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Guilford College faculty pass vote of no confidence in interim president, board of trustees

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Faculty at Guilford College came out against the college president and board of trustees, passing a vote of no confidence after the college announced drastic budget cuts and layoffs including tenured faculty.

The faculty voted during a meeting on Wednesday. The vote serves as a statement expressing the faculty’s lack of faith in the ability of Interim President Carol Moore and the Board of Trustees to run the college.

“The vote of no confidence reflects a deep dissatisfaction with the interim president who was hired in August by the Board of Trustees without a traditional national higher ed search process,” Guilford College Professor Heather Hayton told FOX8. “It also reflects a deep distrust of the board’s leadership, and their ability to govern the college.”

According to the meeting minutes, 94% of the faculty who were at the meeting said that they have no confidence in Moore.

In a second vote, 93% of the faculty at the meeting said they have no confidence in the college’s board of trustees.

Guilford College Professor of Business Management Michael Dutch and Professor of Business Betty Kane both voiced a “principled objection” to the vote and asked that it be recorded in the minutes.

The vote comes after news broke that 15 tenured professors and five others were to be let go from the college as part $7 million in budget cuts to the 2021-2022 school year.

In addition, college officials are planning to get rid of majors like math, political science, physics and modern languages to name a few. Administrators are hoping to replace them with other majors that are more popular.

After announcing the budget cuts, Moore said the enrollment numbers aren’t there when it comes to the select majors.

“The fact that enrollment has declined and the college has not made the parallel reduction in expenses,” Moore said. “They will be taught at the school as subjects, but not as full majors.”

Those students who are already on track to major in these subjects will be able to continue their education at the college.

In their vote of no confidence, the faculty specifically spoke out against the following concerns over how college leadership has handled the process of program prioritization:

A process of program prioritization did not originate from the faculty as described in the handbook, and has not focused primarily on educational considerations as the handbook requires.

Changing rules (for example, staff appeal process taken away as an option, and laid-off faculty losing the terminal year that the Interim President had said more than once would be the standard)

Lack of transparency (for example, no evaluative feedback given to programs on how their reports did not show the programs were meeting the criteria laid out by the interim president, and no criteria at all for how individual faculty within laid-down programs were chosen to be laid off)

Destruction of tenure rights

Disregard for shared governance (for example, leaving all alternatives to layoffs“on the table” instead of trying to implement any of them before turning to themore drastic step of layoffs)

Disregard of the immense value those laid off have brought to the college overthe years they have worked here

Moore said budget cuts are always tough and that she understands faculty and students are upset.

“People have worked very hard and given their career to the college. It’s a very painful process,” she said.

Nevertheless, Guilford College students are already threatening to transfer from the college.

“If they don’t want to uphold Quaker values then that’s not what Guilford is and we won’t stay — we won’t stay for this,” said Haydyn Foulke, a junior community and justice major.

Foulke said if the school decides to go through with getting rid of some of majors like hers, she’ll transfer.

She doesn’t feel the administration gave students a voice in the decision-making process. That’s why she, as well as fellow students and alumni joined the “Save Guilford College” Facebook group. The group is trying to raise money and use their voice in an attempt to stop save these departments 

History professor Damon Akins, who has worked at the college for 14 years, of among the list of professors who have been notified that this will be their last year. Akins, like others, is now appealing in an effort to save his job.

“I don’t actually know what criteria was used to determine [why] I particularly was fired,” he said. “Without knowing that I don’t know how to appeal, but I will appeal because it’s important to me.”

The board of trustees will meet to review individual appeals for professors in February.

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