Wright State faculty holding vote of no confidence in board of trustees

Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 @ 9:17 AM

FILE: Wright State University president Cheryl Schrader sits next to faculty president Travis Doom during a faculty senate meeting at the school in November.
FILE: Wright State University president Cheryl Schrader sits next to faculty president Travis Doom during a faculty senate meeting at the school in November.

Wright State University’s faculty senate has opened up a faculty-wide vote of no confidence in the school’s board of trustees.

Voting began Monday and will end at 5 p.m. March 22, according to a faculty senate web page. The faculty senate is not affiliated with the faculty union, which went on strike earlier this year for 20 days.

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In the faculty petition for a vote of no confidence, faculty listed eight points they say resulted in their loss of confidence in the board’s ability to govern WSU.

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The list includes the following:

• An ongoing financial crisis

• A federal H-1B visa investigation

• The creation of Double Bowler Properties to expand Wright State’s real estate footprint

• The flow of money to and from affiliated entities such as Wright State Applied Research Corporation and Wright State Research Institute

• A 2016 citation of a trustee for an ethics violation

• Maintaining Wright State’s status in Division I athletics

• A trustee advocating for associate’s degrees

• Recent faculty union contract negotiations that led to a strike.

“This list of grievances speaks to a five-year pattern of behavior by the board that has caused significant harm to the university,” the faculty senate petition for a vote of no confidence states.

The WSU faculty senate is merely facilitating the vote, said faculty president Travis Doom. Any confidence vote can be launched if 50 or more faculty members petition the senate for one, Doom said.

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The faculty senate will likely release the results of the vote at its meeting March 25, Doom said.

“There are strong groups on both sides,” Doom said. “So I’ll wait to see what the vote is.”

The board of trustees rebutted the faculty senate’s petition, citing the university’s recent budget surplus as evidence that finances are beginning to turn around and a $1 million settlement with the federal government on the H-1B visa investigation. Trustees also defended their actions with regard to WSARC and WSRI, stating that they have “not clouded or hidden the flow of money.”

Board of trustees chairman Doug Fecher said the vote is occurring at a time when the university should be trying to come together instead of continuing to “fight the battles of the past.”

“I think it’s terribly unfortunate and unproductive,” Fecher said. “It doesn’t reflect the amount of work the board and administration have done over the last three or four years.”

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