NEIU Faculty Assembly Considers No-Confidence Votes in President and Board of Trustees


Dan Maurer/Leslie Lozada, writer

The Faculty Assembly, made up of over 500 professors, adjuncts and instructors at NEIU, is considering a vote of no confidence in President Gloria J. Gibson, and a separate vote of no confidence in the university’s Board of Trustees. While these votes are not binding, they are heavily symbolic. A vote of no confidence in the president would give the board cause to potentially terminate President Gibson’s contract early, a contract that was renewed in May 2022, despite a number of management issues that the board observed in their own performance review. A vote of no confidence in the board itself could get the governor of Illinois involved, as the Board of Trustees are appointed by the governor. One faculty member accused President Gibson of gaslighting the Faculty Assembly by saying that the vote of no confidence was a union plot with only a few loud voices behind it.

This would not be President Gibson’s first time facing a vote of no confidence, according to “The Northern Iowan,” in 2012, faculty at the University of Northern Iowa passed a vote of no confidence – 172-69 – against then Provost Gibson.

Many faculty members are very concerned with the direction that NEIU is going. The university is experiencing an enrollment crisis, with consistent drops in student enrollment and retention every year since Gibson became president. At the same time, despite fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, other state universities have been increasing student enrollment. 

Of the four enrollment goals for the university in the current academic year, only one was actually met. Dropping enrollment affects teachers, as fewer students means fewer classes for them to teach, with some now struggling to pay their bills. 

Among other concerns with regards to enrollment, faculty members are concerned with a lack of outreach to prospective students and conditions at the Nest where rooms were not ready for students to move in at the beginning of the semester. One speaker mentioned the embarrassment of how two potential students, with their families, who were invited to an Undergrad Open House on October 25th, were given inaccurate information in an email sent out about said event. This event was held on the CCICS campus, which is in the Bronzeville neighborhood, but an email indicated it was set on the main campus in Alumni Hall.

The Faculty Assembly will be staggering the two confidence votes. Voting on the President will occur first. After that, the Board of Trustees will be given time to respond to the Faculty Assembly vote before the faculty votes on the Board of Trustees themselves. Ballots for the vote of no confidence in President Gibson will be open for faculty from Monday, Oct. 31, through Monday, Nov. 14. The Board of Trustees will have from Nov. 14 until Nov. 28 to respond to the result of the Faculty Assembly’s vote. The Board of Trustees does have a meeting scheduled for Nov. 17. Beginning Nov. 28, ballots will be open for faculty members for the vote of no confidence in the Board of Trustees until Dec. 5.

With regards to the purpose of this vote, and to the motivations of our professors, one professor in the assembly referenced the first European universities of the Middle Ages, saying “… it was a collective of faculty, to serve people who wanted to better their lives… We are custodians of an intellectual tradition. And we are custodians of a university. And we are custodians of our students. And we have a right and the responsibility to do that job, even if it’s symbolic.”