Rick Snyder, Kevin Cotter quiet on votes against CMU administration
State and local officials are not commenting yet on recent issues of transparency at Central Michigan University.
There have still been no actions taken by university trustees regarding the rising number of departments endorsing the Academic Senate’s Dec. 8 vote of no confidence against University President George Ross and Provost Gary Shapiro, or the questionable allocation of $10 million toward the Events Center.
Calls placed by Central Michigan Life to the offices of State Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, and Gov. Rick Snyder last week regarding the state of CMU’s governance and transparency were not returned.
Last week, Vice President of Developmental and External Relations Kathy Wilbur and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke apologized for confusion the $10 million allocation may have caused the public. The two sat down with reporters Thursday afternoon, emphasizing the board’s actions — approving the use of reserve funds for the $22 million facility — were done in a public setting. Wilbur and Heeke later issued a joint statement to CM Life citing the same points.
Though not every department’s vote was unanimous, 16 of CMU’s 37 on-campus academic departments have endorsed the A-Senate’s vote of no confidence against Ross and Shapiro, many citing a lack of transparency and collaboration between faculty, staff and administrators. The 16 departments are comprised of more than 500 of CMU’s tenured, tenure-track and fixed-term faculty members.
Despite the rising number of faculty members expressing a lack of confidence in university administration, Board of Trustees Chairman Sam Kottamasu reaffirmed his confidence in Ross and Shapiro during a Feb. 16 board meeting. CMU Board of Trustees will meet for the last time of the spring semester on April 12.
Along with the academic departments, CMU’s 11-person university librarian staff and the Council of Chairs, made up of 22 academic department chairpersons and constituents, also endorsed the A-Senate vote.
Of the 16 academic departments endorsing the vote, two are in the College of Communication and Fine Arts, four belong to the College of Education and Human Services, six are in the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences and four are a part of the College of Science and Technology.
Some of the faculty members’ biggest issues with the university’s administration stemmed from shared governance and transparency policies, which were emphasized during a Feb. 14 A-Senate meeting, in which administration acknowledged the $10 million contribution to the Events Center from university reserve funds. The project website for the facility had contradicted campaign materials for almost three years, promoting the building as privately funded.
Ross isn’t the only university leader to receive votes of no confidence this academic year. According to the Chicago Tribune, University of Illinois President Michael Hogan met with the university’s board of trustees on March 5 after 130 faculty members recently issued a vote of no confidence against him, calling for more of a collaboration with faculty.
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