COVID-19, Education, Higher Ed, News

App State Faculty Senate to hold “no confidence” vote on chancellor as pandemic opening concerns mount

Next week the Faculty Senate at Appalachian State University will consider resolutions expressing “no confidence” in Chancellor Sheri Everts and holding the school administration and UNC Board of Governors responsible for COVID-19 related illnesses and deaths as a result of their decision to re-open the campus.

A draft of the resolutions expresses the frustration of faculty who feel the Boone campus, already one of the hardest hit by COVID-19 infections, should not be opening for in-person instruction:

“WHEREAS, it is expected of the university Chancellor that they be competent, transparent, concerned with the wellbeing of students, staff, faculty, and community, and committed to the university’s academic mission; and

WHEREAS, many faculty have reported the Chancellor of Appalachian State University has, over the past three years, repeatedly failed to live up to these expectations; and WHEREAS, the faculty has attempted repeatedly to protect the core academic mission, expressing concerns to the administration formally through regular and extra Faculty Senate meetings, a petition with over 400 signatures, and multiple Senate Resolutions; and

WHEREAS, multiple Faculty Senate meetings in 2019 and an Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Salaries have established that Chancellor has neglected faculty and the academic mission in their budget allocations; and

WHEREAS, the Chancellor’s administrative priorities have already led to a problem of low faculty morale, disengagement, and the loss of talented faculty members and, now, to the prospect of loss of life; and

WHEREAS, numerous faculty members have questioned the Chancellor’s plans for a return to campus in Fall 2020 given the rise in COVID-19 cases in North Carolina and anticipated infection and death rates; and

WHEREAS, the faculty, a group of dedicated scholars concerned with the well-being of the students and the institution, have moved from a concern about people’s livelihoods and the institution’s reputation to, now, a concern for people’s lives;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Faculty Senate expresses a sentiment of no confidence in Chancellor Sheri Evert’s leadership.”

A second resolution mentions the UNC Board of Governors, who with UNC System President Peter Hans has the final authority in choosing to close a campus due to concerns over COVID-19 infections:

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate of Appalachian State University hold the Board of Governors and Chancellor Sheri Everts responsible for any illness and death resulting from COVID-19 as a result of reopening campus in spite of clear warning signs available to all and over the objections of the faculty.

Read the draft resolutions in their entirety here.

According to ASU statistics, the campus has 32 active COVID-19 cases — 22 student and 10 employees — as of Thursday, August 13.

Cumulatively, the campus has seen 128 positive cases — 70 students, 41 subcontractors and 17 employees.

Many UNC System schools are not publicly reporting the number of subcontractors who have tested positive on their campuses.

The first day of classes at ASU is August 17.

At East Carolina University the numbers are even worse.

Police there reported shutting down 20 parties the first weekend students returned, including one with 400 people.

The school reported 28 new student infections and two new employee infections the week of August 2- August 8. Because COVID-19 has been shown take up to 14 days to show symptoms, those numbers likely do not reflect the period in which most students returned to campus. Classes there began Monday, August 10.


  1. John Bolton

    August 13, 2020 at 11:31 am

    Appalachian’s numbers are underreported, so the actual numbers are worse. They are also not adhering to the 6ft social distancing guidelines on campus, which they claim to be doing. Unlike other universities across the country, Appalachian doesn’t have a formal plan to return to campus or how to respond to outbreaks. Unlike other places, they have absolutely no testing program. And their unintelligent and illogical rationalizations for the lack of safety measures would be laughable if the consequences are not so serious. They’re also underreporting the extent that classes will be online, pulling a bait and switch on students and parents to get their $ because they need to prop up football with $20m subsidy via student fees. The local school district decided to go online because of Appalachian’s plans or lack thereof. The local hospital is preparing for a wave of sick and dying people. Online classes are not as good as in-person, but they are better than putting everyone’s health and lives at risk. Appalachian’s leadership has been horrible for years. It has threatened and dismantled its academics, turning Appalachian into a degree mill. And now it ignoring science and experts in threatening lives.

  2. Bill Arrowood

    August 13, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    What wimps the Mountaineers have become. Put on a mask, quit partying and get an education. The faculty should shut up and teach…..with a mask on.

  3. M .Mastrianni

    August 13, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    And the students have committed themselves to financial responsibility to loans for this semester. The university will have received funding from them before this issue is settled. Off campus rents and leases are in place. They are jeopardizing the financial, physical and mental wellbeing of these young adults. What a debacle!

  4. Harry Wilford Beane

    August 13, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    If the faculty doesn’t want to work under the same conditions as the public sector, fire them, and get a staff that wants the position. They are spoiled. I mean, teaching one or two times a week and making a salary double or triple public school teachers who work far more hours plus many other duties.

  5. Tanya Smith

    August 13, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    The students should only be doing online classss for 1st semester

  6. Julia

    August 13, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    You know what I’d like to do go to different doctors offices tell them each a different story of how I’m “supposedly feeling” and see what their test results come back as.. because I’m feel fucking fine but I just want to see if all this bullshit about people contacting covid is an honest report & test.. I think it’s bullshit as we all know hospitals and doctors offices r getting financial bonuses for every patient diagnosed with Covid… that right there is a red flag….I don’t believe there r as many cases as the media and doctors are saying there is…. I believe hospitals and doctors r filling their pockets out of dishonesty… I believe Covid exists people but I don’t believe everyone diagnosed with it, has it…Anyhow if universities close their doors they r going to loose a lot of money & funding.. First and foremost parents like myself whose kids r incoming freshman and sophomore college students, as well as, freshman & sophmore students like some of my daughters friends who r having to pay for their own education are not going to pay university tuition costs for the same classes aka that they can get at a community college where they will pay a hell of a lot less their two years…Parents and students pay the high dollar tuition to a university because they want their kids to have the college experience and exposure & if that experience & exposure gets taken away from them that right there will result in half the income loss for universities as well as job losses for the staff & faculty at universities because the number of professors needed will be cut back by half as u will have less freshman & sophomore students attending… that’s facts people… ultimately universities will go bankrupt & college at a university level will be a thing of the past… that’s sad… & it’s doctors and hospitals that r going to cause this by their greed and dishonesty…

  7. Dr. William C. Elmore

    August 14, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Fire every last one of these people who refuse to honor their contractual obligations. If you are older than 65, one might consider retirement, especially if saddled with comorbidities that perhaps increase their risk of death from corona.

    Students will be fine. They are blessed with a robust immune system and are not especially at risk. We are creating a generation of neurotics. Stop the nonsense….get busy teaching young people to not be careless but also understand total risk avoidance is an impossible standard. The faculty as presently constituted does not wish to open the University? There are loads of PhD types and Masters prepared educators that would love a cushy teaching position at my old Alma Mater. Hire them without delay!

  8. kim

    August 14, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    Absolutely ridiculous. It is a virus. Ruining the economy, education and mental health of everyone. For most people it is a cold. Let’s see what COVID looks like after the election.

  9. Fed Up Mom

    August 14, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    I work in a hospital and I am considered a front line worker. I put my mask on and do my job. I am not seeing the number of positive cases that are being reported by the governor and the media. It’s a election year though so there you go! I’ll bet the entitled staff members that are causing such a ruckus about going back on campus have no problem putting their mask on and going into a Walmart. So hypocritical. Please just put your mask on and get these kids back on campus and give them the hands on education they deserve!

  10. Dean Hobbee

    August 14, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Many of the responses here are exactly why we are in the situation we are, nationally.
    Dr. Elmore, if you truly have a doctorate from your “old” alma mater then put on a mask and go to your campus with 25 thousand partying undergrads and teach a class. I’m sure they need you.
    Oops! Too old? Scared? Not qualified?
    Then shut up.

  11. Tim Hewitt

    August 14, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Send the students home. Quit paying whining faculty. The faculty will scream for reopening in a week.

  12. David Harmon

    August 15, 2020 at 10:21 am

    If the educators do not want to work they can resign and stay in their safe place. The students are supposed to be adults. Being an adult includes being responsible and taking available precautions to avoid acquiring or spreading Covid-19. The conduct exhibited by many of these students clearly shouws that being 18 does not make someone an adult.

  13. Not a Team Player

    August 15, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    For a bunch of academics they seem to not understand which side of the bread the butter is on. If the students have the courage to come here to learn we should have the courage to educate them.

  14. Cynthia Drysdale-Coffin

    August 15, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    In June I emailed the Chancellor requesting when a decision was going to be made regarding fall call classes. “Pivoting” to online from classroom instruction bothered me in regards to the financial commitments students were going to be making for apartments, etc – students living on campus were fortunate to have fees prorated while other students paid for their apartments through July; sometimes longer. No response, no thank you we’ll get back to you. Nothing. I too believe a lot of this is due to it being an election year, but no one’s going to listen to reason-no matter how sound.

  15. Rachel Tgue

    August 17, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    If a student wants to stay home then stay home! For the ones that want to go to class and do not live in this fear of a virus that has a 98% SURVIVAL RATE then let them! If a professor does not want to do their job and show up then REPLACE THEM! I don’t see Dr offices or hospitals closing down!

  16. Bob

    August 19, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Sure the virus is a hoax as they are burying empty caskets. Get real. This will not go away on its own and people have a right to a safe workplace

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