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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

HSHP faculty recommends no confidence vote

School of Health Sciences and Human Performance faculty members have voted in support of asking Faculty Council to conduct an all-faculty vote of no confidence in President Tom Rochon.

At a Nov. 5 meeting, 45 HSHP faculty members voted yes, while five were opposed and seven were not sure or undecided, said Carole Dennis, a professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and the faculty liaison for HSHP, via email.

This vote makes HSHP the fourth school at the college to take a vote. The Roy H. Park School of Communications and the School of Humanities and Sciences have voted in favor of the vote, while the School of Business voted against holding a vote. Overall, there have been 229 faculty votes in favor of holding a no confidence vote, 29 against and 37 undecided. Faculty in the School of Music have not held a vote.

Dennis said the vote was not about whether faculty in HSHP would necessarily vote “no confidence” in Rochon if such a vote were to occur. Instead, she said it was a vote to move forward on the no confidence issue.

“We were not voting on how we individually felt on the issue, so we wanted to make that clear to people because it would be premature to do that, we think,” Dennis said. “It was really about ‘should this go forward.’”

Dennis said students have made their grievances apparent, and faculty want to encourage students to continue sharing those opinions.

“Students’ issues are quite clear,” Dennis said. “And I think faculty are very supportive of students, and we feel that we should be supportive of students expressing their views.”

Dennis said faculty had a lengthy discussion about faculty’s concerns in this situation, but there seemed to be resistance to making a list of things at the college that faculty don’t like. However, Dennis said one specific topic that was discussed was the issue of leadership in the college and whether Rochon is the person the faculty want to lead the college.

“There was concern that if a president is unable to communicate successfully with students and faculty, then there might be some issues there,” Dennis said.

In addition, Dennis said there were questions about what would happen if the faculty did indeed hold a vote of no confidence, a question Dennis said was never really answered.  

The racial tenor of the campus was also brought up as a concern, Dennis said.

Evan Popp can be reached at epopp@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @evanpopp22