The Faculty Senate recently assessed the performance of the Board of Regents, resulting in a vote of low confidence in the Board on Dec. 1.  

In the Dec. 2 Staff Council meeting, the vote was mentioned, according to Chair Megan Weatherly, but the council did not take similar action. 

 According to the Faculty Senate’s resolution, the decision was made based on the Board’s failure to “produce any concrete or meaningful responses to the campus crises identified in September, save for the audit,” to “follow up on its commitment to communicate more frequently and openly” and to follow up on said crises consistently and sincerely after campus administrative concerns highlighted earlier in the semester 

Common themes of the resolution included a continued lack of inaccessibility in regards to the Board of Regents and other administrative authorities, ignored communication efforts and noted bias within the upcoming audit.  

“Whereas members of the Faculty Senate and other governance groups formally requested...that the audit be ‘performed with no past or current connection to the Board, SFA administrators, faculty or staff’ and yet...the Board proceeded to approve the appointment in a contract signed Oct. 5 with an external audit firm whose senior partner is an SFA graduate,” the resolution said. 

The Faculty Senate also remarked on meeting invitations rebuffed by Board Chair Karen Gantt with the Senate and other campus governance groups. 

The University responded in an institutional statement sent to all faculty and staff on Dec. 6. 

The Faculty Senate's Resolution Assessing the Performance of the SFA Board of Regents - December 1, 2021, and the actions of its leadership prior to its issuance, do not reflect constructive collaboration,” the statement said. “The Faculty Senate had an opportunity to voice its concerns in an appropriate forum that would have given an opportunity for discussion with the Board of Regents.” 

The statement also included a quote from Faculty Senate Chair Brian Uriegas expressing that “one of the big things that [the Senate] is very appreciative of…is that the line of communication with you as a Board has been opened,” along with his lack of expressing certain campus concerns in a leadership meeting on Nov. 5.  

One of the first statements made by Chair Gantt in that meeting (item #3 in my notes) was that we would not be discussing the budget ("this is not a budget meeting"), a constraint laid by the Board that eliminates consideration of many of the concerns noted in the resolution that we'd hoped to address,” Uriegas said in an email response to the institutional statement.  

 Uriegas also stated that while a recommendation was made in the leadership meeting to better inform the community on budget and future Regents’ meeting concerns, “no such suggestions were presented by the Board of the President.”  

According to the institutional statement, following the leadership meeting, there was no other communication between the Faculty Senate and the Board of Regents until the Faculty Senate’s recent resolution of low confidence.  

 Nothing in the email received today challenges or denies the evidence supporting the charges listed in the resolution — only a counter charge that the Senate (and, perhaps specifically, I) was not interested in collaborating with the Board to address the three crises on campus cited in the resolution,” Uriegas said in an email response to the statement. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” 

The Board of Regents plans to meet at 4 p.m. on Dec. 12 over Zoom to acknowledge receipt of 2020-2021 Annual Financial Report and of the Audit Services report.

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