WVU faculty vote no confidence in Gee, 797-100

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

In December 2021, WVU President Gordon Gee and Provost Maryanne Reed survived a vote of no confidence when 103 faculty senators voted no and only 20 voted yes. Over the last ten months which saw proposed major reductions in faculty and academic programs as a result of a $45 million budget shortfall on Gee’s watch, the vote shifted dramatically. 

Today, the WVU University Assembly, composed of all faculty and not just those on the faculty senate, voted no confidence in Gee by a final tally of 797-100. 

Additionally, they voted 747-79 to oppose the proposed academic cuts. 

Before the vote, after the charges were laid out against Gee, he was given time to address the assembled faculty. “If I’d done all those things, I’d vote no confidence in myself,” he said with a smile. He went on to argue that the proposed changes would make WVU “a better institution.” 

The faculty disagreed, resoundingly. 

Tina Faber, College of Social Work, said, “Collaboration and dialogue seem to have been neglected under Gee’s leadership.” 

Justin Legleiter, Department of Chemistry, argued, “Our goal should be that no West Virginian has to leave the state to get a great education.” 

Two faculty members did speak in favor of President Gee. John Brick, College of Medicine, said of the problems facing WVU, “He didn’t cause this stuff; he dealt with it.” 

But in the end, after voting problems relating to those participating in the meeting online, the faculty sided with Faber. They expressed no confidence in Gee and also opposed his academic transformation plan. 

What happens next? The Board of Governors is scheduled to meet week after next to vote on the proposed academic transformation plan. The faculty vote is non-binding. 

The Faculty Constitution gives the University Assembly and the Faculty Senate the power to make recommendations. Article 2b reads, “Members of the University Assembly may express, by formal resolution, their opinion on any question relating to policy or administration of the University.”

In a statement from the Board of Governors after the vote, they said acknowledged passage of the no confidence vote but expressed that they “unequivocally support” Gee. Some faculty who spoke on Wednesday say such a result was a foregone conclusion. 

Lara Farina, Department of English, in remarks at the meeting accused the board of “rubber-stamping whatever Gee does.” 

Gee proposed $45 million in academic cuts to close a budget deficit over the next two years. The administration’s proposals include eliminating or cutting departments such as World Languages, Public Administration, Math, and more. They also propose eliminating numerous faculty positions. For a full list of proposed academic cuts, see our previous coverage: https://therealwv.com/2023/08/12/wvu-announces-deep-academic-cuts-in-response-to-budget-shortfall/

Stay tuned to RealWV for updates. 

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