Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Special General Faculty Meeting Posts

Marshall University Special General Faculty Meeting: Scheduled April 19, 2013, noon-2 p.m.
Please post reports/comments during the meeting and afterwards.


Henry Culvyhouse said...

How the Opposition Won
By Henry Culvyhouse

April 9, the Marshall University President’s Office emailed faculty and staff to announce the seizure of $5.8 million from 122 academic revenue fund accounts, transferring it into a “single holding account.” President Steven Kopp wrote the sweep was a precautionary measure for a $5.1 million short fall in the budget, created by state house funding cuts, in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
April 10, the College of Liberal Arts began organizing a meeting April 19 at the Catholic Newman Center. This prompted the Faculty Senate Executive Committee call Marshall’s first emergency general faculty meeting in more than 30 years. Facebook groups, such as “Marshall United” and “Don’t Kopp Out” grew over night, organizing anti-administration protests outside Friday’s meeting and another outside Thursday’s Board of Governors’ meeting at the Memorial Student Center.
Thursday, the Parthenon published an interview with President Kopp, in which he “deeply apologized” for the revenue fund sweep.
The Board of Governors tabled the president’s 2013-2014 proposed budget parameters. At Friday’s meeting, Kopp announced all funds were returned to the revenue fund accounts.
Kopp said the decision to table the proposed budget parameters and release the funds was not a direct response to public pressure. However, Kopp said the Board of Governors did learn to work with faculty and students.
“I thought the way things have been processed and handled in the university community is refreshing in the sense that we have people now very engaged,” Kopp said.
Kopp said the key to improving faculty relations is more participation.
“I give general faculty addresses in the spring and the fall, the number of faculty, on percentage basis, who attend that is very much appreciated by me, but is very small percentage,” Kopp said.
“The issue is, how do we get people involved and engaged in providing input to what’s going?” Kopp said.
For an administration who transferred nearly $6 million dollars from each college, without discussion or at least a 24 hour warning, claiming apathy is the problem seems like a weak argument.
Obviously, from the green signs reading “Kopp out” hung around the trees surrounding the Memorial Fountain, the standing room only attendance at the emergency general faculty meeting and the more than 20 students who braved the rain and chilly weather outside, the students and faculty were far from apathetic this week.
Educators and pupils joined together, each fulfilling a different role in the sweeps crisis, the former through parliamentary procedure and the latter through social media grassroots campaigning.
The general faculty initiated the senate’s constitutional process that forced Kopp to face his critics, providing a venue to criticize the administration.
According to the Faculty Senate Constitution a request signed by at least 10 full-time professors or 5 senators is sent to its appropriate committee. In this case, the executive committee, the highest faculty senate committee, approved a general emergency meeting.

Friday’s attendance accounted for 6 percent of the university’s 826 full time faculty members. The room’s 100 person capacity limited the amount of faculty who could attend. A higher attendance was possible, if they met elsewhere. This means the executive committee answered a larger amount of its constituents’ concerns by agreeing to the request.
Not that it works out that smoothly every time. Some faculty members are critical of the faculty senate’s recent conduct.
English professor Edmund Taft said some faculty members are discussing issues with the senate.
“There’s talk about how we need to change our faculty senate and we need to get other people on it,” Taft said. “Not everybody is bad, some people are excellent but too many people are in it for their own careers.”
The 2014 faculty senate election will decide how many professors agree with Taft’s statement.

Henry Culvyhouse said...

Part II

The student population pressured the administration through a use of social media. Marshall English major Jordan Weisz created a facebook event “Protest: Don’t Kopp out.” 994 people were invited, 50 people responded “maybe”, and 71 responded “going.” We know 12 percent invited were aware of the protest by their response. More than 25 people appeared at the protest. Weather conditions and classes are contributing factors to the event’s low attendance.
The student body was 44 percent of the 2012-2013 proposed budget revenue. Discontent among almost half the university’s money jar placed Kopp in a hard position. By showing solidarity with the faculty in protest, it let the faulty know the school’s largest body of investors was on their side. It also let the administration know a vocal student opposition did exist.
However, misinformation and a tendency towards radicalism may have alienated some students from protesters.
Olivia Bias, a student protester, said many of her peers do not believe protests amount to anything.
“They think only the craziest will go out and hold signs,” Bias said. “They don’t understand how protest can be a beginning step for real change.”
While no poll was taken amongst students to see what they thought about the protests, a jumbled message concerning tuition hikes, presidential pay raises and the Board of Governor’s approval of construction of an indoor athletic center may have confused some students. Also, the rhetoric calling Kopp a robber may have also alienated students, but again, this is only a guess.
The past ten days are an illustrative case in how students and faculty worked together to change University policy. Whether this relationship will continue into the future remains to be seen

Andrew Frobel said...

Walking through a long line of gathered protesters, President Stephen J. Kopp entered the Marshall University Catholic Newman Center to begin the meeting in front of a large audience of faculty and staff members.

An emergency general faculty meeting was called to order on the staffs confidence in the university’s president, the budget cuts, and revenue sweeps that will occur on Marshall’s campus.

Knowing his reputation amongst the Marshall community, Kopp spoke to the crowd as if they were his friends, rather than his colleagues. One of the first references the president made dealt with all of the faculty and staff working together to make things better on campus.

The reference that he had made was similar to the one that President Barack Obama made with the United States Congress in his most recent State of the Union Address, regarding the nation’s debt.

Angry faculty and staff filled the small, hot, crammed religious center knowing there will be a vote for “no confidence” no later than the first of May. If 70 percent or more of the faculty voted for zero confidence in the Commander In Chief of Marshall University, he will no longer be the university’s president.

One man’s occupation and future is on the line as the faculty takes the microphone to fire questions away at the university president.

Members of all colleges and departments on campus came to the event demanding their questions be answered.

The number of females who currently serve in academic affairs was one of the many questions Kopp had no answer for in the 2 hour long meeting. Faculty members suggest that Administration hires their faculty based upon subservience rather than their qualifications.

Dr. Mary Moore had asked, “When we are short on funds, why do we continue to build buildings and take on massive operation costs?”

Dr. Miller asked about Senate Bill “444” and whether revenue accounts could be placed in high-yield, high-risk stock accounts. He had also asked if Kopp could assure no future sweeps. Kopp had answered both notions in the affirmative.

Giving the faculty members the opportunity to come out and voice their opinions on how they feel Kopp is as an administrator and a president, put the entire situation and himself in the spotlight until May 1.

Kopp told the audience that no money will be swept from revenue accounts for investment purposes. "The last thing we want to do is make high risk investments,” Dr. Kopp said.

When Kopp took his final stand at the podium, he said that holding his feet to the fire wouldn’t be an issue.

Jarrod Clay said...

The Catholic Newman Center just off of Marshall’s campus was filled beyond capacity Friday, but it was not filled with worshippers. It was filled with angry, unsatisfied faculty members and one heavily criticized university president.
Marshall’s faculty called for the emergency general faculty meeting in response to President Stephen Kopp sweeping all department budgets of all but $5,000. The purpose of the meeting was to for the faculty to voice its displeasure with the administration, but to propose a vote of no confidence against the president and the provost.
Outside the center the weather was cold and rainy, and inside the only difference was a lack of rain. It was a cold, tense atmosphere and present faculty members used the open forum style meeting to question Kopp on many topics beyond the departmental sweeps.
Kopp stood before more than 100 faculty members and was met with a barrage of accusations and questions, but the president answered each question. While the faculty was satisfied with some answers, other answers were met with a scoffing chuckle.
Just on the other side of the Catholic Center’s doors, dozens of students stood in protest of Kopp and in support of their educators.

Jarrod Clay said...

I have photos from the meeting, but it won't allow them on a comment


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