App State faculty senate passes resolution of ‘no confidence’ in chancellor amid pandemic

Vote of no-confidence passes against App State chancellor

BOONE, N.C. (WBTV) - The faculty senate at Appalachian State University passed a resolution of no confidence in the leadership of the school’s chancellor amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution, sponsored by Michael Hambourger, passed on a vote of 23 yes, 12 no, 6 abstain on the electronic platform used.

The document claims that Appalachian State University has grown to one of the premier undergraduate institutions in the state, in part because of previous Chancellors who were able to effectively galvanize the energy and enthusiasm of faculty.

The resolution claims current Chancellor, Dr. Sheri Everts, is “frequently isolated from and unable to effectively communicate with faculty, and has failed in her basic tasks of strengthening institutional finances, providing goals, operating in a transparent fashion, embracing shared governance, and pulling the university community together in a common mission.”

Allegedly, many faculty have reported Chancellor Everts has, over the past three years, repeatedly failed to live up to expectations.

The resolution claims faculty has expressed concerns to the administration formally through regular and extra Faculty Senate meetings, a petition with over 400 signatures, and multiple Senate Resolutions.

“Multiple Faculty Senate meetings in 2019 and an Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Salaries have established that Chancellor has neglected faculty and the academic mission in their budget allocations,” the resolution reads. “The Chancellor’s administrative priorities have already led to a problem of low faculty morale, disengagement, and the loss of talented faculty members and, now, to the prospect of loss of life.”

On Monday, Chancellor Everts provided a statement concerning how the university would move forward.

“We are in constant communications with UNC System officials, as well as our local public health experts, to monitor conditions on our campus, and there are no immediate plans to change our course delivery methods at App State,” Everts wrote.

Her statement came after UNC-Chapel Hill announced their campus would shift all undergraduate instruction to remote learning following a significant increase of COVID-19 infection clusters within that campus community during the first week of classes.

According to the resolution, numerous faculty members have questioned the Chancellor’s plans for a return to campus in Fall 2020 given the rise in COVID-19 cases in North Carolina and anticipated infection and death rates.

“The faculty, a group of dedicated scholars concerned with the well-being of the students and the institution, have moved from a concern about people’s livelihoods and the institution’s reputation to, now, a concern for people’s lives,” the “no confidence” resolution reads.

With all these things considered, the resolution states the Faculty Senate expresses a sentiment of no confidence in Chancellor Sheri Evert’s leadership.

According to Jackie Park and Emily Broyles of the student newspaper The Appalachian, the faculty senate passed the resolution after more than two hours of debate.

The faculty senate also introduced a resolution holding administration responsible for COVID-19 illness and death. The resolution was sponsored by Matthew Robinson.

“Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate of Appalachian State University hold the Board of Governors and Chancellor Sheri Everts responsible for any illness and death resulting from COVID-19 as a result of reopening campus in spite of clear warning signs available to all and over the objections of the faculty,” this resolution read.

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