Faculty Senate Reproves “No Confidence” Motion
Tuesday afternoon, the PSU faculty senate voted against the motion of “no confidence” aimed towards the Board of Trustees. By a wide margin, 128 senate members voted against the measure while 58 voted yes.
The motion, which was put into place by Anthony Ambrose (College of Medicine), asked “for [the Board of Trustees] resignations and constitute a Board of Trustees that is lean, clean, and probably under these circumstances pretty mean, with no more than nine or ten members.”
However, the motion received significant criticism when the floor was open for discussion. “If we vote ‘no confidence’ in the Board of Trustees, who will have confidence in us?” commented one faculty member. “We need to work with the Board of Trustees and an avoid an adversarial relationship.”
Another faculty member had a more metaphorical stance on the situation at hand: “We need not fall into a media spin as an institution that covers up child abuse. […] A ship with a captain is better than a ship without. The Board of Trustees is our captain.”
The vote by the faculty senate was a victory for President Rodney Erickson, who was hoping to avoid a major conflict between the faculty and Board of Trustees. Erickson spoke at the beginning of the meeting and took several questions from members of the faculty senate.
Erickson urged the senate to see the investigation by the special committee through. “We need to be in perspective and also be focused in moving ahead,” said Erickson.
The senate also voted down the motion that would have requested a special committee be formed to “investigate the Board of Trustees’ oversight role within the bounds of their fiduciary obligation…”
The new committee would have contained five individuals independent of Penn State. Other committee members would have included a student, a staff member, a faculty member, and a member of the administration. Many faculty criticized the current committee for containing too many members from within the university.
An amendment to the motion and a substitute motion were proposed, but neither passed.
The group’s next meeting is scheduled on Tuesday, March 13th, and the faculty senate will discuss, among other things, a motion that reads “failure of moral obligation alone should not be basis of evaluation for job performance.”
Hopefully by then, tense relations between the faculty and the Board of Trustees will have calmed down and Penn State will be able to move forward as one united body.
Our sister site StateCollege.com’s senior editor Adam Smeltz has additional coverage of yesterday’s faculty senate meeting.