Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"No Confidence" Votes

Last fall, four months into her tenure as Provost, the Deans were ready to oust Meredith Hay over her budget over-reaching. She swept their lines without consultation and at the time, the Deans were powerful enough to force her to put it all back. They should have done a vote of “no confidence” then, but they gave her a break and she’s been able to replace a lot of them now. Department Heads gave her a straw vote of “no confidence” last year, but they didn’t make it official. She’s now replacing them. It is imperative that she and Robert Shelton receive faculty votes of “no confidence” this semester, and it is equally imperative that this stuff hit the press. I have no doubt that they are going to try to go after tenured faculty next, even though that seems to be next to impossible. I’ve seen how these two work. Colleagues who use as an excuse for inaction the idea that the entire campus will fall down around their ears anyway, because of the Centennial Hall fiasco, ignore the great damage that will happen to what was once a first-rate university. It will take years to recover from the damage they have already inflicted. If the faculty wait, they may not have the institution in anything like its current form. I urge everyone to press Wanda Howell and the UA faculty to take this step.
[ Originally posted 8/21/09]


  1. Give credit where credit is due. President Shelton has done --at least has tried to do-- his best with an extremely challenging task. His biggest mistake --I don't know if it's punishable by a vote of no confidence-- has been to allow Meredith Hay to ride rough-shod over the faculty (including deans, department heads, program directors, and other co-workers) with unfailing arrogance and limitless contempt.

  2. It is Shelton's responsibility to control his Provost. If he can't, he's not fit to be president of a major university. Of course, he should be the subject of a no confidence vote!

  3. There is a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled "How to fire a President: voting 'no confidence' with Confidence."
    The same issue of the Chronicle notes that "Faculty members do have rights, and power, in budgetary cutting situations" and recommends a free online handbook written by an attorney, Ann H. Franke, entitled "Faculty in Times of Financial Distress." Available at
    http://www.acenet.edu (look in the "Legal Issues and Policy Briefs" section of the website).

  4. I would support a no confidence vote. In my opinion the Provost has shown a remarkable deafness to those that she is leading, and I don't believe that the university that she appears to want (a technical school in which the value of knowledge is measured only in how much grant money it can attract) fulfills the mission of the state university. If we don't take action soon, our inaction will be seen as tacit approval of her misguided proposals.

    I encourage others to post their opinion on this matter, as our faculty senate will only carry this out if they sense that there is a groundswell of support.

  5. I would also support a vote of no confidence. I, like Evelyn, believe that this vote must happen this semester or it will not happen at all and
    I strongly believe the vote needs to happen sooner rather than later or the damage caused by this administration may be irreparable. I support no confidence votes for both Hay and Shelton. Shelton hired Hay and has allowed her to run rampant. Hay is caring out Shelton's destructive agenda. They both need to go now. One hopes the Faculty Senate and Wanda Howell has the courage to stand up to these two now. Let's hear from some others on this subject.

  6. At a meeting last week of one of the largest departments on campus, the Dean of that college told us "Yes, I am aware of the renewed calls for no-confidence votes. We are watching the situation very closely to see if there's a groundswell of opinion in that direction."
    WAITING to see? As someone already pointed out on this blog last week, people who WAIT for a groundswell instead of being PART of the groundswell may find their ground already gone.
    So please, people, wake up. And to our Deans, Heads, and Directors: When you appealed to us to support your candidacy, you promised to stand up to the Administration. Please make good on the promises of leadership you made to us in public. And the promises you made to yourselves, in private, alone with your conscience.

  7. In reference to the last comment. Are you listening? We WANT, in fact we DEMAND, to be heard! Shelton and Hay have had their opportunity and they've been disastrous. It is time for the faculty to stand up and be counted.

  8. Let's do it!! Wanda Howell and the Faculty Senate; what are you waiting for?

  9. yeah, this admin may be "tough" but it is also replacing those deans and other paperpushers with incompetence and folks who are "yes" people. They are just servants and puppets who follow M Hay's orders blindly... so don't tell me that T Miller is a much better VP than Garcia, arrogance is not a sign of competence... moreover, not one of these folks is willing to stand up to Hay... add the 3 figure salaries they make and they will continue to execute whatever changes Hay and her team of "visionaries" decide to do...
    we are seeing now the implementation of the infamous doctrine "High Velocity Culture Change" which has been Hay's organizational mantra since she arrived... pathetic indeed...

  10. There is a great blog tracking the efforts of the faculty of the University of California system to fight their administration (and also to make a larger case to the public, legislature and governor of the state for funding of public higher ed):


    The quantity of info and documents on the blog can initially be a little overwhelming, but if you starting reading the main posts in the center of the page, you quickly get oriented re the various documents etc in the sidebars.

  11. Here, here. Agreed, there are two separate issues here.

    Juan Garcia is a very nice guy, but was a completely incompetent administrator and was fired for cause, not that silly email exchange. Come on, everyone knows that.

    The irony is that the Provost is an equally incompetent administrator. ANY university chief academic administrator in this day and age who does NOT understand how to communicate with the faculty does NOT deserve their $350,000 salary!

    I think most faculty would agree that the university needs change to survive into the 21st century. I think most faculty would even agree to differential budget cuts.

    But it is Hay's incompetence here as a communicator and manager that needs to be the focus of change. If she has to rely on intimidation to get the job done, she is not the right person for the job. She either needs to learn HOW to get along with people or get out of the business.

    Do you honestly know anyone that DOES get along with the Provost?

    How many faculty have even seen Hay on campus? Ever had a conversation with her? She is completely out of touch with the university itself, which, at the end of the day, is all about the people who work here and the students who pay to come here.

  12. I don't see how anybody can accuse Garcia of not being competant. After all, he was never allowed to execute anything but Hay's orders! This is a top down administration here folks!

  13. Interesting, where did the comment about SBS going into debt go? It was here a few hours ago.
    Is this censorship?

  14. Garcia is and was incompetent, he was as a Vice Provost and was as VP of Instruction. Pulling the race card and blowing off in the Wildcat are low class. He's showing his true colors

  15. At least Garcia bravely signs his name and make his comments publicly rather than anonymously. I would say that shows his "true colors".

  16. ok, ok, let's put the garcia affair aside for a minute and talk about the no-confidence issue... my question is ok, the heads conspire and perhaps decide to vote in this fashion, perhaps not all of them (I am sure those in COS and COM might not agree to this), but what about the rest of the faculty? forgive my ignorance but I am new here, is there a process under which we all can express no-confidence? is there a referendum type of process where the faculty can cast such a vote? if there is such a process can folks point to where to find it?
    also, assuming that faculty could express that, then what? what happens? can the President and the Provost be "impeached"?
    does ABOR have a say on this?

    thank you

  17. Well, this is really hardball, but if you REALLY want to get Shelton and Hay's attention, start emailing the REGENTS!!!

    Ask the REGENTS, Shelton and Hay's bosses, for a vote of no confidence.

    All of their emails are on their website: azregents.edu

  18. This is a response to several of the preceding comments - a collective response, as we cannot respond to them individually.
    1) On Juan Garcia's competence: Differing opinions have been expressed here; we don't censor them; remember that even if we disagree with what you say, we will defend your right to say it. But remember this, regarding Juan Garcia's competence: Robert Shelton, when he appointed Garcia Vice President, spoke very highly of Garcia's competence. So you've got 2 choices: 1) Garcia is incompetent (then why did Shelton appoint him? Why didn't he know better? Appointing incompetent people to high administrative posts does not show good judgment, does it); or 2) Garcia IS competent -- in fact only TOO competent, in doing what he was hired to do: mediate between administration and faculty for undergraduate education. He was so competent at it, that he had to be removed because Hay didn't want the faculty involved in the process if they disagreed with her. So which is it? You decide.
    2) Somebody wondered about a comment that was posted and then disappeared, and asked if this was censorship. No, your comment was not censored. If it was removed, it was probably because we were advised that it contained material that may be construed as libelous. Allegations of professional misconduct or impropriety will not be accepted unless you back them up. Please revise your comment and resubmit it, and we will re-post it according to the Rules (see "Welcome" post).
    3) The preceding comment: "Ask the REGENTS...for a vote of no confidence." We will. When the time comes. But we may not have to; they may take the initiative on their own.

  19. Lets try this again, see if it makes it up this time, many folks on this website are complaining about certain Deans being removed.
    In my opinion it is common knowledge on campus that SBS went into a hole financially, as a College they overspent, and we are talking in the millions, not in the thousands. Is this statement libelous?
    The campus as a whole will now have to cover this debt.
    The previous Dean stepped down, in my opinion there has to be a connection?

  20. Before complaining about our leadership ask why cuts are being made. The blame lays at the feet of the State legislature. Why not give them a vote of no-confidence, they do not support education at ANY level. Pearce and Burns do not have my confidence. I DO have confidence in Shelton and Hay. I support their decisions even if my College was cut. They are trying to keep us afloat in difficult times.

  21. Personally, having worked with or observed the SBS and COM Deans in action, both of whom "stepped down" under Shelton, I now have MORE confidence than ever before in the U of A leadership.

    This campus has begged for differential cuts for years, but Likins never could make a decision (does anybody remember "un" focused excellence). Now, finally, we are getting somewhere, imo.

  22. The difficulty in supporting the present administration and casting all blame on the state legislature is that you must force yourself to deny the mismanagement of the little money which has been allowed to the UofA. Sure, the budget is smaller than it has been in previous years. The state legislature is at least in part to blame for this. They clearly think that there are higher priorities than education. But, that being said, Shelton and Hay have demonstrated an absolutely irresponsible disposal of what monies they have available to work with.
    A previous entry about the Provost's usurpation of the UWGEC's power is one example of this mismanagement. That decision demonstrates very well that this administration is not "trying to keep us afloat," but is trying to ensure that cost-cutting experiments occur at every level except at the level of their own salaries. I suppose they want us to divert our attention from the fact that the term "General Education" is now a misnomer because classes have been transformed into full blown circuses.
    I appreciate reading the opinions of every contributor to this blog, but the claim that Shelton and Hay are trying to keep us afloat, that they are doing anything with "us" in mind, is preposterous. They absence from campus life and inattention to faculty and student attitudes is proof enough that they aren't considering us at all. Just to clarify, I don't think they are plotting against us, either. That would be giving them too much credit. They probably don't even know we are here.

  23. The real "crime" here is the treatment of the majority of the faculty. Some (maybe even most) have chosen not to speak out on the state of their departments, colleges, and the university, choosing instead to focus their attention on personal programs. To these, I say, "The top down, dictatorial approach to administration is pretty much what you deserve." However, this also impacts those who have, often at great personal cost, spoken up; this applies particularly to those who have opined that the faculty have great combined expertise in program planning, and that college and university administration should be more involved in directing traffic than forcing their collective will on the process.

    Some have commented about Hay's replacing of deans. I really don't know the right or wrong of those decisions, but in my opinion, she stopped too soon. I could offer her another target.

    I stand reluctantly in favor of a vote of no confidence. For me, the issue is less one of seeking a new president and provost, but rather turning the running of the university exactly upside down. It is not solely the residents of the old folks home, but rather responsible faculty in concert with administrators, who should be planning, prioritizing, and implementing. Give me that -- pull the teeth of the administration and allow faculty to develop leadership skills -- and I care much less about who fill the positions of president and provost.

  24. Chairs serve at the pleasure of their Deans.

    Deans serve at the pleasure of the Provost.

    Our Provost serves at the pleasure of our President.

    Our President serves at the pleasure of the Regents.

    Our Regents serve at the pleasure of our Governor.

    Our legislators and Governor serve at the pleasure of the voters until the next election cycle.

  25. Very thoughtfull post on confidence .It should be very much helpfull

    Karim - Creating Power