For 2nd time in one month, Haskell’s Faculty Senate unanimously declares no confidence in a university administrator

photo by: Conrad Swanson/Journal-World File Photo

A sign at the entrance to Haskell Indian Nations University is shown Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.

The Faculty Senate at Haskell Indian Nations University declared on Friday that it had no confidence in the university’s vice president of academics, Melanie Daniel.

Criticisms of the vice president’s leadership included a lack of confidence in Daniel’s engagement with shared governance, collegial culture of academic integrity and transparent communication.

The decision came just weeks after Haskell’s Faculty Senate unanimously declared it had no confidence in the university president, Ronald Graham.

Daniel did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Journal-World regarding the vote of no confidence and the criticisms of her leadership. The vote was unanimous, with 15 people voting “yes” to the resolution and no one voting “no” or abstaining from the vote.

According to the resolution, Daniel has failed to “formally engage” in “collegial discourse” with the Faculty Senate, has repeatedly declared and canceled meetings with little notice and has removed faculty from decision-making processes for academic standards, policies and curriculum. Daniel has also proposed contract hires to fill “key” university roles without the consultation of the Faculty Senate, “which puts important university functions in the hands of short-term stakeholders that lack institutional knowledge,” the resolution states.

Daniel’s failure to engage in shared governance also compromises Haskell’s accreditation in the Higher Learning Commission, the Faculty Senate wrote. The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditor that requires shared governance at its institutions.

The resolution also states that Daniel has restricted faculty members’ freedom of speech.

“Whereas, VPA Daniel issued a mandate limiting academic freedom and free speech, which was an attempt to constrain faculty’s ability to advocate for the university and students — a mandate which was later rescinded by Director Tony Dearman of the BIE,” the resolution states.

As the Journal-World has reported, Dearman, the director of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), rescinded directives sent by Graham and Daniel in March. Daniel’s message told Haskell employees they did not have the right to speak to the media and mention their Haskell employment unless first receiving approval. Graham’s memorandum stated that staff members were required to follow the organization’s hierarchy when problems arose: “at no time is it ever appropriate for any employee to disclose their issues publicly through the government email system or any other means of mass communication to individuals not directly or specifically a party to the possible resolution,” he wrote.

In rescinding the messages from Daniel and Graham, Dearman said the BIE was committed to free speech. The BIE sent a review team to Haskell following the Faculty Senate’s declaration of no confidence in Graham.

The Haskell Faculty Senate’s unanimous vote of no confidence in Daniel will also be sent to Dearman, the resolution states.

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