Council of Chairs endorses Academic Senate vote of no confidence against Ross, Shapiro
The Academic Senate’s vote of no confidence against President George Ross and Provost Gary Shapiro continues to gain support as the Council of Chairs endorsed the resolution during their meeting Wednesday afternoon.
The council, which consists of 22 department chairpersons and other constituents, approved the endorsement due to a number of issues, including the $10 million contribution to the CMU Events Center from university funds that was recently exposed.
Brigitte Bechtold, chairwoman of the Council of Chairs, said the endorsement was overwhelmingly passed by the group’s members.
“The Council of Chairs endorses the Senate’s resolution of no confidence in the administration of President Ross and Provost Shapiro, and we call upon the Board of Trustees to address the concerns raised therein,” the endorsement stated.
Bechtold said members had additional concerns along with the issues of the administration’s shared governance policy, transparency and the decision-making process that many departments have expressed objections toward. Bechtold said the university’s $10 million contribution to the CMU Events Center as well as the recent appointment of Matt Serra as executive director of Faculty Personnel Services influenced the vote as well.
“We have several additional issues to be concerned about,” Bechtold said. “Members are concerned about the $10 million we have heard about in the paper, issues related to a memo from the provost regarding the faculty personnel director that was appointed following a national search and several other issues.”
Bechtold said the council had discussed endorsing the resolution during their meeting last month, and the Board of Trustees formal meeting Thursday did not factor in to the vote.
“It was not planned to specifically have this vote before this Board of Trustees meeting, but the fact that the Board of Trustees will meet tomorrow may help our concerns be addressed,” Bechtold said. “The reason why the council took this up today was because it had already been considered at last month’s meeting.”
A-Senate chair Jim McDonald said the endorsement, along with those previously made by academic departments, contradicts the former chair of the Board of Trustees Sarah Opperman’s statement about those angry with CMU’s administration affairs. Opperman said in a Dec. 8 interview that “it’s a small part of the university, from what I see, that is feeling very uncomfortable.”
“I think it reaffirms the Academic Senate resolution, and it follows in line with what 16 other departments have done at this point. It shows a wider spread of support for it,” McDonald said. “It really counters the statement of the chair of the Board of Trustees in December that said it was a small part of the university community that felt that way.”
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