(Updated 4/10/2017) Faculty leaders at Howard University passed a vote of no confidence in the president and provost of the Washington, D.C.-based HBCU. But the vote apparently came as a surprise to some members of the Faculty Senate, the Washington Post has reported.
Howard University President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick. (Screengrab YouTube)
Taft Broome, chairman of the faculty senate, said leaders among the group voted no confidence in President Wayne A.I. Frederick and Provost Anthony Wutoh, citing a need for greater transparency and better financial management and leadership.
“Considering all the matters at the university, we had asked the president to give us some documents so we could understand his position better,” Broome said in a letter to the full Faculty Senate, according to the Post. “He gave us documents. They weren’t enough.”
That’s when a meeting was called and the motion of no confidence put forth, which passed “overwhelmingly,” Broome said.
But several Faculty Senate members are questioning the legitimacy of the vote, including the fact that all members were not present.
“There’s a real cloud over the process,” said Greg Carr, chairman of the Afro-American Studies Department, according to the Post. “I’m certainly not satisfied that procedure was followed correctly.”
Others say Frederick inherited a university already beleaguered by problems and that he has been doing a good job of turning things around.
“A vote of no confidence is deeply troubling, wholly unjustified and counterproductive to Howard’s goals,” wrote Stacey Mobley, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, in a letter to the faculty senate.
He added, “The assertions in the letter are not accurate representations and paint a dim picture of Howard’s current reality. Although we still have many challenges in front of us, many of President Frederick’s accomplishments are already steadily moving the University forward.”
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, this is the third time within the last month that there has been a vote of no confidence in the leadership of a Black university, with faculty members at both Kentucky State University and Morehouse College expressing no confidence in their board chairs.
At Morehouse, the vote against Chairman Robert Davidson was in response to the Board’s January decision not to renew the contract of the college’s president, John S. Wilson when his term expires in June, as the AFRO previously reported. Faculty said they are not being involved in the decision-making process, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Things further came to a head on April 7 when the Board of Trustees announced it had removed Wilson preemptively as well as Chairman Davidson and other board leadership.
“The Board acknowledges it has heard the voices of students, faculty, alumni and many other key members of the Morehouse family, who have called upon all of those who love this historic institution to put aside our differences and put Morehouse and our mission first,” the trustees said of the action in a statement.