IUP president hit with overwhelming no-confidence vote

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INDIANA, Pa. -- Faculty at Pennsylvania's largest state-owned university returned an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the leadership of Indiana University of Pennsyvlania president Tony Atwater.

Results of three days of balloting by the campus chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties was announced by a union vice-president during this afternoon's Indiana Council of Trustees meeting.

A total of 777 individuals, from full-time tenured faculty to part-time adjunct instructors, were eligible to vote. Of that, 672 did.

"Of those who voted, more than 84 percent voted that they no longer have confidence in President Atwater's leadership," said Francisco Alarcon, a math professor and vice-president of the union's campus chapter. The union later released numbers on the vote: 568 expressed no confidence; 64 expressed confidence, and 40 abstained from voting on the resolution.

Dr. Alarcon read the result at a microphone before a crowd of 200 in Sutton Hall that included council members and Dr. Atwater.

Dr. Atwater, president since 2005, looked directly at Dr. Alarcon with a tight smile as the results were announced.

Dr. Alarcon said less than 10 percent said they had confidence in the president's leadership and 6 percent abstained.

Faculty union and its members have provided a list of grievances, including what they describe as poor decision making, ill-conceived spending practices and a style of leadership they assert alienates those on campus.

Dr. Alarcon said the faculty union has tried to engage Dr. Atwater for two years and it viewed the vote conducted between Monday and Wednesday as a "last resort." There was applause at the end of his remarks.

Before the announcement of the vote, Dr. Atwater delivered his president's remarks at the board meeting and alluded to the vote about to be announced. He attributed the discontent to tough decisions he's had to make and said many of the criticisms were based on inaccuracies and misleading information. "I very much value and respect shared governance," he said.

Bill Schackner can be reached at bschackner@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1977.


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