MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — The West Virginia University Faculty Senate met on Monday, Aug. 28 and announced that it will hold a Faculty Assembly in September to discuss issues relating to the university’s ongoing “academic transformation.”
According to a release from WVU Today, the WVU Faculty Senate received a petition during its meeting on Monday that requests a WVU Faculty Assembly be held to consider a “no-confidence” resolution for WVU President Gordon Gee as well as a resolution that calls for a freeze of WVU’s academic transformation process. The Faculty Senate approved an assembly for faculty to vote on these issues during Monday’s meeting.
The resolution regarding Gee claims that he mismanaged finances citing his “false and incorrect” growth projections that were reportedly used to justify expansion. The resolution also claims that Gee failed to provide honest and transparent communication with the university community and cites Gee’s alleged failure to clearly communicate the impact of the proposed cuts at the university. You can read the full resolution here.
The resolution regarding the academic transformation claims that the transformation process has been dishonest and misleading, citing the alleged failure of senior leadership to explain the full impact of the cuts and a failure to disclose the source of the $45 million budget shortfall the university currently faces. The resolution also said that university administration required all WVU employees to sign new appointment letters that require them to “avoid conduct that reflects adversely on the image of the University” which the resolution claims is a threat to “academic freedom and First Amendment right to speak on matters of public concern.” You can read the full resolution here.
Gee issued a statement on Monday reaffirming the work that he and WVU’s administration is doing.
“I realize this is a stressful time for everyone on our campus and I understand that change is very difficult. But as I have stated before, though difficult, change is necessary within higher education,” Gee said. “I want to be clear that West Virginia University is not dismantling higher education —but we are disrupting it. I have seen numerous stories and posts about how we are ‘gutting’ or ‘eviscerating’ our University. That is simply not factual.”
Gee said in his statement that the cuts do not mean that the University does not value those programs or the people involved, but that the value of “real student demand” must be balanced with the actual costs of delivery. He also said that he understands the frustration coming from those affected and that he accepts the criticism as it “comes with the job.”
Gee previously had a no-confidence vote filed against him during his tenure at WVU. In December 2021, multiple resolutions were filed against Gee and his administration, including one that claimed the administration “failed to carry out a transparent academic transformation process.” The resolution was voted down.
The Faculty Assembly plans to meet on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at the Clay Theater in the Creative Arts Center. However, in order for the vote to be considered valid, approximately 700 faculty members must be in attendance, according to the WVU Faculty Senate’s website. Faculty from the Keyser, Beckley and Extension offices may attend via Zoom.