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  • SOU leaders hit with 'no-confidence' faculty vote

  • Southern Oregon University professors overwhelmingly lack confidence in the school's administration, according to the results of a confidential vote released Wednesday.
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  • Southern Oregon University professors overwhelmingly lack confidence in the school's administration, according to the results of a confidential vote released Wednesday.
    The results of the week-long tally, released by the Faculty Senate, show that the majority of the 217 faculty members who voted have no confidence in the ability of Vice President of Finance and Administration Craig Morris, Provost Jim Klein and President Mary Cullinan.
    Morris received no-confidence votes from 76 percent of the faculty and confidence votes from 7 percent, while 17 percent did not vote.
    Klein received no-confidence votes from 71 percent of faculty and confidence from 14 percent, while 15 percent didn't vote.
    Cullinan received no-confidence votes from 63 percent and confidence votes from 20 percent, while 17 percent did not vote.
    "The fiscal mismanagement of these administrators has exacerbated the financial challenges that SOU continues to face," David Carter, chairman of the Faculty Senate, said in a release.
    All but one member of the Faculty Senate voted Feb. 10 in favor of holding the confidential vote, which ran from Feb. 25 through March 3.
    "The vote was held in response to long-standing concerns of SOU faculty over the lack of effective leadership provided by these administrators," Carter said.
    In November, Cullinan announced that the university would enter retrenchment, a process that allows administration to cut programs and eliminate professors without breaching the faculty union contract.
    Today marks the end of the comment period for a provisional plan, which proposes cutting several majors and minors and 12.5 professors over the next three years.
    Cullinan has said SOU will need to trim from $3.3 million to $5 million from its budget over the next three years.
    Per Oregon law, because more than two thirds of the faculty voted no confidence for Morris and Klein, the Faculty Senate can make a recommendation to Cullinan that the administrators be removed from their positions.
    A representative from Cullinan's office Wednesday said the administrators were out of the office and not able to comment on the vote.
    The representative said that all questions about the vote should be directed to Carter.
    Calls to Carter's office at SOU were not immediately returned Wednesday.
    One full-time SOU professor, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she was surprised by the turnout of the vote.
    "I, for one, was quite surprised and sad," said the professor. "I was shocked, and I didn't know that would be the outcome. There were probably five or six standing there, and our jaws sort of dropped."
    The senate plans to discuss further actions during its next regular meeting on March 10.
    Teresa Ristow is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email her at teresa.ristow@gmail.com.
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