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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Grambling faculty at odds with university president

Grambling State University's Faculty Senate delayed a no confidence vote on university President Horace Judson for the second time in a week.

Instead faculty senator fought among themselves over senate rules and procedure, and discussed whether the resolution could legally be presented than the resolution's actual merits.

Senate President Matthew Ware, who formed the three-member committee that created the resolution, said the meeting served its purpose.

"Don't think we didn't accomplish something today — we got through all of the discussion — so we'll be ready to vote at the next meeting," he said.

The resolution marks the first time in the school's 108-year history that faculty has moved for a resolution of no confidence in the university's president, Ware said, calling the meeting "extraordinary."

Similar to Tuesday's meeting, when only 14 of 40 senators showed up for a regularly-scheduled meeting, Thursday's meeting was sparsely attended.

Only a few more senators showed, along with a few faculty, all of whom were invited to attend the meeting.

Jimmy McJamerson, a history professor who helped draft the resolution, attributed the low turnout to senators' fear of reprisal from the administration.

"At historically black schools, if the person doesn't like you, he will fire you," McJamerson said. "That's the reason you don't have the majority of senators here."

Nonetheless, the Senate had a quorum and went forward with the meeting.

Martin Ayim, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Sports and Leisure Studies, said he opposes the resolution and wants faculty to air their grievances directly.

"If you are a faculty member and have a problem with the administration, go and talk to them," Ayim said.

"This resolution was drawn up over the summer and school has just started. We need more time. This is not the Grambling way. The intent might be good, but the process has been flawed. Let's dialogue with the administration and look at other ways of doing this," Ayim said.

McJamerson spoke out in favor of the resolution.

"It is a disgrace and a shame that the administration has treated Grambling and its faculty like they have no purpose at all," he said.

Early in the meeting, McJamerson, the Senate's parliamentarian, called campus police after he ruled that a faculty member who showed up in place of an absent senator would not be eligible to vote because the Senate does not allow proxy voters.

The man continually interrupted McJamerson and two police officers showed up. But they said the meeting was public and the faculty member had a right to be there.

The officers stayed in the room for the rest of the meeting.

The no-confidence resolution features a litany of allegations against Judson and his administrative team, including charges they have repeatedly refused to acknowledge and act upon the faculty's role of shared governance; the administration has usurped the faculty's role in developing the academic curriculum;

Judson has displayed an indifference to the concept of "Town and Gown" and through his actions sought to distance the university from the Grambling community; the administration had repeatedly and disproportionately favored administrators and staff over faculty with regard to salary adjustments; the administration hired people who do not have the best interest of the university in mind; the administration has not provided the appropriate resources for schools and colleges working toward re-accreditation; and the administration required faculty to work three weeks in August but only paid them for two weeks.

A no-confidence resolution carries only symbolic power, but it would be a strong statement from faculty against the leadership of Judson to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. School presidents serve at the pleasure of the board.


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