BY MARTIN KICH
On Thursday, February 4, the Faculty Senate at the University of Akron voted no confidence in President Scott Scarborough’s administration—by a vote of 50-2.
Before the vote was taken, Scarborough had spoken at some length about his plans for the coming year and had answered several questions. He was not, however, present for the vote.
Scarborough’s tenure at the university has been marked by almost continuous turmoil. From the start, he has undermined shared governance in not soliciting meaningful faculty input on a litany of substantive issues–including but not limited to budget reductions and significant, sudden, and seemingly arbitrary re-allocations of resources, furloughs of staff and faculty, the elimination of academic programs, the closure of campus facilities, and even the “re-branding” of the university as Ohio’s Polytechnic University. At every turn, his administration has seemed tone deaf and has provided its critics with damaging symbols. Most notably, at the same time that the Scarborough administration was preaching the necessity of fiscal austerity, the president’s residence was undergoing very expensive and at times extravagant remodeling and refurbishing. One of those symbols, a $556 jar of olives in the residence’s master bedroom, has gotten its a Facebook page.
According to an article by Karen Farkas that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jonathan Pavloff, chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees, “attributed the vote to the ongoing contract negotiations with the UA’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors”: “’Given the overlapping membership between the Faculty Senate and the AAUP, and the status of current contract negotiations with the AAUP, it is perhaps not surprising that this vote outcome occurred,’ Pavloff said in a statement after the vote.”
Without a hint or irony, Pavloff added: “’Shared governance works best when we come together and strive to find common ground in addressing the large challenges that we face.’”
Farkas notes that “the resolution approved by the Faculty Senate did not address contract negotiations” and that “the contract expired on June 30, 2015.”
Farkas’s complete article is available at: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2016/02/university_of_akron_faculty_se.html