St. Joseph's business faculty votes 'no confidence' in president

Posted: May 21, 2014

Administrative unrest continues at St. Joseph's University.

Faculty members in the Haub School of Business last week voted "no confidence" in the president, the Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, who has been at the helm for nearly two years. They cited ongoing concerns about the school's financial health and what they called Gillespie's inability to set forth a "unifying and achievable vision for the long-term health and flourishing" of the university.

"It's nothing personal," said Claire A. Simmers, professor and chair of the management department. "Not everyone is in the job that they're best suited to do."

Simmers is one of 27 faculty members who voted in favor of the symbolic measure. One voted no and seven abstained.

St. Joseph's spokesman Joseph Lunardi said, "We remain committed to working with the entire St. Joseph's family - students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff - to preserve and enhance the university."

Trouble at the Catholic university in Philadelphia and Lower Merion has been brewing for a couple of years.

Tensions erupted in February after the faculty senate voted no confidence in John W. Smithson, senior vice president, and Louis J. Mayer, vice president of financial affairs.

That vote came after the university said it would cut positions, slash budgets, dig deeper into endowment earnings, and expand the freshman class in an effort to plug an $8.7 million shortfall.

Simmers said business faculty are uniquely positioned to understand the university's financial condition and want to help: "Faculty members really want this to work and have a lot of expertise they can provide."

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