On Wednesday, SFA’s Faculty Senate unanimously moved to pass a resolution indicating a vote of no confidence in President Scott Gordon’s position within the institution.
This decision follows the rollback of Gordon’s $85,000 raise in the midst of SFA’s $19.2 million structural deficit.
The no Confidence resolution from the Faculty Senate, along the deans’ and chairs’ approval, has no “official authority or process behind [it],” according to Graham Garner, chief marketing officer.
“Right now, the president has no intention of leaving the role, and the Board has indicated their support of him,” Garner said. “They are pleased with his performance, they are pleased with the direction of the University.”
The Board of Regents will convene a special meeting Sunday at 3 p.m. The agenda for the meeting dedicated a portion to an “executive session” where “consideration of individual personnel matters relating to appointment, employment, evaluation, assignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of an officer or employee, including but not limited to the vice president for finance and administration, and the president.”
Faculty senate chair Brian Uriegas and the faculty senate chair-elect, Dr. Chris McKenna, declined an interview with The Pine Log. They did release signed documentation from the academic deans and the chairs forum, along with a statement addressing their No Confidence decision.
“...The Faculty Senate of Stephen F. Austin State University — with the support of both the University's Deans Council and its Chairs Forum — moved to pass unanimously a resolution indicating a vote of No Confidence in [Gordon] in his current role as the institution's president,” McKenna’s statement said.
Gordon is “aware of the vote taken,” according to an email he sent to faculty, staff and students on Thursday.
“From the many discussions I have had this past week, particularly in the listening tour I and Board Chairperson Karen Gantt conducted with several constituent groups, it is clear SFA has had, and continues to have, many challenges,” Gordon’s email said.
The issues introduced by faculty during the Zoom meeting on Wednesday included budget and work environment challenges.
“We have been asked, faculty members have been asked, to make disproportionate amount of sacrifice for the University over the years, and I can speak to that as this is my 14th year starting to teach here,” Dr. Sudeshna Roy, professor of language, cultures and communications, said in the Zoom meeting. “I’m a professor of communication, and my salary has stayed stagnant and every year there are more cuts, more things asked.”
Based on her conversations with faculty and staff members, Gantt acknowledged that there was “a culture of fear,” in Wednesday’s Zoom meeting.
“Although our salaries are quite low compared to others, the things that I want cost zero dollars,” Faculty Senator Dr. Heather Olson-Beal said in the Zoom meeting. “I want to work in a place where my good, hard, long work is affirmed, is appreciated.”