Glenville relents, allows full-time faculty no-confidence vote on president

By Ryan Quinn Staff writer GAZETTE-MAIL

Leaders of Glenville State College have reversed their decision to not allow only full-time faculty to take a no-confidence vote in college President Tracy Pellett.

Provost Victor Vega had earlier suggested full-time faculty could be considered insubordinate and fired for pushing forward with this vote. Vega and Glenville Board of Governors Vice Chairman Timothy Butcher, with the possible support of other college leaders, had twice stopped Faculty Senate attempts to hold it.

The Gazette-Mail submitted an open records request for emails on the issue Nov. 19; received the emails Monday; asked for comment from officials Tuesday and Wednesday, receiving no responses from the college leaders; and published a story on the issue online Thursday evening and in print Friday, after still having received no responses from the college officials.

"I apologize for not getting back to you sooner about this very important matter," Butcher wrote in an email to the newspaper Friday. "We were all in the process of trying to resolve the impasse when you contacted us."

Butcher then provided what he called a statement from the Board of Governors. In an interview Friday, Butcher said it was written by board Chairman Greg Smith, but didn't know whether all other board members had seen it.

The statement said the board's actions and the college administration's actions regarding the no-confidence vote "have been guided by two prevailing factors."

"First, to ensure the election process is conducted according to the Procedures for Holding Faculty Elections found in the Faculty Handbook, which are in place to help the Faculty Senate through the process," the statement said. "Second, and more importantly, to ensure that all full-time faculty have an opportunity to cast a vote on this very important question."

While Butcher did discuss procedural concerns in emails, other emails from Butcher and Vega showed they weren't trying to block the vote over the possible non-inclusion of "all full-time faculty." Rather, the two were mandating that the Faculty Senate must include others beyond full-time faculty in their vote.

Butcher wrote in one email that Smith agreed that "all faculty must have the right to vote," including volunteers.

Faculty Senate President Timothy Henline, who was working with the college leaders and didn't vote to hold the no-confidence vote, asked Smith and Butcher for all those with "faculty status" to have a say. Henline later defined this in an email as "essentially anyone who has taught a class this year."

The Friday statement continued, saying that "taking the time to conduct the vote properly and in a manner that gives everyone an opportunity to express his or her voice is not a stall tactic, it is responsible and is in the best interest of the College. The Faculty Senate resolved its differences with the Administration and Board of Governors on Thursday by amending its motion for a confidence/no confidence vote to include only full-time faculty rather than the 'entire faculty' and agreeing to follow its own notice and election procedures to ensure that all full-time faculty are aware of the election and have the opportunity to vote."

Emails show it was last week, not Thursday, when the Faculty Senate voted again to hold the vote, this time specifying that only full-time faculty would take part. Faculty Senate Vice President Kevin Evans said he felt specifying that wasn't necessary earlier because only full-time faculty are in the Faculty Senate.

Even after this amendment, Vega, the provost, still wrote that a vote "by only full time faculty is contrary to The Board of Governors position" and cited a college policy containing the "procedure for refusal to abide by legitimate reasonable directions of administrators." That section is titled "Dismissal." "Evidently, Dr. Vega relied on the initial statement concerning entire faculty," Butcher said Friday, though he said he couldn't say exactly why Vega wrote that email.

Butcher said Friday he would've been OK with a vote of only full-time faculty if that had been originally specified in the Faculty Senate motion and the proper procedure had been followed in the faculty handbook.

Evans did say there was an online Faculty Senate vote Thursday to change the dates of the election and follow an elections procedure in the faculty handbook, even though Evans doesn't consider the no-confidence vote an election. He said he agreed to this to move forward and has little impact.

Even if it passes, the no-confidence vote is merely a statement by those voting, rather than something that automatically ousts the president.

Reach Ryan Quinn at ryan.quinn@wvgazettemail.com, facebook.com/ryanedwinquinn, 304-348-1254 or follow

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