Some Valley faculty oppose no-confidence vote on Oliver

ITTA BENA — Some faculty members at Mississippi Valley State University say they were shocked, insulted and embarrassed by the Faculty Senate’s no-confidence vote against President Donna Oliver and her administration.

Their loudest grievance is that nobody asked them what they thought, The Clarion-Ledger reported.

Theater director Barbara Baymon and political professor Larry Chappell both say it’s incorrect to say that the faculty wanted the letter sent Nov. 1.

“This is totally not the wish of the faculty,” said Baymon. “There may be some members who feel that way, but to say this is what the faculty wants is unfounded.”

Chappell said, “It’s an embarrassment that we have a Senate that is this undemocratic and that lacks professional seriousness. No one saw this coming.”

The political science department’s representative, Solomon Terfa, resigned from the Faculty Senate after the vote. Terfa would not comment.

Oliver said, “We are trying to move away from the perception of a major campus dispute. The majority of faculty, staff and students are coming together to talk about what we can do to continue on the trajectory that we were on.”

Faculty Senate president Samuel McNair stood behind the letter, which outlines five grievances: declining enrollment, pay raises, fundraising dollars, professional relationships between the president and faculty and the general direction in which Oliver is taking the university.

“We took a vote, and the vote was solid,” McNair said.

The minutes from the Nov. 1 meeting — or any of the Faculty Senate’s meetings this year — have not been made available on the university’s website. Provost/executive vice president Anna Hammond said that shows a lack of transparency inappropriate in academia.

“As provost, I am very embarrassed by this,” said Hammond, who, as a member of Oliver’s administration also is indicated in the no-confidence vote. “This is where you teach students the democratic process. We are the leaders, we are the role models and it is up to us to show them that we know how to communicate with one another, that we know how to deal with each other in a professional manner.”

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