U of I Faculty Letter: Trustees Should Fire Hogan

March 15, 2012

(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)

As University of Illinois trustees met on Thursday on the Urbana campus, a new letter calling for the firing of President Michael Hogan was released, with the signatures of about 125 Urbana campus faculty.

The letter follows trustees' direction to Hogan last week to fix his relationship with faculty. But faculty members say they're not willing to wait.

In the letter, faculty called Hogan's short time in charge of the university a failure.

"We view it as essential that Hogan's failed Presidency be seen for what it is, and that a path be forged which can rapidly restore a healthy governance structure," the letter said.

Some members of the faculty have complained about Hogan's leadership style. They also fear some of his plans would reduce campus autonomy. Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Jean-Pierre Leburton signed the letter. He said he wants a university president who does a better job communicating with faculty and students.

"I would like a leader who understands what this campus is about, that the campus is mostly done by the faculty and students," Leburton said. "Then when a decision has to be taken, it's taken within the culture that exists here within the campus of Urbana-Champaign."

University spokesman Tom Hardy said trustees did not have the chance to go over the letter during their meeting on Thursday.

But Trustees did hear another letter, read by Don Chambers, the Chicago-campus professor who chairs the Faculty Senates Conference. That letter praises Hogan for the revisions he proposed for his controversial enrollment management plan.

"The recent sessions we had in working through these changes have been as I have said repeatedly a demonstration of shared governance at its best, and what can be accomplished when we work together," Chambers said.

U of I Trustees Chair Chris Kennedy says the board has been on campus since Wednesday, meeting with administrators and leading faculty members.

And he says during Thursday's executive session, there was a chance for trustees to share the results of one-on-one meetings with faculty, and share them with the president.

"We had a private session, during which we distilled, I think what we heard from all of the faculty," Kennedy. "University trustees have asked me to enter into a dialogue with the president, and provide a distillation of those thoughts, and I intend to do that."

Hogan's chief of staff, Lisa Troyer, resigned in January amid concerns over the enrollment policy. The plan was the source of an e-mail debate between Hogan and Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise.

Before the plan was revised, Chambers said there were five total concerns with the original enrollment management policy, but those concerns have been ironed out.

Chambers thanked the U of I's Board of Trustees and the administration for listening to faculty concerns about the enrollment management plan. He said Hogan's proposals should be sent to all three campus Senates on Monday, and that he believed they could come to a "positive conclusion" on the matter.

Given the positive comments by Chambers, University spokesman Tom Hardy said faculty comments in the letter calling on trustees to fire Hogan don't add up.

Last month, around a hundred faculty members signed a separate letter calling on President Hogan to resign.

Story source: WILL