By Natalie Faas
According to information obtained by The Griffin, on Feb. 5, the Canisius College Faculty Senate voted “no-confidence” in Vice President for Academic Affairs Sara Morris, Ph.D., 16-1. One senate member abstained from the vote.
“I did not know that the Faculty Senate would be considering these resolutions, so in that sense, I was both surprised and disappointed in their vote,” Morris said. “The vote is not a reflection of my single-minded commitment to the college and the time and effort that I have spent this year on the faculty’s behalf.”
A vote of no-confidence is how the faculty can express their dissatisfaction with the administration’s decisions. This particular vote is in response to the financial situation that the college faced, ending with the termination of many faculty members and staff as well as the elimination of several academic programs.
According to the Canisius’ website, “As vice president for academic affairs, Morris leads the college’s largest division.” Morris is a key member of the president of the College’s leadership team.
The decision was announced this summer and sparked severe backlash towards President John Hurley and the administration. President Hurley also received a vote of no-confidence this summer after the college’s Board of Trustees voted to eliminate more than 20 faculty and 70 support and administrative staff in order to cut costs.
In response to why she believes the senate voted “no-confidence,” Morris said, “We made these decisions to meet the Board of Trustees’ expectations. I know that people are disappointed, sad, and angry at these changes; we have lost many talented faculty, close colleagues, and friends.”
With this vote still comes the desire for answers. Professors who were terminated, as well as those who sit on the faculty senate, are looking for an explanation. An article published in September by Mike Pesarchick states, “The national office of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) said it was concerned about the way in which Canisius dismissed around two dozen faculty members in July, and cut or eliminated nine academic programs.”
Moving forward, Morris is very optimistic. She believes that following the cuts, the college must move forward and continue to plan for the future. Morris said, “I truly feel for those faculty and staff who lost their jobs, but we must continue to teach our students and to provide a high-quality education.”
Throughout her responses, Morris stressed the Jesuit values’ importance and Canisius’ commitment to academic excellence. She also reiterated the importance of moving on and focusing on the students and their education.