Two Mississippi Valley State University professors have been fired, and at least one of them claims it was in retaliation for serving on a panel that was critical of university president Lester Newman.
Debbie Montgomery, a university spokeswoman, says, however, that the teachers’ departure had nothing to do with serving on the panel.
“The two professors who served on the committee had one-year contracts. The individuals did not fulfill the requirements of their respective contracts which called for the completion of their terminal degrees by the conclusion of the 06-07 academic year,” she says.
Vickie Curry and Orian Cathey were both terminated, says former faculty senate president Sam McNair, who also was on the committee that issued a report in April that said the university faced a leadership crisis.
“I might be one to go,” McNair said Monday in an article on www.clarionledger.com, adding that he expects others on the MVSU faculty and staff to be terminated by Newman.
“It is retaliation. It is total vindictiveness,” says Curry, an education professor and the wife of MVSU’s fiscal administrator, Andre Curry.
Another professor not on the committee was also terminated, but the circumstances of the dismissals were not immediately available.
Newman created the 10-member committee in March to study problems at the university, and the panel in April issued a report saying Newman was the problem.
Newman named the panel after the faculty senate passed a no-confidence vote in late February that slammed his leadership.
In a 9-1 vote, the panel called for the immediate removal of Newman as president, according to a copy of the report released at the time.
The report said “a serious void in leadership exists at MVSU.”
Based on input from 94 faculty members, “it is clear that the current president is seen as unprofessional, poorly organized administratively, inefficient, and, in general, unfit for the job,” it said.
The report also urged Newman to take no actions to hire or fire employees or seek retribution against members of the faculty panel.
Newman has said he’s reached many of the goals he established since beginning the $183,750-a-year-job.
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