The University of Missouri Department of English sent a letter to the UM Board of Curators and UM System President Tim Wolfe Wednesday morning informing them of the department's unanimous vote of no confidence in MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.
A departmental vote on Tuesday resulted in 26 votes of no confidence, 0 votes of confidence, with two members of the faculty abstaining from the vote. Samuel Cohen, an Associate Professor in the English department, wrote that Loftin has failed to defend the University's mission from outside political pressure, among other things.
"We took the vote because we were frustrated with the effects of our Chancellor's leadership over the past 21 months," Cohen told KBIA. "We felt it was hurting the campus climate, hurting morale, and hurting our national reputation."
Cohen said he hopes that the English department will set a precedent for other departments to make statements of their own.
"We are hoping that sticking our necks out a little bit on this vote will encourage other departments and other parties to come forward," Cohen said.
Associate director of the University of Missouri News Bureau Christian Basi says Loftin has seen the letter and is willing to meet with the department. John Fougere, Chief Communications Officer for the UM System said that they received the letter, but had no further comment at this time.
Here is the text of the message:
To the Board and President Wolfe:We, the faculty of the English Department, respectfully submit this vote of no confidence in the leadership of Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. A department vote on November 3, 2015 resulted in 26 votes of no confidence, 0 votes of confidence, and 2 abstentions. While we recognize ChancellorLoftin’s service, his twenty-one month tenure has been marked by dereliction of duty in maintaining the quality and reputation of graduate education, violations of the bedrock principle of shared governance, and failure to defend the University’s educational mission against outside political pressure. Campus morale among faculty, staff, and students is at a low point. The campus climate is not one in which all members of the community feel included and respected. Because of these failures of leadership, we believe the best course of action is to find a new Chancellor who will be better equipped to repair the damage done to our graduate programs, adhere to the principle and practice of shared governance, and defend academic freedom at the flagship campus of the public university serving the citizens of Missouri.
KBIA will have more on this story as it develops.