Ten faculty members at Doane University have called for a vote of no confidence in the leadership of President Jacques Carter in a letter submitted to the university’s faculty council on Tuesday.
Penned by tenured faculty from departments across the university's academic offerings, the letter asks Doane's faculty for a formal vote stating they do not support Carter, now in his seventh year leading the liberal arts college in Crete.
Outlining five areas where Carter has caused “grave concerns about the health and stability” of the university, the eight-page letter said the president failed to follow through on strategic initiatives to grow its enrollment of undergraduate students, expand its presence in Omaha, and complete fundraising campaigns.
It also accuses Carter of mismanaging personnel — citing “incredible turnover in key academic leadership positions” — and dismissing or disregarding the concerns shared by the university’s accreditation agency, the Higher Learning Commission.
According to the letter, Carter has also expressed “no interest whatsoever in the academic wellbeing of Doane’s students.”
“We recognize this is a serious charge and we do not take this proposal lightly,” the letter states. “We want to be clear: we are not arguing here in opposition to change, we are opposed to our current leadership.”
The letter writers requested the university's board of trustees immediately terminate Carter’s employment and allow Doane "the opportunity to develop or identify effective leadership for the critical opportunities we have before us.”
Putting the vote of no confidence to the faculty would first require the support of the 11-member Doane Faculty Council, which received the letter Tuesday.
“It’s not something the faculty have taken a vote on and not something there has been a great amount of debate on,” said Timothy Hill, a professor of political science and president of the faculty council.
The council will meet Thursday and likely discuss the letter while also seeking more information from the 10 faculty members who signed the letter, he added.
“We ask them to further verify the claims made in the document as we gather our own feedback to provide input so the board can make the best decision possible,” Hill said.
While that process is taking place, one of the 10 faculty reached by phone on Wednesday said the group would not discuss the letter publicly.
“It would be premature to comment at this time,” said Linda Kalbach, a professor of education.
Carter was also made aware of the letter on Tuesday when it was submitted to the university community, a spokesperson said.
“Doane University’s Faculty Council is in the process of reviewing the letter and verifying the facts on which the concerns of 10 faculty members are based,” the spokesman said in a statement. “Until that review is complete, further comment is not appropriate.”