YSU top candidate faces scrutiny at Southern Oregon

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — One of the top three candidates for the presidency at Youngstown State University was recently given a “no confidence” vote as the leader at Southern Oregon University.

Dr. Mary Cullinan, SOU president, was among three administrators to receive a vote of “no confidence” from faculty members on March 5. The others who received the negative vote were Provost James Klein and Vice President of Finance Craig Morris.

According to minutes from a March 10 SOU Faculty Senate meeting, Cullinan received 136 votes of no confidence, which was 63 percent. Seventeen percent did not vote and the remaining 17 percent expressed confidence, according to the minutes.

Both Klein and Morris received more no confidence votes, with Klein receiving 154, or 71 percent, and Morris receiving 165, or 76 percent. The minutes show only 7 percent expressed confidence in Morris and only 14 percent expressed confidence in Klein.

Because Klein and Morris received no confidence votes from more than two-thirds of the faculty, the Faculty Senate recommended they be fired, according to reports. Cullinan’s percentage was not high enough to qualify her for automatic firing. She has been with the university for eight years.

In an interview with our sister station KDRV-TV in Medford, Ore., Cullinan said she believed the no confidence votes were the result of “difficult faculty contract bargaining combined with challenging budget decisions” which she said has caused “an unprecedented amount of stress on campus.”

She said she appreciated faculty concerns and respected the right of the Faculty Senate to make a confidence vote as established by the senate’s bylaws.

“I will continue to work with faculty and administration to finalize the retrenchment plan that will align our costs and revenues while positioning us for strategic investments and a sustainable future,” Cullinan’s statement to KDRV-TV said.

Southern Oregon University has been hit by budget cuts and declining enrollment, which resulted in the elimination of dozens of faculty positions and cutting of several programs and majors, according to the station.

However, Cullinan told the station the no confidence votes were not a factor in her seeking the YSU job. She visits YSU on Wednesday for her interview.

The YSU faculty gave Dr. David Sweet a no confidence vote during contract negotiations in 2005.

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