By Janet Curiel |Staff Writer|
The Faculty Senate voted on a resolution of no confidence of President Tomàs Morales on May 9.
The meeting space was filled with observers including students, faculty, and staff.
A year after the Faculty Senate conducted a campus climate survey, which surveyed 750 faculties, and staff on employee morale, leadership, shared governance and decision making, the resolution holds Morales personally responsible for not handling the grievances to their appeasement.
When Senate Chair Karen Kolehmainen, began the proceedings, Senate Member Dwight Sweeney, attempted to object to the vote and be discussed, calling for a 2/3rds vote to continue.
A secret ballot was then conducted, and the objection failed 13 to 22, to continue the discussion.
Senate member Kevin Grisham made the first opening remarks in support of the resolution.
“At the end of the day, the only person that has the power to get rid of this destructive environment at all levels is the leader of the organization… An organization could only be as good as its leader, and when the organization is failing, it is the leader that has to be held accountable,” stated Grisham.
Senator Janine Kremling shared concerns of lack of shared governance, involvement in the enrollment management group and effect on student success.
“To summarize, our students are paying significantly more for education, they are less likely to stay at the University and graduate within 6 years, and they will face greater difficulty in getting all of the classes they need when they need them. Basically, they are paying more for less, is that student success?” said Kremlin.
Kremlin also made a motion to amend the resolution and add a resolved clause to have a full faculty referendum, to which should be completed no later than May 26, 2017, which passed with 2 objections.
Senator Ahlam Muhtaseb, in support of the amendment, stated, “The reason I am seconding this is to give the chance to every faculty member to state their position regardless of the vote today yes or no…I think this is very important for a transparently shared governance procedure for the senate, and to clarify any doubt of the procedure, regardless of the results.”
After the amendment passed, ASI President Alex Gutierrez shared his opposition to the resolution overall.
“I fear that the creation of this document lacked the involvement from who we represent and has little to no transparency…the resolution references the campus climate survey that did not include students, which again does not represent the transparency and inclusivity…” began Gutierrez.
“A substantial portion of this document is subjective, lacks data, and fails to articulate the position of this organization..third, today’s vote falls just two days before what would have been the collegiality forum, an opportunity for all faculty staff and students to express their concerns in an open and collaborative way,” he continued.
Senate member Lin Diaz-Rico, touched on the many accomplishments that President Morales has contributed and on the growing campus that is set to grow to 25,000 students.
“I find the management team that President Morales has put together is the most competent set of individuals I have seen. There’s much to thank them for their work on our campus. Fundraising is at an all time high… student activities are at an all time high…I don’t see incompetence anywhere, I don’t see any grounds for this,” said Diaz-Rico.
Statements were made by Kremling again shortly thereafter defending against accusations of racism she and colleagues have received and accused Morales of manipulating students to speak on his behalf, in which Gutierrez responded.
“In light of CSUSB’s core value of respect and integrity, that which we are obligated to follow, I would greatly appreciate if you have an assumption of our student body…that you would come speak to me first before demeaning and undermining the voice of the students. I find it extremely unacceptable that you’re pointing the finger and doing it internally to someone that doesn’t even have a degree yet, and that’s looking to be molded to be a leader of our community,” said Gutierrez, which received a round of applause from those in the attendance.
The closing, Grisham attempted to see the positive aspect of the situation.
“At the end of the day, this is a way for faculty to suggest that we have an issue with what’s going on here.Whatever the repercussions might be we don’t know, but we do hope that at least it will be a starting point for helping us to move together,” stated Grisham.
After much deliberation, the vote came in at 21 yes 15 no.
The Resolution has now become a referendum due on May 26, and to be sent to Chancellor White, the Board of Trustees, the Academic Senate of the California State University, CSU Campus Senate chairs, Associate Students Inc. at CSUSB and CSU President Tomas Morales.
Student views on the vote results varied.
“You can’t really point the finger at one person and say, ‘oh he is the reason why a student of color aren’t still in school…’ Everybody needs to look in the mirror, you know, ask themselves what have I done to help these students stay?” said Cameron Thomas, a member of Black Scholars Matter who with other students protested on Morales’ behalf.