By Keenan A. Mount
The faculty, via their president, Debbie Witsken, cited “overreaching authority, lack of transparency in deliberations, and a disregard for diversity and equity in decision making” when addressing the board.
Witsken clarified the decision to file a formal complaint was only made after “informal complaints and concerns were left on deaf ears.” Witsken said previously made informal complaints took the form of surveys, public comment, board items, social media, and local news outlets.
Witsken wanted to stress the faculty’s support for the administration despite the filing of the complaints, stating “we want to make it very clear that as faculty we fully support our administration.”
Debbie Witksen voiced the amendment that the faculty desired as a revision of rules so that there may be a policy for recall and censure as well as a procedure for recall and resignation for board members based on a majority vote from the board. Witsken stated “such a policy would communicate to the community and to the stakeholders at the college that the board is serious in its mission to invest at Lewis and Clark and to seek more cooperative solutions that enhance student learning and faculty teaching.”
LCFA, Lewis and Clark Faculty Association, obtained and reviewed documents via a Freedom of Information Act request. Preceding this, LCFA, according to LCFA Executive Committee Vice President Peter Hussey, had “great concern about transparency, broad overreach and ethical behavior.”
The Higher Learning Commision is set to review the institution and form a response.