By Jolene Guzman

Itemizer-Observer

MONMOUTH — A portion Western Oregon University teaching faculty and classified staff issued a vote of “no confidence” in the leadership in WOU President Rex Fuller.

The WOU Federation of Teachers (WOUTF) announced the vote on Sunday in a press release.

“On Oct. 28, WOU faculty and staff unions initiated a vote of ‘no confidence’ in President Rex Fuller in response to concerns raised by employees across the campus,” the release said. “President Fuller recently implemented layoffs and announced upcoming plans for program elimination, after several years of declining enrollment and eroding shared governance under his leadership.”

The teaching faculty and classified unions said  “failures of leadership, persistent management problems, and damage to the campus climate as primary reasons for conducting the no-confidence vote.”

More than 85% of the 240 respondents said that they had no confidence in Fuller’s leadership, according to the WOUTF.

“About 62% of faculty currently employed at or above half-time voted, but the proportion of classified staff who voted is a bit harder to come by due to recent layoffs,” said WOUFT spokesman Scott Beaver.

The no-confidence ballot also asked whether the unions should conduct a survey exploring possible censure of other members of Fuller’s administration. More than 90 % of those who voted said yes. The follow-up survey is currently being conducted and will close on Thursday.

“The employees of Western Oregon University clearly and emphatically expressed their desire for the WOU Board of Trustees to take seriously their concerns about WOU’s leadership team,” the release said.

Beaver said the results of the no confidence vote were shared with WOU’s Board of Trustees and Fuller. He said members of the union wish to provide live comments at the board’s meeting today (Nov. 18). At this point, the board will only accept written testimony.

Lisa Catto, the assistant director, marketing & communications at WOU, said the board plans to address the vote and Board Chairwoman Betty Komp will issue a statement at Wednesday's meeting. 

Fuller is set to retire at the end of his four-year contract on Sept. 30, 2021. He began work at WOU in 2015. The university intends to conduct a national search for his replacement.

Fuller joined WOU as its 23rd president in 2015.

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