What happened to no confidence?

BY APRILL EMIG | Managing Editor After a meeting held on December 14 to vote for “no confidence” in both Chancellor Black and then Vice Chancellor Andrea Schokker failed to produce any definitive results, UMD’s UEA chapter is still making plans to move forward.

“A lot of our concerns changed after Andrea Schokker voluntarily stepped down,” said John Hamlin, director of UEA and the one who sent out the original message to faculty.

According to Hamlin, the UEA’s lack of confidence stems from distrust in the communication from UMD’s administration and leadership.

“It’s hard to trust what you’re being told when the message changes all the time,” Hamlin said.

Some of the more specific concerns from the UEA involve workload and privacy (like putting a lock in the women’s locker room), but most of these were directed at Schokker. With her absent, the UEA needs to plan specifically for what they want from the Chancellor. “We’ll need to meet to decide what we expect from the Chancellor, (including) what leadership we want,” Hamlin said.

The vote is being put forth by the UEA, but non-union faculty may also be allowed to vote depending on how they decide to conduct the process.

However, there are some members even within the union who are not sure if this is the right choice to make.

“I still had some unanswered questions and concerns about rationale and process following the meeting,” Danny Frank, UEA member and instructor of environmental and outdoor education, said. “My fundamental concern was--and still is--that there’s a very divisive agenda being pushed forth by some UEA leaders,” Frank said.

The divisive agenda is an “us-versus-them” mentality that Frank and other UEA members feel the UEA is taking. Frank says this dichotomy oversimplifies a very complex issue.

“We’re here to serve students,” Frank said. “Sometimes politics cloud that mission and it does a disservice to our students’ education.” According to an interview with the Statesman last semester, Hamlin said the opinion of “no confidence” had been festering for nearly three years before being officially brought to the table.

However, some UEA members expressed concern over a lack of clarity in the language or the reason for issuing a vote of “no confidence” at all.

In an email to UMD faculty, UEA member and head of the department of psychology Scott Carlson said, “Many have expressed a concern to me that the call for a vote of no confidence came without an appropriate build up of enough specific facts and the reasons why they warrant action.”

The next UEA meeting will be held in February. At that time, Hamlin hopes to have a more coherent list of concerns and establish a plan for moving forward.











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