Business faculty passed a vote of no confidence in St. Joseph’s president Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie last week, the Inquirer’s Susan Snyder reports. On February 25th, the faculty senate voted “no confidence” in two administration officials, VP of Financial Affairs Louis Mayer and Senior VP John Smithson, senior vice president. The three are also alumni of St. Joe’s.
The February votes followed an announcement the University had an $8.7 million shortfall for fiscal year 2014. The resolution suggested Smithson, the senior VP, was responsible for the shortfall and an $8 million shortfall for fiscal year 2013. According to The Hawk, the student newspaper of St. Joe’s, faculty were also concerned about a lowering of academic standards due to increased enrollment next year. The college plans to admit 1,500 undergraduate freshman next year, an increase of 225 from this year.
The faculty senate voted unanimously (with four abstentions) that Mayer and Smithson should resign.
But faculty complaints go deeper than just budget shortfalls and increased enrollment: The faculty senate voted to eliminate the school's position of senior vice president, which Smithson currently holds, in order to increase the power of the provost (generally a more academic-focused position). Faculty senate president Robert Moore confirmed in late February that Brice Wachterhauser was dismissed as provost; the university initially said the move was voluntary. He'll leave June 1st.
The February resolution also noted disputes over the ineffectiveness of faculty-administration committees. One professor called the Institutional Planning Committee "basically a joke." Another said the Budget Advisory Committee "no longer exists."
St. Joseph's spokesman and bracketologist Joe Lunardi told the Inquirer that St Joe's is "committed to working with the entire St. Joseph's family — students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff — to preserve and enhance the university." He then gave an early look at his 2015 March Madness bracket, and said the Hawks have a really good shot at making some noise in the Big Dance this year!
(Okay, sadly, he didn't say that second part.)