Majority of faculty vote “no confidence” in President Hurley

A majority of Canisius faculty has voted “no confidence” in President John Hurley in a faculty-wide vote conducted by the faculty senate.

The senate approved the vote on Feb. 5, citing “demoralization of faculty, failure of shared governance and a loss of trust in the President:” (Griffin File Photo)

A majority of Canisius faculty voted “no confidence” in President John Hurley in a faculty-wide vote organized by the Faculty Senate. 

Out of 105 ballots cast, 65 were in support of a no confidence motion in President Hurley. Twenty-eight were opposed to the motion, and 12 faculty members abstained from the vote. Eighty percent of faculty members voted. 

President Hurley, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sara Morris, and each of the college’s deans were notified of the results of the vote on Thursday evening, according to Dr. Howard Stanger, who is the chair and spokesman of the faculty senate. 

Dr. Stanger released the following statement Thursday night to The Griffin: 

“The Faculty Senate of Canisius College voted by an overwhelming majority (17-0-1) to hold a faculty wide vote of no confidence (vnc) against President Hurley. The vote was overwhelming in favor of the vnc and revealed a minority of faculty support the president. Of the 105 people (80% response rate) who submitted ballots electronically, 65 supported the vnc, 28 opposed it, and 12 abstained from voting. The Senate takes no pleasure in having this vote or expressing its concern about the leadership at this college. But the results are clear and we expect the president and trustees to listen to the faculty and the wording of the motions they endorsed.”

“Our records show that there are 140 eligible faculty of record, so I have to question why 10 eligible faculty were excluded from voting. It leads me to question the integrity of the process on this vote,” President Hurley said via email Thursday night. 

“Assuming that there were 140 eligible faculty, this tally means that the vote did not achieve a majority vote of the faculty. Nonetheless, I recognize that a substantial number of faculty are not happy with the state of things at Canisius and I repeat my invitation to them to work with us in a collaborative way to chart a path forward for the college and to assure a brighter future.”

“There are positive things happening but we need to work together,” he said. 

The faculty-wide vote was originally approved by the faculty senate, 17-0, on Feb. 5. Senate members cited “demoralization of faculty, failure of shared governance and a loss of trust in the President” among the reasons for the vote in that resolution.  

The resolution comes 20 days after the Faculty Senate voted “no confidence” in Dr. Morris, 16-1, and months after it voted “no confidence” in President Hurley, 11-5.

It is the latest reaction to Canisius’ decision to cut 23 faculty and 71 administrative and support staff as well as certain majors in order to address a projected $20 million budget deficit. 

Additionally, four former faculty members have filed a lawsuit against Canisius in New York Supreme Court citing a breach of contract related to the layoffs. Canisius has until Friday to formally respond to the lawsuit after it was granted an extension last Thursday.  

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