President Edwards | The Wright State Guardian
The WSU Faculty Office has received the required number of verified signatures in an independently circulated petition calling for a vote of confidence or no-confidence in President Sue Edwards. This is per procedures approved by the Wright State University (WSU) Faculty Senate in October of 2017.
Faculty Senate President Laura Luehrmann informed Edwards of such actions on Tuesday, March 23. President Edwards had a 10-day period to prepare a rebuttal to the petition.
The 10-day rebuttal window afforded to Edwards closed at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7, with the confidence or no-confidence voting ballot being distributed amongst all eligible faculty beginning Friday, April 9 and ending on Thursday, April 22 at 5 p.m.
A list of 14 grievances is collectively cited in the petition to embark on a vote of confidence or no-confidence in Edwards.
The 14 grievances are as follows:
- Inability to effectively lead enrollment management; accelerations of declining enrollment;
- Greg Sample’s appointment as executive vice president and chief operating officer, without external or internal competition;
- Brian Rigling’s appointment as dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, without a formal national search. According to the petition, Rigling was the sole applicant after an internal search;
- Ignoring the College of Liberal Arts’ faculty vote of no confidence in Dean Linda Caron, Associate Dean Carol Loranger and Chair Jonathan Winkler, and others not detailed in the petition;
- A mischaracterization of the 20 percent reduction in “compensation for members of university management;”
- Stating that the university was not required to negotiate the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (F-VRIP);
- “The uncertainty and chaos caused by these incomplete, and ultimately unnecessary [college and unit consolidation] plans, contributed to lower faculty and student morale, further injuring the university’s public image and contributing to declining enrollment;”
- Misleading the AAUP-WSU into midterm bargaining in bad faith; setting back faculty-administration relationships;
- Causing “enormous stress and further distrust” after invoking retrenchment.
- Low faculty morale. The petition cites Faculty President Laura Lehurmann in a Dec. 2020 Board of Trustees meeting;
- “[Deceiving] and [attempting] to blame faculty for the university’s problems;”
- Failing to consider the livelihoods of 113 faculty and damage to academic programs in retrenchment recommendations.;
- Failure to disclose current interim provost Oliver H. Evans’ vote of no confidence at Evans’ former institution; and,
- Degrading the academic mission at Wright State by defending athletics and slashing the academic budget.
Altogether, the list of grievances alleges “… [lack] of integrity and leadership ability…” of Edwards.
In her rebuttal, Edwards shared discontent with allegations and criticisms similar to those posed by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP-WSU) leadership throughout recent public forums.
“I’ve made every effort to address those criticisms head on in numerous Faculty Senate meetings and my repeated WebEx sessions,” Edwards said. “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 argued that this petition is another attempt by AAUP-WSU leadership to perpetuate a divisive and adversarial approach to university administration, which hinders the ability for a healthy and positive environment to exist between the two entities.
In her rebuttal, Edwards acknowledges and strongly denies the claim that she previously lied about a salary reduction.
“At the onset of COVID, leadership–which included myself, Mr. Sample, Ms. Mickey-Boggs, Mr. Wooley etc., volunteered to take a 20% reduction in pay,” Edwards said. “I am proud of the team for taking that cut. For Deans and others who are primarily employed in faculty positions the reduction was 20% of their administrative stipend due to their faculty base salaries being protected by the CBA.”
Edwards highlighted this accusation above others, as she feels it is an attack on her personal and professional integrity.
“Throughout my time here at Wright State, I have always been truthful and transparent, and I will continue to be so moving forward. I admonish those who continue to perpetuate this misrepresentation,” Edwards said.