Editorial: Try confidence in the future

In a 38-10 vote, the faculty senate voted “no confidence” in Loyola’s university president. It’s time to stop fighting and start leading.

Gage Counts, [email protected]

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In a move surprising many, the faculty senate voted “no confidence” in the Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., university president, expressing their lack of trust in him as the leader of Loyola University.

This drama has been unfolding since October, when the original motion to vote “no confidence” was proposed. Since then, the Board of Trustees passed their own vote of confidence, two faculty senate meetings passed, one where Wildes was in attendance and the other where the Chairman of the Board was present, and the conclusion of the financial equillibrium process, which prompted much of this debate.

There is genuine student interest in this issue. Professors publicly declaring that they don’t trust the university president as a leader is something that piques everyone’s interest. This is something that students can be engaged with and that they want to hear more about. This is why it’s a shame that engagement with the students is nowhere to be found.

The vote of “no confidence” has been passed, and whether Wildes was deserving of this or not doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is what happens going forward, and there haven’t been many signs of anyone leading the university out of this.

If we value our university, it’s time to move past the vote and address the problems that have been expressed through this drama. It’s evident where the faculty, president and Board stands, so it shouldn’t be difficult to move forward.

Some of the concerns expressed by the faculty include the controversial budget reform regimen in 2006, the financial crisis being allowed to escalate to the point it is at now, the decline in enrollment and what some faculty characterize as the general lack of aggressive leadership from Wildes. Some of these conerns can’t be resolved, but the potency of these problems can be decreased if the president exhibits strong leadership. One way he’s addressed this so far is to say that he plans to invite faculty to a Board meeting to explain what it is they do as professors. That is a start, but that doesn’t seem to get to the heart of the problem, and we hope that’s something he will be more proactive about.

Students are going to continue with their lives regardless of whether they know anything about the vote of “no confidence” or what they think about it. Still, many students — and faculty — have complained about what they feels as Wildes’ lack of presence around campus. When asked about it, he’s said he hopes to attend more sports games, eat in the Orleans Room with students and invite students to participate in small group listening sessions, where Wildes would have an opportunity to hear what’s on their minds. Many students feel as though their complaints haven’t been listened to, so it can only be beneficial to engage with them more.

This vote of “no confidence” has been one of the most dramatic measures taken against anyone at Loyola in awhile. Regardless of who is at fault for our problems, it needs to be a wakeup call for everyone in the Loyola community: we all can do more.

The editorial represents the majority opinions of The Maroon’s editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Loyola University. 

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