Coppin faculty votes 'no confidence' in university president

Faculty senate sent letter to U. Maryland system head this week

February 24, 2012|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun

The faculty at Coppin State University overwhelmingly expressed no confidence in the institution's president, Reginald Avery, in a vote taken Monday, according to letters obtained late Thursday by The Baltimore Sun.

Fifty-five faculty members indicated that they are not satisfied with the leadership of Avery, who has been the school's head since January 2008. Thirteen faculty members opposed the no-confidence vote during the all-faculty meeting.

"[Avery] has brought neither a clear vision of mission to CSU, nor established a coherent or viable strategic plan, nor wisely allocated resources," wrote Nicholas Eugene, the leader of the university's faculty senate, in a letter dated Wednesday to William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the state's university system. "We feel that despite the efforts of faculty, Dr. Avery's leadership has resulted in a dilution of the academic quality at CSU."

Eugene appended an eight-page list of grievances to the letter, outlining "troubling issues" that the faculty has brought up to Avery, the letter said.

Avery did not respond to an email and a voicemail late Thursday evening.

"I thought he was pretty much dismissive of us" when the faculty raised issues with him, Eugene said in a phone interview Thursday evening.

The problems identified by the faculty include: The second-highest administrative position in the university, the provost, has been filled by four people in the same number of years; the number of cabinet-level staff members has more than doubled under Avery, increasing the university's debt; three of Coppin's five schools have not had deans at their helms for several years; the institution's failure to disburse $800,000 in need-based aide to students in 2011; and questionable hiring practices, among other complaints.

In a letter to Avery, informing him Wednesday of Monday's faculty vote, Eugene wrote that "the faculty body's vote of no confidence in your leadership should … be understood first and foremost as an expression of its commitment to our students and secondly as a manifestation of its lack of confidence in your ability to lead this institution in the direction that best serves our students."

A phone call to Kirwan and an email to John L. Hudgins, president of Coppin's chapter of the American Association of University Professors, were not returned Thursday night.

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