Type of action
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1516-0005: Initiating a Student Vote of No Confidence in Ithaca College President Tom Rochon
Sponsored by: Recckio
Co-Sponsored by: James, Robertson, Horgan, Logsdon, Waldner, Layne, Foote, Thornton-Clark
Whereas, The president is the chief executive officer of the College and is appointed by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees grants the president the general powers and duties of supervision and management of the business affairs of the College and the general direction of all of the academic programs of the College. The president's duties include without limitation the areas of: fundraising and development; public and alumni relations; institutional, faculty and educational leadership; long-range and strategic planning; student and faculty recruitment; and appointment, supervision, promotion, and dismissal of executive officers of the College.
Whereas, on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, over 200 members of the Ithaca College community (faculty, staff, and students) held & participated in a protest while the Board of Trustees were on campus to express no confidence in Tom Rochon’s leadership as Ithaca College’s President.
Institutional, faculty and educational leadership is a duty of the President.
Whereas, The Student Body President and many members of the Faculty have each written letters to the community denouncing the Blue Sky event to reimagine the college for its exclusivity, the choice of alumni speakers, lack of intellectual seriousness, etc.
Long-range and strategic planning is a duty of the President.
Whereas, Since taking office, President Rochon has overseen unstable leadership at the top levels of the college administration. Including but not limited to the following: There have been 3 Provosts and 2 interim Provosts in the past 7 years at Ithaca College. The VP for Student Affairs position was absorbed into the Provost & VP for Educational Affairs position in 2012, giving the Provost academic and student life duties. The administration is currently seeking a Vice President for Human Resources to add to the President’s Council.
Appointment, supervision, promotion, and dismissal of executive officers of the College is a duty of the President.
Whereas, The VP for Student Affairs was the students’ direct line to the President’s Council, and since that has been taken away, students have had less access to the President — in effect the leadership and vision of the college have lacked the student voice.
Whereas, Through Ithaca College’s fundraising effort, the “Blue and Gold Society,” students are asked to give $250 for “Special interaction with the college leadership.” This phrasing is present in PowerPoints given to students on the Senior Class Gift Committee, but is nowhere to be found on the College’s Website.
Asking students to pay for interaction with President Rochon and college leadership acts to separate members of the campus community, their ideas, and their ability to communicate based on class.
Citation: Internal documents, http://www.ithaca.edu/giving/bluegold/ .
Whereas, Students in democratically chosen positions (The Student Government Association) historically have not had interactions with President Rochon and have not been invited to the table to be a part of any major decisions.
Citation: First hand speaking to all past SGA Presidents during Tom Rochon’s administration.
Whereas, On April 17, 2009, In President Rochon’s inauguration speech “Reclaiming the Social Compact,” he stated the following — “We must be more effective at serving a vastly more diverse population of students.” & “We have an abundance of facts at our fingertips. The challenge is to transform those facts into information, information into knowledge, and knowledge into action.”,
Whereas, A vote of no confidence is defined as "an occasion when most of the members of a parliament or other organization say that they do not support the people in authority and that they disagree with their actions.”
It is resolved that, The Student Government Association calls for a vote of no confidence in President Tom Rochon. This vote will be done on Qualtrics, will be confidential, will follow best practices approved by Institutional Research, and will be sent to every student of Ithaca College via email.
It is further resolved that, The Student Government Association will issue the following timeline — The vote will be initiated by Wed November 4, and will continue for 3 and 1/2 weeks (26 days). The results will then be released in an SGA meeting, posted online, and sent to the Board of Trustees on November 30.
It is further resolved that, The Student Government Association formally recommends that The Ithaca College Faculty move to initiate a similar vote of no confidence.
It is further resolved that, The Student Government Association follow this model in moving forward. We will assess student confidence in President Rochon, and project that confidence to the community as well as send it to the Board of Trustees. We will then assess the values that we students hold for a College President followed by projecting them publicly no matter what the result of the vote. We will then use all of this in our continued assessment of governance, looking to institute a shared governance model in 2015/2016.