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YSU Senate to vote online on Johnson

YOUNGSTOWN — During Youngstown State University’s Academic Senate meeting Wednesday, sociology professor Amanda Fehlbaum presented two resolutions that called for a vote of “no confidence” pertaining to the recent hiring of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson as the school’s next president.

After extensive deliberation throughout the meeting, university faculty and senate representatives agreed to vote via an online ballot Dec. 16

The first resolution pertained to a lack of confidence in the search process, which was led by YSU’s Board of Trustees and Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Sherman.

It stated that due to the closed nature of the process, conflicts of interest and representation on the search committee going largely unknown, the outcome has undermined the progress made on campus to improve the climate at YSU and embrace shared governance.

The second resolution pertained to Johnson’s ability to lead in a manner that would enable faculty, staff and administrators to educate and serve effectively.

Brien Smith, YSU’s provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, questioned the possibility of a resolution of no confidence without the school’s new president even taking office yet.

Vice Provost Jennifer Pintar noted that shared governance was a transparent process and noted that the resolution’s development was not done with all members of the Academic Senate present, pointing out that only the faculty portion was around for its development.

“The process to develop this resolution was not transparent. It was not done with all members of the Academic Senate included,” Pintar said. “It was done with the faculty portion of the Senate and not the entire Senate. That is not a transparent process.

“I would encourage you all to take a look at the resolution, pull out opinions, stick with facts, and come up with a potential resolution that would have something that’s productive moving forward.”

Fehlbaum acknowledged the lack of transparency claims and explained that she called a caucus because a meeting including students and administration would be like calling a senate meeting itself, and she did not have the power.

Pintar criticized the amount of opinion in the resolution, imploring that the senate got it right and asking that it has conversations first.

“This is a group, of highly educated, very, smart, very intelligent folks that work very hard for this institution and I would implore you to just get it right,” she said. “Make sure the facts are right.”

Smith wanted to make sure that the senate considered the message a vote of no confidence would send to its prospective students.

“This would send an additional message to our prospective students considering going to YSU that the faculty itself doesn’t have confidence in YSU,” Smith said. “I think that the senate should always weigh very carefully its use of this power; the power of confidence votes and carefully word what they’re saying and think about the consequences.”

Fehlbaum said that she’s not sure how anyone is going to vote on the Dec. 16 ballot, but hopes that they’re involved.

“I’m not sure how anyone is going to vote on it. I just hope that they do partake in the process as opposed to sitting it out,” Fehlbaum said. “I think that’s one of the problems we’ve had in voting in the past is that people just sit votes out. But this is very important to stand up for faculty involvement and full involvement in the presidential search process.”

The YSU Board of Trustees will meet at 10 a.m. today in Tod Hall.

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