Thursday, May 3, 2012

More Botman: Press Release

The more I hear, the more that I think I was wrong to imply that Botman may have a legitimate argument for her interpretation of the rules.  Unfortunately I'm not really prepared to share that right now.  I don't know how the people who have said it feel about being quoted (I don't think they'd mind, but I don't know) and it isn't the sort of thing I'm comfortable paraphrasing.  (Unlike the people saying it I am not well versed in the governing documents of the university.)

[Added]Now that I've looked into it more, it's really very simple.  I discuss it here.[/Added]

What I can share is this press release that I've gotten my hands on.  I'd like to credit it to my ubiquitous network of clandestine informers, but the simple truth is that it's a press release, the entire point of a press release is to distribute it far and wide.  You don't need informers to get your hands on one.


USM Vote Succeeds in sending a clear message of NO Confidence in University President

Portland, Maine - May 3, 2012 - Critics of USM President Selma Botman say that her reaction to their successful vote of no confidence show just how out of touch she is.

 “If this were a gubernatorial election,” said Jeannine Uzzi, chair of USM’s Faculty Senate, “we’d say the winner had a resounding mandate.”

 “We had voter turnout of 75 percent,” Uzzi said.  “And of those, close to 70 percent voted no confidence in President Botman’s ability to lead this institution.”

On May 1 and 2, USM’s fulltime faculty cast ballots in the institution’s first-ever referendum of no confidence in a sitting president.

 “This vote is an expression of deep concerns about the President’s lack of leadership and direction for, and commitment to the well-being of this highly respected, well-regarded institution,” said Luisa Deprez, former dean of Arts and Sciences and chair of the university’s recent regional accreditation committee.

 At numerous meetings held on each of the three campuses over the last two weeks, faculty spokespeople noted that their colleagues brought forth numerous examples of ways in which the President has weakened USM over the past four years. 

 These faculty, they say, pointed out fiscal and hiring irregularities that they claim emerged from her office.

 According to faculty spokespeople, participants at the forums also recounted significant concerns about the tentative and strained nature of some very important university-community relationships, relationships that they claim the president has disregarded or to which she has not attended.

 “President Botman’s claim that the vote is a win for her,” said Professor of Physics Jerry LaSala, “is yet again another indication of her inability to hear concerns and respond appropriately. “

 “There can be no ‘business as usual’ when the institution is in such a state of disrepair,” LaSala said.

 “The only business as usual”, says Professor of Geography Lydia Savage, “ is that faculty remain committed to working with students as the end of the semester and commencement approaches”.

 Uzzi, the Faculty Senate Chair, said that the faculty looks forward to meeting with the Chancellor to talk candidly with him both about the impact of President Botman’s lack of leadership over the past four years and about ways to move forward for the good of the institution and the State.


Previous posts on this subject, which are all probably less informative than what I just quoted:


  1. Since even a successful referendum would apparently only be a recommendation that the Board remove her, how significant is the question, really, of whether or not a two-thirds majority of eligible v. actual voters is needed? Shouldn't the Board seriously consider removing her in any case? Or would you characterize them as content to just be a rubber stamp?

    1. I would hope that things would go forward regardless.

      I think why it matters is that Botman put her statement to the press out first and they ran with it. Some news sources are even reporting that the vote "failed to reach a majority" which is false no matter how one looks at things. If Botman's interpretation were correct then that would mean that it succeeded in reaching a majority, if the interpretation that seems more reasonable is correct then the vote reached a super majority.

      By declaring victory she's trying to control the narrative. If everybody thinks she already won, which is the outcome she appears to be going for, might that change how those with power react? I don't know because I don't know how much attention they actually pay.

      I do know that so far she seems to be succeeding in controlling the narrative.