No confidence in vote

By Staff Editorial

Can we take a vote to not have a “vote of no confidence”?

The Post has been covering this saga from its inception during the contentious contract negotiations, “strike,” salary freeze/executive raises, and up through the second faculty forum with President Gary Russi.

As next week’s vote of no confidence against the president finally approaches, we urge the organizers to just stop it.

Cancel the thing. Put the kibosh on it.

Get on with finding and implementing solutions to Oakland University’s problems as opposed to perpetuating them and creating more.

This is such a poor representation of the university, and unfortunately, because of the way our media works, it’s going to be an image that burns bright for at least one news cycle.

What will a vote of no confidence do to the credibility fought for by our professors, the donations, the mindset of students, the lawmakers who decide how much funding we should get?

It’s not as if a majority vote expressing a lack of confidence in Russi has any official weight. So best case scenario for those in favor of it is that they prove a point.

We heard you already, loud and clear for the last year. We reported on your efforts to make a variety of much needed changes, like swifter software purchasing, equality for the LGBTQ community, transparency, and explanation about executive raises.

The vote was originally planned for November, but was postponed to supposedly let Russi make good on these grievances against him.

But if the hold-off was to give him time to try and address these issues, then why in January did the organizers of the vote say it will take place unless Russi resigns first. Logic begs the question, what is the true motivation behind this vote?

Since the first forum last fall, there have been a number of things done to work away at the long laundry list of “particulars.” Nearly every one of those items that he has in his power to fix as the president, he has initiated.

He has pledged his $100,000 raise as a donation back to the university, he has kept updates of the meetings he scheduled and committees created to work away at these issues and logged all this information on oakland.edu/thepoint.

These actions speak very clearly that Russi has worked overtime to try to satisfy these demands. Of course they haven’t all been fixed. And they probably all won’t be. The Post still can’t find the LCME documents that are supposed to be in the library.

We still don’t have a faculty liaison to the board. Russi has met with board members to discuss this, but it is really not in his power at all to implement that. It’s something the board of trustees has to do itself, and they have expressed no interest in it.

The buck has to stop somewhere, but you know it changes a lot of hands before it ever reaches the person who runs any organization. Especially in light of the sign of good faith from the president’s office, there is hardly reason enough to continue on with this vote.

It’s unfair to the president and to the thousands of stakeholders in this university to expect that trying to remove a leader who has generated a lot of good will lead to something better. No evidence has even been presented to support that case.

What’s the point in a call to action that measures somebody’s approval rating when the very people at the root of the vote seem to have made up their minds a long time ago.

Why vote at all if regardless of the outcome, all we are going to be left with is a bad reputation, no real solutions, and no leaders.