Home Faculty meeting EMU Faculty Senate votes ‘no confidence’ in President Smith and other officials

EMU Faculty Senate votes ‘no confidence’ in President Smith and other officials


The Eastern Michigan University Faculty Senate voted “no confidence” in President James Smith and two of his top aides, Chief of Staff Leigh Greden and CFO Michael Valdes.

67% of Senate faculty members were in favor of lack of trust in Smith, 60% in favor of lack of trust in Greden and 81% in favor of lack of trust in Valdes, according to the resolution . The results of the vote were shared with the UEM Council of Regents for its December 9 meeting.

EMU Faculty Senate calls for “corrective action” to address Smith’s “leadership failures”. They also call for an “appropriate balance” between the board of regents, faculty and administration, according to the resolution.

The EMU Faculty Senate is calling for an end to Smith’s presidency if it is unwilling to pursue that balance and correct these leadership failures, according to the resolution.

The resolution comes after EMU’s alleged $ 200 million proposal to privatize dormitories was discussed by the EMU Faculty Senate in November. The EMU faculty Senate said it “no longer trusted†Smith’s leadership, according to the resolution.

“This move came after significant efforts to work with the administration since 2016, when President Smith was hired without any contribution from the faculty,†said Suzanne Gray, President of the UEM Faculty Senate and professor of university library and studies on women and gender, in a writing. declaration. “Pushing to sell student dormitories in the midst of a pandemic was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The administration has flaunted soliciting “contributions”, but it is clear that this decision had already been predetermined. Why would we want to lose control of student housing – and possibly increase costs for our students – at a time when campus security is more important than ever? We did not get a clear answer as to why the time has come to continue with this project. “

The EMU Faculty Senate resolution details issues they say have not been adequately addressed by Smith, including:

  • Failure to listen to faculty concerns regarding classroom conditions and requirements for campus activities during the COVID pandemic.

  • Lack of timely follow-up to the concerns of the Higher Education Commission expressed during the 2017-2018 accreditation visit, including timely steps for the update and integration of a revised strategic plan, as well that transparency and shared decision-making to solve financial problems.

  • Lack of timely follow-up to Presidential Commission recommendations in 2017 to make EMU a more equitable and welcoming campus for black and indigenous students, as well as other students of color.

  • Go ahead with a tender for the privatization of campus housing in a time of great uncertainty, despite opposition from the University’s Budget Council, including its student representatives, and clear opposition from the faculty.

  • Approved letter of intent to sell the Owen building without having a proper plan in place to house the College of Business.

“We are not taking this decision lightly,” Gray said in a written statement. “President Smith and his administration have repeatedly ignored our concerns and abandoned the value of shared governance which is essential to the success of a teaching and learning community. The university’s academic mission has not been at the forefront of any of the decisions cited in these resolutions.

Smith responded to the EMU faculty Senate resolution on December 7, saying the university “never considered privatizing student accommodation.”

“Specifically, EMU plans to work with an experienced partner who would provide financing for new and renovated housing on campus that would be owned and managed by EMU,†Smith said in a written statement.

“We are aware that some members of the Faculty’s Senate are concerned about our plans which will result in a transformative modernization of University housing,” Smith said in a written statement. “Discussions on improving student housing have been underway with our on-campus community for the past three years, and we plan to continue working with faculty members who are concerned about these efforts to dispel misinformation and share the benefits. of our housing plans. The planned transformation of university accommodation is in line with the revitalization of university facilities and technology on campus in recent years, including the complete modernization and expansion of our science complex and engineering and technology center.

EMU Board Chair Eunice Jefferies responded to the faculty’s Senate resolution in a written statement on December 5.

“I am aware of the actions of the Faculty Senate regarding recent resolutions. While I respect the very important role and recognize the excellence of our faculty in the academic mission of the University, I want it to be clear that President Smith, the others named in the resolutions and administration of the ‘University, have my full support… of Regents will continue to listen and work closely with our students, faculty, staff and administration as we move forward on behalf of the University. I am proud of the exceptional work of all of our respective partners and greatly appreciate our continued dialogue and continued progress in the months to come. ”