The Appalachian State University Board of Trustees held its first meeting of the academic year Friday — but it refused a request by the school’s Faculty Senate to speak at the meeting.
Last month Policy Watch reported on the Faculty Senate passing a resolution expressing no confidence in the leadership of App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. This week, as the school continues to face issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing controversy over an on-campus voting site Michael Behrent, chair of the ASU faculty senate, requested five minutes to address the board as provided for in the board’s by-laws.
In an email this week Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff Hank Foreman told Behrent that the board considered but declined his request.
Unable to address the board during its meeting, Behrent recorded and uploaded a video of the comments he prepared.
The faculty reaction to the board’s rebuff was swift and negative. On Friday a large number of them wrote to express their displeasure with the decision.
“Faculty would like to work with you and with the executive administration, together, to make Appalachian stronger,” wrote Martha McCaughey, a professor of sociology and member of the Faculty Senate. “However, you rejected, without any explanation, the formal request of our Faculty Senate Chair, Dr. Michael Behrent, to give a short report, and this therefore does not appear on your meeting agenda.”
“It is poor optics to refuse to engage with the Faculty Senate in the midst of a pandemic, and following the faculty’s voicing serious concerns about shared governance of the university,” McCaughey wrote. “Administrators’ meeting with individual departments is not an acceptable substitute for the administration’s obligations related to shared governance as defined in Article IV of the Faculty Constitution and 7.1 and 7.2 of the Faculty Handbook.”
“The Faculty Senate, on which I serve, stands ready to engage with both the executive administration and the Board of Trustees,” she wrote.