Submitted by Holly Thorpe
WENATCHEE – The Wenatchee Valley College Association of Higher Education (WVCAHE) faculty union called for the removal of WVC President Dr. Jim Richardson at a public Board of Trustees meeting Weds., Jan. 15. The request was made by full-time, tenured faculty and their union president following a no confidence vote.
In addition to a statement, the four-person board also received an 11-page report by the faculty union outlining their reasons for calling for Richardson’s removal. Board chair Phyllis Gleasman thanked the faculty for their time and said the board would consider the information provided.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring, setting the president’s salary, retaining and removing the college president. No confidence votes in higher education are usually symbolic and have no legal or contractual power. They are used as a meaningful way of expressing dissatisfaction with a president or leader at a college. A majority of full-time tenured faculty at WVC voted that they had no confidence in the president. Part-time and adjunct instructors did not vote.
“We, the faculty, do not accept President Richardson’s explanation for the current budget crisis,” WVCAHE President Patrick Tracy said in a press release announcing the no confidence vote. “The fall 2019 downturn in student enrollment only pushed the college over the edge after years of poor fiscal management. The employees and students deserve better leadership than what we have seen under Jim Richardson.”
Richardson responded to the announcement on Tuesday.
“I take the concerns of the faculty very seriously and am disheartened by their vote,” he said. “I understand that the budget deficit has raised many questions and concerns from the college community and the public and I will continue addressing those to the best of my ability. However, student success was and remains my top priority when making any decisions for WVC.”
The Board of Trustees will meet next week to discuss the faculty union’s report. President Richardson, who received the report for the first time at the board meeting on Wednesday, said he is taking the time to read it carefully and formulate a thoughtful response.
The college created a public Budget FAQ webpage (wvc.edu/Budget) to address common questions and confusion about the projected budget deficit. This page is updated regularly to reflect new developments and questions.
Wenatchee Valley College is a community college with campuses in Wenatchee and Omak.