The University of New Mexico’s top faculty representative has resigned his post as president of the Faculty Senate, saying the current administration’s professed commitment to shared governance is a charade.
Doug Fields notified the UNM administration and regents of his decision in a scathing resignation e-mail this morning.
“As I see no hope for an effective shared governance at UNM under this administration, and therefore believe that my continued service in my role as Faculty Senate president represents a cost to the university which is unjustified, I hereby submit my resignation effective immediately,” the physics and astronomy associate professor wrote.
His term would have expired June 30. It’s unclear whether the Faculty Senate will appoint an interim president to serve out the rest of Fields’ term or leave the post empty.
Fields’ resignation is another blow to David Schmidly’s presidency and could pose problems for UNM with accreditors. The university’s communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Evaluators sent to UNM last year as part of the university’s reaccreditation process raised serious concerns about university governance issues, urging UNM to empower academic leaders by allowing academic decisions to guide financial decisions. The team also requested a status report within 18 months.
At Friday’s regents meeting, where the board approved the university’s $2.1 billion budget, Fields complained that UNM did not give faculty, staff, students and other constituents the opportunity to have meaningful input in creating the budget.
Fields said the attitude among UNM’s administration appears to be that allowing faculty to participate in setting budgets is akin to allowing inmates to run the asylum.
“Faculty are not inmates,” he said. “We can leave, and we are.”
He said the faculty departures in the Mathematics and Statistics Department are not isolated. The same thing is happening in many other departments, he said.
For more on this story, pick up a copy of Tuesday’s Journal.