Faculty Assembly Vote on Gibson Takes Over Faculty Senate Agenda

Dan Maurer, Writer

The Faculty Assembly met on Wednesday, Nov. 22 having at the top of their agenda the reactions of President Gloria J. Gibson and the Board of Trustees to the vote of no confidence in the president.

By the time of the meeting, there had been no reaction. The president had not officially reacted or even acknowledged the vote. The board itself had not even officially acknowledged the vote, either. However, individual trustees had verbally acknowledged it to the chair of the Faculty Senate, Nancy Wrinkle, calling it “devastating.” 

While the president has made no official comments, in private, it has been alleged that she considers the vote to be little more than a plot by UPI (the union representing NEIU faculty that is currently in negotiations with school administration) and only a few faculty members.

The Faculty Assembly’s decisive vote of no confidence in President Gibson was 224-29. Almost half of the full 515 member Faculty Assembly voted against her.

This would be the second time in her career that President Gibson has suffered such a vote from faculty at a university. The University of Northern Iowa previously voted 172-69 that they had no confidence in her leadership as provost in 2012.

The Trustees announced on Nov. 30 that they will not renew President Gibson’s employment contract when it expires on June 30, 2023. Until then she will continue to carry out her duties as president. President Gibson put out a statement saying that she regrets the board’s decision, but that she “will continue to work with our internal and external communities to provide an exceptional education for our students,” and that she is “committed to working with the faculty and the university community… to grow our enrollment and support and retain our students.”

Many members of the Faculty Senate lamented that the Faculty has very limited power to effect change within the shared governance framework at NEIU, and a majority of the meeting was devoted to the Senate brainstorming ways in which they could exert their limited influence to improve the school’s functioning. 

The Faculty Senate does provide an advisory committee to every Vice President at the college. As long as the VP’s are willing to work with these committees, they could work together as effective partners to improve the school’s fortunes.

The Faculty Assembly held another vote: A vote of confidence in the NEIU Board of Trustees. Voting was open from Monday, Nov. 28 until Monday, Dec. 5 for faculty members. The vote is not binding. However, the Board of Trustees is appointed by the governor of Illinois. 

A vote of no confidence in them would doubtless be noticed by Governor Pritzker’s office, and may elicit his attention to the enrollment and financial crisis currently plaguing NEIU. The vote concluded before this issue’s printing. 

Stay tuned on our website, NEIUIndependent.org, and social media for updates on the results of the vote on the Board of Trustees.

There were also a number of new additions to the Faculty Senate that deserve congratulations. The Student Government Association has appointed Kevin Baez as their non-voting representative on the Faculty Senate. 

David Jordan has been approved as a Senator for the College of Business and Technology, and Vida Saćič has officially become the senator for the Faculty Council on Institutional Advancement, and is no longer just a senator at large.