Updated on March 1 at 6:27 p.m.
Temple Association of University Professionals is hosting a town hall meeting on Friday to discuss holding a no-confidence vote on President Jason Wingard, Provost Gregory Mandel and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ken Kaiser’s handling of the TUGSA strike, public safety and other university issues, Jeffrey Doshna, the union’s president told The Temple News.
“We’re hearing from folks who are department chairs and other administrators that they have never seen Temple in such a bad moment,” Doshna said. “People who’ve been here for decades have said they’ve never seen such a lack of leadership.”
Doshna anticipates employees who attend the meeting will ultimately approve a vote of no-confidence. TAUP is leading the effort because other university organizations and unions who have expressed concerns with Temple leadership haven’t stepped up, he said.
The union is hoping to convene members to discuss their concerns. A vote, if decided on, would ultimately be conducted anonymously and electronically. TAUP has yet to determine how long the voting period would be.
Wingard defended Temple’s response to recent events and vowed to continue finding solutions to the university’s challenges, he wrote in a statement to The Temple News.
“Moving forward, the entire leadership team and I are committed to continue listening to and communicating with all our communities, and I ask for both your understanding and grace as we work together to navigate the university through this uncertain time,” Wingard wrote. “Temple Proud is something we all are, even when times are tough.”
The discussion comes approximately one month after TUGSA began their strike for increased pay, better benefits and classroom improvements and ongoing backlash about the university’s safety efforts in light of the death of Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald.
“Across many people that work across Temple, there is concern about how the administration has dealt with the TUGSA strike,” said Deborah Lemieur, chair of the adjunct constituency council. “There is a belief that somebody has made choices that have led to the way the administration dealt with TUGSA and those choices are upsetting and something ought to be done about the person making those choices.”
The union was set to begin negotiating its new contract with the university later this year after reaching an agreement in 2019.
Former Temple administration officials have previously received no-confidence votes from within the Board of Trustees and other university-related organizations. In July 2016, former President Neil Theobald received a vote of no confidence from the board before reaching a deal with the university to resign.
Patrick O’Connor, now an honorary trustee, also received no-confidence votes from more than 30 Temple professors in 2018 after making comments that questioned the academic freedom of Marc Lamont Hill for his controversial remarks at the United Nations.