Student Body President Chris Camire called a move by faculty to vote no confidence in University of Southern Maine President Selma Botman a “coup d’etat” at a Faculty Senate meeting Friday and pleaded with faculty to work with, not against Botman.
“I think you all should consider how much you’re tearing this university apart,” he said. “For those of you who signed this petition, please, please for the sake of our university, do something positive, not destructive.”
Camire said the press coverage surrounding the strife surrounding the petition and the recent administrative pay raises has hurt the image of USM.
“I’m very ashamed to be a member of this university, to be a student of a university that would rather behead its own university rather than move forward positively,” Camire said Friday at a Faculty Senate meeting at the Lewiston-Auburn campus.
The petition to hold a confidence vote has been a wake up call to the administration, Camire said, but he said he would now like to see the referndum die and the faculty and administration work to move forward.
Camire also criticized the Faculty Senate, accusing the panel of being out of touch with students and their needs.
“The students don’t have a lot of respect for the faculty, and it’s because you’re going down a road of ‘no confidence,’” he said. Camire praised Botman for what he called her “student-centered” approach to leadership.
Faculty Senate Chair Jeannine Diddle Uzzi announced she is organizing meetings next week for faculty to discuss the method of conducting the confidence referendum. A group of senior faculty collected more than the needed 10 percent signatures to trigger a faculty-wide referendum, as set by the senate bylaws. Over 15 percent of faculty signed the petition saying they have no confidence in the president.
Botman addressed the Faculty Senate Friday, saying she is disappointed by the petition but takes seriously the feelings of the faculty.
“Let me express my sadness about this petition, but also suggest it’s a learning experience for me and many others as well,” Botman said. “It’s important to hear what people are saying, and I personally am determined to work together with faculty and staff, because we have common goals and purposes.”