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Mississippi Valley State University Faculty Senate Hands President ‘No Confidence’ Vote


Members of Mississippi Valley State University’s faculty senate have expressed “no confidence” in the school’s president in a 33-1 vote.

There was one abstention when Tuesday’s vote was taken, according to faculty members who attended the meeting but asked that their names not be made public because of concerns about their jobs.

Dr. Lester C. Newman, an alumnus of Southern University in Baton Rouge, became MVSU’s fifth president in 1998. He succeeded William Sutton, who served as president for 10 years.

Newman came to MVSU from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C.

MVSU is one of three historically Black universities in Mississippi — the others are Jackson State and Alcorn State. MVSU’s 3,100-student main campus is located in Itta Bena in the Mississippi Delta.

Curtis Baham, the interim vice president for academic affairs, attended the meeting but said he had to leave before the vote.

“We’re talking about less than one-third of the faculty. This does not represent the broad thinking of the faculty on this campus,” Baham said Wednesday.

Faculty members contacted by the Associated Press sat the “no confidence” vote dealt with concerns that included problems with following rules, using the proper chain of command, pay scale and a lack of professional courtesy.

One faculty member says the faculty senate planned to send a letter to the state college board identifying its concerns about Newman.

In response to the vote, Newman said, “I have the utmost respect for the faculty and will continue to have that level of respect. I regret that some faculty members felt the need to take this measure to express their concerns. However, I always have been forthright in responding to issues. 

“As I look at the concerns, these are all academic issues that are out of my direct purview.”

— Associated Press


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