BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP/WIAT) – Faculty members at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have drafted a no-confidence resolution against the president following his decision to kill the school’s football program despite it finishing with its best record in years.
The document, released Thursday by the university, accuses UAB President Ray Watts of failing to share governance of the university with faculty members.
The decision to eliminate football came after first-year coach Bill Clark led the team to a record of 6-6, the best in years. Average attendance doubled this year to more than 20,000 fans per game, but Watts said the program wasn’t sustainable.
The resolution sites complaints over a series of moves including the decision to disband football and other athletic programs. A separate resolution requests “a comprehensive analysis of UAB Athletics that is transparent and includes consideration of campus-wide impact for discontinuation of any athletic program.”
The Faculty Senate is scheduled to vote on the document during a special meeting on Jan. 15. While largely symbolic, a no-confidence vote could undermine Watts’ ability to lead the university of more than 18,000 students.
“The Faculty Senate is working to ensure any decision made reflects the values and desires of the faculty as a whole,” Senate President Chad Epps said in a statement. “We are doing our absolute best to take into account the gravity of this situation.”
Protests erupted on campus this month as officials considered whether to end football at UAB. Watts explained the decision by saying football would cost the school at least $49 million over five years to be competitive.
Watts also eliminated the women’s bowling and rifle programs following a consultant’s study. He said dropping the three sports would allow the university to concentrate resources on other teams.
UAB is the first major college program to give up football since Pacific did it in 1995.
UAB President Ray Watts released the following statement discussing the UAB Faculty Senate’s decision:
“I am of course disappointed to read the resolutions of the Faculty Senate. From the first day I was named President of UAB, I have done my best to lead this great university that means so much to me and to all of us. Our faculty, staff and students have achieved many successes in areas across campus, and I know that our best days are in front of us. My pledge is to develop a more inclusive shared decision-making process going forward. I have been meeting daily with groups of stakeholders and will continue to do so as long as it takes for all of us to find the common ground required to reach our shared goals and fulfill our multifaceted mission which is of great importance. I realize that working together there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I promise you that recent engagement and communication shortfalls will not occur in the future. I am fully committed to working to achieve sustained excellence across all parts of UAB utilizing a very inclusive process that draws on the strengths of all of our people.”
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