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Faculty at IU’s largest college overwhelmingly vote for Whitten, Shrivastav’s termination

Faculty from Indiana University’s College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) – the university’s largest college by student enrollment – ​​overwhelmingly called for the Board of Trustees to terminate the employment of President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav during a college-wide vote on May 1.

More than 75% of the college’s faculty participated, with 911 of 1209 total eligible faculty voting.

Indiana University President Pamela Whitten, pictured introducing new head football coach Curt Cignetti in December 2023, is under fire for decisions her administration has made in recent months.

Of them, 86% voted for a resolution calling for trustees to “terminate the employment of President Whitten and Provost Shrivastav based on the vote of no confidence and their handling of events in Dunn Meadow.” Of the voting faculty, 92.1% also called for trustees to repeat the recently adopted policy regarding the use of structures in Dunn Meadow, and 93.4% called for trustees to repeat the no-trespass bans imposed on demonstrators who were arrested by Indiana State Police on April 25 and 27.

The COAS is IU’s largest college, with 12,925 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the 2024 spring semester.

Andrés Guzmán, an associate professor at the COAS, said the overwhelming vote from the university’s largest body demonstrates wavering support for Whitten’s administration on campus.

“The college feels that this person cannot lead,” Guzmán said. “I’m not talking about, ‘You don’t lead well.’ “You cannot lead if people don’t share your objectives.”

Arts and Sciences vote is latest in growing faculty condemnations

The COAS vote is the latest – and the largest – in a series of college-wide faculty condemnations against the Whitten administration and their handling of the pro-Palestinian encampment on Dunn Meadow, which to date has resulted in 56 arrests.

An Indiana State Police officer stands in front of demonstrators at Dunn Meadow on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

IU Media School faculty last week released a statement condemning the “repressive crackdown on protests in Dunn Meadow” and calling for the policy to be repeated. IU’s Luddy School of Informatics faculty also passed a resolution calling for Whitten and Shrivastav’s resignation. In that vote, 76 of 105 faculty members were in favor of the resolution, while 11 voted against and 18 abstained.

Faculty from IU’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and School of Education also passed resolutions calling for the repeal of the Dunn Meadow policy change and the lifting of the campus no-trespass bans with more than 80% support for each vote.

To date, a faculty-only petition calling for the immediate resignation of Whitten and Shrivastav has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

These all come after an overwhelming no-confidence vote by faculty against Whitten, Shrivastav, and Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Carrie Docherty on April 16, more than a week before the pro-Palestinian encampment began.

‘It’s cut across political lines’: Faculty say votes are not politically-motivated

Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus Robert Arnove, who served at IU for more than 50 years, said the COAS vote and growing faculty dissent is unlike anything he’s seen at IU.

“This is the most precarious moment for the (IU’s) continued viability as a major Research 1 university,” Arnove said. “There’s been nothing like this.”

Guzmán said the growing number of votes against the administration and their actions show that those seeking to remove Whitten are not just “a minority of radical faculty.”

IU Professor Abdulkader Sinno leads chants for Indiana University President Pamela Whitten and Provost Rahul Shrivastav to resign during the protest outside of Bryan Hall on Monday, April 29.

“What’s been really interesting is it’s cut across political lines,” Guzmán said. “You can’t have, in most cases, over 90% agreeing and urging the board of trustees to terminate the president and the provost if it was just a minority.”

Constance Furey, a religious studies professor at the COAS, said calls for Whitten and Shrivastav’s resignations are increasingly widespread as faculty share concerns over a loss of shared governance.

“The faculty I’ve talked to have never mentioned their political views,” Furey said. “It’s very much a question of incompetence.”

Reach Brian Rosenzweig at [email protected]. Follow him on X/Twitter at @brianwritesnews.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Indiana University faculty call for Whitten Shrivastav termination