A vote of no confidence in Provost Alden Reimonenq was issued from the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences on Oct. 8.
The vote of no confidence with 50 in favor, nine opposed and seven abstentions, comes in the wake of what is being called the termination of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Fred Yaffe.
According to a press release from the College of Arts and Sciences faculty, “CAS faculty members in attendance were surprised by the announcement and appalled by the fact that no department chairs or faculty had been consulted formally prior to the decision.”
After the announcement was made that the dean was terminated in a faculty meeting Oct. 1, an ad hoc committee of six faculty members was created in response.
The committee members were Hector Delgado, professor of sociology; William Cook, professor of English; Richard Gelm, professor of political science; Reed Gratz, professor of music; Ann Hills, associate professor of Spanish; and Glenn Gamst, professor of psychology.
These members drafted a resolution of no confidence in the provost so that the Arts and Science faculty could vote at a specially called meeting Oct. 8.
“The faculty of the Arts and Sciences expressed displeasure with the decision making process that does not include the Arts and Sciences,” Ken Scambray, professor of English said. “Because of the organizational structure of the University, the Arts and Sciences don’t have a direct avenue of communication in the organizational flow chart.”
Scambray said the faculty “had to make a very strong statement to be heard at the administrative level.”
“I think the faculty wanted to send a message and they have,” Reimonenq said.
In response to the faculty’s vote, President Stephen Morgan released a statement to the entire faculty body Tuesday.
Morgan said both he and Reimonenq had made contact with several faculty addressing the “issues that precipitated” the vote.
“I want to go out and meet all of the departments, Reimonenq said. “The administration has not done everything to open up the communication.”
Reimonenq said he has plans to set times when faculty can stop by his office. He added that he wants to get faculty of the Arts and Sciences “engaged in budgeting,” and he wants to work with the Arts and Sciences to select a new dean.
“We have listened carefully to the concerns and see clearly there is a need to address them immediately in substantive ways that result in the changes we must make to establish the high level of communication and trust that are necessary to move La Verne forward,” Morgan said in the statement.
After Morgan learned of the outcome of the vote, he said he scheduled appointments with deans and faculty from other colleges at ULV to find out their responses.
“I take the vote of no confidence very seriously and want to work with faculty to substantively address concerns they have expressed,” Morgan said.
Hector Delgado, professor of sociology, and chair of the ad hoc resolution committee, said he is disappointed in the president’s response in making it to all of the faculty and not just to the College of Arts and Sciences.
“We didn’t get a response,” Delgado said. “By responding the way he did, he really trivialized it.”
Delgado said he is concerned that there is division at ULV, and that there is a lack of communication.
“If the administration is serious about improving its relationship with the faculty, it can begin by responding to the CAS faculty and by reversing the termination of the dean. The manner in which he was terminated was unconscionable and contrary to the values and traditions of the University of La Verne,” Delgado said in an e-mail.
“The dean is stepping down from his position, he is not being terminated,” Reimonenq said. “Personnel decisions must legally be confidential.”
Morgan understands that there has been a breakdown of communication among faculty and administration.
“I am working right now to schedule meetings with the Arts and Sciences department chairs and various faculty leaders to identify steps that we can take to work immediately to improve communication, collaboration and trust,” Morgan said.
Scambray said the College of Arts and Sciences is key to ULV, and that, even so, they are not included. “The Arts and Sciences is the University of La Verne. We are the 117 year-old tradition of the University of La Verne. All of the programs are adjuncts to the Arts and Sciences and gain their legitimacy from this 117-year-old tradition of our University; yet we’re never consulted on anything,” Scambray said.
Morgan said the College of Arts and Sciences is the “hub” of ULV, and that other programs have “grown” from the College.
“I strongly support the Arts and Sciences tradition as an absolutely essential component of the undergraduate program,” Morgan said.
“All of the faculty needed to be a part of this conversation for me to understand the underlying issues,” Morgan said.
“I think taking the message to the entire faculty and sharing with the entire faculty adds more importance to the vote of no confidence,” Morgan said.
“Together we—I, Alden and faculty—will develop and implement an agenda of specific actions to achieve improved communications, collaboration and higher levels of trust between the administration and faculty,” he said in his faculty statement.
“I’m very concerned that we move forward now,” Reimonenq said. “I am very, very open to dialogue with faculty. The College of Arts and Sciences is the core of the University as a liberal arts University.”
Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences will meet this Wednesday in a special session to decide their next action step.
“What we hope to change is that we can reorganize the organizational structure and place the Arts and Sciences so we have a voice,” Scambray said.
Susan Acker can be reached at email@example.com.