best interests of our students and our region.
“I applaud Dr. Noll and his colleagues for a thorough report, and I look forward to using it as a starting point for a genuine collaboration between the faculty senate and the senior administration.”
Some professors said in an email exchange that the report doesn’t accurately portray the faculty senate’s full anger against the administration.
“(The report) lacks the passion and honest ire that was conveyed in (the Feb. 26) session, in my opinion,” said Dr. Lynn Adams, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders. “It does not resonate.”
Dr. Thomas Aiello, associate professor of history and African-American studies, also mentioned Thressea Boyd’s firing in the email exchange.
“Are we really not going to ask about Thressea Boyd’s firing…(and) similar firings under the president’s tenure (all of which would, if true, be completely against system requirements, as well as against basic human decency)?” Dr. Aiello said.
The anonymous document that sparked this backlash against the administration alleges that Boyd, former communications director, was fired in a way that violates Board of Regents policy.
Dr. Noll’s reconciliatory tone expresses his desire to see all those involved in this controversy emerge as one united front.
“All of us (faculty, students, staff, and administration) need to see tangible and measurable steps in the coming weeks and months to elevate VSU to a new level, and all of us need to step in to make this happen,” Dr. Noll said.