Our Opinion: Trustees need to be transparent, clear too


The Wood Word, Editorial Board

Throughout this semester, anonymous flyers and a public protest have caused a stir on campus about faculty displeasure with administration.

Between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8, faculty held a vote of no confidence for two top university administrators; 88 percent of faculty voters voted no confidence in Joseph X. Garvey, vice president of financial affairs and treasurer, and 71 percent of faculty voted no confidence in president Sr. Anne Munley, IHM.

On Oct. 19, the board of trustees sent an email to faculty and staff saying that, though there have been some “expression[s] of dissatisfaction,” the board maintained a position of “unanimous and steadfast” support of Sr. Anne and Garvey.

The board of trustees, by recognizing dissatisfaction, but reiterating their support of the current administration, again stymies an opportunity for significant change. How they communicated that support shows why faculty continues to find fault with campus leadership.

The letter was vague in not directly addressing the vote of no confidence.

By not acknowledging the vote or its results, the board of trustees dismissed the magnitude of such a measure while they simultaneously stifled discussion for anyone who was not aware of the vote by failing to inform the greater Marywood community clearly of faculty concerns.

Meanwhile, the formation of a shared governance committee, which will include eight faculty and eight board members, seems to say there will be more of the same meetings and debates that brought faculty to this point.

Dialogue is always good, but the board already disregarded the faculty’s vote of no confidence. If such a drastic measure by faculty didn’t change their minds, what’s the point of the committee?

The faculty, meanwhile, have communicated their feelings clearly and precisely.

During the dedication of the Learning Commons on Sept. 8, faculty and students held signs in protest of how money was being spent and how faculty were being treated, among other things. Their points were well outlined and held up for all to see.

The vote of no confidence also could not have been clearer. A strong majority of faculty are dissatisfied with the work of Garvey and Sr. Anne.

This board letter is yet another instance of withholding information at the top, an issue faculty have grown tired of and one students are now combatting.

In a well-organized, detailed letter to the board of trustees,the Student Government Association (SGA) expressed their “deep concern regarding current university administration.”

The three-page letter clearly outlined significant concerns of SGA and the larger student body, among them that hundreds of thousands of dollars in student fees are missing from SGA’s budget. SGA’s letter also emphasizes that the concerns it is now raising have been presented before and were never addressed.

Although responding to such numerous issues raised by SGA requires adequate time, a timetable for such a response has yet to be communicated to SGA. When will SGA and the student body it represents get answers?

The board has now joined administrators in shying away from comment or offering vague responses. That will not suffice in these challenging times. Only transparency and direct communication can alleviate the tension felt throughout campus.