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Faculty’s vote is university’s first, BOG stands firm with Kopp

By TAYLOR STUCK
On May 1, 2013

On Wednesday, Marshall University faculty passed a vote of no confidence against university President Stephen Kopp through e-vote. Out of the 420 total votes cast, 290 agreed with the motion, 107 did not agree and 23 abstained. According to Angela Rose, faculty senate office secretary, a total of 745 faculty members were eligible to vote.The motion to have a vote of no confidence was passed April 19, at the emergency general faculty meeting.According to Nathaniel DeBruin, university archivist, there is no record of a vote of no confidence of a university president ever happening at Marshall.Pamela Mulder, professor of psychology, said a vote of no confidence does not remove the president because only the Board of Governors has the ability to.In a campus wide email, Joseph Touma, chair of the Board of Governors, expressed the majority of the board’s support for Kopp.“Dr. Kopp has succeeded in achieving the goals set by the Board of Governors for Marshall University and he has exceeded the board’s performance expectations in numerous areas,” Touma said in the email. “The board also believes that he is the right person to keep our great university moving in the right direction.”In another campus wide email, Kopp expressed his gratitude for the support from the Board of Governors.“During the past few weeks, I have received an outpouring of affirmations and expressions of support from across the entire university community and our extended family of Marshall Sons and Daughters,” Kopp said in the email. “It has been very gratifying and encouraging, and I personally thank those who have taken the time to express themselves.”The initial outcry from faculty came after Kopp announced two budget conservation measures, which included a sweep of all revenue funds and a hiring freeze of non-mission critical employees. Kopp said all funds were returned to faculty at the emergency faculty meeting.The measures were in anticipation of an 8.94 percent cut in state appropriations, which will result in a loss of $5.11 million to the university’s budget.Kopp said in his email he is proud to lead the university and that he knows the university will continue to work together through the budget challenges.“I respect the views of the faculty who have shared their opinion in this fashion, however, the budget challenges we set out to address remain, and I do not see additional public funding on the horizon,” Kopp said in the email. “We have much work to do in the coming days and months to ensure Marshall continues its progress with even more limited public resources.”Student Body President E.J. Hassan said he appreciated the Board of Governors putting students in the forefront of the discussion of the budget cuts and he appreciates the administration’s collaborative approach to solving the issues.“As we move forward, I am eager to begin the process of working with the administration, faculty and staff in order to find solutions to the issues that we currently face, as well as any others that may arise,” Hassan said.Eldon Larsen, chair of faculty senate, said faculty members have made a clear statement in the vote of no confidence, even though it is non-binding.“It is my hope that everyone will work together for solutions moving forward,” Larsen said.Mulder said Kopp and the Board of Governors were not the only ones to blame for the lack of communication between administration and staff.“Working together — faculty, staff, students, senate, administrators and MUBOG, across colleges, across administrative levels — I believe that we can make changes for the better,” Mulder said. “We have the talent and the motivation, and now I believe we have a real opening for change and a way to assess what changes occur in the next year.”A budget work group, proposed by Kopp in an email on April 24, has been formed of representatives from numerous constituent groups across the university to formulate a budget plan in time for the tight deadlines. A preliminary expenditure schedule must be provided to the state by May 6, a tuition and fee schedule to the Board of Governors on May 9 and to the Higher Learning Policy Commission May 10 and a complete budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year to the Board of Governors on June 11.Taylor Stuck can be contacted at stuck7@marshall.edu. 

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