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Haskell University faculty casts ‘no confidence’ vote

April 3, 2021 GMT

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Haskell Indian Nations University faculty are signaling frustration with the college’s top leader over free speech and governance issues with a vote of “no confidence.”

The resolution describing school president Ronald Graham’s leadership style as “autocratic” was certified Thursday with a unanimous Faculty Senate vote, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

Graham, who began his presidency in May 2020, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Journal-World.

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Graham angered the faculty when he sent a memorandum last month forbidding employees from expressing derogatory opinions about the administration and others, contending that such expression is “inappropriate” and not protected by academic freedom.

The memorandum was issued after a student newspaper editor filed a lawsuit alleging that Graham violated the First Amendment rights of the students by telling them what they could and couldn’t publish. Graham later acknowledged he “took an incorrect approach.”

The Faculty Senate also said Graham has made unilateral decisions on issues like new degree programs and that he failed to call any Haskell Board of Regents meetings in his first year.

This is just the latest leadership problem at the school. In 2018, a temporary replacement was named to lead Haskell after a scathing federal report found that administrators had underreported crime statistics for a two-year period and failed to follow internal policy when handling misconduct complaints.