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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 19, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Humanities and Sciences faculty to call for no confidence vote

The School of Humanities and Sciences Faculty Senate is asking Faculty Council to conduct an all-faculty vote of no confidence in President Tom Rochon.

A majority of H&S faculty members who attended a Faculty Senate meeting Oct. 29 voted in favor of sending the motion, according to an email sent to H&S faculty obtained by The Ithacan.

Claire Gleitman, president of the H&S Faculty Senate, confirmed the vote but declined to comment.

At a closed meeting of the H&S Faculty Senate, 131 faculty members — 87 percent of the group — voted to support conducting a vote of no confidence. Three voted against it, while 17 members remained undecided.

Given the results, the H&S faculty will send the motion to Faculty Council by the morning of Nov. 4 requesting the vote.

If the motion is passed, the Faculty Council will hold a vote of no confidence for all faculty. A vote of no confidence is a way for faculty to demonstrate their lack of support for Rochon’s leadership. The Ithaca College Board of Trustees, the governing body with the power to remove the president, may look at the results of the vote, but the results do not have the power to remove Rochon.

Faculty members have voiced their concerns about the racial issues on campus in the past few weeks, such as the comments made by J. Christopher Burch ’76 and Bob Kur ’70 at the Blue Sky Reimagining Kick-Off event and the problems regarding the “Addressing Community Action on Racism and Cultural Bias” event in the Athletics and Events Center on Oct. 27. Many faculty members walked out of the event with students, led by POC at IC, chanting “Tom Rochon: No Confidence.”

Faculty are also upset because they say comments made at the kickoff event denigrated classroom learning. Some faculty have also questioned Rochon’s leadership style and the college’s new marketing strategy.

Derek Adams, assistant professor in the English department, said he is in a group of about 25 H&S faculty members who are in constant conversation about these issues and Rochon’s leadership. He stressed that although the students and faculty aren’t directly working together, the faculty does show its support for what the students are doing.

“We are trying to think through ways that we can demonstrate our support of the students,” Adams said. “We are trying to come out with a series of public statements or demonstrations that reveal the faculty were not only moved by what happened but are ready to move because of what happened.”

The next Faculty Council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 10.

Ana Borruto can be reached at aborruto@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @anaborruto