The members of the state Board of Education met Thursday at Idaho State University for the president’s annual report, but some public comments at the meeting turned into scathing criticisms of the university administration.
“President Vailas has lost the respect of faculty,? said Allen Jackson, former Director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History.
The board held an open forum for public comment, and some who chose to speak out at the forum made it a referendum on President Arthur Vailas.
“It would be irresponsible if I did not remind the board that the ISU faculty does not have confidence in the administrative leadership of ISU President Arthur Vailas,? Provisional Faculty Senate Chair Phil Cole said.
“Failing to connect with the teachers and researchers of the community is tantamount to incompetence,? Jackson said.
“The faculty is working hard, but we don’t have a university leader who is capable,? Provisional Faculty Senate Vice-Chair Dave Delahanty said.
President Vailas seemed mostly unfazed by the criticism.
“There’s always going to be disputes. It’s probably a way of life in higher education. Despite disputes, everyone is focused on doing the right thing for the people of Idaho,? Vailas said.
Much of the criticism focused on the suspension of the former faculty senate and the subsequent sanction by the American Association of University Professors.
“This sanction is deeply embarrassing to ISU and to the state of Idaho. This sanction restricts our ability to retain our current students, faculty, and staff,? Cole said.
In his address to the board of education, President Vailas gave his university address, and according to him, by every standard ISU is doing better and better, and is seeing no ill effects from the AAUP sanction.
“The metrics by which institutions are measured by all are in a positive scale,? Vailas said.
A provisional faculty senate will begin meeting Aug. 25 to work on a new constitution for shared governance at ISU. Cole said while he wouldn’t call himself optimistic for the future, he thinks there is room for good things to happen.
“But as long as there’s no respect on one side, nothing will happen. There must be goodwill, there must be respect, and we must work assiduously together. It doesn’t mean we have to love each other,? Cole said.