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Faculty, Students Speak out Against Trustees

With the Board of Trustee’s decision to fire President Margaret McKenna looming, the Faculty Senate of Suffolk University has sent a list of resolutions to the board, declaring their support for McKenna and asking for the resignation of Chairman Andrew C. Meyer.

According to the email sent by Ken Cosgrove, Chair of the Faculty Senate, the faculty’s resolutions are as follows:

  • they reaffirm their strong support President McKenna, Suffolk University, and the students, alumni, staff, and faculty
  • they express their lack of confidence in the leadership of the Board of Trustees, in particular, calling on Andrew Meyer to resign as Chairman and from the board immediately
  • they urge the members of the full Board to fulfill their duty of care to our community, and to proceed immediately with the organizational reforms as recommended by our accrediting body, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), in 2014

Greg Fried, Chair of the Philosophy Department, reached out to his colleagues to express concern regarding the final point – the bylaws. According to Fried, the 1995 bylaws (which are “more or less identical” to the current version), state that a quorum consists of seven members of the board “for all but major real estate decisions,” meaning that if seven were present, only four would have to motion for the removal of President McKenna.

The bylaws also state that a one-week notice must be given for a special meeting, and this call can be made by the chair, the president, or by any 6 members of the board.

“It is precisely because of things such as Article III, Section 3 that our bylaws are considered woefully out of date by NEASC, because that article allows the university’s fate to be governed by just four individuals who do not even have to consult with the larger board of trustees,” wrote Fried, “That explains a lot, doesn’t it?”

The Student Government Association, after meeting with the board on Monday morning, still plans to move forward with their vote of no confidence in Meyer on Thursday. Additionally, the group expressed concern with the Board of Trustees’s use of Regan Communications as an institutional consultant.

“This concern stems from the fact that a Trustee is a Regan communications employee, and a number of other trustees are current and former Regan clients,” stated an SGA press release. “This potential conflict of interest raises serious concerns about institutional communication including recent leaks in the media.”

The Faculty Senate, SGA, and students have all expressed steadfast solidarity with President Margaret McKenna. At least 750 staff, alumni, students, and faculty attended the town hall meeting at C. Walsh Theatre on Tuesday.

In the wake of this rally, a new Facebook group arose, promoting student voices on campus. The group titled #WeAreSuffolk SU Student Activism is planning a second protest for Friday afternoon, meeting at noon in the 73 Tremont lobby with potential plans to then march over to the law offices of William T. Hogan in Post Office Square, where the trustees are planning on making their decision.

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