Loyola Faculty Group Votes No Confidence In School's Head
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Loyola University's faculty has issued a vote of "no confidence" in the leadership of the Rev. Kevin Wildes, the university's president since 2004.
The New Orleans Advocate’s Jessica Williams reports Thursday's vote came two months after a contingent of faculty members displeased with Wildes urged their colleagues in November to publicly censure him and after he released a financial restructuring plan that largely incorporated the faculty's wishes. It also came a month after the school's board of trustees approved small faculty raises.
The vote at Thursday's meeting of the University Senate was 38-10, said associate chemistry professor Joelle Underwood, who sponsored the motion.
The faculty's criticism comes as Loyola has been weathering a budget and enrollment crisis. Wildes has announced plans to slice the university's spending by $11.5 million over the next five years. Loyola actually would need to cut $25 million over that same period unless it can lift enrollment enough to fill the rest of the gap with tuition money.
Wildes is hoping that it can. "My plan is to grow, rather than to cut our way out of this," he said in November.
But many faculty members, while mostly satisfied with the plan, argue that Wildes should not be the man to carry it out. They say years of poor decision-making, which began in 2006 when Wildes implemented his controversial Pathways restructuring plan after Hurricane Katrina, harmed Loyola's programs and led to the university's enrollment slump.
The 2006 plan, which did away with academic programs such as broadcast journalism and education and sparked costly lawsuits from some tenured faculty members who were fired, inspired the initial vote of no confidence in Wildes from the faculty of one of Loyola's colleges.
The faculty's vote is merely symbolic.
The university's board of trustees, which late last year formally endorsed Wildes after learning of Underwood's motion, can remove him.
That appears unlikely. "It is the consensus of the board of trustees that the university leadership be commended for its responsible treatment of the ongoing equilibrium process," Loyola board John Finan Jr. said in a statement released after the vote. "The trustees express complete confidence in the president to weigh the options and respect his decisions and recommendations to the board."