December 16, 2015

Ithaca College Faculty Vote ‘No Confidence’ in President

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Approximately 78 percent of Ithaca College’s faculty members — or 316 of the 406 that participated — voted no confidence in I.C. president Tom Rochon on Monday after a similar vote in which 72 percent of participating students voted no confidence in their president following a string of issues over race and freedom of speech on campus.

“Since Rochon arrived on campus in summer 2008, faculty have issued many public statements, petitions, letters to the campus newspaper and op-eds articulating their opposition to his autocratic leadership style and other grievances,” said a press-release from three I.C. faculty members with the results. “This semester’s vote of no confidence is the product of several years of profound faculty dissatisfaction.”

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Ithaca College students stage a walk out in protest of I.C. President Tom Rochon on Nov. 11. (Joon Lee / Sun Assistant Sports Editor)

“Both the faculty and the students have been clear,” said I.C. Prof. Mary Bentley, health promotion and physical education. “I can’t imagine how [Rochon] would lead in a place where faculty and students have not authorized him to.”

Out of 469 faculty members, 406 cast a ballot in the ‘no confidence vote’ — roughly 86.6 percent of all full-time, continuing faculty members eligible to vote.

“These results are also remarkable because so many people voted, despite fears of retribution in this toxic environment,” said I.C. Prof Nick Kowalczyk, writing, in the press release. “We have the most dismal morale in recent history,”

Some faculty members said they are hopeful that the vote will compel Rochon to step down.

“This vote is an absolute indictment of failed leadership,” said I.C. Prof. Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, history, in the release. “It is a signal of our unity and a clear statement from our newly empowered voice. President Rochon can now aspire to his finest hour by honoring the will of the campus and standing down with resolve and some dignity.”

Other faculty members expressed hope that the student and faculty votes will lead to meaningful action from the Ithaca College Board of Trustees.

“I think this vote will be a huge amount of data for them to chew on as well as the student vote,” said Bentley. “I think faculty are pretty clear that they’ve made their voice heard.”

Faculty are dedicated to improving I.C.’s campus, Bentley said.

“This is a very dedicated and intelligent faculty and I think often people don’t understand how faculty members spend their lives here. This is not an in and out kind of place,” she said. “I think they’re pretty dedicated to making this campus the best possible campus it can be and the most progressive campus we can be given the context of our time.”

6 thoughts on “Ithaca College Faculty Vote ‘No Confidence’ in President

  1. The Ithaca College Faculty should be embarrassed by allowing themselves to be used and being complicit in this petty campaign against President Rochon. Shame on them!! At some point they will understand their folly when they are hoisted on the petard they helped create.

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

  2. Can somebody list some specific grievances rather than just vaguely saying he’s horrible? I see no reason to believe he’s any worse than your run of the mill figurehead leach of an administrator. The quoted complaint in the article isn’t even mathematically possible.

    “These results are also remarkable because so many people voted, despite fears of retribution in this toxic environment,”

    Yet with 86.6% of professors thinking their way, the environment CANNOT be toxic to THEM. And those professors with tenure don’t have to give a shit about anything if they don’t want to. That’s vaguely the point of it.

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