WVU faculty: President Garrison must go

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- More than 500 West Virginia University faculty members today called for the resignation of President Mike Garrison in the wake of the M.B.A scandal rocking the state's flagship university.

A nonbinding resolution demanding that Mr. Garrison step down or be fired by the WVU Board of Governors passed, 565-39, with 11 abstentions.

The vote came during a rare mass meeting called by the faculty, which now appears to be outraged over the awarding of the master's of business administration degree to Heather Bresch, daughter of West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin and a long-time friend of Mr. Garrison. An investigative panel concluded last month that she didn't earn the degree.

Mr. Garrison's office had no immediate comment on today's vote.

The resolution the faculty passed today was the same as one approved last week by the WVU Faculty Senate. Mr. Garrison has said he will not step down.

About a third of WVU's faculty members from campuses across the state attended today's meeting at the WVU Creative Arts Center in Morgantown. Attendance was required in order to vote.

Also passing on voice vote was a resolution urging the Faculty Senate to create an outside review panel to hear complaints from faculty, staff and students, particularly concerns about harassment, retaliation or retribution for speaking out against the administration.

The faculty overwhelmingly defeated another motion that had recommended that any faculty member who threatened or intimidated a university employee, board member or other state executive be disciplined or dismissed immediately.

The motion, offered by professor Dallas Branch and rejected 527-23, stemmed from two fliers found in the engineering building last week that used the word "kill.''

The composition and font size were crafted carefully to avoid qualifying as a direct threat, and State Police said last week they did not consider the language criminal.

Two professors opposed the language of the motion as overly broad and warned it could have discouraged free speech on campus.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This report contains information from the Associated Press.


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