State College of Florida Faculty Votes No Confidence

December 3, 2015

The full-time faculty at State College of Florida at Manatee-Sarasota voted no confidence in the college’s Board of Trustees this week, the Bradenton-Herald reported. The 118-2 vote comes after the board’s recent decision to eliminate the college’s tenure-like system even over the objections of college administrators, and after a proposal by one board member to consider faculty pay bids -- something like a fee-for-service quote -- in hiring decisions.

Robyn Bell, a professor of music at the college and president of its Faculty Senate, said in a statement that the board’s recent vote was the “final straw in a long list of deeds and actions that have proven more harmful than helpful to our college. Such ideologically/politically driven decisions have been made without research or merit and attempt to govern a public institution of education as a private, corporate business.”

Carol Probstfeld, the college’s president, said in a separate statement, “We all agree that our students deserve the best possible faculty to provide an impactful and competitive education. We remain committed to hiring and retaining the best possible faculty.”

Craig Trigueiro, board chairman, said he wasn’t surprised by the vote but that the board stands by its decision to end continuing contracts, which previously afforded long-serving faculty members in good standing due process protections that were similar to those ensured by tenure. Trigueiro said professors’ fears that they’ll lose academic freedom under the new year-to-year contract system are misplaced, in that the board “has no intention of decreasing academic freedom,” the Herald reported. “We support academic freedom. A college or a university without academic freedom, in my opinion, is not a college or university.”

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