Though the Ithaca College Faculty Council discussed holding a vote of no confidence against the administration, it ultimately decided not to. It was a feat of courage and a testament to the well–being of the college.
The Academic Program Prioritization (APP) process, which will eliminate 116 full-time equivalent faculty positions, has been received with mixed reactions throughout the college community. While the process has been defended and supported by some, others have called on the administration for increased transparency and shared governance. Evidently, the college community is divided. A vote of no confidence would have only furthered the divide.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial to bridge the gap between the administration and its constituents. A vote of no confidence would be counterproductive to creating effective civil discourse, which is already lacking. Pursuing a no confidence vote would have burned the already shaky relations between the administration and the college community.
Deciding against the vote is admirable. Although some have vocalized how they wished the administration would have handled the APP process alternatively, a vote of no confidence would not solve anything nor protect anybody. The vote, which is a symbolic gesture, would only further injure the college’s reputation. It would be damaging to the college’s enrollment and recruitment efforts, which are already struggling. Even more, voting against women of color, with little to no deliberation about the implications of the matter, could be perceived as racist and sexist. What kind of message would that send to current and prospective students?
The APP process has left the campus community frustrated. Whether in agreement or not, the administration has approved the Academic Program Prioritization Implementation Committee’s recommended faculty cuts. Now, our focus must be directed toward bringing our campus back together, not furthering the divide that exists. We must increase our efforts to share an open dialogue and apply the necessary pressure to do so. But a vote of no confidence would suggest that there is nothing left to fight for at Ithaca College. Our faculty, staff and students deserve a college that unites under hardship.