President Edwards | Graphic by Dylan Collison | The Wright State Guardian
651 faculty members are eligible to vote for confidence/no-confidence in Wright State University (WSU) President Sue Edwards, with the voting period ending at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 22.
Established as a WSU Faculty Senate procedure in October 2017, the WSU Faculty Senate Constitution affords faculty members the right to initiate a vote of confidence/no-confidence in any administrator holding the rank of dean or above.
Requirements for voting eligibility include holding the title of instructor or above and holding a 75% appointment at the university.
This procedure is incumbent, and while the WSU Faculty Senate facilitates and processes each vote of confidence/no-confidence, enacting the vote is not an action of the Faculty Senate, nor has the Faculty Senate debated a vote of confidence/no-confidence in any Faculty Senate meeting.
The vote is non-binding, meaning the procedure is merely an expression of sentiment amongst those partaking in the vote. Much like citizens throughout the United States have the right to petition against those in public office for a redress of grievances, WSU faculty have expressed a desire to articulate concerns with President Edwards.
Collectively, the petition to enact this vote of confidence/no-confidence in Edwards expresses a list of 14 grievances and alleges a lack of integrity and leadership ability in the university’s eighth president.
Upon receiving the notification by Faculty Senate President Laura Luehrmann on March 23 that the Faculty Office had received the required number of signatures on the petition against her, Edwards was afforded the opportunity to prepare and distribute a rebuttal over a 10-day period.
“I’ve made every effort to address those criticisms head on in numerous Faculty Senate meetings and my repeated WebEx sessions,” Edwards said in her rebuttal. “Let me say again the allegations are inaccurate and while they make great theatre, the information is purposely misstated and I see no productive value in again legitimizing them any further through this Faculty Senate process.”
Edwards additionally noted that the allegations against her presented in the petition are an attack on her personal and professional integrity and that she will continue to be truthful and transparent.
Voting ends at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, April 22, and shortly thereafter Faculty Senate President Dr. Laura Luehrmann, Faculty Vice President Brian Boyd and Faculty Parliamentarian Dr. Michael Raymer will download the vote results from Qualtrics.
Qualtrics is a web-based survey tool used to conduct survey research, evaluations, and other data collection activities. This is the same tool used in WSU’s Faculty Senate elections.
According to Luehrmann, the session will be recorded to remain transparent in all procedures related to the vote.
A report on the total number of votes for either confidence/no-confidence will be completed and made public within five business days of April 22.
“The Faculty Senate shall provide a written report to the administrator [Dr. Edwards], their immediate supervisors [Board of Trustees], the appropriate governance body [Faculty Senate], and other interested parties as deemed appropriate,” Luehrmann said. “All of this is very transparent, and we do that extremely purposefully.”
Prior votes of confidence/no-confidence
The last time the WSU Faculty Office facilitated a university-wide faculty vote of confidence/no-confidence was in February 2019.
This occurrence sought a vote of confidence/no-confidence in WSU’s Board of Trustees and included participation from 440 faculty members out of a pool of 735 eligible faculty members.
At that time, the petition to initiate the vote of confidence/no-confidence in the WSU Board of Trustees included a list of eight grievances against the board.
The petition spoke to a five-year pattern of behavior by the board that caused significant harm to the university.
In the Board of Trustees rebuttal to allegations presented against them, the board stated that “the board kept their primary goal in mind: to ensure the financial sustainability of the university and the promise of a high quality, affordable education to our current and future students.”
The vote was a landslide, with results showing 87% of faculty voting no-confidence in the board and just 13% of voters expressing confidence.
For the complete notice, petition and rebuttal of this vote of confidence/no-confidence, click here.