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Faculty call for resignation of Oregon Tech president

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Institute of Technology’s faculty senate has called for university president Nagi Naganathan’s resignation, but school administrators say he has no plans to leave his post.

The senate this week approved the resolution this saying faculty had lost confidence in Naganathan’s leadership, The Herald and News reported.

“This is not knee-jerk,” Professor Don McDonnell said. “This is not COVID. This is not union negotiations.”

McDonnell, who is a professor of medical imaging technology at the school, will present the resolution to Naganathan asking him to resign. If Naganathan declines, all full-time faculty will vote on whether they have confidence in Naganathan’s leadership in late March.

McDonnell said he would give a presentation to the Board of Trustees, who then have the power to remove Naganathan or keep him in office, on April 8.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Jessica Gomez said Thursday that board members she has talked to are happy with the direction of the university and fully support Naganathan’s leadership.

She said that the resolution declaring no confidence stems from a labor dispute.

“I understand that the faculty senate might be frustrated in some ways,” said Gomez. “But over the last four years under Dr. Naganathan’s leadership, we have seen some of the biggest investments in Oregon Tech for probably the last 20 years.”

OIT’s vice president of institutional advancement, Ken Fincher, called Naganathan an “agent of change” and claimed faculty are afraid of new ideas needed to move the university forward.

McDonnell said faculty feel that the change Naganathan is instituting is detrimental to the school.

Three areas where faculty take issue with Naganathan’s leadership include “disregard of existing Oregon Tech policies and the editing of policies without senate approval,” “lack of commitment to shared governance as established by the Board of Trustees,” and “failure to execute responsible fiscal management of Oregon Tech monetary, capital and human resources.”

Fincher refuted the claims in the report and said many of them were taken out of context or were flat out wrong. He called the way the faculty senate reached back years to issues that occurred — and maybe were even solved — “revisionist history.”

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