Validity of vote under question
Mount Allison's faculty council has voted 60-1 in support of a motion of non-confidence against the university's senior administration.
SACKVILLE, N.B. – Faculty at Mount Allison are voicing their dissatisfaction with their university’s leadership.
During a meeting of the faculty council, the faculty voted 60-1 in support of a motion of non-confidence in the current senior administration.
The motion was put forward by Mount Allison’s academic staff, which “advises senate that they have no confidence in the current president and provost as the academic leaders of our community.”
Supporters of the motion say their chief concerns are about the administrators’ lack of transparency, their lack of commitment to maintaining the university’s high academic quality, and disrespect for faculty and librarians. One of the key issues, they say, relates to reductions in full-time and part-time faculty numbers.
“Mount Allison has been a troubled institution for several years and it needs a change in direction,” said math professor Andrew Irwin, the mover of the motion. “But instead of improving, things are getting worse.”
Geography professor Michael Fox, the motion’s seconder, agreed.
“We hope this vote will be a wake-up call for the board of regents.”
The faculty council is a university body that represents all those who teach at the institution. It is made up of faculty members, professional librarians, coaches and administrators.
The motion, however, may not even be considered a formal vote of faculty council. Mount Allison president Robert Campbell, who chairs the faculty council, ruled the motion out of order and then adjourned the meeting shortly after when some council members challenged the denial of the motion, resulting in an impasse.
David Stewart, vice-president of administration, said Campbell informed the council that he had no choice but to rule the intended motion out of order because it “unfairly attacked the reputations of some members of the university community” and was beyond the faculty council’s jurisdiction.
Despite the adjournment and the departure of the majority of the administration members, the remaining faculty council members proceeded to debate and vote on the motion anyway.
Stewart said members of the faculty council are welcome to bring their concerns forward for discussion at the faculty council’s next meeting, provided the proper protocol is followed.
He pointed out, though, that many of the issues raised last week are matters that were already being addressed, initially through collective bargaining and now by the binding arbitration process. Both faculty and the university had agreed to resolve all outstanding issues within this binding arbitration process, he said, and not through other means.
“Collegial processes should not be used to further collective bargaining,” said Stewart.
But Mount Allison Faculty Association president Loralea Michaelis argues it was well within the faculty council’s mandate to raise concerns about the impact that the lack of adequate replacements for leaves and departures will have on academic programs and academic standards.
“The issues and concerns raised in the non-confidence motion have been under discussion for many years in the various collegial bodies of the university, within academic departments and senate committees and at meetings of faculty council and senate,” said Michaelis. “Faculty and librarians have the right as well as the obligation to participate in these discussions, regardless of the status of collective bargaining.”
Fox said the members of the faculty council will now inform the university senate, the Mount Allison Students’ Association and the board of regents of the results of this vote of non-confidence in these senior university administrators.
“We hope that the vote expresses our level of frustration and lack of confidence in Robert Campbell and Karen Grant in this open and public forum,” he said.
The vote count was conducted by an external scrutineer as a means of certifying the accuracy of the results.
This move comes following a similar move last month from faculties at the University of New Brunswick, who passed a motion of non-confidence in their senior administrators as well.