The elected representatives of the University of the District of Columbia faculty yesterday called on the school's trustees to reopen the search for a new president that ended Wednesday with the selection of Benjamin Alexander, a conservative educator and president of Chicago State University.
Citing sharp division among the trustees over Alexander's appointment and sharply criticizing the closed nature of the search, 50 of the 65 members of the Faculty Senate endorsed a resolution of no confidence in the selection process.
"We would like to have the selection process reopened," said Meredith Rode, vice president of the Faculty Senate, after the three-hour meeting at which the resolution was passed. "Our particular concern is that the board of trustees would vote 6-6 and still invite that candidate. We would like to have as the president of UDC someone about whom there is general approving consensus."
The board of trustees was split 6-6 over Alexander's appointment. Board chairman Marjorie Parker cast the tie-breaking vote. Two members of the board were not present for the meeting Wednesday at which he was selected.
Alexander was the only candidate recommended to the trustees by an eight-man search committee that worked for more than a year to find a successor to retiring president Lisle C. Carter.
Rode insisted yesterday that the resolution was not intended as personal criticism of Alexander, but was aimed at putting on record concerns about the way in which he was chosen.
The resolution will be forwarded Monday to the university board of trustees, but faculty members present at yesterday's meeting indicated little hope that their request would be granted.
"We don't expect the board of trustees to do anything in response to this resolution," said Kelsey A. Jones, chairman of UDC's department of criminal justice and one of three vice presidents of the Faculty Senate. "This was just done to put our statement on the record."
The resolution adopted yesterday described the search for a new president as "a closed process which excluded broad participation and input from the faculty, students, administration, staff and community." The president of the Faculty Senate served on the search committee that recommended Alexander, but was forbidden by the committee's rules from revealing who the group was considering.
The resolution also alleged that there were "possible irregularities" in the search process, but no one attending yesterday's meeting would say what those might be.
The Faculty Senate members are the elected representatives of the 570 members of the UDC faculty.